by Dr Debonair, Esq.
From female footballer to female wrestler, how did this happen?
The majority of my childhood was spent playing football for numerous teams in my area including my school, for the county and I even had trials for Wales & Cardiff City so I’ve always been an active person. I had quite a bad knee injury when I was 13 after being hit by a really dirty tackle, so that threw me out for a bit and cost me a place on the Welsh U16’s Squad, but when I turned 16 I finally decided to give up football partly due to the injury and I fell out of love with the sport completely. I planned to take a long hiatus from sports which didn’t last very long after finding a wrestling school in Port Talbot and remembering the encouragement of my Bampi before he died so I just went for it.
What was your experience of training to be a pro wrestler?
I started training with Welsh Wrestling in Port Talbot which was a fantastic place to learn although the first session did involve me bumping on a dojo mat continuously which wasn’t fun at the time, but it’s so much easier taking bumps in the ring now haha. My coaches were Dave Stewart and ‘The Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman who are both amazing wrestlers and generally great people. With having two coaches who have totally different styles and are from different generations you really learned a lot not only in regards to moves but also the psychology and the backstage life to wrestling which was a huge help to everyone there.
I was the only women there, so I was surrounded by men who were a lot bigger and stronger than me which I think that this has really helped toughened me up. I told them to treat me as one of the guys and boy did they! I was getting thrown, hit and tied up in knots like the rest of them but I loved every second of it.
I currently train at Pro Evolution Wrestling in Gloucester who have taught me so much about ring awareness, drills, crowd psychology and a hell of a lot more. The guys and girls there are amazing and were so welcoming when a few of us first turned up. It’s great to have a mix of men and women there as you can work on bigger moves etc with the men and work on your character and match planning with the other ladies which is a huge help. I really can’t thank the guys and girls at both schools enough.
What’s your style of wrestling and what influenced this?
I don’t really have a specific style of wrestling if I’m totally honest, it’s a bit of everything really. I fly, I grapple, I use some power moves if I’m the bigger girl, etc. I absolutely love chain and submissions, as I think it all looks so fancy and intricate plus it can help tell the bigger story during the matches. When I was a child watching wrestling I was a huge Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin fan because of their characters and they both looked like superheroes with their muscles, fancy entrances and their insane strength, but as I got older I began branching my viewing to the indy scenes and over the past year I’ve started to watch a lot of stuff from Japan but my favourite person right now to watch is Daniel Bryan, not because he’s super over but because of his technical ability. He brings out moves which blow my mind and even I struggle to see how it’s done sometimes…the man is a genius!
What was your breakout moment and how did the opportunity come about?
I made my in ring début a year after I started training at a trainee Welsh Wrestling show against the British Legend James Mason. Being in the ring with him taught me so much and I’ve been lucky enough to have a few matches with him under my belt which I’m truly grateful for. My first match away from WW was at the Ffrith Beach Arena, Prestatyn with Britannia Wrestling Promotions against Lana Austin and Portia. The setup there is incredibly professional and the people are awesome. Steve Saxon who owns it is such a great guy and takes great pride in BWP and it really shows especially with the fans who go there every week to watch their favourite wrestlers and they never disappoint.
I’ve worked there a few times now and it’s still one of my favourite places to work and I regard it as one of my biggest breakout moments.
What’s your approach to a match?
This may sound stupid but before I step out of the curtain I have to slap myself a few times in a specific order otherwise I fear something will go wrong. I used to have to eat a handful of jelly beans before a match as well, but after that failed a few times I sacked that in and just decided the slaps were better. I don’t really get nervous until the match before mine and then it feels like I have a swarm of butterflies in my stomach. The nerves seem to vanish as soon as I’m walking to the ring because I think the adrenaline takes over and the noise of the crowd helps a hell of a lot so the louder they are the better it is for me as I find it calming.
You’ve faced some formidable women in the ring, including Violet Vendetta and Nikki Storm. What did stepping into the ring with these women teach you?
I learn something new whenever I get in the ring with someone. When I faced Violet I tend to learn a lot about character because hers is really unique. We get on well outside of the ring which makes it so much more easier to plan and have a successful match. I’ve enjoyed working with her at HOP:E.
When I faced Nikki it was my toughest match yet, she really taught me to give as good as I got. She has a lot more experience than me in wrestling, so facing her was a big step in my career as she’s such an established name. Nikki was great to plan a match with because she explained the aspects of the match I’m still rather green in so listening to her and having her give me advice on what to improve on has helped me a lot.
