Fans of the West Coast independent wrestling scene were both delighted and surprised when the woman formerly known as Ivory made an appearance in Surrey and Vancouver where she would face the NWA Supergirls Champion, Rebecca Knox. But what no one really expected — including Ivory herself — was that she would not only win the title, but successfully defend it the following night.
This set in motion a series of events where the former WWE Women’s Champion has decided to stick around to be part of ECCW/TRW and work on creating an even stronger women’s division.
Both the fans and the wrestlers themselves are thrilled to have Ivory around — it’s good news for the promotion, but perhaps the happiest person of all is Ivory herself. These recent events may have renewed her passion for wrestling, as was clearly evident the nights she wrestled on the West Coast. SLAM! Wrestling caught up with her after the Vancouver show and asked her a couple of questions — questions she was only too happy to answer.
Q: Ivory, thanks for taking a few minutes to speak with us. A lot of the fans on the West Coast were really very happy to see you. It’s been awhile.
A: Actually, you know, I live really close. I’ve lived on San Juan Island for the past six years — why have I not come up here more often? This whole thing has been a big surprise. It was only supposed to be one weekend, a couple of matches and all of a sudden I have the title, the TV tapings and am on two shows. It’s been really fun. It’s great to be part of someone else’s project. Especially when it’s clean and young and so full of energy.
Q: What are your impressions of the talent here in ECCW?
A: They’re all great and so dedicated. Rebecca Knox is awesome and I can’t wait to meet the other girls in the ring. I’m always recruiting, so any women athletes that want to come to Canada, they have a new Supergirls Champion to compete with. I can’t believe I am the champ. I didn’t really expect it and I am happy to have another round at it.
Q: It must have been different to be wrestling in front of 300 people tonight instead of 30,000.
A: I don’t care about that at all. I have said it a million times — I love the indy scene because I see young faces, I see grandmas, I see grandpas, I see couples. People are out having an evening they can afford and are straight-up supporting the wrestlers and the wrestlers are able to feel that and give right back to them. There’s that chemistry going on that we tend to lose in the WWE because there is this middleman, this creative team that gets in the way of the wrestlers giving the fans what they want. Because you want the same as they want. They wrestlers are trying to figure out why they don’t do these great ideas when it makes so much sense to do them. Like, why was Right to Censor dropped? We were the biggest, most over heels and there were so many angles you could have taken with every one of us and then one day it was just gone. That’s writers. And that kind of stuff, it’s political, it’s bullshit and it gets in the way and insults the fans.
It’s great to be on the indy scene again because everything can make sense and you are right down to the heart of what wrestling is — family entertainment. It’s fun, it’s getting a good sweat in. You want to be able to your art too with no time constraints and stuff. It’s a cool scene to be part of. A lot of guys who have come back to the indy scene from the Big Leagues say they have come full circle. I am kind of going backwards. I started with TV and now I am hoping I can be in Mexico, and finally get to Japan and do it on the underground scene. Not the big, five-minute match too-do. It’s kinda nice not to be packaged and just be able to do your thing.
Q: Tonight a lot of the fans were so happy to see you. You made a big difference to them. They were able to get their picture taken with you, have you sign your autograph. And it looked like you really enjoyed doing that — did you?
A: It was the same thing at OVW, when I was there for eight weeks. The same fans show up and travel to each show and the guys there really rely on that support and give back. That’s what’s so cool about the indy scene. There’s no J-Lo talent, you know the girl that’s on the cover of every magazine because she’s pretty and looks good in books — packaged talent. You’ll never see J-Lo in a lounge somewhere singing a cappella because she can’t. Versus a real talent that’s out working the small towns, playing for an audience. Sheryl Crow could do that.
The indys are full of natural talent. Rebecca Knox is 19 years old and look where she’s already been. And girls like Simply Luscious back east, same thing. They go out and make a living, getting a resume under their belt. They do the UK, they do Japan and Mexico and travel through the States — that’s working for a living. And every time they wrestle, they gain great experience and learn how to protect themselves in the ring. So compare that kind of integrity and athleticism vs. these Diva Search girls, who are very packaged. They are the J-Los of wrestling. And I think wrestling should have J-Los. I think they’re gorgeous, they are bikini models. So let them turn on the WWE fans and they have a division there that rocks. But let’s not have bikini models try to be wrestlers because that insults all the girls that travel through Japan and Mexico and take all the hard knocks. It insults the sport when you try and make these chicks wrestle.
Q: One of the comments I heard tonight from one of the fans was that you were the most genuine wrestlers they had ever met. How does that make you feel?
A: I think, honestly, that’s the only reason I get invited back. People say that if you want someone to add to your shows, bring Ivory because she likes everybody and I really do. People just kind of energize me. When I worked for the WWE, we were on the road for ten days, off for two and back on for ten. It was beat-down tiring and the only thing that would get me back up would be going out and interacting with the fans. If I was bummed-out or tired, I would go outside and start yapping with the fans. Their enthusiasm is contagious. You know why you work then. The Rock, Stone Cold — they were the first people out there, meeting the kids in wheelchairs and the Make-A-Wish Foundation kids. That’s where they got their energy. That’s how they stayed connected with why they were wrestlers and why they do this thing. And you know, if the fans come to a show, and the guys set up the ring then I am privileged to be part of it because I have some ropes to get between. The spotlight’s on ya, you’re getting a good sweat in, you’re entertaining some people and we’re all coming together. How much luckier can you get than that?
Q: Do you miss working for the WWE?
A: I miss my friends there. I miss all the antics backstage. Everyone there is such a kook. But there are lots of kooks in these hallways too. It’s just fun to be around wrestlers, period — guys or girls. But I don’t miss the schedule. I’m 44 years old and in the indys I can be a 44 year old. I don’t want to feel like a 44 year old, and I don’t want to be compared to a 20-year-old bikini model, because it doesn’t make me feel good. But I don’t know that I would want to be anywhere else. It’s like I told Rebecca Knox — just keep going and going because where else can you be in the main event? It’s in the indys. To be in a women’s match that lasts 15 minutes is awesome because you won’t ever get that in the WWE unless you are wrestling Trish Stratus — she’ll make sure you get 15 minutes. It’s a good scene here. And I hope more girls will be inspired to get out and find their way into wrestling and not just think they have to get to the WWE. There’s so many other places to wrestle and have a great time.
Q: What’s the next step for you then?
A: I gotta keep defending the NWA Supergirls Championship and bring some respect to the title and find new competitors to bring to the league and shape up a women’s division here. I’m gonna keep plugging away. I’d love to have a really good run of interesting wrestling, interesting adventures. Not planned, not scripted, not written, no phone calls to writers, no being the last person to know something. Just let me show up, get jiggy with the young folks and feel the indy scene wherever it takes me.
You can catch Ivory on KVOS-TV on ECCW/Top Ranked Wrestling Saturdays at 1pm.