by Craig Hermit.
“Don’t search for a princess in need of saving. Search for a queen willing to fight by your side”.
For many months I had heard of a wrestler competing in England and in Wales known as Pollyanna. I had heard that she attended Gatoh Move Academy in 2013, during 2014/15 had been involved in dramatic rivalry between herself and the fashionista, Jinny at the the Progress ENDVR shows. After doing some more research, witnessing her Dragon Pro Match with Addy Starr and several other matches on YouTube, I became curious at this woman who dressed in purple and projected such confidence when in the ring. So when I read that at SSS16, the culmination of the Jinny/Pollyanna feud was due to happen, I had to go.
Turned out everything I heard, read and saw turned out to be right, Pollyanna was the real deal. The match I saw wasn’t just filled with passion, desire, brutality but heart as well. This fight didn’t just have Progress fans talking, thanks to social media, everyone who wanted to see this match. Both women, Pollyanna & Jinny deserved the standing applause they received that night.
Going back in time to 2013, during that summer you were in the prestigious Gatoh Move Academy, after talking to Emi Sukura it wasn’t matches but the training and discipline you wanted, what was the training like and how did it differ from the UK based style of training?
It was really draining and relentless. Not in a bad way, just very repetitive. I was taken through the basics which included all the bumps, the rolls, the feeding drills, the selling and a lot of callesthetics. There would be days where if I couldn’t get a bump perfect or a particular roll correct, Emi wouldn’t let me move on and would keep me doing it until I got it. It was hard as obviously after a while, continuously bumping, you start to get sore but it helped me build up my pain threshold, and a lot with body control and my strength.
I never thought I would be good enough to be there with Emi and her girls, and when I felt I couldn’t get the smallest of things perfect, it did frustrate me and I feel because of the whole experience, it has made me a lot more disciplined. Even if there is something I can’t do now, and I haven’t been able to do for years, it will never stop me from trying as I know one day I will.
You participated in matches with Emi Sakura herself and matches involving Riho, Kotori and Sayaka Obihiro, looking at the matches the bruising you sustained during your matches looked…sore, how did this help you prepare in terms of endurance with your matches today?
I never excelled in training, I arrived on a Friday and the following day I was in a tag match teaming with Hiroyo Matsumoto (who I was a bit starstruck at meeting) against Masa Takaneshi and Emi. I was so nervous as I didn’t want to set a bad example on my first match, but Hiroyo who had travelled to America a lot so talked me through it which helped relaxed me a bit.
However I think she could tell I was still edgy and made mention of it to Masa, who asked me straight:
“Are you worried?”
“Yes, very, I don’t want to make a mistake.”
“No worry, Sakura-san fuck up all the time.” Which made me burst into laughter. I felt a lot better and in turn had great fun in my match with them.
Everything was fine in the matches, the bruises I sustained were obviously from the girls kicking straight through me and Emi busting my chest open with her chops, but it was always controlled. I enjoy my matches much more when I can feel the hits. It’s just not the same if my opponent is barely touching me, I like the physical side of wrestling otherwise I wouldn’t be in this business.
You have wrestled in various training facilities and Academies across the world, you have mentioned on social media about your fondness of The Wrestling Factory where you trained with Bete Noire, Viper and Nikki Storm to name a few, what made that such a great experience?
The Wrestling Factory is a controversial place, but it shouldn’t be. It’s a fantastic place to network and personally, I do feel as if I have had some of my best matches there.
Pippa will bring girls from Scotland, the Midlands, over from Ireland and down south. It’s such a relaxed environment with no pressure to be felt in the matches, with the style mostly focused on technical wrestling so we don’t need to be taking powerbombs or hurricaranas.
It’s was the first time I have been able to wrestle Nikki Storm, Viper, Bete Noire and the only place I was able to wrestle Jenny Sjodjin, it’s somewhere I would honestly recommend to any woman worker in the UK to work at least once.
Staying with Academies, you were first Female Graduate from the Dragon Pro Wrestling, Academy in South Wales, showing exactly that wrestling isn’t just about the men, must have felt good to achieve this?
I was actually wrestling before I came to the Dragon Pro academy, but I was the first woman to get onto the shows and I was able to start wrestling regularly on the scene after it. Mike Bird helped me a lot with technical wrestling, Mark Andrews a lot with feeding and Mike Hitchman with aggression and intensity, along German suplexing me every training session so I quickly got over my fear of being dropped on top of my head.
If me graduating and the girls watching me on the shows has encouraged them to want to train and become a wrestler, then I am happy, as I would never want any girl to think that there is not a place for her in class or on a show.
Fast forwarding this year, 15th March, you became the First All Wales Womens Champion defeating Nixon, a Championship that will be shown off on your tour, what does it mean to you to capture that Championship?
This might sound strange… however to me, when I won the belt, it felt like I had earned it. All my hard work over the past few years had paid off.
I was put into title matches and I was glad I never won, because I knew I wanted my first championship to mean something. It might sound stupid but it’s how I felt.
I didn’t want to win it because of being friends with X person, or doing this for X promotion, I wanted to win it because the promotion thought I was absolutely the best person to carry it, and the person to put on the best matches every time with it.
