On July 26th, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet and interview Sasha, an up-and-coming local wrestler. Local, as defined by me, being the Northern Virginia area.
In addition to being a fascinating person both in and out of the ring, she also happens to be the best-looking woman I know of in the pro wrestling business. (Sorry, Spice!) As good as these pictures look, they do not do justice to seeing Sasha in person.
[Editor's Note: All photos with the interview below are copyright Sasha, and are used with permission. Check out Sasha's Corner if you want to see more photos of Sasha.]
First, the vital statistics:
Ring Name: Sasha
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: A lady never tells...
Born: Outside of Baltimore, MD
Current Hometown: Northern Virginia
Sasha's biography from her official website:
Sasha is a rough and tumble girl from the outskirts of Baltimore. Although she may look sweet, she is definitely not just eye candy. This former fitness trainer knows how to take care of herself in dangerous situations. Even though skilled in self-defense, Sasha chooses her battles carefully, more often than not, letting others do the dirty work for her. Sasha uses every means at her disposal to get her way.
Behind the scenes, Sasha is a skilled manager and manipulator, only striking when the time is right. While aggressive in taking on the opposition, Sasha is also patient enough to wait for the opportune moment. Donít let her good looks fool you. Behind that beautiful exterior is a calculating intellect waiting for you to let your guard down.
After running into an old friend, the "Bullgod", on his home turf, these two appear to have worked out some sort of business deal. Sasha, the focused fitness buff, has agreed to work with the "Bullgod" Brock Singleton to improve his results in the squared circle. It seems she has him on a strict regimen of nutrition, fitness, and training. She can be seen coaching him on the side of the ring. When asked about the pairing up she said, "Rest assured this girl doesnít work for free. The Bullgod has great potential. Not many have an amateur background as prestigious as his. He just needs to get focused and thatís what Iím here for."
Bill: Since most of my readers are unfamiliar with you, why don't you start off with telling everyone about where you are career wise right now.
Sasha: Technically, I'm still in training for my first official match. In fact, my neck's kind of sore right now from last night's training. I'm doing more valet type of stuff, and getting involved, but haven't been a "legal participant" yet.
Last Tuesday, in Little Texas, I wound up doing some up-and-overs, and last night I spent the evening taking suplexes.
Bill: Is that the goal for you, to move from valet to wrestler?
Sasha: I guess...right now I certainly don't think of it as full-time employment. It started out as something fun to do.
Bill: How did you first get involved?
Sasha: I used to watch it all the time as a kid. [Sasha stops talking and starts trying to loosen her neck.] Sorry...neck's still sore from last night. Anyway, I used to watch it all the time, and I happened to get to know some wrestlers. I started talking to them, and really watching the role of women in wrestling and I started saying to myself, "There's nothing they are doing that I can't do."
On the independent scene especially, the competition among women in the wrestling business is not all that great. I mean, I wouldn't consider myself in competition with the women in the WWF or ECW or anything like that. But, even with just the stuff I've done so far, I've had a lot of inquiries from promotions I haven't worked for. Just recently, I talked to a promotion in North Carolina and they're like "What do you do?" I said, "Well, I can do Frankensteiners, victory rolls..." and stuff like that. And they're like, "You're kidding me!" That type of ability is really rare in women on the independent scene...the promoters aren't expecting more than me just walking out there.
It's sometimes a little weird, as there are still a lot of guys that don't think women should be involved in wrestling.
Bill: Who do you do most of your work with now?
Sasha: Right now, I'm working with KYDA Pro in Stafford, Virginia. Jimmy Z. is the trainer down there. He's a great guy and a great trainer. Actually, to be honest, I consider him a really good friend, too.
He really stresses the important things like the basics...etiquette, stuff like that. You know, anybody can go out in their backyard and learn how to do a backflip if they try hard enough, but that doesn't teach you the things you really need to know to pursue the business and the things you need to know to preserve your reputation.
