Drew Cordeiro AKA Denver Colorado (the man, not the place) is the mastermind behind the trangressive, progressive, post-modern Pro Wrestling outfit known as Beyond Wrestling. We talked to him about the creative process behind his unique company, the Beyond wrestlers you should be watching, the advantages of working together, the value of social media, and the nature of the art of Pro Wrestling. Enjoy!
I love the versatility of Pro Wrestling as an art form. I have access to a plethora of creative outlets which ensures that my work always remains fresh and exciting. In fact, I enjoy what I do so much that it very rarely feels like work. I can trace the origins of many of my longstanding friendships back to one common bond – wrestling. As strange as it may sound, when Beyond Wrestling was formed, I always wanted to use it as a platform to give back to the industry that had given me so much growing up. Even though Beyond Wrestling has come a long way since our pilot taping in May of 2009, we want to provide the wrestlers involved with the tools that they need to complete their individual goals. We’re just lucky that, by and large, the byproducts have been too good not to share.
Initially Beyond was described as a wrestling utopia where guys could come and perform free from the politics and pressure of the outside wrestling world. With the growth Beyond has gone through and the changes in creative direction, do you think that still applies?
It becomes more and more difficult to balance total freedom while trying to find our place within the world of independent wrestling, but it is a challenge I am willing to endure. We’ve taken countless steps to legitimize Beyond Wrestling which in turn lends more credibility to our achievements. The more popular Beyond Wrestling becomes the better chance we have pushing those who have sacrificed the time and energy to contribute to our project up the ladder. We’re not 100% effective in maintaining an environment absent of political influences (not that we ever were) but it is still something to strive for.
For those who don’t follow Beyond yet, who are some of your wrestlers you feel they should be seeking out?
Right now, for my money, Drew Gulak is the best on the roster, and that covers a lot of ground. Gulak is most prominently featured at CZW, but I feel like he is often overlooked since some fans are turned off by the deathmatch genre. Mark Angel hasn’t had a bad match since debuting for Beyond Wrestling in February of 2011. His change in disposition is disheartening but he is still producing between the ropes. Sugar Dunkerton has used Beyond Wrestling to demonstrate that he can connect with his strikes just as much as he can connect with his fans. In the time that he had to take off to heal his broken arm, he has only become more focused. He knows exactly what he wants out of wrestling which will only serve to further motivate him.
Jonny Mangue, Darius Carter, and Anthony Stone are all on the verge of something amazing. It is a shame that the scene is more exclusive than ever before, but we’re lucky to have these guys making positive contributions to our events. As more footage becomes published from our recent tapings, fans will be shocked that they haven’t seen more of the New Englanders that joined up with us when we relocated to the Northeast.
Veda Scott needs little introduction, which is astonishing considering she still has one week left in her rookie year as a professional wrestler. A combination of fan support, high-profile gigs (including Ring of Honor TV), and just plain old fashion sense has made her a recognizable figure in a very short time. Veda was kind enough to chat with us about her whirlwind of a career thus far, her recent matches with some top names, as well as music, art, fembots, and obsessive love for Pro Wrestling.
Photos 1, 4-6 by Gregory Davis
When did you first fall in love with Pro Wrestling?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t completely wrapped up in Pro Wrestling to a distressing degree. I’m a fairly obsessive person who needs to go headlong into any of my interests. I don’t follow other pro sports and never have. Never had “my team.” Just wrestling, always.
Also, I was a weird kid (who grew into a weird adult, I guess) and I always felt the need to accumulate and consume as much pro wrestling as possible. Making my own really shoddy “comps” and trading tapes – you know, with the multiple VCRs going? Awful! I also grew up in an area of the country that’s always been hot for wrestling.
Before actually getting in the ring you were involved in a very interesting project called WrestlingInterviews.com. Tell us about it.
I don’t want to go into the details of the WI project only because it wasn’t my idea and I don’t know how much the person behind it wants disclosed. However, my involvement came about from my often weird but always amusing friendship with Hydra and UltraMantis Black. Though they had their obvious differences, I was the best person to try and bring them together. In front of a studio audience. I’m still a bit bruised from the rejection from Orange Cassidy, I must say. Also, it’s completely baffling that some clips have found their way back online.
It’s no secret that you are pursuing a Law degree while building your wrestling career. What was it about becoming a Pro Wrestler that you felt such a need to do it while already engaged in something as all-consuming as Law School?
I’ve had several points where I was so close to training; I always stumbled into something more, I guess, practical right at that moment. The Wrestling Interviews gig was a total one-off situation. It didn’t spawn anything and I didn’t intend it to. Until I had my first match, I’d never been in front of a crowd, never did the valet/manager thing.
The reason I finally said “Eff this, I’m wrestling” is bifurcated. First off, I kept pursuing other paths (obviously, if I’m in law school, I’ve already gotten my BA and I worked as a TV producer for a while as well) and was completely miserable because I’d never done the one thing I really wanted to do. The other reason, which I don’t discuss often but was huge is that I was unhappy with the quality of people who I saw breaking in. Not the quality of the wrestling. The quality of the person. But there’s really no use in being annoyed by that if you aren’t going to step up yourself. I know I have a different sort of mindset than someone who started this whole deal at 18. It makes me prioritize differently because I’ve been out supporting myself and living “on the outside” for quite some time. Yes, there are times when I acknowledge I’d have a much different potential career trajectory if I was younger or had less to lose. But there’s so much in wrestling that’s silly, trivial, obnoxious frippery and my other experiences have given me perspective on that.
But seriously you guys. Don’t go to law school and also be a pro wrestler. It’s dumb and you’ll never sleep. Law school is like two full time jobs – being a full time student competing against 200 other insane overachiever plus the whole outside of school work experience component. I’m looking forward to the stroke no doubt awaiting me on my 30th birthday.
