SPW's own David Dunn sat down with Bea Priestley to talk about her return to New Zealand and her debut for SPW at Southern Rumble!
They also talk about her success in the UK, her WWE tryout, her thoughts on the current Women's wrestling scene and her scary story having brain surgery!
SPW Insider: What prompted you to leave New Zealand and move to the United Kingdom?
Bea Priestley: I left New Zealand because I wanted to do something with wrestling and there wasn’t enough wrestling – at the time – going on in New Zealand. There just weren’t very many opportunities, and I felt I could learn more overseas.
I loved PROGRESS, and I wanted to learn to wrestle there. I loved Jimmy Havoc, and wanted to be trained by Jimmy. The UK scene was blowing up. I saw TNA British Boot Camp and that made me want to come to England and train and wrestle with these guys. I got into PROGRESS. After watching that I started watching ICW – IPW as well – and the Southside shows they used to put on YouTube. The crowds were quite good over here too.
I had the security I was a citizen so I didn’t need to worry about visas. I had family here so I didn’t need to worry if I got into trouble and all that kind of security. I was like, I might as well give it a go – if I don’t like it I can just come home.
Image Caption: Jimmy Havoc
SPW Insider: What are some of your career highlights since moving to the UK?
Bea Priestley: One of my favourite matches has been with Toni Storm in PROGRESS, actually. [Chapter 40: Intercepted Angel] Character-wise I was pretty boring, but wrestling-wise I had a lot of fun with that. Toni Storm is amazing, I love her to death, she’s one of my favourite people.
Image Caption: Bea Priestley VS Toni Storm
I really enjoyed my matches with Nixon Newell in WCPW. I think Nixon is the main reason I improved so quickly. She’s fantastic and I’m very happy for all the opportunities coming her way. I think she’s definitely hard-earned it. It honestly shows how good she is because she made me look good when I was still very new to wrestling in England.
Another one of my highlights of this past year has definitely been my tag match with Will Ospreay against Ricochet and Tessa Blanchard. It was my first time doing a match like that in a tag form. Obviously Ricochet and Will do a lot of stuff when they wrestle, so in terms of me trying to get the hang of that style of match it was a very good learning experience. I managed to hang in there, swim with the sharks in a sense.
SPW Insider: We understand you had a WWE tryout last year? What did that entail?
Bea Priestley: The whole process was so surreal. On the first day, we showed up in our business outfits and did promos in front of William Regal and Norman Smiley. I think my promo went quite well, I went down the brain surgery route. That was the first day we arrived.
SPW Insider: What can you tell us about your brain surgery?
Bea Priestley: Funnily enough I was knocked out so I don’t remember! The hardest part was the recovery process afterwards. I wasn’t allowed to run until two months afterwards. I wasn’t allowed to go to the gym until six months after my surgery. It wasn’t a highlight of my life, but it’s drawn attention to me and made me stand out as a wrestler – because how many wrestlers have survived brain surgery and continued to wrestle? It was just the recovery process, just sitting on your bum and not knowing if you’d be able to wrestle again.
Image Caption: Via @beapriestleypw Instagram account
SPW Insider: Back to the WWE tryout, what else happened?
Bea Priestley: At the end of the second day, Regal pulled all the girls to one side and basically just said we’re going to start straight away in the morning with matches. You can choose who you want to wrestle, it’s up to you, but yeah, just let me know who you wanna wrestle by the end of the day and we’re gonna start straight away in the morning. I picked Nixon, obviously, we both picked each other.
Unfortunately for me though after I had my match my back seized up and I actually wasn’t able to stand up after my match was finished so I had to go see the trainer. I had to sit out some of the drills – which I was a bit unhappy with – but I did jump in afterwards.
Image caption: Receiving a spine buster from Nixon Newell
SPW Insider: What advice would you have for anyone looking to get involved in pro-wrestling?
Bea Priestley: When I came to England I had limited training so I just started again; I said I’d wrestled a little bit in New Zealand but I wanted to start over again because I knew that I was rusty, I hadn’t wrestled properly since my brain surgery had happened. The matches I had done when I was in New Zealand, they were very basic and simple. I went over, I started training, and I just kept going to training until I was asked to come on shows.
Be respectful to everyone, even if you don’t like them. You’re going to have to work with people you don’t like, but it’s called professional wrestling for a reason.
Go to the gym as well. When you get to a higher level you do understand how much more physically demanding it is. You have someone else’s life in your hands, essentially. It could be dangerous if you don’t stay in shape and keep fit.