Bill: So, it's a lot of psychology?
Sasha: Oh, it's definitely psychology. I'll be honest...when I first got into this, I had no idea how much of it is psychology...but he's been teaching me that.
When I used to watch wrestling on TV, I'd be focused on the actual wrestling and I'd be like "Ha ha, he screwed up" when somebody missed a move. Now that I understand the psychology, I'm picking apart everything when I watch someone else's matches. And, in the same way, I'm really hypercritical of everything I do myself.
Bill: From the independent wrestlers I've talked to that consider themselves "old-school", they all seem to say the same thing...you can get thrown around the ring all day, but it doesn't mean anything unless you understand the psychology of the sport.
Sasha: Definitely. In my opinion, there's more to learn outside of the actual physical moves than there is with the moves themselves.
Bill: I've never heard it explained that way before.
Sasha: Don't get me wrong...I am not implying that the physical stuff is not important. Let's face it, any guy who's a wrestler can pick me up over his head and drop me if he wants to. As a result, I've got to know how to protect myself if and when it happens so I can get back up again. You hear stories about where something went wrong, and someone's got a broken neck or broken back, and you realize that every time you go in there, you're playing with fire.
I've landed on my neck before and you're like "Wow...is this really worth it for what I'm risking?", but it's so much fun you just can't stop.
Bill: Have you been getting banged up a lot?
Sasha: I just got through a spat of injuries. I had a concussion that put me out of training for a little while. Then I had broken ribs...it was one of those things that when I went back into training, I said to myself "You know, if I get hurt tonight, I'm going to toss in the towel and say it wasn't meant to be."
I was thinking about being sore all the time, and I'm young and there's a lot of other areas in my life that I want to pursue, and a broken neck or broken back is not something I envision as a part of my future.
But, you know, for right now it's all good. [laughs]
Bill: What are you doing outside of training and wrestling?
Sasha: Right now, I'm back at school full-time, pursuing my degree. I'm picking up where I left off a few years ago.
It actually works out pretty well...my classes are during the day, so that leaves me open for evenings and weekends. Scheduling-wise, I can work my school around the wrestling...it doesn't interfere. However, it still is a balancing act with my time...finding the time beyond the actual training to stay in shape and finding the time beyond the classwork to do homework and study.
Bill: Have you ever been able to work pro wrestling into any of your coursework?
Sasha: No, but I do have a teacher that knows that I wrestle. I'll be honest...I promote it all the time...I wear the KYDA shirts to school...if that gets them to go to the show, that helps me, you know?
The teacher that knows, it's kind of funny. He'll make comments...we're in an executive protection class, and we learn takedown moves and stuff like that. If the guys are messing around and not paying attention, he'll say "Watch out or I'll have her give you a body slam".
It's not a problem in that case, but I have to be careful. I want to keep myself and Sasha separate. I work hard for my grades, and I get good ones, and I don't want my professors thinking of me as that girl on the website with her butt hanging out. Don't get me wrong...I'm not ashamed of it, but I want to keep it separate.
Bill: What degree are you going for?
Sasha: Administration of Justice. I'm looking toward getting into the FBI...investigative work, that type of thing.
Bill: I've known a couple of other people that have the FBI as their goal. I didn't know until I met them that you have to work your way up to just getting into the FBI, starting out as a local cop or something like that.
Sasha: Yeah, it's like anything else in life. I'm sure there are ways to get into the FBI by knowing someone, but you won't have the respect of your peers if you get in that way.
Bill: If you were to get a call from one of the Big Three right now and they offered you a contract, would you put your other career on hold?
Sasha: [Sort of an evil laugh] Right now, wrestling's just fun and pocket change. I really don't know...I'd have a hard time turning it down. I think that in the wrestling business, if you play your cards right, there's money to be made, but you've got to be smart about it and not put all your eggs in one basket.