Dear wrestling fans around the world, I would like to present you this interview with Emi Sakura, the founder of Pro Wrestling in Thailand. She’s doing her best and wants all of you to support Bangkok Girls Pro Wrestling. This promotion is based in Thailand but we want to increase our fanbase worldwide as much as we can. This is only the beginning! BKK PRO promises you: We will be the top promotion in the world.
Interview conducted by DDS and BKK Pro staff member Pumi. Additional Translation and editing by Chris Vicious
Please introduce yourself to Thai fans.
Hello! My name is Sakura Emi. I was the 2009 Joshi Wrestler of the Year. I came to Thailand to establish the first Joshi Puroresu promotion here.
Why did you choose Thailand? It’s far from Japan and has never had any wrestling promotion before.
Because there are many wrestling promotions in Japan, but not in Thailand. Also, wrestling fans in Thailand have had a chance to watch many Japanese wrestling promotions on TV, including Ice Ribbon, my former promotion. So I think this is a good place for me to start new things.
You have lived in Thailand for a few months. Since Ice Ribbon focused on developing wrestlers from a young age, can you tell us the difference between Thai and Japanese teens?
If I think about things related to wrestling, there are many differences. All Japanese know about Pro Wrestling, but in Thailand, you can only see a small group of teens who know a lot about Pro Wrestling.
So, I would like you to talk about how Pro Wrestling is different from the other famous fighting sports in Thailand such as Muay Thai, Judo, or Taekwondo.
(Laughs) In my view, Muay Thai is not the best combat sport in the world! Although, I agree that all fighting sports are awesome in their own way, but pro Wrestling is totally different. Wrestling is more interesting. As you know, Pro Wrestling is sports entertainment. It focuses on both good matches and good entertainment. This is Pro Wrestling.
Then let’s talk about the training. I got this question from many fans. They want to know about the qualities of a wrestler. Do you have any minimum requirements? Does myopia, height, or weight affect their training?
I don’t have a minimum requirement, and I can confirm that those sorts of things won’t affect their training. Everybody can be a wrestler. For example, in America, there was a wrestler named “Zach Gowen” who worked for WWE. He has only one leg, but can be a good wrestler. In Pro Wrestling, you can build your character and it can help you be successful. The most important thing is to work hard. If you can do that, you can be a wrestler for sure.
Oliver Hurley’s Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches is one of the most interesting books on Professional Wrestling in quite some time. Far from being a simple listing of odd bouts, the book provides in-depth background and context on each of the matches featured, revealing details that are both historically significant and genuinely entertaining. Comments from the wrestlers themselves reveal the little known details behind many of these infamous battles. We spoke to the veteran journalist about the book, his process for developing it, and his undying love for the sport that, admittedly, can be somewhat strange at times. Enjoy!
How long have you been writing about pro wrestling? What is it about the sport that you love?
I first wrote about wrestling in anow long-forgotten UK fanzine called Crunch, which I launched in the summer of 1995 on the back of an independent show in London featuring Sabu – the first UK show explicitly aimed at ‘hardcore’ fans. Crunch only lasted for a few issues but people quite seemed to like it, I think largely because it was a bit irreverent. In a roundabout way, that eventually led on to me writing for Power Slam, the UK’s best-selling wrestling mag, which I’ve been working for on a freelance basis since 2001.
As for what I love about wrestling, can anyone really answer that question? I just started watching it on TV when I was young, somehow got hooked, started going to live shows and that was it. As Thomas Aquinas put it, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” Although I’m not sure he was necessarily talking about wrestling at the time, given that he was a 13th-century Italian Dominican priest. But there you go.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I’d been wanting to write a wrestling book for a while – something that covered a wide variety of performers and eras, rather than yet another wrestling biography – but couldn’t quite come up with the right idea. I toyed with the notion of something on wrestling’s greatest matches but that seemed a bit vague. In the end, I came across a book called Boxing’s Strangest Fights and nicked the idea from that. As a concept, it just seemed to lend itself perfectly to wrestling, while allowing me to write about everyone from Strangler Lewis to Stalker Ichikawa.
How did you go about researching and narrowing down what to include?
While I was pitching the book to publishers, I spent quite a long time – probably about a year – working on a long-list of matches. That ended up consisting of just under 200 bouts, each with quite detailed notes on where footage of each match was available (if it even existed), references to the bouts in books or articles, old newsletter stories, interviews and so on. When it came to writing the book, in addition to as much reference material as I could get my hands on, I also conducted my own interviews with some of the wrestlers involved.
Coming up with the final 101 matches was based on having a pretty good idea of which ones would be the most entertaining to write about, while trying to ensure that I had a range of different wrestlers and promotions. It was a bit of a balancing act but I think it works – and I can’t think of any other wrestling book that would include both Lou Thesz and an inflatable sex doll. Continue reading →
Cherry Bomb’s career has been on a steady incline for the past few years. She’s firmly established herself as the Sovereign ruler of Ontario wrestling by holding titles in two companies and outright dominating a third. She also branched out across the globe, appearing in places like SHIMMER, WSU, and AIW. And, by the way, she toured Japan, facing the likes of Madison Eagles and Yoshiko Tamura. As 2012 begins, Cherry has her sights set on establishing herself as more than just an up-and-comer. She’s a match away from an AIW title shot, featured in highly touted major motion picture, and managing to stay one step ahead of her nemesis Courtney Rush. Hello world, here’s your Cherry Bomb.
What do you love about wrestling that’s made you spend the past seven years of your life doing it?
