Since Riea Von Slasher last talked to SlamWrestling.net, in 2015, her career has faced its fair share of challenges, but there were gains too — and the pandemic was a big reason for that.
“I feel like the pandemic, obviously it screwed everyone, but I feel like I picked up a lot of momentum,” said Von Slasher. “The more I say, Okay, maybe it’s time to slow down, the busier I get. Since 2015, I definitely developed as a wrestler and as a character, but I feel like if you can’t develop in that amount of time, you probably aren’t trying.”
Von Slasher mentions the Riea in 2015, wouldn’t recognize the current version of her. A lot of work and thought process went into these last eight years and a majority of her in-ring moves have changed in that time as well.
“During the pandemic, I really buckled down and I got into good shape, but I was chasing how good of a shape I can be in, and I actually tore my hamstring,” said Von Slasher. “I really tried to take advantage of the pandemic, I’m like, Okay this is a time out from the world, work on yourself, and I ended up coming out of it probably worse.”
Not only was the injury an obstacle for her, but the pandemic-related restrictions altered her wrestling journey as well.
“Towards the end of the pandemic, I had a lot of companies that had me on shows, that had me on dates,” said Von Slasher. “There was a company in America that had me booked, but as a Canadian I wasn’t allowed to cross the border because of all these travel restrictions and absolutely I feel like that kind of derailed any momentum or career I might have had, and since than I haven’t really tried to travel too far.”
She will be traveling shortly, though, to Las Vegas, for the annual Cauliflower Alley Club reunion at the Plaza Hotel & Casino, where she will be receiving the organization’s Independent Wrestling Award.
Riea Jagodnik, 35, is from Vancouver Island and she has been a wrestler since the age of 14, having wrestled for more than half of her life. She has recently started to train people on the Island, which was something she thought she would never do. Outside of her home city, Von Slasher has gotten the opportunity to travel outside the border and take part in some wrestling shows. She has battled in companies like Prestige, 3-2-1 Battle (which is now closed down), and DOA Pro Wrestling. Last December, she wrestled in three different provinces and two different countries. Even with a lot of wrestling experience, Von Slasher is more selective on where she works currently.
“I feel like I’m more choosy about where I work these days just because you never know what your walking into, so you don’t want to be put in a ring with somebody that’s a little reckless or you risk getting hurt,” said Von Slasher. “I’m really more cautious now than I would have been in the last eight years. I would been like, Okay let’s go do it, let’s go do it. Well, now I’m a little bit more broke and I’m a little bit more old, or wiser, I don’t know.”
Von Slasher said that she has had some great matches in the past eight years, especially a Woman’s TLC match that took place right before the start of the pandemic, in ECCW, a company that is no longer active. Just like where she works, Von Slasher tries to be selective on who she works with as well.
“I just try to really start working with people that have more eyes on them, to further my own wrestling abilities,” said Von Slasher.
She mentioned that most of her travels are sponsored through promoters unless under certain circumstances. “I don’t generally travel anywhere that comes out of my own pocket, if it does, it’s something I really really want,” said Von Slasher. “I would say 98 percent of the time my travel expenses come from the promoters.”
The wrestling promotions she works for the most currently are, Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling, and Thrash Wrestling.
Jeff Hardy was a big inspiration for Von Slasher getting into wrestling. Ever since her childhood she had an interest in combat sports like boxing, and she was also into solo sports rather than team-oriented ones.
“The town I was in had a school, so the day after my 14th birthday I started training. My mom thought it was a phase, but the more I got submerged in it, the more I was just so addicted,” said Von Slasher. “Wrestling is my life, 20 years later it’s still what I look forward to at the end of the day or what I’m thinking about.”
Her wrestling persona is a mean girl and an aggressive fighter, but that wasn’t always the case as early on she wore a mask while performing due to being shy, until someone she knew told her she has the appearance of a scary and intimidating person in real life.
“I really took that into consideration, and I was a goth kid when I was younger, so I always kind of had a weird style and I’ve just transformed it over the years,” said Von Slasher. “Someone telling me to be more me is what sparked my Riea character.”
Her message to fans that want to pursue a career in wrestling was to make sure this is something they want and to never take no as an answer.
“If you’re just getting in to do it for fame, it’s not going to work. The toll it takes on your body, the mental game you have to play, make sure you want it,” said Von Slasher. “Be everywhere and give it your all is really what it comes down to. There’s always ways to progress, like even when you cant go train, you can go think about character work. Stay hungry all the time.”
TOP PHOTO; Riea Von Slasher as BC Interior Champion. Instagram Photo
2023 CAULIFLOWER ALLEY CLUB HONOREES
- Iron Mike Mazurki Award: CM Punk
- Lou Thesz/Art Abrams Award: Ron Simmons
- Women’s Wrestling Award: Mickie James
- Tag Team Award: Brian Knobbs, Jerry Sags “The Nasty Boys”
- Men’s Wrestling Award: Koko B. Ware
- Lucha Libre Award: Damian 666
- Men’s Wrestling Award: Joe Malenko
- Posthumous Award: Killer Karl Kox
- Independent Wrestling Award: Riea Von Slasher
- Charlie Smith Referee Award: Kevin Jefferies
- REEL Award: Al Burke
- James C. Melby Historian Award: Koji Miyamoto
- April 20, 2015: Riea Von Slasher decidedly anti-Diva
- Riea Von Slasher: Instagram * Facebook * Twitter
- Cauliflower Alley Club story archive
- Cauliflower Alley Club website