It’s great working with different women as you pick up so much more experience and work ethics. It’s great when you teach each other new things, so I’m excited for a few upcoming matches I have that I know I’ll learn a hell of a lot from.
You’ve been gaining tag team recognition with Chris Brookes, as part of The Vulture Squad, what led to this tag team?
It was really supposed to be a one off thing for Kamikaze Pro to introduce some women, but after the crowds reaction and the reviews of the match we started to get booked in different places and now it’s really taken off. I turned up on the day and met Chris properly for the first time and he said we were going to be called The Vulture Squad because vultures are awesome so that’s literally where the name came from. We really click and get on well in and out of the ring which is why I think we’ve become rather popular, also teaming with Chris, who is also half of the Calamari Catch Kings, is an advantage because he knows how to work tag matches. It also helps that we’re a mixed tag because there are very few tag teams like that out there plus we’re not afraid of risks so we’ll go for some snazzy moves.
Working with Ryan Smile and Pete Dunne a few weeks back was one of my favourite matches I’ve ever done because I not only learned a lot I could show some of the spiffy moves I don’t usually do in the ring. The Vulture Culture is taking over.
Promotions have been, it seems, cautious of doing mixed singles matches, but the likes of Kay Lee Ray, Violet Vendetta and yourself have proven that the right woman can step into the ring and work with the best that Britain has to offer. What’s your feeling on this?
I think promotions are wary of these because it could either go down really well or it could just look like 8 minutes of abuse. The match has to be structured really well otherwise the crowd could turn and not want to watch a woman get beat up. I think training with Welsh Wrestling helped a lot with me because for the first year of my in ring career I was facing men whether in a tag or singles so I gained knowledge on what could or couldn’t work in this type of match. I find them enjoyable because you can do things you may not be able to do normally.
What’s your thoughts on the perception of women’s wrestling in the UK?
I think it’s really starting to gain some great exposure. There’s so many talented women here who want to make women’s wrestling in general more popular and exciting than it has been previously. There’s a few female promotions in the UK that are doing some amazing work and hopefully I’ll get to work with them soon. It’s starting to gain a bigger fan base and to see all the support of the fans and workers alike is awesome. Women’s wrestling is a spectacle in a sense, because the cards are filled with the majority of men so it’s nice to break it up with some women.
With the speed that women’s wrestling is growing I can only imagine what it’ll be like in the coming years and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Having worked around the UK and in the US, which promotions have really stood out in your experience?
I’ve worked for a few promotions and they all bring something new and original to the table. I recently worked for Pro Wrestling Kingdom and Shropshire Wrestling Alliance; even though they work closely together, their products are totally different and so professional. Kamikaze Pro was a lot of fun and the fact they have a bunch of loyal fans who try and go to every show they put on really made a huge impression on me and I know the company will only get bigger and better.
I’ve really enjoyed working for the all promotions I have done and I feel honoured that they’ve asked me to go back again.
What would you say to promoters who may be cautious of giving women’s wrestling the opportunity it deserves?
I think that they’re quite cautious as some fans are still not 100% behind it but I think they really should give it a chance. As I explained before its getting bigger and better and people are actually asking to see matches with specific women so they should jump at the opportunity to have one on the card.
On Friday 18th July, I’m honoured to be part of Attack Pro! first ever women’s match with Lana Austin which I’m so excited and grateful to be a part of. I love Attack Pro! as a fan and also as a worker because their shows are so original, especially the themed ones so to be asked to be in their first women’s match is amazing. I was also honoured to be their first ever female 24/7 champion after I beat Mark Andrews at Tidal Championship Wrestling only to lose it to Wild Boar a few minutes later after he hit me with his Trapper Keeper! I’m really grateful to the guys at Attack for giving me these opportunities.
What are your hopes for the future of Nixon Newell?
I’m travelling to Germany to wrestle for WXW in September which is a really big deal for me, so hopefully I’ll get to travel the world with wrestling. I’m excited to see what my career will be like this time next year and how much I will have improved. I’m going to keep working my arse off as hard as I have been and hopefully it’ll pay off for the best.
You can follow Nixon on Twitter @NixonNewell
Nixon is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NixonNewell
Our thanks to Nixon Newell for her time in conducting this interview and also thanks to Dr Debonair, Esq (@dynamicthinking) for contributing it to the Wrestle Ropes website.