Wrestling holds a very special place in my heart. I lost my dad at a very young age and wrestling was something we used to watch together. I remember being a kid and going to watch live events with him, and they are some of my happiest memories. It wasn’t until I got older that I even considered becoming a wrestler, but the first time I stepped into a squared circle I felt a closeness to my dad. Wrestling is the glue that keeps us together.
You stay in incredible shape. What’s your training regimen like?
I bust my ass six days a week! Typically I lift weights, followed by 50 – 100 flights of stairs, and then I do between 100 – 300 free squats in a row. Never underestimate what regular squats can do for you, I challenge you to 100 – 200 everyday! Then I finish it all off with a cupcake; red velvet, obviously.
You’ve steadily been moving your way up the ranks of the wrestling scene. One of the matches where people really began to take notice of you was against Sara Del Rey and Femmes Fatales. Tell us what it was like taking on the woman many consider the best in North America.
To be honest, I felt honored. I had been wanting to wrestle her for a long time, and I feel like I walked away learning so much. She is such a talented wrestler, and constantly proves to everybody just how amazing she is. I would like the opportunity to face her again, as I feel I have come along way since September 2009.
This weekend is AIW’s Girl’s Night Out. You’ll be taking on Allysin Kay. What are your thoughts on her and this match? Are you worried she might bring a machete?
I have faced Allysin a few times in Canada, and first let me say this, what people say about her is true; she’s out of her fucking mind. Does that intimidate me? No. This match is for the number one contenders spot for the AIW Women’s Championship. I don’t care if she brings brass knucks, a machete, or a grenade launcher: I’m going to superkick her face off!
That night either Mickie Knuckles or Sara Del Rey will leave the building with the AIW Women’s Title. Which of those wrestlers would you rather face for the title and why?
I have my sights set on that title, so regardless of who walks away the champion on Sunday I will be ready to steal the gold.
Last year you had a historic opportunity in AIW to win the JWP Open-Weight title in its first defense outside of Japan. You faced Hailey Hatred, who was possibly the wrestler of the year in 2011. Not a lot of people gave you a chance going into that match, and most were shocked when ou refused to back down from her vicious strikes. Tell us what that match was like for you.
I knew going into this match that everyone was going to assume that I couldn’t hold my own against Hatred. I think I even took her by surprise when, no matter what she threw at me, I wouldn’t give up. I put my body through hell and kept asking for more. In the end I may not have walked away the champion, but I feel I earned the respect of Hailey, and the fans. I know that people underestimate me, and I love proving them all wrong.
You completed a stint in Japan in late 2010. Describe for us your experience on the tour. Would you consider following in Hailey’s footsteps and going back full time?
Wrestling in Japan was a goal of mine since I had started, so when I was asked I jumped on the opportunity. It was such an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to work for several different companies and train in the dojos. I learned SO much while I was over there, and have changed my style to incorporate a Joshi flare to it. The only thing that I really had to get used to was the food. I’m a vegetarian, so I pretty much lived off protein shakes and these little chocolate bears which I am now obsessed with. If given the opportunity I would definitely go back! I feel like I have grown since my last tour and have so much more to bring to the table.
Some huge news for you last year involved your role in the film Beat Down 1. First, tell us about the film and how you got involved.
The film is centered around a young girl named Fran, who wants to get involved in the wrestling business against her fathers wishes. I was contacted to audition for stunt work, but discovered that they were looking for someone to play the role of a rival wrestler. I had never acted before, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take a crack at it and I’m so thankful I did!
What about this particular film that made you want to try it?
I liked the fact that this was a film about wrestling, and more so that it was about women in wrestling. After meeting Deanne Foley, the director, and seeing how much research she had done, and how much respect she had for what we do, the film became very special to me.
You actually play “Cherry Bomb” in the film as well. Without giving too much away, are there going to be some differences between the real Cherry Bomb and the Big Screen version?
You may notice some small differences to say the least! Cherry in the film is very threatened by Fran. She is spiteful and nasty, and stops at nothing to make Fran’s life a living hell. She views Fran as an outsider who doesn’t deserve a spot, because she hasn’t earned it. There is one scene in particular where Fran shows up thinking she is going to wrestle a match, but instead is forced to sell t-shirts. Rather than accepting that that is part of paying her dues, she complains that it isn’t fair. Any wrestler will tell you the importance of paying your dues, it’s how this business operates, so I can see how that would rub Cherry the character the wrong way.
Another female wrestler who is in the film is someone you know very well, Courtney Rush. You guys have known each other for a while and were at one point friends. How did you come into contact with one another and what were your early matches with her like?
First of all, I wouldn’t say Courtney and I have ever been friends, acquaintances maybe, but I wouldn’t call her my friend. We had a few matches in 2009 and 2010, but to be honest we worked for different companies so I never paid too much attention to her until last year.
Of course these days Rush is waging a full on war against you. She’s become increasingly bitter, hostile, and aggressive. What exactly is her issue? Do you think some of Rush’s animosity comes from the fact that you were more heavily featured in the trailer that was released? Or the fact that she has trouble beating beat you fair and square with any of her 3,980 suplexes?
Courtney Rush is threatened by me, plain and simple. There can only be one person in the top spot in Ontario and I am standing there. It drives her insane that she has to go to such extreme measures to beat me. Everytime she loses she rattles off all of these excuses for why she lost, and how I did this and that; it’s pathetic really. Let’s be honest: Courtney Rush and her 3,980 suplexes don’t stand a chance against my BSE, and it’s eating her alive.
In spite of Rush’s efforts, you remain NSP’s Queen. You’re also TCW champion and CCW Champion. What can you tell fans about these companies, and what it means for you to be the top woman in each them?
