Where do I begin!?
This December marks 10 years since my professional wrestling debut. When asked to write about the past 10 years, my first thought was, “wow… a lot has happened in 10 years”. Safe to say, this journey through my history in the NZ professional wrestling scene will be detailed across a few posts.
Let’s begin at day one. Before I even debuted. Before I ever started training, I was a fan. Just like a lot of you! Sitting ringside cheering for my favourites and booing the ones I didn’t like. I attended IPW shows regularly, back when they were still MPW/ Mania. Sitting alongside people like, now retired, pro wrestler, Scarlett and other members from the NZPWI forums. I would drive up from Hamilton every month to watch the guys and the few women, JPE & Alita Capri, in action.
MPW ceased due to reasons not known to me (what I do know is gossip and I don’t like to spread gossip). Not too long after this was the creation of Impact Pro Wrestling. This was about 14 years ago. Yes, I’ve been around the NZ Wrestling scene a very long time! As a proud supporter of the scene, I started helping at shows, working the front of house, clearing chairs, packing down the ring. I got to know the crew and from being in amongst the scene, my desire to be on shows myself grew.
IPW started holding try outs. My nerves kept me from trying out the first time. But it didn’t stop my sister. She tried out and started training. Shortly after, as the only female in training, the boys started including her in shows. Anyone that is aware of the pro wrestling scene at the time would know her as “wife”. That was the role she played, and she played it well. It was amusing to watch her, but I still wanted to be in there myself. So, when the next try out came along, I signed myself up.
Being the only female in the try out was daunting but the crew later let me know I did much better than most of the guys trying out. This was obvious when, out of the 10 people trying out, only about half of us started training. Here’s a tip if you’re ever trying out to be a wrestler: don’t wear jeans! I couldn’t believe it when one of the guys showed up in jeans. Safe to say, he didn’t last the try out.
After making it through the try outs, I began my journey with IPW. At the time, I worked full time at a hardware store in Hamilton and drove to Auckland every Saturday to train for hours. I would watch the advanced trainings that followed, declaring internally, “that will be me one day”. Fast forward about 6 months later and we went from just a few females at trainings to a sudden thriving women’s division in training.
We had the return of the girls from MPW, JPE & Alita Capri. There were also about 5 other girls in training, including Evie (now Dakota Kai in WWE). With so many girls, we began one training a week for just us ladies. At that time, we were trained by Kingi, The Machine, Daddy Kool & Alfred Valentine. People I’d watched in the ring in MPW for years were now teaching us ladies to kick ass & entertain crowds.
Then came the day they told me I would be debuting. For months we talked character and gimmick. Through the course of training, it was clear that I was destined to be the baddy, “heel” and Evie to be the goodie, “baby face”. There was no way I was going to be debuting with the most common name in the world so I started to think up alternates to boring old “Sarah”. At the time, I was working with a girl who annoyingly was adamant that her name was “Court-en-ay” not “Courtney”. Being that I was also quite into Britney Spears at the time, this concoction created the beauty that is, “Britenay”… that’s “Brit-en-ay” to be clear 😉 bonus fact: it also was the inspiration behind one of my signature moves, the Britenay Spears….
My debut: December 2007. Nightmare before Christmas. It was decided that IPW was to have its first intergender tag match: Alexander the Great & Evie vs. Handsome Danny Jacobs & Britenay w/ Paul Starr.
Danny Jacobs was the first to head to the ring, with me to follow shortly after. I remember standing there nervous as heck. My palms were super sweaty. When my music hit, I walked through the curtains, through the smoke and lights. Instantly becoming another person. I still don’t know where the attitude and confidence came from as I made my way to the ring. The match started, and the boys kicked things off. When they finally tagged us girls in, the crowd erupted. I stepped into the ring and went to go straight for my opponent only to discover the canvas was slippery. My first step in the wrestling ring and I slipped! “OH FML!” I thought. But I got up and stepped with caution after that.
After the match, I remember walking backstage with Evie to applause and hi 5s from the guys. From day one, us girls had incredible support from the entire crew. To say that IPW is like family to me is an understatement. Having been a part of my life for the past 14 years, IPW IS my family.
Although we were thrown together that night. Something about us clicked and that night began the makings of the infamous team, “New Vogue” starring Handsome Danny Jacobs & Britenay w/ Paul Starr.
That night was also the starting of what would be known as the Evie/Britenay feud of 2008…
To be continued.