Jessie Kresa is a gracious cook with a penchant for chatter. ODB is a pugnacious vamp with a stiff Boston crab.
Kresa grew up as a self-professed good girl from a Maple Grove hockey family, but it wasnt until she adopted the wrestling persona of ODB that she became her truest self, a self she describes as the female Stone Cold Steve Austin. For those unfamiliar with WWE, picture the wily bartender at a roadside divethe type that can flirt dirtier than the boys and would just as soon drag you out by your collar if you tried to play Journey on the jukebox.
Unsurprisingly, ODB knows good eatin, and when Kresa hung up her boots in 2014, the five-time Total Nonstop Action Wrestling champion decided to take her personas fun-loving bawdiness to the kitchen.
Late in her career, she developed a line of whiskey-based barbecue sauces as a way to keep the ODB brand alive post- TNA. It was a success, and in 2016, she opened a food truck called ODBs Meat and Greet in Daytona Beach, Florida. And on April 24, shes ending a three-year promotional tour to bring her truck to her hometown of Maple Grove at Omni Brewing. Other local events will follow.
I thought it was time to go home, Kresa says. That was the main goal, to bring my business home once Id established it. Its time to do that.
Kresa cooks the way she wrestlesno fancy moves, just bare- knuckle execution. Naturally, ODB isnt slingin kale and orzo out of her mobile kitchen. ODBs Meat and Greet serves down-home barbecue, the kind that any mark can enjoy. Kresa slow cooks her own pork butt for 10 hours in her personal big ass smoker. Her top seller is a pulled-pork bowl called Cup of Meat. It comes in three sizes: B, C, and DD.
I always wanted to see how far I could cross the line, Kresa says, the sneer of ODB breaking through.
Kresa developed the character of ODB when she was training with Eddie Sharkey in St. Louis Park. Shed come up short in the tryouts for the first season of Tough Enougha reality show where amateurs competed for a job in WWEand so she looked up the storied trainer to try to build an on-screen character producers couldnt deny. She was the only woman working in the gym at the time, and her experience locking up with male wrestlers like Shawn Daivari, Ken Anderson, and Austin Aries helped bring out something her brother had seen in her at a young age. She branded herself ODB (short for One Dirty Bitch), transforming her siblings adolescent jab into a redneck badge of honor.
ODB is a person you can relate to, Kresa says. I can sit and have a drink with you and talk real. Its crazy, but its also laid-back. Its like, Holy shit, she really just did that?
Kresa got her start in 2003 in TNA, an Orlando-based promotion thats still WWEs biggest competitor today. She bounced from there to WWE developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, where she was the first-ever Womens Champion, but she soon found herself back in Orlando. In 2009, she won her first TNA Womens Knockout Championship, getting over as a fan favorite. Over the next five years with TNA, shed win that belt three more times, and shed also reign as TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion for a still- record 478 days.
But her relationship with TNA was always tumultuous. Not only was the company in near-constant financial trouble, but it lacked consistent leadership and creative direction. Kresa left TNA several times during her tenure, working shows at independent promotions between her stints, but there was no solid future in continuing. Plus, shed seen how wrestling can ruin your body over time, so when an opportunity to translate ODB to the culinary world presented itself, Kresa cinched in like a full nelson.
Ill go to these wrestling conventions, and I see these wrestlers that are legends, and Ill be like, Oh crap, they didnt do anything with themselves. I didnt want to end up like that, Kresa says. I never wanted people to be like, Oh, thats ODB? Yikes.
Kresas break came after she made an appearance on Joey Fatones cooking show, My Family Recipe Rocks. On the episode, she invited the former N*SYNC baritone to the mobile home park in Clear Lake where shed been living in her Airstream, showing Fatone how to rustle up bean dip, walking tacos, and bloody Marys using only campground wherewithal. It was a magnanimous performance, and soon after, a manufacturer reached out to her about putting her name on a line of sauces. She insisted they be made with a whiskey base.
Id never really thought about it, but I knew my wrestling was about to come to an end, Kresa says. But Id always been into cooking since I was little, cooking and camping and entertaining people.
Kresa got in her Airstream and began circling the country promoting her sauces at conventions, leveraging connections in the wrestling business to book events. In 2016, Jimmy Hart, the famous loudmouth wrestling personality who once managed Hulk Hogan, reached out. He wanted her to come to Daytona Beach and help manage his new wrestling-themed tiki bar.
After running the kitchen at Harts restaurant for a year, Kresa began exploring options for a food truck. That way, she could revive the road-dog lifestyle shed perpetuated as ODB all while providing a roving showcase for her sauces.
ODBs Meat and Greet launched at Bike Week in 2017, and the truck has been a main-event-level draw at every event its rolled into since. Thats because its as much about wrestling as it is food service. The name Meat and Greet plays on those one-on-one convention appearances where fans can pay $15 for a handshake with a legend and a signed headshot. But thats not ODBs style. On April 24 at Omni, not only will she be serving up the sliders and nachos that remind you of home, but while the fryer is doing its magic, shell be leaning in the window, dishing on her time as a champion in the wrestling business.
Its funny to see the fans come up to the food truck, and they say, Oh damn, I didnt know you were really gonna be here, you really do it! Kresa says. Its just me on the truck. Im no barbecue pitmaster, but I have stories, and I know how to cook.