Neo Spirit Pro Wrestling has been a top promotion in Ontario since 2001. The energy backstage at a NEO show is like no other company I have ever worked for. Every single person in the locker room is ready to give everything they have to make that show something special for the fans. “Showtime” Eric Young has even gone on record saying NEO is one of the best wrestling companies in the world! I am very proud to be a member of their roster.
I have been working for Classic Championship Wrestling since 2005, and was their first ever women’s champion. I love working for CCW because they put a serious emphasis on women’s wrestling. They usually have two women’s matches per card and they always have the women’s championship match as the semi-main event, which I think shows the importance of that title.
Tri-City Wrestling is a newer company out of Kitchener, Ontario. Much like CCW, this company focuses a lot on the women’s division. I have successfully defended my title against Allysin Kay and Courtney Rush who, by the way, didn’t take too kindly to that and attempted to beat me with a chair. What a surprise.
You’re often called a “rising star” and “one to watch” but at this point in your career are you anxious to start being considered a current top star, like a Portia Perez or LuFisto?
I already am a top star, the world just doesn’t know it yet.
You’re obviously a beautiful woman and committed to being a serious wrestler. Many people don’t think those two things go together. Do you ever have to deal with a conflict between embracing your femininity and being respected for your wrestling ability?
I am so sick and tired of people having this idea in their head that women wrestlers can’t look good and be good in the ring. I have worked incredibly hard to be where I am and I continue to work on my craft. Do I still enjoy getting my nails done, and going to the tanning salon? Yes! Do I love make up, shoes, and getting my hair done? Yes! This shouldn’t be a deciding factor on whether or not I am a good wrestler, and anybody that thinks that way is a close minded idiot.
What are some other future goals you have in wrestling? What promotions and places would you like to wrestle?
I would love to go back to SHIMMER and WSU, as both are great companies with women that I would love to compete with. One of my major goals is to obviously work for a company that allows me to do what I love for a living, but above all else, I would love for people to look at me one day and say “Cherry Bomb, she is a good wrestler.” Not a good “women’s wrestler,” a good wrestler, period.
What’s Cherry Bomb like away from the ring? What sort of music, movies, and games are you into?
I am a personal trainer Monday through Friday so I spend a lot of time in the gym. When I’m not working or on the road, I love spending time with my cock-a-poo, Hulk Hogan, or getting hooked on RPG games like Fable. I have a few shows that I am glued to: Dexter, Vampire Diaries, Boardwalk Empire, Modern Family, Happy Endings, The League, True Blood and I am obsessed with Friends and Big Bang Theory (BAZINGA!). In terms of music I listen to just about anything, but prefer rock/punk/alternative. Some of my favorite bands are The Misfits, Rise Against, Pennywise, Hawksley Workmen, among many others.
Who are some wrestlers you would you like to face in the future?
There are so many! Some that come to mind are Madison Eagles, Sara Del Rey, Serena Deeb, and Angelina Love. But if I could work anybody, it would be Trish Stratus. Trish is one of the reasons I started wrestling in the first place, she was my inspiration. To be able to wrestle a match with her would truly be a dream come true.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you! Thank you for all of your support, if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here! The best is yet to come, 2012 will be the Year of the Bomb!
Today we bring you a special interview, conducted by Mary from Honour Magazine, with another star on the way up. Derek Cornell is hoping to take his natural talent and charisma to the next level in the coming year. Already a standout in buzzworthy Midwest promotions like Magnum Pro and Adrenaline Pro, expect to see him trash talking into a camera near you, sooner rather than later. Until then, check out his numerous matches on Youtube, follow his hilarious twitter, and read this in depth interview.
I grew up absolutely infatuated with the sport. It’s the one thing a lot of my family could come together and talk about; I just fell a little more in love with it than them and became a part of it.
What made you decide to start training to become a wrestler?
There was never really a “big moment” that made me decide that I was going to become a wrestler. I wish there was some big heart-felt moment that I could tell you about, but honestly, I just knew I was going to become a wrestler, like it was what I was meant to do. The showmanship, the athleticism, the prowess– I loved it. So after high school, I packed my things and left Pittsburgh to go to Iowa for college and to start training. The Midwest was where I was told to go, not for the booming scene, but where the hungry young guns go, and so I did.
Where and when did you get your initial training?
Training for me started in 2008 in a cold ass brick building with a few other guys, some there longer than me, some just starting. I remember that first day being fast and I was in there with guys who’d been around six months or longer and keeping pace. It just clicked for me.
Were there any wrestlers influences you had in mind as you trained?
I tried modeling myself after Chris Hero and Josh Prohibition. Two of my all-time favorites, never got bored watching their tapes, and after months of trying to be like them, a light went off, “There’s already a Prohibition and a Hero, but there isn’t a Derek Cornell.” So I started patterning myself after them instead of trying to copy them, and so far it’s worked out pretty well for me.
Was there skepticism from your peers and family with your decision? Looking back, would you have changed anything?
My family hated it. My mom hated the idea of me getting hurt, and my dad wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Friends back home expected it; I think they knew this was what I always wanted to do, so they just supported it. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m too good at what I do; I wouldn’t take back what makes me happy to make someone else happy.
Tell us about your first match.
My first match was Donnie Peppercricket in Wellman, Iowa in that cold ass brick building. Donnie had been around for about seven years at the time, had a hundred pound weight advantage on me, and hits like there’s a god damn ball bat attached to his elbow. I’ll be honest, I impressed myself. I kept on him for most of that match, cut the big man down, and if that big bastard didn’t jump off the top and damn near broke my nose, I probably would’ve had a win.
Were there anyone who mentored you as you were training?