Simon Diamond actually was the one who gave me this advice. You can get a big contract, and be making huge money, but one bad injury...one bad fall, and you're done. The only way to truly be successful in the wrestling business is to put the money away while it's coming in. So, when it's no longer coming in, you're not suddenly broke, with no education to fall back on.
There's a guy I work with now. Never went to college. And I'm trying to make him understand that wrestling's all fun and games but one bad injury and you're done...it's not an option to continue with it. If you've got no education to fall back on and no skills, what do you do? You need to have a secondary means to support yourself.
Bill: Do you find that having a fallback plan is the exception or the rule for the people you work with?
Sasha: Most of the people working in the indies do have a job other than wrestling. It's by necessity...you're not going to make enough money to support yourself. Actually, if you are in the indies to make money, you're in it for the wrong reason, anyway. The reason to be in it is for exposure and to get your name out there and get visibility in the hopes that you'll get noticed.
[Thinking] You know, I know plenty of guys that have degrees and great daytime jobs that do it on the weekends but I know other cases where it's like "What would you do?".
I think a lot of it has to do with maturity level...a lot of the guys who got into it in high school or soon after, they have high hopes, they're invincible...that kind of thing. For the guys who get into it when they are about 25, [laughs], you know some part of their body has failed on them already...
Bill: I can relate to that.
Sasha: ...they don't have their head in the clouds thinking "I'm going to be the next Hulk Hogan". However, that's not to say their not giving it their all out there. Most of them are working just as hard as the teenagers.
Bill: I remember being told once that making it in professional wrestling is harder than any other professional sport. Just looking at the numbers, it's obvious that there are over 1,000 guys on the NFL roster, but maybe about 250 people regularly employed as talent by the Big Three.
Sasha: That's definitely true, although I think that it's easier for a woman. A lot of women want to go out there as eye candy, but if you are a woman that can work and do some big moves, you've got a good shot because even though the slots are few, the number of women actively trying for those slots is proportionately less.
As for the guys, numbers-wise they are a dime a dozen. As a guy, you've really got to have something that they want.
Bill: It's funny, because when you look at the high-profile women in wrestling back in the 80s, Dark Journey, Baby Doll, Woman, even Big Mama, they were all people that got into the wrestling business because they knew wrestlers. They didn't get into the business on their own.
Sasha: I think that these days, it's definitely possible for a woman to make it big on talent alone and they will get paired up with someone. A lot of women still will get in via their relationships, a friend or a husband, but the opportunities are there.
It's funny, I was doing some victory rolls the other night, and I went home and I was laying in bed and I started laughing. I was thinking about the victory rolls and the fact that wrestling used to barnstorm and be part of a traveling circus and I realized things haven't changed that much. I mean, here I am running up to his guy, jumping up and wrapping my legs around his head, and we're rolling over on the mat...it's still a circus.
Bill: Sure, as a fan, I want to get sucked into the action, forget about everything going on outside the arena and "believe".
Did you ever read Lou Thesz' book...you'd really like it.
Sasha: No. I actually bought a copy for Brock Singleton as a gift, but I haven't read it.
Bill: Speaking of Brock, I noticed on your website that you've done a lot of work with him, and your webpages are on the same webserver. Did you know him before you got into the wrestling business?
Sasha: Actually, I did. We became friends when we were both in the "watching" stage. He got into it before I did. He was in the army, he was a great amateur wrestler, and he's a big guy. When he was in the army, he knew this was something he wanted to do.
So, he got into the business, and our friendship was still pretty much the same...I was just a big fan of his and of wrestling. I started taking pictures at his shows, and the more I was there, the more I got involved with what he was doing, and I began to say "I can do this stuff".
I really became convinced when I was watching one woman struggling in her training, and I said to myself "I know I can do that".
Bill: What was your athletic background beforehand?
