Smokin' Gunns: by Amy Bell

Once a shy teenager, Tylene Buck soars with the superstars of WCW as Major Gunns.

As a young child, Tylene Buck dreamed of becoming a model. Because she was painfully shy and her family was not wealthy she never believed modeling would become a reality. In her most elaborate dreams, Buck never could have guessed that once she graduated from high school she would dive headfirst into a successful fitness-modeling career and eventually join WCW, where she would transform into the camounaged seductress known as Major Gunns.

Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Buck lived with her father growing up. When she reached her tenth birthday, Buck discovered the world of athletics. She moved to Arizona for a short time and joined the rodeo. "That was a lot of fun," Buck says. "I used to do Barrel and Pole, where you take your horse and run around barrels or poles as quicky as you can. I have tons of ribbons from the rodeo." Once she moved back to California, Buck became a talented softball player. When she was 14, Buck played on a team with the best softball players in her age group from around the nation. Buck also played soccer for a while in high school and made working out away a life by the time she was 17. "When I was in school, I kept to myself and did my work," she says. "I didn't really hang out with the popular crowd because I was so shy."

Despite her timid demeanor, Buck discovered enduring love while she was in high school. She met the man who currently is her fiance when she was 16. "I actually went to high school with his nieces, so he's an older man," Buck says. "But he's my true love and my best friend. He's always been so supportive of me."

After Buck completed high school, her fiance asked her what she wanted to do with her life. "When I told him I wanted to be a model, he told me that I should follow my dreams," she says.

Following her fiance's advice, Buck began looking for modeling agencies. After fruitless searching and a few bad experiences with some agencies, Buck decided to take control of her future. She began contacting companies and photographers herself. "I was doing all the work on my own," she says. "I was doing everything I could to make my dreams come true."

Through hard work and her unyielding resolve to succeed, Buck broke into the modeling business. She started by appearing on covers for magazines such as Truckin' and MiniTruckin.' Buck also found success in bikini contests, where she lost her last traces of bashfulness. "Wearing a bikini in front of hundreds of people definitely helped me to stop being shy," Buck says. "Now I love being in front of an audience."

A fitness photographer discovered her on the bikini contest circuit. Awestruck with her physique and beauty, the photographer introduced her to many fitness magazines such as muscular Development, Muscle Magazine, and Iron man. Shortly after, Tylene became the spokeswoman for Max Muscle and wrote a monthly column on fitness and nutrition for the magazine. One of the most exciting moments in the period of her life was her appearance on the "Jenny Jones Show." "I was a guest on the show called 'Geek to Chic'. It was about people that used to be nerds but grew up to become famous and beautiful. People from high school were amazed how much I changed" She said with a laugh.

Although her modeling career was taking off, something else was eating away at her. ."I had been wanting to get hooked up with wrestling for years,: she says. "Wrestling has been a true love of mine since I was a little girl. I can remember watching Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash and wishing I could meet them one day."

A close friend of Buck who lived in Los Angeles knew some people who work for WCW, including Nash and Hogan. "I told him I'd like to get into wrestling, and he introduced me to Kevin Nash. Nash invited me backstage during Halloween Havoc in Las Vegas. It was absolutely amazing to meet everyone, but I still couldn't seem to find the right avenue to get in," she says.

A few months latter, Buck's friend told her WCW as coming to Los Angeles to interview women for the show. "I found out that Terry Taylor had been following my career and some other fitness girls' careers for a while," Buck says. "I was so excited, I hopped on a plane and flew straight to LA. I was very nervous because all the girls who were interviewing were so beautiful." A few hours after her interview, Buck received a phone call from a WCW contact and discovered she was one of the six girls selected to join WCW.

On May 15. 2000, Buck made her first appearance on WCW television as an nWo girl. "The nWo was really popular at the time, so it was very exciting to walk with those guys to the ring," Buck says. "I learned so much about the business from Nash when I worked with him. Nash is so down to earth, and he made things so easy and relaxing for me."

Once the nWo dissolved, Buck joined Midajah O'Hearn and as a valet for Jeff Jarrett. "I'm really happy I go to work with Jeff," Buck says. "I used to love to watch him do his promos. He's so great and getting into character, and he was very patient with us girls."

In typical wresting fashion, the storylines changed, and Buck became a valet for Scott Steiner. Eventually Buck was removed from Steiner's group to become an interview girl. "I liked doing the interviews, but I love being in front of people and hamming it up. I missed being in front of the crowd." she says.

Buck next found herself without a character or storyline. "When WCW called me and told me they still didn't have a storyline for me after a few weeks, I cried and cried. I thought my wrestling career was over." she says. "I begged them to give me any part at all in the storyline. I was trying everything I could think of to get back into WCW."

A few weeks later, Buck received a telephone call. WCW wanted her to return, and she was ecstatic. "They asked me I has any combat boots and camouflage. I said 'What?' When she returned to WCW, Tylene met her new teammates, the Misfits In Action.

"I found out it was the MIA guys who requested that I come back.," Buck says. "They asked where I had been because they wanted me to be a part of their team. I was amazed because I didn't really know them that well," she says. "They all are really great guys."

Although Buck was thrilled to be working with the Misfits, she was less than pleased with her new moniker. "They told me my new name would be Torpedo Girl," she says with a laugh. "I asked Vince Russo if I could change the name if I came up with something better. He said I could, so I started asking everyone for suggestions. We eventually came up with Major Gunns.".

Buck feels grateful to be back in the spotlight, and she is enjoying her new character. "Major Gunns is a total babyface," Tylene says. "She's a sweet girl, but she won't back down either. She's a powerful girl, just like I am, but she's not vicious. She has a heart of gold, and she'll do anything to make a bad situation good."

Buck is delighted that she has the opportunity to train in the Power Plant, WCW's training facility, with the rest of WCW's female stars. "I've always wanted to learn to wrestle, she says. "Until you're a part of it, you don't really understand the sport of wrestling. Now I wrestle almost every week and I'm thrilled to death." As a result of her entertaining matches and sculpted physique, Tylene's career is skyrocketing. But she knows better than to credit her fame to anyone other than her fans. "I get a rush interacting with all my fans, seeing all their smiles and faces. If it weren't for my fans, I wouldn't be where I am," she says.

Although Buck has gained many adoring fans, her most faithful fan is someone she has known all her life. "When I first joined WCW, my mom was happy for me, but she wasn't really a wrestling fan. Now she not only watches me, but she watches that entire show. Every show I've been on, she has it on tape."

Unlike many female stars who hope to use WCW as a stepping stone to further their entertainment careers, Tylene says she would be content to remain a fixture in the wrestling world. "I'd love to do TV and movies eventually, but wrestling always will be my first love," Buck says. "I want to stay with WCW and be known as the one of the biggest women wrestlers of all time."