The big “X” factor in my career when it came to a “name” that took me under his wing is Jaysin Strife. Former NWA Midwest X-Division champion, internationally traveled, and by far the most underrated wrestler in this business. He and I have had our wars, but at end of the day, I owe everything to him. Donnie took me in as well, and together, those two helped me get even better.
One of the less well-known companies featured on CHIKARA’s Joshimania this weekend will be Osaka Joshi Puroresu, or DAIJO. It’s top star and US representative will be Sawako Shimono. While most woman toil for years before any similar recognition, Sawako Shimono began her career by immediately debuting in a main event. That was less than two years ago and since then she’s had a number of highlights in her career, the most recent being winning the JWP Jr. and POP (Princess of Pro Wrestling) titles from Kagetsu. Joshimana presents Shimono an amazing opportunity to show her skills abroad this weekend, amongst all time greats like Manami Toyota and Aja Kong. We caught up with Osaka Joshi’s young ace for a brief interview as she prepares for her trip to America.
Please tell us when you made your debut and against whom.
My first opponent was Kagetsu from Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling on March 21, 2010.
Prior to that, you were experienced in other sports, correct? Who trained you to become a pro wrestler?
I practiced judo for 12 years. I have a first degree black belt in it. I trained Puroresu at Osaka Pro Wrestling’s school.
Until my debut, Rie Nakamura [Bad Nurse Nakamura, formerly of FMW] trained me. Recently, I have studied under GAMI who is president of the Pro Wrestling WAVE, and also a forewoman of Osaka Joshi.
What made you decide to become a professional wrestler? Why have you chosen Osaka Joshi as your home as opposed to Pro Wrestling WAVE?
I was invited to join when I went to the Puroresu school. It was just in time, as I was wondering whether to quit the job and return to my hometown or start new work. I thought this life might be good, I decided.
I am referred to as a starting member of the Osaka Joshi. There was an absence of junior and senior wrestlers. I’m interested in the fact that we built it up from nothing.
What are your finishing moves.
Ebisu Otoshi, Raiden Drop, Nandeyanen!
Who are some of the wrestlers that you emulate and have inspired you? Your greatest rivals?
There is no wrestler I emulate.
The wrestler that inspired me is Tadasuke of Osaka Pro Wrestling. He is the wrestler who caused me to begin to look at professional wrestling. I think, my rivals are wrestlers from my same generation and Kagetsu.
One year and eight months after your debut, who is the most impressive wrestler you’ve faced? And what is your greatest match?
All of my the matches in my 10 Match Challenge series, that began in January 2011. Especially against Kaori Yoneyama that was my 1st anniversary match. And also, the final round of that series against Kagetsu. Also, my match against Aja Kong October 30, 2011.
You hold the JWP Jr. & POP title. How did it feel to become the champion? Moreover, are there any titles you aim to win next?
I was very glad and I can not express with words. At this time I am not challenging for other titles, as I feel a strong sense of responsibility as the JWP Jr. and POP champion.
You will be wrestling for CHIKARA in the U.S. soon. What do you think of this show? What do you hope to show American fans?
I’m very, very excited about the shows in the US! I have the least experience among the Japanese wrestlers, but I will do my best not hide among senior wrestlers.
What are your goals in your wrestling career?
My present goal is to continue to holding the JWP Jr. and POP titles and break the defense record.
Do you have any hobbies? And What is your favorite food?
My hobbies are cycling and visiting various cafeterias. My favorite food is white rice, strawberry jam and margarine bread.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your current and future fans?
Thank you for always giving me a lot of support. I will continue every day to face every challenge and then grow bigger as, “The face of Osaka Joshi Sawako Shimono.”
Thank you for replying to our interview today. We look forward to your future and wild rampage in the U.S.
Thank you very much!
Learn more about Sawako Shimono by following her on Twitter (@sawako_shimono) and her blog. Also check her complete match history, as organized by Flying Suihanki. Here is her JWP Jr. Title & POP Title defense against Nao Komatsu of OZ academy this past August at Korakuen Hall.
Wrestler. Champion. Eldritch horror. MsChif has been desecrating rings for a decade now, and she’s only grown more terrifying with time. We conducted the blood-rites necessary to speak with MsChif and got her thoughts on AAW’s War is Coming iPPV, which she will be competing on this Friday, as well as SHIMMER, Cenobites, and demonic fashion. Just in time for Halloween! Enjoy.
First things first: You could torment souls anywhere. Why spawn forth from the Inferno and lay waste to professional wrestling?
What better place to be more involved with the fans beyond the fight.
For those of us who haven’t been, tell us a bit about the Inferno.
No. Perhaps I’ll meet you there one day.
You have been known to utilize a poisonous green mist against your opponents. Rumors have it that the Great Muta was born with a special gland that produces it. Where does yours come from?
I had the gland surgically implanted.
Ever since people became aware of your incredible flexibility, there has been debate as to whether or not you have a spine. Care to finally put the issue to rest?
Even a snake has a spine.
You’ve shown off some horrifyingly beautiful wrestling gear recently, featuring themes such as Medusa, Freddy Kreuger, and Cthulhu. Please tell us the significance of each to you.
Don’t forget Cerberus and Alien. I love horror characters. They deserve tribute. It would take too much time to go into detail about each character. There shall be more to come.
You’re known for inventing new ways to inflict pain on people, from the Desecrator to the Obliteration. How do you come up with it? Are you working on anything else?
I always have my mind working through other things. Sometimes gravity defies me. Desecrator was inspired by Tekken Tag, the others just form in my imagination.
At the upcoming AAW iPPV “War is Coming,” the long-awaited singles match between you and Mena Libra will finally happen. What sort of torment do you have planned for Mena?
Come and find out.
