It’s one thing to stand up to your opponent in the squared circle of professional wrestling. Fans get wrapped up in two individuals that lock up to professional wrestling, and don’t often see behind the scenes, and how hard it is to face down an opponent. One of those individuals is Christina Von Eerie, and she is facing Chris Dickinson. She released via Facebook her time and the abuse she faced with Dickinson during their relationship.
In an exclusive interview with SlamWrestling.net, Von Eerie (real name Christina Kandoori) opened up about her time with Dickinson (real name Christopher Torre), and what she had been through since that time.
Von Eerie has been wrestling since 2006 for various promotions, but it was in 2013 that she first met Dickinson when she was working CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling), and WSU (Women Superstars Uncensored) shows in New Jersey. “Honestly, the first couple of times I met him I kind of avoided him because he’s just always been super intense,” Von Eerie recalled. “Like he has a very strong energy to him and it’s kind of like, in your face. Sometimes [he] kind of was… I don’t know. He was a little intimidating at first, you know.”
Von Eerie elaborated more on Dickinson’s personality at the time. “So many people in wrestling and everyone’s personalities are for the most part strong, and it didn’t really faze me. He’s just always been a super intense person and his energy kind of overtakes the room and that could be a positive thing for most people in this business because that’s what we’re supposed to do.”
But there were problems early on in the relationship. “Well, at first, he didn’t want the public to know that we were together, and I thought that that was weird,” Von Eerie said. “He wanted to keep our relationship private which I respected, and I should have recognized that that has a red flag, but I didn’t.”
Was it to preserve kayfabe or something else? “He wanted to preserve that privacy, and he didn’t want people to ask him questions, which is understandable,” Von Eerie said. “Some other things like, he wouldn’t want me to be on the same shows with him. Or he started asking me like, ‘How much longer I wanted to keep doing this?’ He’d asked me, ‘Don’t you want a normal life? They’re just going to keep living like a gypsy. Like women’s wrestling shouldn’t exist so you really should quit.’”
Slam! Wrestling attempted to reach out to Dickinson to comment, and an email was sent to his lawyer, David Lin, with questions for Dickinson to corroborate. There was no response from either party.
Von Eerie continued with that memory recalling what Dickinson told her. “‘If you love me, then you’ll quit. I don’t want that kind of life.’ You know, he always told me that wrestling was his special thing. And I remember sitting with him one day and him, literally telling me. But he doesn’t want to share the spotlight.”
While Von Eerie and Dickinson were only a couple for a short time from 2013 to around mid-2014, their interactions, such as they were, escalated to toxic levels. To help explain parts of this interview, SlamWrestling.net enlisted the help of Sonya Martinez-Ortiz, the Executive Director of the Rape Recovery Center of Utah. Martinez-Ortiz has spent over 20 years integrating an equity, inclusion, and anti-oppression lens into her work. When reaching out to her to get a sense of the trauma Von Eerie experienced, she offered these thoughts from the transcript of the interview.
“From what I could tell her behavior was consistent with what you could expect from a survivor of IPV,” Martinez-Ortiz explained. IPV stands for intimate partner violence. “It’s a specific subset of domestic violence, [and] they are often used interchangeably … Abuse is all about power and control. The most dangerous abuse often happens after separation. Most domestic violence deaths happen when someone leaves the relationship. Even in cases where the abuser leaves, it doesn’t mean the abuse will stop. There’s an actual loss of control by the abuser when they are separated. In order to regain control, they assert power and dominance. It’s all about the abuser making themselves feel better, more secure, in control, etc.”
Such was the case during that moment in November/early December of 2014 when Von Eerie alleges that Dickinson struck her and that he essentially kicked her out of the apartment they were living in as she was off doing wrestling shows, which she documented on Facebook.
“I started going to therapy. It was just super traumatic, losing, all of my things; him telling me that I couldn’t come back part of the time. He would tell me that,” Von Eerie said. “If I wanted my stuff, come back and get it and then he would tell me actually, it’s in the Staten Island dump, and if I showed up, he would call the cops. I even tried to have a friend go get some stuff for me because there was a co-worker that lived near him.”
“So, it was a back-and-forth for him, telling me that my belongings were still there and that they were in the Staten Island dump,” Von Eerie continued. “Those particular words: in the Staten Island dump. I looked into my records from therapy, and it showed that six months after we had broken up, from the end of December, all the way to June  that, I was still communicating with him every day. So, even though he had broken up with me. He would still harass me.”
As for the subject of their conversation during their time period, Von Eerie went into detail about how the relationship was still going on even after the breakup. “He made me think sometimes that there was the potential of us getting back together and off,” Von Eerie said. “It’s just crazy to hear myself say that there’s potential of us getting back together, because who would want to go back to that sort of abuse? But he would just continue, you know, just verbally bashing me. We would fight all the time when I went down to Paraguay for a television show called Luchando. The people that lived in the facility that I was staying could hear me. I’m with him on the phone. He just wouldn’t let up, you know. Hang up on him. Call me back. Fight with me some more.”