Image caption: Definitely keeping fit!
SPW Insider: What’s your take on the way women’s wrestling is perceived in New Zealand?
I think “that article” gave a very dated view on women’s wrestling. The way it came across to me is that the article was spoken as if we were still in 2002 Diva Search days, not Women’s Revolution where we actually bust our arses to try look like wrestlers rather than models in bikinis. It was a bit disheartening to see emphasis put on materialistic things ahead of the effort and work we put in outside of the ring.
I came to England to learn how to wrestle, and I’ve had some of the best wrestlers in the world train me, so I’m going to come to New Zealand to showcase what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown as a wrestler.
SPW Insider: You’ll be in action at the SPW Southern Rumble on July 22. What attracted you to Southern Pro Wrestling?
Bea Priestley: SPW reminds me a bit of PROGRESS in a sense. It reminds me of the PROGRESS vibe, and it’s actually on Demand Progress [http://demandprogress.pivotshare.com] so obviously PROGRESS saw a likeness between them too. I like that way it’s all set up. It’s run really well – it looks very professional. When I was in New Zealand, there wasn’t any wrestling I was aware of too much down South, so it’s quite nice to see it being successful. There’s buzz about this, something’s been done right. And the crowd seem really into it from the first few shows I’ve seen. It’s something I want to be a part of.
Image caption: Progress Wrestling, based out of the UK.
As far as Ashlee goes, I've been in the ring with some of the best female wrestlers and I've been trained by some of the best British wrestlers in the world. Ashlee has been making a name for herself in New Zealand, but she's going to need to bring everything she's got because I'm a fighter, and I beat people up. I plan on giving her a match that she won't forget.
Bea Priestley makes her debut for SPW at Southern Rumble in Invercargill on Saturday 22nd July against New Zealand up and comer Ashlee Spencer! Click the image above for tickets!
For more info on Bea you can follow her on her social media channels:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/BeaPriestleyPW
Instagram - beapriestleypw
Twitter - BeaPriestley
SOUTHERN PRO WRESTLING NZ ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP WITH MELBOURNE CITY WRESTLING
SPW are happy to announce that we are partnering with Melbourne City Wrestling to bring you MCW Encore On Demand content to our own SPW On Demand channel.
MCW Encore On Demand will also be featuring SPW On Demand footage via their own channel in exchange.
This partnership will allow us to explore other avenues such as talent exchange and further cross promotion in the future.
MCW feature big Australian stars such as current MCW Heavyweight Champion Dowie James, Elliot Sexton, Mr Juicy, Adam Brooks, Kelly Anne and so much more! We can't wait to see them in an SPW ring...
Both companies strive to bring you the very best content and production available, we cannot wait to expose each other’s brands with our own fan bases within New Zealand and Australia.
Melbourne City Wrestling are the leading Pro Wrestling company in Australia, having launched the careers of current WWE NXT competitors TM61, Buddy Murphy and Peyton Royce. You can find out more info via their website www.melbournecitywrestling.com.au.
Check out their Social Media channels below:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/melbcitywrestling
Twitter – www.twitter.com/mcitywrestling
YouTube - www.youtube.com/user/melbcitywrestling
Last month we put up a ‘Save the Date’ teaser for a potential Dunedin show on the 18th March 2017.
We had an amazing response and want to thank everyone that showed interest and contacted us before anything official was announced.
Unfortunately, due to our arranged venue Sammy’s being sold at the end of February, the new owners chose not to go ahead with our scheduled event for reasons we cannot disclose.
Our agreement with the previous owner was not honoured and the new owners have decided not to fulfill that obligation which they are fully in their rights to do.
We still very much intend to come to Dunedin for a Live Event but due to the current timeframe we have to find a suitable replacement venue that fits our brand and/or quality the 18th March is simply not doable.
SPW makes a promise to debut in Dunedin sooner rather than later, and we are doing everything we can to make it happen this year.
Thanks for your patience and understanding Dunedin, it’s been a challenging time. We will see you soon! In the meantime, we have a huge Live Event in Invercargill on the 24th Feb, Fight for Gold! We would love to see you there!
If you have any follow up questions please contact us on email@example.com
DUNEDIN, IT'S COMPLICATED - #WRESTLING4SAMMYS
Earlier this month we put a ‘Save the Date’ teaser image out for a potential debut show in Dunedin. We were, and are extremely excited about bringing SPW to Dunedin and received an extremely positive reaction.
