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Eve Torres (Courtesy: NBC)
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WWE Diva Eve Torres Battles for the USO on NBC's 'Stars Earn Stripes'

Thursday, August 09, 2012

By Christian Pelusi 

Eve Torres is no stranger to confrontation. One look at her work in the squared circle as a World Wrestling Entertainment Diva, along with her training in jiu-jitsu, validates her ability to take care of herself. But the new arena of combat that NBC’s new reality TV competition “Stars Earns Stripes” (Monday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. EST) presented took some immediate adjustments.

“I can honestly say I didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into,” Torres said. “I thought it sounded great, the premise of the show, but I had no idea the wringer that they were going to put us through. … There were some moments that everyone had when they wondered if they could really do this.”

The “this” is a contest that immerses eight celebrities into special ops situations that representatives from eight elite military units and first-responders have trained them for, using live ammunition and live explosives. The celebrities compete for eight different charities and Torres is battling for the USO.

For the contestants, any preconceived notions that this was just another “cut, redo” reality show were erased quickly.

“I did a lot of conditioning and training before the show, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional aspect of the show,” Torres said. “Every time we’re in real BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms) and in KIT (Knowledge Information Technology), it was amazing. The realities of what the military has to go through really sunk in. Clearly we don’t have an opposing force, but it really felt real and made me feel so much respect for them, more than I even had before.”

Torres said that the confidence their highly-trained instructors invested in them pushed them to achieve things they thought were impossible and built a trust and an admiration that left her in awe.

“The bond that brings those people together is just incredible. To hear their stories and experiences … if not everyone has a brother or father or sister close to them in the military, I hope this puts a face and a name to these men and women because they’re just incredible. Not just as warriors, but as people. To me, it’s a different species. I don’t know how they can do it on a daily basis.”

As a popular WWE champion, Torres has had the opportunity to witness what the USO accomplishes on a daily basis while pursuing its own mission of lifting the spirits of troops and their families.

“With the WWE, we go overseas pretty much every year -- at least for the past eight or nine years -- to bring a part of America over to [the troops]. And so the idea of the USO and being able to send entertainers to support our troops, I love the idea of it because I’ve been a part of it.

“[The USO is] an amazing organization and one that I’m proud to represent. It makes a good feeling that when you get through your mission, you know you’ve earned money for not just the military men and women but for their families.”

* * *

Monday's kicks off a big week for Torres. First is the premiere of "Stars Earn Stripes," followed by a week of events in Los Angeles that lead up to WWE’s second biggest event of the year, Summer Slam, on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. EST in L.A.’s Staples Center.  

“We’re really infiltrating and taking over L.A.,” Torres said, laughing.  

* Watch a preview of "Stars Earn Stripes": 


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