Just a few months before beloved former WWE wrestler Ashley Massaro took her own life in May 2019 at 39, she starred in a music video for a song about suicide prevention.
The tragic tune is now being released after the artists received the green light from her family.
“When the Massaro family gave us their blessing, it was time,” Brian Orlando, the morning show host and assistant program director at Long Island radio station 94.3 the Shark, where Massaro hosted a weekly show, told The Post. “But it’s still bittersweet.”
Massaro, who also appeared on the cover of Playboy in 2007, shot to fame after winning the WWE DIVA search in 2005, winning over fans with her rock star persona. But it later emerged that three years with the wrestling organization could’ve had a much darker side. In 2016, she joined a class-action suit accusing the WWE of concealing the risk of injuries that could lead to neurological damage. In a 2017 affidavit, she alleged that she was denied training, forced to perform while injured and said she had been brutally raped on a goodwill tour of Kuwait. After her death, WWE issued a statement saying Massaro apologized to company officials in October 2018 for participating in the lawsuit (which was dismissed in 2018 by a judge claiming many of the statutes of limitations had expired).
Nearly a year later, 10 days before her 40th birthday, she was found unresponsive in her home in Smithtown, LI, and pronounced dead on the way to the hospital, according to a report in the Blast.
The video Massaro appears in, which was filmed between December 2018 and January 2019 features a tune, “Choose Song,” which was written by Orlando, 42, after his musical hero, Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, hung himself in 2017. Orlando described it as a “mellow anthem” about the healing power of music.
“The idea of the song is that with music, you are never alone,” said Orlando, who asked Massaro to be a part of the video.
The song was recorded by ’90s alt rockers Vinnie Dombroski from Sponge, Wheatus frontman Brendon B. Brown, who sang teen angst hymn “Teenage Dirtbag” and Kevin Martin from Candlebox. The video will be released Saturday on Sponge’s Facebook page during “The Beer Sessions,” a weekly acoustic concert that Dombroski launched during the pandemic.
“A few weeks before we were set to launch the entire thing, Ashley fell victim to her battle with depression,” Orlando said. “I was crushed that I lost my friend and the entire project just felt gross at that point. From time to time I would think about it, but it just didn’t seem right.”
While the song premiered at a charity event last year, the video was shelved out of respect for her loved ones (Massaro left behind a teenage daughter, Alexa).
But since the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the nation’s mental health issues, Dombroski decided to approach Orlando about releasing the video. They agreed that they first needed approval from Massaro’s family. Orlando organized a lunch with Ashley’s parents, brother and daughter, while Dombroski called in during the meeting.
“We watched the video together. It was nothing but hugs. Lex, her daughter, got a little emotional, but there were smiles because they got to see their daughter doing something different from what she was known, which was being in a wrestling ring. Ashley’s mom told me that this was obviously something that Ashley felt very strongly about and wanted her wish seen through. The Massaro family is amazing,” said Orlando.
Massaro — who also appeared in Rev Theory’s 2008 video for their song, “Hell Yeah” — saw the video when it was about 95 percent complete.
“I know she loved it,” says Orlando, adding, “I wish she could have seen the finished product, and to be corny about it, I think she can.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.