By BAMBI HALL – For SLAM! Wrestling
I love hearing stories from when I was a kid at wrestling shows. I remember when I was about eight years old, we had stopped by a training school in VanCity. Obviously I was not going to pass up the opportunity to play in the ring! So I went in and at one point got up on the ropes, when I heard my Mom — wrestler Raven Lake — say, “Oh no, I can see the future now.” Little did we know what the future held.
Here we are a few years later, and I’m wrestling regularly, and she has just retired.
I have two younger sisters, Stacie (16) and Faith (15), and Stacie wants to follow in Mom’s footsteps as well. She’s already started training and is definitely on her way of passing me. Faith takes an interest in wrestling but has a promising singing career ahead of her. I know the three of us have gone through the same stuff as kids: “OMG your Mom’s a wrestler? That’s freaking awesome!” Once you invite your friends over, the response is, “Is your Mom going to body slam me?”
The three of us have always supported Mom in her dream, just like she has always done for us. A wrestler in the 1990s, Raven took a few years off to raise us kids, but once we got hooked on the local shows again I started to drag Mom with us. She got the itch to get back in the ring and went back to train at All Star Wrestling Academy in 2008.
Mom hated the fact I wanted to follow in her footsteps. This business is tough for women in general. Being treated, looked at, talked to differently. She didn’t want me seeing things she had seen in her earlier days on the road but I showed her that I could handle what I was getting myself into.
Now it wasn’t just me watching Mom, it was me wrestling Mom.
First thing she told me was no one is going to look out for me better than myself. Being on the road for the first time, it was great to have her there. I had one person I could trust 100%. For my first few matches, my Mom carried me like a champ — I’m sure her back hurt from carrying me so much.
She never got frustrated with me though, she was always calm and understanding. She was a leader and that first road trip I followed her like a lost puppy. She always talks about her matches with Velvet McIntyre and how she loved them. Now I talk about my matches with my Mom and how I loved it. How by the end of her career she didn’t have to lead me any more. She taught me how to be in control, take charge, not give up and take advantage of every opportunity I got.
QUEEN OF PAIN
The biggest and proudest moment of my Mom’s career came on October 13, 2012. The CNWA (Canadian National Wrestling Alliance) was holding a Queen of Pain Tournament in Kelowna, BC. Mom had never held a title and was convinced Sexy Samantha would be the first CNWA Women’s Champion. So everyone let her believe it, which was no hard work for us!
It got down to the finals between Sexy Samantha and Raven Lake. Right before the match, Vance Nevada announced Raven would be the first CNWA Women’s Champion. Raven did not even know what to do, she just sat there looking confused. At one point she even asked “Stop joking. Me?” After a few seconds it set in and you could see the glow in her face, or maybe it was the nerves. She had waited so long and worked so hard to finally get recognized. To be by her side on this night was something I had never seen coming. She had been working so hard for so long, that I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face. She went out that door and the place was on fire. The two ladies had one hell of a match, one Raven always says was “one of the best and memorable matches of my career.” She was always reaching for new goals but one dream she always had was being a Women’s Champion. Thank you CNWA for giving Raven the chance to live her dream and for giving me another reason to look up to my mother.
Raven’s final match was this past March 29th, in Cloverdale, BC, in the same building she had been wrestling in since 1993. Being a part of that match was an honour. Making that match the best it could be was just one way I could say thank you. It was the first time we ever got to be a tag team and I wish it wasn’t the last.
I started to follow in my mother’s footsteps but now I am taking my own path. I will carry on as one of the few second-generation female wrestlers with everything Raven has shown and taught me. Without Raven Lake, there would be no Bambi Hall. Thanks Mama for never letting me down and showing me the ropes in this crazy business we both love so much. Here’s to making you proud!
Sammi “Bambi” Hall will be a part of the Beauty Slammers: Ladies of Wrestling Tour starting this weekend in Nova Scotia.