At “AAW Proving Ground” last month, you teamed with Nevaeh who turned against you, costing your team the match. Any plans for Neveah?
Maybe something good. Maybe something bad. Who knows?
At the most recent SHIMMER tapings, you allied yourself with Leva Bates and Allison Danger, collectively known as Regeneration X (a mutant and Time Lord, respectively), and known zombie Christina Von Erie. Is this the start of some sort of inhuman super faction?
You have accomplished much in the world of wrestling. You’ve been to Japan, you’ve held the SHIMMER title, the NWA Women’s title, and the NWA Midwest Women’s title simultaneously, the list can go on. What do you consider your greatest achievement? What future goals do you have?
[My greatest achievement is] creating such a great fan base. Future what? I’ve made everything I’ve dreamed.
Your love for black metal is well known. What other music are you into that, as a demonic entity, would surprise people?
Ask me some other time, that’s privileged information!
From the beginning, your gear has consisted of black, spikes, and chains. What do these represent for you? Has Pinhead ever contacted you about joining his Cenobite stable?
Everything that I am about, my own personal style. Don’t get too personal about Pinhead, Bub. That’s info that stays in the Inferno!
Any final words of warning for your enemies?
I don’t warn, I torment.
Learn more about MsChif on her website MsChif.net and her Facebook. Also, check out the video below as she talks her upcoming grudge match with Mena Libra which will be available on iPPV:
Aki Shizuku is not a name widely known to pro-wrestling fans in Japan, and almost completely unknown to even dedicated fans outside the country. That meant that it a came as a surprise when she was named the opponent for Kana on SMASH’s October 28th show. Kana handpicked Shizuku as an opponent, no doubt due to her outstanding history in amateur wrestling, unique physical ability, and keen mind. Known as the “Intelligent Monster” this hidden gem of Japan will have a huge opportunity to showcase her skills and reveal why her pro future is just as bright as her amateur past. We invite all our readers to learn more about the talented Aki Shizuku.
Please tell us when you made your debut, and against whom.
My first opponent was Midori on October 13, 2007.
I took a hiatus from pro wrestling in 2007, and returned in 2009. I have been wrestling professionally for 3 years.
Who trained you?
I trained at Ito-Dojo until my debut. After returning, I was trained in ground technique by Yuuki Ishikawa of BattlArts and had wrestling practice in Gaku-puro. [Gaku-puro is Japanese backyard pro-wrestling.]
You have a great track record in amateur wrestling, and were an All Japan Student Championship Finalist in 2009. Why did you choose to become a professional wrestler?
At first, I became a joshi puroresu fan, seeing AJW’s ATHENA TV show when I was a junior high school student. I wanted to become a pro wrestler. I told my mother and she said, “You should wrestle amateur, and learn the severity of winning and losing”, and I was tossed into the world of wrestling.
After your debut, you started wrestling in Gaku-puro. What did you learn by doing that? What is the difference between Gaku-puro and professional wrestling?
Gaku-puro wrestlers are not a professional and are not athletes. Their physical ability and strength is at the level of ordinary students. Therefore, it is most important that they use ingenuity and make characters that utilizing their own unique abilities. They are university students, so they have an academic approach to puroresu. “The first phase of puroresu is to introduce myself to the audience”, was the advice from a member of Temple Puroresu that affected me the most. I had experience in women’s professional wrestling organization and similar basic skills, but I had no skills to tell audience about my unique advantage. After getting that advice, I actively incorporated certain moves, leading to my own style now. If there was no encounter with Gaku-puro, the present version of myself would not exist.
You are a representative of the ”Temple Puroresu” promotion. Please tell us about it.
When Temple Puroresu puts on an event, instead of selling tickets, we solicit donations. The fundraising activities primarily contribute to an orphanage, but we also do volunteer events for the disabled, and we are giving support and guidance for a professional wrestling organization run by the hearing-impaired.
On October 28th at SMASH.22, you face the first SMASH Women’s Champion Kana. Why do you feel Kana chose you as an opponent? Please tell us about your feelings on this match.
In the past year I have gotten emails from many fans saying “Please fight against Kana.” There was also an organization which said, “Please fight against Kana,” before SMASH did, although it did not happen.
During this past year, when I did professional wrestling, the name of Kana was always mentioned. Kana and I both studied under Yuuki Ishikawa, president of BattlARTS. I think that there is a professional wrestling match which only Kana and I can express.
Do you have a more chance of fighting well? Is there anyone who you would want to face, Japan or abroad? And what are your goals in your wrestling career?
I would like to fight with all woman wrestlers of SMASH. A trainee of SMASH is in Temple Puroresu. I would like to fight him when he debuts.
My greatest target is Hailey Hatred. I would like to fight with her again. She is a wrestler whom I respect.
I never want to lose to other wrestlers. I want to be the strongest among those with this same career.
What are your thoughts on the current state of Joshi Puroresu?
Based on my experiences in Gaku-pro, we should focus on unifying wrestlers’ individuality. Individuality and character is not about personality nor appearance. It is a skill which each person is trying to gain and use. I love Joshi Puroresu. There is Puroresu which only women can do and we should have the spirit of inquiry.
Please give us your brief thoughts on the following wrestlers.
Serena Deeb – I am not acquainted with Serena, I’ve only watched her fights. She has a great body. Just watch her entrance and you can see that she is very strong
Hailey Hatred – She is my goal wrestler. I respect her as a player. I am training kicks, therefore, I do not fear her kicks. I was beaten by her in a singles match recently, but I have confidence that my ground wrestling skills in first phase of the match was better than hers. I studied it, and I would like to beat Hailey some day.
