From rock stars to ex-cons, meet the stars of Women of Wrestling

The ladies of Women of Wrestling pose for a group photo before the matches begin at the Eastside Cannery in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 19, 2013.
Photo: Leila Navidi

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Women of Wrestling relaunched at the Eastside Cannery in January after a 12-year hiatus, bringing with it a lineup of new and returning stars to face off in the ring.

From hellfire rockers to jungle warriors to mysterious luchadores, each woman brings her own superhero alter-ego into the ring for performances that are equal parts personality, camp and athleticism.

Below, some of the stars share the backstories that blur the lines between fact and fiction and let us in on what it takes to become a Woman of Wrestling.

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      Jungle Grrrl

      Also known as: Erica Porter

      Jungle Grrrl’s backstory: Jungle Grrrl is from the Amazon rainforest and plucked out of the wilderness and brought to the concrete jungle. She still has that animal quality to her. She’s an intense individual. She’s not a cheater; she’s honest but she’s not looking to make friends. She’s looking to compete. She’s looking for the title belt.

      Fight strategy: Jungle Grrrl relies on her animal instincts. Her survival skills. It’s kill or be killed. Never hunt what you can’t kill.

      How you got into wrestling: I was one of the original WoW girls, so I started 12 years ago. I started by chance—a friend of mine basically begged me to go audition; they were looking for athletic women for a superhero show. I worked as a personal trainer and in the fitness industry, but nothing as far as acting or wrestling was concerned. I went and never thought that they would call me back, and then a couple months later they called back and offered me the job, and I loved it. Unfortunately, it went under, but I continued to wrestle on the independent circuit.

      On coping with injuries: I received a kick to ribs, and it’s probably fractured. A lot of times when you’re in the midst of doing what you’re doing in the ring, the adrenaline just gets the best of you, and unfortunately, you don’t feel the severity of whatever’s happened until afterwards.

      Earlier today I went to an underground Las Vegas acupuncturist. Someone told me to go to this nail salon and ask for, literally, “the little Chinese man” that does acupuncture. I thought it was crazy but I went with it. He put some medicine on me and my breathing actually got better. The medics are coming to tape it off. Fingers crossed everything goes well tonight.

      Signature move: The splash off the top rope: Jumping off the top turnbuckle, flying in the air and landing on the abdomen of the opponent

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      Also known as: Taylor Morgan Lewis

      Fire’s backstory: My character is a heavy metal rock star from hell, raised on the Sunset Strip. I’m basically just a rock star, a little badass. My real life persona is pretty similar to my character. My dad’s in the Steve Miller Band, and I’m a singer, and it kind of just ties in together.

      How you got into wrestling: I literally woke up one morning and thought, "I want to be a female wrestler." It came out of nowhere. And literally a week later I saw auditions for WoW and thought, This is meant to be; this is fate. So I went, I was the first to audition and they said, "We need you."

      How you prepared: I’ve done contact sports; I’ve done every sport there is to do—basketball, soccer, dance, cheerleading, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, Krav Maga.

      Signature moves: The “Headbanger,” a variation of the traditional “Stunner,” and the “Twisted Sister,” a variation of the “Small Package” headlock

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      Azucar’s backstory: Azucar was born and raised in Mexico City. I was bullied as a kid and my grandmother was a great figure for me. She died, and I went to go see her in the cemetery on the celebration of the Day of the Dead. I realized anyone can die at any time, and it was like hearing my grandmother saying, “You can do this; this is all for you.” So it helped me create this alter-ego.

      I remember seeing lucha libre as a kid and when you put the mask on, it’s automatically empowering. Everything else disappears. So I want to be that for other kids, and for girls. Because there’s not many masked luchadores or female wrestlers. It’s a way of saying you can be whoever you want and you can be the best you want to be.

      How you got into wrestling: I’m an actress and was going through breakdowns and saw one that said, “Do you want to be a real, live superhero?” It was like, “Of course I want to be a real live superhero!” I went to the audition and found out it was wrestling and loved it. Immediately I wanted to wear a mask. I’ve practiced muay thai for four years and I’m an actress, so I thought the idea of being physical in the ring with a live audience and interacting was just brilliant.

      On training for three hours a day, six days a week: We had been doing this for about a month, and I was just in so much pain. We were bumping [when wrestlers fall or are thrown to the ground], and I just couldn’t do it right. My trainer could tell I was too sore and sent me home to take a day off. I was walking home with my bag, and it was just so freaking heavy, and I started crying like a little baby. I thought, I truly love this, but am I going to be able to live with this constant pain? Should I quit now? But it’s crazy, because once that passed, suddenly nothing hurt anymore. I call it painful-icious and tough-antastic.

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      Caged Heat: Loca and Delta Lotta Pain

      Also known as: Cher Ferreyra and Jwaundace Candece, original WoW cast members

      Caged Heat’s backstory: We’re from the 'hood and got in trouble for fighting people in the streets, taking out our anger. We were in jail for assault. Now we take it out in the ring—we’re on special parole from Nevada State Penitentiary, and that’s how we’re able to commit assault now legally.

      Beyond the ring: Candece’s experience in the ring gave rise to a career as an actress and stunt double, and she now has over 55 film credits and was a longtime double for Queen Latifah. Ferreyra has also enjoyed on-screen success, with roles in shows like Veronica Mars.

      On returning to WoW after 12 years: Candece: I wouldn’t have all those credits if it wasn’t for WoW, so it feels good. My tag team partner and I have stayed friends over the last 12 years, and we’ve seen each other’s careers soar. To be able to work with Selena, our trainer, again, I just had to come back. I feel like I need to humble myself and return, kind of like The Rock did. I wouldn’t have the film and television career I do now if it wasn’t for WoW.

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      Keta Rush the Bully-Buster

      Also known as: Keta Meggett

      Keta Rush’s backstory: I wanted my character to have a positive message for this platform. I was bullied growing up. In my first year of high school I ended up in the hospital with a broken shoulder blade and broken ribs after getting pulverized by a group of girls. So I originally came up with the name of “The Bully-Buster,” but some other girls share my story so we decided to make a group called the Bully-Busters. We kept my real name Keta and added “Rush” for speed because I’ve ran track my whole life. I just hope to be able to touch people’s lives and share a story of positivity and to stand up for yourself as a woman in this world. We’re all very powerful, and we should use it to our benefit.

      How you got into wrestling: I saw the audition breakdown for "women who want to be superheros," and I thought it was a good fit. My friends have joked that I’m a superhero because I’ve saved people’s lives before and saved animals. I auditioned and got the call back. When I came to the first practice I thought, Whoa this is crazy. I don’t know if I can do it. I’ve always been very athletic, but this was tough!

      Signature move: The “Keta Thunder Kick,” a drop-kick performed throughout the match

      How you prepared: I didn’t know how to do a drop-kick when I started, so I went on Facebook and posted a message asking if anyone knows how and could teach me. Of course, all these guys were like, “I’ll teach you! I’ll teach you!” So I learned how to from one of them in a park in the mud on a freezing morning during one of the rain storms we had. I was muddy and beat up and bruised, but now I have one of the best drop-kicks in the group.

    Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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