Sasha: Not as much as you'd think. Softball, Little League, that's about it. My mom was way overprotective of me and I was not allowed to play any other sports because [enunciating] I Might Get Hurt. My brother got to play soccer and sports like that, but I couldn't because [again enunciating] I Might Get Hurt. I was their little girl.
In high school and college, I started working out, and that has helped me more than anything. Just having the strength to hold myself up...that's one of the things that girls have the most trouble with is the raw strength aspect of wrestling and supporting themselves. I still work out a lot, so my athletic background is "being in the gym".
Bill: Do you wind up with a lot of bruises?
Sasha: I've had some real zingers.
When I train, I have big old kneepads that I wear. I have big old elbowpads...you know, that kind of thing. I've had bruises the size of this (dinner-sized) plate, black and blue all over.
But, that's the best way to learn...you don't tuck your head once, you whack your head, and ducking your head is your first priority from that point on.
Bill: I was in a ring once and tried a few things, and I couldn't even fall backwards without cracking my head hard on the mat.
Sasha: You're ingrained with these natural inhibitions that if you are falling backwards, you try to catch yourself. It's really hard to overcome, but as soon as you can let go of yourself and say to yourself "Hey, I'm going to be okay", it's not as bad.
Even some of the most basic stuff...you've got to learn to throw yourself over without putting your hands down, and any logical person is going to say "Why would I want to do that?"
I prefer spotters the first time when I'm trying out a new move. A lot of the guys will just jump right up and try a new move without a spotter. Not me. The spotters have saved my head from concrete on more than one occasion.
With a lot of the smaller guys, I'll try to do a move with them, and they don't realize how much I weigh. I'm much taller than all the other women in our promotion and I weigh a good 30 to 40 pounds more than all of them. I jump up there and the guy's like "no problem" and this *** pound (see the bio) pile of bricks lands on top of him.
That's why I like working with the bigger guys...I like a solid base under me.
Bill: Have you been in an "official" match yet?
Sasha: I've been interfering in a lot of matches, but as yet I have not "officially" been in a match. I may actually be having my first one Saturday night, and I'm pretty nervous about it, but we'll see how it goes.
There is some amount of "women's wrestling" in the Big Three, but for the most part, a lot of the work is going to be as a valet or running interference. As things are right now, the Big Three are not going to be giving a woman her "glory moment".
Bill: You know, it just occurred to me that you've got a haul to get to work. You live around here (Northern Virginia) and all of your bookings are places like Staunton (150 miles away) and Richmond (100 miles away).
Sasha: Yeah, it's a haul. KYDA is looking to get some more local venues. The only good thing I can say about the length of the trips is that I generally have my weekends free anyway, so I can get a hotel room and I'm not driving back at two in the morning.
Bill: After all the driving and the hotel and everything else, is going to work still a money-making proposition?
Sasha: [Looks at me like I've got two heads] Not at this point. Like I said, if you are in the independents to make money, forget about it. With the hotel room, gas, and whatever, you don't make anything. You either get a room or you're driving home in the middle of the night, totally beat, sitting in a car full of ice.
Bill: You've actually been sitting in ice while driving home?
Sasha: Oh, yeah...you've twisted your ankle or this or that and you've got bags of ice attached to parts of your body as you are driving.
I was so excited once because a store was having a clearance sale on cold packs...you know, the ones with the two liquids in the plastic bags and you punch the outside to combine them and they get cold. I was so happy...I thought I'll get like 15 of them and keep them for when I need them. When something happens, I won't have to stop training, go to the gas station and get ice...I'll be all set.
They lasted maybe a month...I didn't even use them all myself. I wound up giving some of them to other people when they got hurt.
Bill: I've heard that the rings are different between the WWF and WCW. Do you find yourself working in different types of rings wherever you go? Doesn't that make even running the ropes difficult?
Sasha: Oh, it's really important to get there early to try out a ring that you've never worked in before. You've got to play around before the crowd gets there. Some of them are softer, some are harder. Some places actually use boxing rings, and they are a lot stiffer than a traditional wrestling ring.