More details were to be released this weekend, however, due to circumstances outside of our control, our intended venue, Sammy’s, who were confirming with us on Thursday, can now not confirm until the end of the month.
For more details on the situation with Sammy’s please see: www.odt.co.nz/business/live-music-venue-under-contract
We are working closely with Sammy’s to do everything we can to make sure our intended Live Event debut goes ahead. We believe Sammy’s is the perfect fit for our debut show, the history of live events speaks for itself and the set up with intended atmosphere would be perfect.
Therefore, we would like to hold out until the end of the month before changing venue plans. We intend to have Dunedin as a regular city on our calendar year and want the best start possible.
Thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding during this time. We will keep everyone up to date as and when we receive any news or confirmation.
For now, make your voices heard and support us in making sure SPW comes to Dunedin with the hashtag #Wrestling4Sammys via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
To contact us for more information or follow up questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPW New Zealand Champion 'Hooligan' Marcus Kool took part in a WWE Tryout in Melbourne, Australia on Thursday 8th December 2016.
'Hooligan' was only one of two New Zealand wrestlers that were invited to the Tryouts along with Jade Diamond who now resides in the Gold Coast.
Kool also happens to be one of the Head Trainers at SPW's training school in Invercargill alongside 'Powerhouse' T-Rex who was trained by WWE Legend Lance Storm.
For more information on our training school click here.
SPW Insider caught up with the 'Hooligan' shortly after the tryout...
SPW Insider: Congratulations on the WWE Tryout, first of all, how did this come about?
Hooligan: Cheers. I was invited to the tryout by the Senior Director of Talent Relations Canyon Ceman. I attended a tryout for the WWE a couple of years ago and we have been in contact since.
SPW Insider: Who led the tryouts?
Hooligan: The tryouts were led by the Head Coach at the WWE Performance Centre Matt Bloom and NXT General Manager William Regal, a fellow Englishmen, which was great!
SPW Insider: Overall how would you describe the experience?
Hooligan: Amazing. I could listen to William Regal and Matt Bloom talk all day. Their knowledge and passion for the industry is contagious.
Being a fellow Englishmen, Regal has always been one of the wrestlers I look up to, so to pick his brain for a day was brilliant.
SPW Insider: Talk us through the process, what does the tryout entail?
Hooligan: Well, you better be in shape. We are taken through a warm up routine, then hit some in ring drills to test our agility, foot work and ring positioning. Bumps, running the ropes, the basic fundamentals that every Wrestler should have down, but sadly, most don't.
After that we were then paired up and put in matches to perform in front of the trainers and NXT Roster. I was paired up with Jade Diamond.
SPW Insider: And how did that go?
Hooligan: Well, he won... so I probably didn't make the cut...
SPW Insider: What's next from here?
Hooligan: It's an interesting time for the WWE and Pro Wrestling in general. The WWE Network has opened up a lot of opportunities and more jobs for Pro Wrestlers around the world. They are always creating and developing new shows and will always need a database of talent.
If an opportunity presents itself, we go from there.
SPW Insider: You are currently the co Head Trainer of the SPW Training School. Will the knowledge gained from this experience be passed on?
Hooligan: 100%! Right now my main priority is making sure people are taking notice of SPW. Whether that be representing the company as the current Champion and setting the standard, or passing on everything I have to the locker room and our up and comers at the training school.
Everything I learned, advice I took on board, will be passed on. New Zealand is my home. The growth and quality of the New Zealand scene is extremely important to me and I only want to see it get better and better.
The SPW Training school is the place to be right now in New Zealand. I'm not being biased. It speaks for itself. If you want to learn from the best in this country from trainers with the most experience and right connections. SPW is it.
SPW Insider: Awesome. In closing, do you have any advice for current or aspiring Wrestlers wanting to make it to the WWE?
Hooligan: First of all, GET IN SHAPE! GO TO THE GYM! If you want to be a professional athlete for the biggest comapny in the world, then you better start acting like one.
They will not tolerate you being out of shape. There is no excuse.
Perfect the basics, over and over. If you can't do the basics right, then why bother learning anything else?
Passion, respect, willingness to learn and a hard working attitude. Probably the most important. The WWE is a global entertainment brand that travels the world and are non stop, all the time. They have no room for negativity or slackers.
The in ring aspect is only a small portion. They need you to represent their company for sponsors, charitys, media, interviews etc etc. Improve yourself in every way.
SPW Insider: Thanks for your time, and we look forward to seeing what happens with SPW going into 2017!
All photos credited to WWE.COM.