Syuri – Uses great kicks. She has something I don’t have, so I have a natural interest in her. We would have an MMA style fight. My style is based in amateur wrestling, Syuri’s is based in kicks. They seem similar, but they are surprisingly opposite styles. That is why she is also the best person for me to fight.
Makoto – I’m now involved in SMASH and I think she is an absolutely essential wrestler. I don’t want to be defeated by her.
Ray – Ray is good at the high flying style, a style that won’t by any means be done by me, so I think it’s fantastic. She does everything brilliantly, and is a beautiful wrestler. She previously participated in Joou-Bati* so I have interest in her. [Joou-Bati (女王バチ) means Women's BattlARTS/shoot style, as seen in Queen Bee.]
Hiroyo Matsumoto – I am interested in her as young heavy weight class wrestler. I would like to fight with her someday.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your current and future fans?
Proceeds of the merchandise sold in my shop will be donated to an orphanage.
Yes! You can also contribute to society by coming to see my fights! Laugh together through Puroresu. Let’s wish for people’s happiness together through Puroresu. Be happy together through Puroresu!
Learn more about Aki Shizuku by following her on Twitter (@shizukuaki0702) . See her in action in this epic open training session where she puts 8 guys through the ringer.
Nicole Matthews may be the most hateful woman in wrestling. Whether she’s in Japan berating fans with her equally despised partner Portia Perez, or in her native Canada belittling every other woman who steps into the ring (including camera operators), or in SHIMMER spoiling memories for hundreds of screaming Melissa fans, Matthews uses the full force of her incredible talent to raise herself up by tearing everyone else down. Unfortunately, it’s working. After a historic reign as SHIMMER Tag Champion and an MVP-like year in the promotion in 2010, Matthews has gone on to add stamps from two new continents to her passport, dominate the women’s division of ECCW, and put herself firmly in the hunt for the SHIMMER singles title. All while letting everyone know how awesome she is and how much everyone else sucks. The scary part is, she sort of has a point. We caught up with Matthews to discuss in detail her recent “Lariat the World” multi-continental tour, her hatred for KC Spinelli and her love for streamers.
Thanks for joining us again Nicole. When we last spoke, it was in a joint interview with Jessie McKay and Madison Eagles, as you prepared for your September 3rd PWWA Three Way Dance for the SHIMMER title. Can you tell us about that experience? The wear and tear of the travel, the jet lag, your first SHIMMER title match. What are your recollections of the experience?
It was definitely in my top 5 favorite matches I’ve had. Something clicked with the three of us, and I hope everyone picks up that PWWA DVD, because it was a match that I feel wasn’t like a typical three-way dance. I don’t usually like that kind of match, but with the talent in the ring that night, something clicked, and we hit it out of the park.
The jet-lag and travel was something that I haven’t experienced to that extent before, but I learned to adapt fast since September was the month of travel for Nicole Matthews. I’m glad I didn’t feel jet-lagged for the SHIMMER title match, because I didn’t want any excuses for a poor performance for myself.
Being in a SHIMMER title match gave me a taste of being a main eventer. The expectation of delivering gave me such a rush. I can, and will, most definitely get used to it.
The match itself was great and the best on the show. Did you go into this match with a different outlook, considering that it was for the SHIMMER title?
I never expect anything less than the best out of myself, so that wasn’t really a different outlook than usual. Being in there with Madison Eagles, the best female wrestler in the world right now, did push me that much more. The last thing I wanted was to be outclassed by her, and I don’t think that was the case at all.
So you went to Australia, wrestling Madison Eagles multiple times, how did you unwind from that huge week when you came back home?
I did a whole lot of nothing when I came back! I tried to get back on my normal schedule, but it took a couple days to get back to it. I basically came home, regrouped, went to the gym, and went to training. After all, Australia was the first of three big trips for me that month.
Right, you received the call to go over to Japan and wrestle for Pro Wrestling REINA on their late September shows. Can you tell us how you found out and what your initial reaction was?
I was contacted about it some months ago, but didn’t want to get too excited or announce it because as everyone in wrestling knows, things change in a blink. When I got the plane ticket confirmed though, I was super excited. I don’t think I can properly express it on paper, but Japan has been my goal since I started wrestling. Who gets to do what they’ve dreamed of doing their whole lives and gets to achieve their #1 goal?
How was the trip overall? Did you have any time for recreation or sightseeing?
It was an amazing experience. There wasn’t too much time for sightseeing, but I wasn’t too concerned about that. Being able to share the experience with Portia and Sara really made the trip special too. I would love to go back.
What were your impressions of the REINA promotion? And the Japanese fans? We hear the Ninjas actually got streamers?
REINA was a great promotion to work for. They really made the experience a great one. The Japanese fans were awesome too. It was a bit of an adjustment working in front of a more quiet crowd, but I think we adjusted pretty well. And we did get streamers. I think it was mostly because on the first night, we were pissed that we didn’t when Mia Yim did, and let the fans know our displeasure.
What did you think of your matches in Japan?
I was really happy with our first outing against Mia and Sara. Weirdly enough, since I’ve been working at SHIMMER with both of them, it was my first time wrestling either Mia or Sara. We beat them, so what isn’t there to be happy about? Not many female wrestlers out there can boast a victory over Sara Del Rey, but now you can put Portia and I on that short list.
It was disappointing losing to Zeuxis and La Comandante, but we didn’t let them win the belts easily. It was personally my first time wrestling two wrestlers who wrestled the lucha style, so I’m not ashamed to admit it threw me for a bit of a loop. Not a good excuse to lose, but at least I’ll be more prepared next time.