Even the wrestling rings that are soft...they're still not a trampoline...it's still not a mattress...the supposed softness of the rings is a big misconception. But, some of them are softer than others.
Sometimes the top rope is at my shoulder, sometimes it is at chest level. If you are going to be jumping over those ropes, you've got to know where they are. If they are higher than you expect, you're going to face plant.
And the ropes themselves are not ropes at all. They are generally steel cables wrapped in colored tape. I've often got a bruise on my hip from running the ropes. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, if it's a gender anatomy difference, or I'm just the wrong height, but I'm always getting a bruise there that the guys never seem to get.
Bill: Let's talk about your cohort, Brock Singleton, a little bit. What's his history? Has he had any brushes with the Big Three?
Sasha: He's been training since last October. He knows a lot of the guys from ECW, and we've brought a number of them in for our shows. He hasn't had a tryout with them. I guess if he really pushed it, he probably could get one. However, you never get a second chance to make a first impression in anything in life, and I think he'd rather wait until he's sure that he's ready. If you push it before you're ready, and you screw it up, when you try again a year or two later, they're going to be like "It's that guy from last year".
Bill: If you and Brock are at a party together, how quickly does it come up that you guys are wrestlers? Can people tell just by looking at him?
Sasha: [Laughs] Among our non-wrestling friends, when we got into the business, word spread like wildfire. When we go to parties...in fact, we were both at a wedding this past weekend in Iowa, and it seemed like what we did for a living was the topic of conversation of the entire wedding reception.
We have friends in Pittsburgh, and when we go up to a party there, people are like "Let's see you guys do something" and we'll go out in the backyard and show them stuff. He'll reach back and knock the snot out of me, and I get right back up and dust myself off and go back to the keg and get another beer. Sometimes, it can be a pain always being center of attention, but usually it's better to just show them what they want to get it out of the way so people aren't bugging you all night. The funny thing is when there's older people on the outskirts of the party that don't know what's going on, and they see a crowd of people watching some guy beat up a girl.
One time, with my dad, Brock started cutting a promo on me like he was really mad, and he decked me and I went flat on my back, and my dad was like "Oh my God! What are you doing to my daughter?!" Then Brock started throwing me around by my hair.
It's fun...it's definitely a conversation piece.
Bill: What does Brock do besides wrestling?
Sasha: Actually, he's an IT recruiter. He wanted me to ask you if you're happy in your current job. [Laughs]
Bill: Are Sasha and the girl that was born 23 years ago just outside Baltimore the same person, or is Sasha a different person?
Sasha: Definitely some differences. Sasha wears some clothes that I would never wear, she says some things I would never say, and does some things I would never do. However, she is an extension of my personality...it's me without my inhibitions.
Bill: It seems that the great personalities in professional wrestling are an extension of that person's personality outside the ring.
Sasha: I was talking to Dawn Marie about this, and she said "You've got to find something within you and grow on that, but in a separate direction from your normal personality".
You don't want to live your gimmick 24 hours a day, but you also have to make it real and three-dimensional. You can go out there and go "Yay! Yay! Yay!", but the fans won't care about you unless they know who you are. Your character has to have likes and dislikes. Dawn Marie came up with this great idea of coming up with a list of questions that you answer as your character.
All of the workers have to be different. Otherwise, where do the storylines come from? What are they fighting over? How would the fans identify with anyone?
In the KYDA, you've got Brock who is The Straight Shooter with the great amateur background, Zubov who's the promo-happy king of screwing around, you've got High Profile Dylan Knight who thinks everyone is there to see him and he's above everything.
For example, Sasha's the fitness buff, Brock's trainer, and also very focused. So, if I were to see Brock get hurt, I'd be like "Oh, my God! Are you alright?" However, Sasha yells at Brock to get up whenever he gets hurt.
