The path to becoming a wrestler it’s never easy. Just ask Ashley America. From a student in college to a grappler is something else. After all, Ashley isn’t the only women’s wrestler that went from college to pro wrestling; Most notably, Mercedes Martinez went to college before she became a pro wrestler. But at VALKYRIE IV, Ashley will make her debut with the promotion, but I also firmly believe that she might be someone SHIMMER and SHINE could take a look at. In her first interview, Ashley talks about her humble beginnings and her debut with VALKYRIE and many more. Without any further ado, let’s get right into the interview.
1. What got you so involved with professional wrestling?
I didn’t discover pro wrestling until high school. Some of my friends started making their own wrestling show (I know it’s a taboo thing, but no one was doing anything stupid or hurting each other, it was more about the story lines and characters. They knew they weren’t good at wrestling) and I would go and watch them tape the shows because it was really entertaining. They would all watch Smackdown together, and I eventually decided to join. I thought it was going to be stupid and I would make fun of it, but once I realized what it was and what they were doing, I quickly became more obsessed than anyone else in the group. The first story line I remember is DX feuding with The Spirit Squad. I just loved it! I was a devoted fan ever since.
Through college I was a devoted art student. The only thing that could pull me away from my projects was Monday Night RAW. I began collecting wrestling DVD’s and learning about the history. I was always trying to sneak something wrestling-related into my art or any other project for another class I had.
I graduated in 2010, right when the economy took a giant nose-dive. Finding a job in my field, art education, was near impossible and between that and other hardships I fell into a depression. During that time I started doing stage hand work in Baltimore; a very male-dominated and physically involved job. For the first time in my life I felt like an athlete. I built muscle quickly and was always excited about a new physical challenge (the closest I had ever come to playing a sport before was marching band). I was still pretty depressed and some friends suggested I try roller derby. After a few people suggested it on seperate occasions I said no, if I am going to do anything crazy like that, it is going to be wrestling.
I found out there was a school within 10 minutes of my house and late November of 2012 I began training. Here’s the thing – this school was in a barn, with no heat, in the dead of winter. And the ring was not a wrestling ring, it was a boxing ring. It was broken and sinking into the ground. And for the first few months all I was allowed to do was take back bumps. I slept on a heating pad for 3 months and had a smile on my face the entire time. Not only was I doing something that I loved, pro wrestling was helping me to find myself again. It has lead me down a twisted road and I have gone to lengths I never thought I would just to learn. And the more I learn, the more I get in touch with myself and the more confident I become. It has changed the way I carry myself, the way I look at myself, and my approach to life in general. I know I would not be the version of myself I am today without wrestling.
2. Who are you biggest influences in wrestling?
There are so many wrestlers that I love and respect. As far as trainers, I have to thank QT Marshall for getting me to the point I am at today. I don’t know if he knows how much just watching him work and the things he says have helped me develop my style and understand what I am doing in the ring. Of course all of my Monster Factory trainers have played a very important role – The Blue Meanie is such a wonderful, caring guy and has been so sweet and supportive, Wild Bill Wiles, Danny Cage, they are some very special people. And my brothers at the Factory have been so helpful as well. Mike Spanos and Louis “The Punisher” Martinez are great guys and I wish them all of the success in the world. I have trained so many different places and picked up little things here and there that it’s hard for me to remember where I learned everything, but I am so grateful to anyone who took the time to work with me.
As far as being a fan, some of my favorites are Ric Flair, Mic Foley (a true artist), Macho Man, Sara Del Rey, Sherri Martel, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Mr. Perfect, and Cody Rhodes. I really admire Cody’s ability to bring any character that he’s given to life.
3. At VALKYRIE IV, you will make your debut with the promotion. What are your thoughts on that?
I’m super excited!! I’ve been training for three years and am looking forward to meeting and learning from all of these experienced and hard-working ladies! I believe that this is exactly what I need to push my work to the next level. Also talking to the promoters has me really excited. It sounds like a great environment to work in and I am excited about playing with the character they gave me.
4. As anybody knows, the dark cloud over professional wrestling stems from the Hardcore Roadtrip scandal. What are your thoughts on that?
This is a very unfortunate situation which often rears its head in the entrainment industry. I find it shameful when someone takes advantage of people in any way, especially regarding their passions. Unfortunately, because of the lack of regulation in the pro wrestling industry, this is a common theme. The only way this can be avoided is if wrestlers and performers work together to protect each other from people like this and only support good and honest promoters.
5. What is your take on women’s wrestling?
I think women’s wrestling is very under-rated. A lot of people have a really negative attitude towards it, but I think that is starting to change. I love watching the ladies of NXT and seeing they are making great strides to changing the way people look at women’s wrestling. Sara Del Rey is making a huge impact on women’s wrestling and it is very exciting and rewarding to watch. We can be sexy for the work that we do.
6. Do you believe that independent wrestling is something for everybody to enjoy?
Yes I do. There are wrestling shows out there for all different audiences and tastes. I think indy wrestling could be a great family past-time, or a night out with friends. Wrestling is inherently a made-up thing so it can go anywhere the imagination wants to take it. That’s why promotions like Chikara are great, they push that line and take wrestling to places it has never been before.
7. With VALKYRIE a driving focus for women’s wrestling in New York City, do you believe it can be successful in New Jersey and beyond?
Absolutely! I think they have a unique product that can appeal to people anywhere.
8. What does the future hold for you?
I can’t say for sure, but I hope it holds lots of traveling. I want to see the world and work with people all over the place and meet new people, and eat sushi in Japan and have tea in England and practice my German in Germany. I want to be the best wrestler I can be and the best version of myself I can be! I started doing this to be happy and I want it to continue to make me happy.
9. Where can put readers find you on social media?
I do have a twitter – @AshleyMurika
10. In closing, would you like to leave a last message for your fans?
You can do anything you want to do. Don’t ever let someone put limitations on you that do not apply to you. Many people told me that I would never make it in wrestling, that I have no place here. Maybe it took me a lot longer to get certain things than others, but I never gave up on myself. Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are or what you can do; only you can decide that. You are unique and special and that is beautiful. Let your weakness be your strength and you will accomplish anything.
Special thanks to Ashley for her time flee this interview. To keep up with her on social media, follow her on Twitter @AshleyMuricka
To check out the best matches in VALKYRIE history, check out ClickWrestle at http://www.clickwrestle.com/catalog/3109.
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