My favorite match of the tour was our match with Hiroyo and Saya. I knew what Hiroyo would bring, but Saya was a mystery. For someone who is so new, she more than held her own. Even though the match was pretty back and forth, at the end of the day, the Ninjas came out on top. Plus, I got to do a snow angel in the streamers. WIN!
Zeuxis had this to say about the Canadian Ninjas in our recent interview: “Excellent team made up of two great fighters, but we were able to show that we were better. Hopefully we can have another match with them.”
I hope to face them again too. I want to take those titles off them!
And right after REINA you made your way to Chicago for SHIMMER. Did you have any time to prepare?
Usually for a couple of months leading up to SHIMMER, it is my main focus. This time, it was a bit different seeing how busy September was, so that threw me off a little. I had two days between getting back in Vancouver and leaving for Chicago, so it wasn’t much time. I did manage to get in the ring to try some moves and reversals out in those two days though, because I am a machine.
Let’s walk through SHIMMER weekend. On Volume 41, you lost to Hiroyo Matsumoto.
Super tough loss, but it was a good battle. I think me and Hiroyo have similar styles, and I would love to get back in there and beat her. She was just extra mad because I beat her in that tag match in REINA. Lesson learned: avoid pissing off a Joshi.
On Volume 42, you pinned Serena Deeb after Portia Perez interfered. Your skills speak for themselves, why do you continue to rely on short cuts to win?
Look, it’s not like I had a walkie-talkie telling Portia when to come out. I didn’t need her to interfere. But, she wanted to get into Serena’s head, and I totally support that. Tag teams are about compromise. If I had wanted to mess with Jessie McKay some more on Volume 41, Portia would have been more than happy to let me.
Besides, it’s not as if Portia hit her with a chain. It was still the Vancouver Maneuver that got the pin!
On Volume 43 you defeated Serena’s protege, Davina Rose. Any thoughts on this SHIMMER newcomer?
She has potential, yadda yadda yadda. Look, I’m not going to crap on her, because one day she’ll be really good. But why was I in that match? Third match on the card? Seriously? I should have been in the main event. I should always be in the main event.
You were interviewed by Amber Gertner on that show and stated that you wanted a SHIMMER title shot. Given your recent history, that’s a fair point. However, you were interrupted by Cheerleader Melissa. How did you feel about that?
I was pissed. Melissa’s arrogance is going to be her downfall, guaranteed. She pretended she didn’t even know who I was. Nothing gets me fired up more than getting disrespected like that. She obviously knows who I am, and she better be threatened by it.
On Volume 44, The Canadian Ninjas were defeated by SHIMMER tag team champions Ayumi Kurihara and Ayako Hamada. What happened here? Is it possible your head wasn’t in the game, since you were also focused other matters?
My head was in the game fine. You know what I wasn’t anticipating? Chairs! I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. Are there no rules in Japan over these things1? And even if there are not, are SHIMMER tag matches under Japanese rules all of a sudden?
Another thing! Why did it take so long for the Ninjas to get their rematch? We were both clearly in a singles mindset: we both went five volumes straight doing singles competition. Maybe if we had been in a tag team groove, things would have been different.
In the final match of the SHIMMER taping Madison Eagles faced Cheerleader Melissa for the title. Were you watching the monitor backstage?
Yes, I always watch my competition. I was impressed by the match, but I was also pissed that Melissa was, once again, getting an opportunity I should have been given. How many times has Madison faced and beaten her? Why was she being forced to have to face her again? It was agitating.
Of course a new SHIMMER Champion was crowned in Cheerleader Melissa. Everyone was ecstatic as she celebrated what many feel was a long overdue win. You then came from backstage and savagely attacked her, driving her into the ringpost, and laying her out in the ring. You forever tarnished what many feel was the high point of that SHIMMER taping, if not SHIMMER itself. What do you have to say about your actions?
Awww, did I ruin everyone’s special moment? Boo hoo!
There wasn’t a better time to make a statement. She’s going to disrespect me? I gave it right back.
More than that though, it was a message to the locker room and to the fans. The Nicole Matthews who faced Shark Girl and who drank out of Big Gulp cups no longer exists. It’s my time. It’s time for Melissa and some of the other SHIMMER ‘originals’ and ‘veterans’ to realize there’s a new breed coming up, and if someone like Melissa won’t give me the respect I deserve, I’ll take it from her.
I’m not here to amuse SHIMMER fans anymore. I’m here to be the best and to be SHIMMER champion.
It doesn’t seem like your concerned about any repercussions Melissa has in store.
Bring it on. I’m younger, faster, and smarter. In fact, I’m just plain better than her.
More immediately, you have an ECCW title defense versus KC Spinelli on October 28th. Any thoughts on this match? Spinelli impressed many at the last SHIMMER tapings and has been garnering a lot of support. This is in spite of you constantly bad mouthing her as a wrestler. Do you think there’s any chance you will leave Surrey, BC without the ECCW women’s title?
Spinelli doesn’t stand a chance. She never has, and she never will. The name of the game is wrestling. All I hear is how much passion and fan support Spinelli has. I must have missed when passion equaled talent. Oh, does she try really, really hard? That’s nice. She still isn’t the talent I am though. I’m not sweating Spinelli. She can fist pump her way down to the mat when I pin her again.
In closing, do you have any parting words for the fans? How about Cheerleader Melissa?
Fans: I don’t care if you like me, but stop praising mediocrity. Praise greatness AKA Nicole Matthews. Thank you!
Melissa: I’m going to ruin your title reign like I ruined your celebration. See you next SHIMMER taping.
To learn more about Nicole Matthews, follow her on Twitter (@nmatthewsninja). Also check out this match from ECCW featuring Nicole in a three-way against Veronika Vice and KC Spinelli.
There are actually not rules in Japan over these things. ↩