I do think of Sasha as a different person, and I love her to death. She allows me to do things I'd love to do, but could never do myself. Sometimes, though, I catch myself saying things Sasha would say. People I know make jokes about a split personality. You've really got to keep it separate.
Bill: Has Sasha mastered speaking about herself in the third person yet?
Sasha: [Laughs] Not yet.
Brock says that true success is being able to refer to yourself in the third person and having people listen to you.
Bill: When the Big Three come to town, do you go?
Sasha: When ECW comes to Richmond, we go to that. We know a bunch of the guys, so we go early and hang out with them.
When WCW or the WWF come to town, we try to go, but the arenas are so big that, unless you get really good seats, you're better off watching it at home. For me, I want to be close up to watch the action carefully. If TV's going to give me the better view, that's my choice.
Bill: Do you consider anyone a role model for you?
Sasha: I would say Dawn Marie. I definitely have a lot of respect for her. As I said earlier, I got the opportunity to kind of hang out with her for a day and talk, and she gave me some great advice on how to maintain your reputation in a very male-oriented business. A lot of guys feel that you shouldn't be there or they feel that you're just there for T&A.
As for the guys, I would say Little Guido. He's been around the track and knows what's what. As for the rest of the ECW guys, unfortunately I haven't really gotten the opportunity to know them at that well. You can see them on TV and hear about them from other people, but you don't really know them until you sit and talk with them face-to-face. It goes back to that separation you have that I talked about earlier...the person you see performing in the ring is not the same person that you are going to talk to one-on-one outside the arena. I think of just how surprised I was at how much more there was to Little Guido outside the ring.
Bill: What's the best advice Little Guido ever gave you?
Sasha: He said that if you ever get so comfortable with your performance that you stop training, you've signed it...you're done. You've got to keep trying new things. The only way to continue to be a success in this business is to never stop trying to improve.
That's actually related to something Dawn Marie told me. The fans don't hear excuses. The fans don't hear that you're tired and didn't go to the gym. The fans don't hear that you were too busy to make it to the tanning salon or that you broke a nail. They don't hear that stuff. They are like "Look, Sasha has acne!" or "Look, Sasha gained five pounds...she's a pig!" You're surreal to them, and they expect perfection.
Add to that, you've got two types of people in the crowd. You've got the people who watch wrestling regularly, who want insanely crazy spots that they themselves would never do in a million years. Then you've got the people who don't follow the sport and sit there and say, "That stuff's fake". How fake is it when I land on my head? No matter how good you are, if someone gorilla presses you over their head and drops you, you are going to feel it. It's hard on your body. It's not fake.
I had a great training session last night, but my neck hurts, my back hurts, my ribs hurt. I have to be careful about that, but tomorrow I'll probably suck it up and go back to the training because, if I don't, I'll get out of the groove. It will be hard to get back into it, and you lose it a lot faster than you gain it.
You miss two or three days, and your whole routine is a mess. That's something that's great about working with Brock...we feed off each other. If he works out without me, I feel like a slug and like I'm letting him down. He feels the same way.
Bill: Which of you keeps up the web page?
Sasha: We both do. He took all the pictures of me that are on there.
Bill: Being in the public eye with that webpage, do you sometimes regret it?
Sasha: Sometimes you get some nasty e-mails, but the thing I've found is that with wrestling fans, they're either really bad or really good...there doesn't seem to be a middle ground. You pretty much know right away who you are dealing with when reading the e-mails you get. For the most part, they are complimentary and motivational.
Bill: I know from running a web page, and being "in the public eye", things can get a little weird, and I have maybe one one-hundredth the exposure that you do.
Sasha: It seems there's an obsession with a number of fans to peel away the layers of wrestling...it's like a badge of honor finding out some wrestler's real name or their birthday. I think instead of doing that, it's more important to keep the magic alive. You spend your money on wrestling, I spend my time...let's enjoy the magic instead of trying to figure out how the trick is done.
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