According to Martinez-Ortiz, such situations like this are the norm. “Even in abusive relationships, people love each other. So similar to non-abusive relationships, sometimes people stay around because they’re not ready to let go and/or are grieving the loss. Combine that grief with a need for power, control, and dominance,” Martinez-Ortiz said, “and you have an abuser who will continue their behavior. Even if it’s not physical, but psychological, emotional, financial, etc.”
At that point, the calls had abated, and Von Eerie started doing the hard work. “I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and there was a lot of struggle for me, dealing with the post-traumatic stress from this relationship,” Von Eerie said. “I was put on anti-depressants which I would continue to be on for the next five years. Okay, I had to actively work on not hating myself. I had to. I had to actively work on being normal again because I would spend most of my days crying in bed. It was so hard to get up. I woke up and just wanted to go back to sleep.”
Von Eerie has been left with long-lasting effects. “This has been something that has been eating away at me for years. It’s really damaged my self-worth. I feel like I spent a lot of time recovering from this,” Von Eerie said. “I still, to this day, have extreme post-traumatic stress and anxiety and depression about it, and it’s not about losing Chris, by any means. It’s a new experience that I had there. It was breaking me down as a person and just having everything ripped away from me all at once unexpectedly.”
It also didn’t help that Von Eerie would see Dickinson’s face on promotions like UWN’s Prime Time Live or New Japan Strong in the California area, where she is now based. “Seeing his face, in photos with my friends on flyers in my area was extremely triggering,” Von Eerie said. “I’ve worked so hard on blocking him out of my lifetime and seeing him just made all of these feelings; that whole experience comes rushing back to me. It never left, but people around him weren’t aware.”
Again, Martinez-Ortiz offered insight as to the effects of IPV. “It is extremely difficult to speak out, especially against people (men in particular) of influence, in the spotlight, etc.,” Martinez-Ortiz said. “First, there are social and cultural reasons. We as a society still victim blame; don’t believe, think they’re trying to gain attention, scorned/bitter ex-lover, etc. Pretty much every victim knows someone who wasn’t believed. Second, financial and safety reasons. Maybe the abuser threatened to hurt them or their family if they said anything. Maybe they threatened to ruin their career. Maybe they never verbally threatened them, but the abuse has left them fearful of these things.”
As for what prompted her to speak out now, Von Eerie explained Dickinson reached out to her. “I spoke with him over the summer because he reached out to me because my dog passed away. Which I found to be very odd, and it’s a narcissistic pattern for abusers to contact the person that they’ve been abusing over the years for no reason,” Von Eerie said. “And he used to do this with a video of my other dog that passed away when I was with him in New York. Every couple of years or so, he would send me the cute little video that I took of my other dog and that’s all it would say would just be the video of that dog, but I’d moved on and had been working on myself so much and was in a very healthy, happy relationship.”
That leads us to the summer of 2021. “He contacted me about my other dog passing. And I just took that as an opportunity because I felt stronger to ask him if he had any more of my stuff. I said, ‘Where is it?’ He said, ‘Christina. I’ve got a few things, but honestly, I don’t know where the rest of it is; some of it got damaged. But if there’s anything else left. I’ll look,’” Von Eerie recalled. “And during this conversation that I had with him, he literally told me that he was afraid [that] I was going to call him out and put our story out there.”
Von Eerie has chosen to speak out against Dickinson and his history of abuse. “Aside from the personal healing that I have been working on and still have a lot of work to do, awareness needs to be brought to people, and it needs to be known,” Von Eerie reasoned. “For one, just the kind of person that he is so that you can make judgments on if he’s the person you want in your locker room or around your friend, and two so that he can’t abuse any more women because I’m not the only one he’s been physically, emotionally and verbally abusive to; and I’m hoping that for me coming out and saying this, that other women in my position and their abusive relationships can look at me as an example and not wait so long and make sure that they pulled themselves out of these situations.”
Martinez-Ortiz offered her take on Von Eerie coming forward. “The most telling, to me, was her describing how even talking about it now is traumatizing. I think she said she feels the feelings all over again,” Martinez-Ortiz explained. “Trauma survivors, especially those with PTSD, can be retraumatized just by retelling their stories. They may experience the same or similar sensations as when the abuse was happening. They may have flashbacks, they may dissociate. Most importantly they all experience their trauma in their own way, and they heal in their own ways. So, while there is some consistency across the research, things can vary from survivor to survivor.”
“The most helpful thing people can do to support someone that discloses their abuse is to start by believing them and help them create a safety plan,” Martinez-Ortiz concluded.
TOP PHOTO: Christina Von Eerie in April 2022. Facebook photo
- May 20, 2022: Von Eerie, Dickinson dispute turns into a legal battle
- Apr. 28, 2022: Von Eerie accuses Dickinson of abuse; Dickinson responds
- SlamWrestling’s #SpeakingOut archive