It doesn’t matter if I’m exhausted or I’m hurt from another match, I’ll put as much thought into the next as I can and do my absolute best every time.
So to say it was an emotional day was an understatement. I cradled that thing in my arms all the way home.
Next, I would like to talk about the match that has had not just Progress Wrestling fans talking but fans across the world who have watched it through On Demand (Available Here), your match with Jinny. Seven months in the making, one hell of a fight, talk us through it.
I’m not sure how to put it all into words. I remember I walked out from that match with cuts and bruises all over and collapsed on the sofa afterwards in the changing room.
It involved weeks of training, going to the gym, watching so many hours of wrestling that I think after a while because of the pressure that was building, I knew I had to detach myself from taking it so seriously.
I wanted the match to be a good one. I wanted to set a good example of what myself and all the girls in the UK could do so the door would remain open for us to have another match on the main show at some point in the future.
From the moment I first heard my music, I was so nervous that I was still looking at the door debating whether to run away. But the instant I stepped out, the reaction the crowd gave us convinced me they really wanted us there and I just thought to myself:
“Bugger it, I’m going to really enjoy this.” I don’t think until the final bell rang I realised everyone was standing up. I was just glad we had gotten through it and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it. When I looked around I saw everyone was on their feet and all the tweets I read when I got back upstairs, it was so overwhelming.
I must admit that although I’ll always strive to have the best match I can, there’s always a part of me which doesn’t really believe I’ve been good enough.
However after that match I walked backstage and saw everyone I train with standing there smiling. Everyone had made the effort to watch our match and they were there to hug and congratulate Jinny and I. It really felt like I was part of a family. You saw what an emotional moment it was.
Fans of Progress may know that on there ENDVR shows, women’s wrestling has been represented in good matches, but this was the first time a Womens match was featured on a main show am I right? Your thoughts on the impact your match has made from the future?
I hope that it has opened the door for Progress and women. They waited specially for the right women’s match to come along and I appreciate the fact they wanted to wait until they felt the right one came along rather than putting one on for the sake of it. They made us feel that we meant something.
I do know from being overseas I was being texted during the June ENDVR show and was told that when the women’s tag match was announced that the crowd went mental for it. That made me smile so much. I am proud to know that I have had a part in doing that and that hard work has paid off. It’s fantastic.
This year has been a series of fantastic highlights for your fans, already mentioned, your match at Progress Wrestling, capturing the All Wales Championship, but you made your Kapow! Wrestling début, at Triple X Wrestling you were due to be the first Women’s wrestler to be entered in the Clusterfuck match, what has been yours so far?
Unfortunately that Clusterfuck match did not take place as there were venue issues, which was very disappointing. I’m not sure what the biggest highlight has been for me. It’s been a brilliant year. But maybe on a personal level the highlight thus far was the four way against Katey Harvey, Viper and Lauren LaRoux.
It also happened to be my debut in Belfast which was great in itself, but the match clicked so well. The compliments backstage were fantastic and comments after saying how we had stolen the show, which was a wonderful surprise for all of us.
Of course I wanted to win the Pro Wrestling Ulster Women’s Championship, but I knew how much Katey, who is a good friend of mine, deserved it. I was just so happy at the reaction she got at the end, it was a job well done.
Thanks to social media and on.Demand services, fans now have access to see matches recommended, for those fans that haven’t seen many of your matches what would you recommend? My personal favourites, your Dragon Pro match with the superb Addy Starr.
Did you watch that?! I thank you. That match with Addy I still personally feel has been the match of my career, but I’ve not ever had a bad match with her. One day I’ll upload the match of us at XWA as that is also a personal favourite.
However on Youtube, my match against Addy from Empress Pro and my match against Emi Sakura are the ones I’d recommend people to check out.
When they go online on the Progress on demand service, Endvr 6 where I made my debut on Progress against Rhia O’Reilly I’d really ask people to check out, along with the intergender tag of Wild Boar and I against Paul Robinson and Jinny at ENDVR 10.
Also many fans know you are a superhero movies, what superhero clips would you ranks up in the top five?
Oh bloody hell, I was watching quite a few clips the other day of Batman Forever which was my favourite Batman film growing up. I love the clip at the end with the showdown between Riddler and Batman.
I’ll admit I was not a fan of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, but I really loved Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the whole scene flashing back to how The Joker died felt so twisted, it was wonderfully set up.
Being a complete romantic at heart, that Spiderman kiss doe! I just love it, it makes me smile every time I watch it and I guess since Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire were dating at the time, I can just see Kirsten smiling and looking so happy when she’s doing it.
The scene where we are introduced to Hit-Girl, the her slicing up everyone is a bit mental I would say, but I love the soundtrack and it has always made me want a butterfly knife.
And I guess the final clip would be from The Dark Knight, the scene at the party, it’s just an obvious favourite really, Heath Ledger just has amazing chemistry with anyone he shares a screen with.
And finally, where can the wrestling world keep update with yourself on who and where your wrestling next?
I’m on Facebook as Pollyanna Wrestler and on Twitter and Instagram as Gothiclolly.
Our thanks to Pollyanna for giving up her time during her Chinese tour to participate in this interview. Additonal thanks to Craig Hermit for contributing the interview to the website.