Well, hello. Here’s a rarity, a new blog post!
I thought I would throw up some of my older written work that I was really proud of; mainly so it doesn’t get lost in the dark and cobweb filled corridors of The Internet, but also just to get it out there on my own blog. This might be the first, or only, instance of this – but I present to you an interview I did with California indie wrestler, Brittany Wonder.
At the time, I’d never interviewed anyone before, so I often wonder what she thought of my rambling questions and weird tangents that I seemed to shoot off on a few times. Overall, I really liked the end result and think it came across as it was intended – an interesting take on life on the indies as a female wrestler in America, and being in the middle of what was somewhat of a phenomenon at the time, the Hoodslam promotion.
Without further ado, here’s the article – interview took place in June 2016, published later the same year in Total Wrestling magazine. Enjoy!
“Ultragirl” Brittany Wonder is about to hit the road when Total Wrestling’s Tony Cottam caught up with her. She was heading for PPW in Petaluma, California for an impromptu Lady Luck Title shot at short notice, then to Freakshow Wrestling in Las Vegas for a special guest referee shot. -“I get around a lot, I definitely put in the miles.” she laughs.
And with good reason. The California scene has list of promotions as long as your arm, and Brittany is a big part of the most underground, bizarre, fun promotion of them all – the enigma that is Hoodslam.
Oakland based Hoodslam is not your normal promotion. It’s strictly adults only – ‘Don’t Bring The Kids!’ is one of the taglines present on show fliers. It features characters lifted from almost every kind of media out there, not just the pro wrestling sphere.
Hoodslam set out to entertain first and foremost, says Brittany: “We understand what wrestling wants. We don’t want the same thing that we can just tune in on television and watch. You have to be different, you have to do something new, you have to make wrestling fun again.”
Recent shows have had video game themes – regulars adopted a video game character of their choice – and Ken & Ryu from Streetfighter are regular roster members. One of the biggest fan favourites, though, is Brittany Wonder.
Brittany debuted in 2012 for SPW in California, after training under people like JD Bishop and Timothy Thatcher. On YouTube, you can check out one of her earliest matches where she works against Davina Rose, who would go on to become NXT star Bayley. It’s an interesting match to watch from the start of both women’s careers, especially as Davina (Bayley) works as the heel.
From there, she graduated to several other California promotions, but most notably Hoodslam – Brittany has worked with Hoodslam from their third show, and so been a part of the rise to success that started out from small beginnings.
“Let’s do these free shows and have fun and invite these people to party” says Brittany “then all these people came and started donating money and people got paid and then more and more people showed up and it became a thing. At first it was just a free party with a wrestling ring in the middle. And it’s now become this global phenomenon.”
It’s become that because of an article in Vice magazine that went viral, and an online service available via YouTube – for just $1.99 a month, you can watch their shows live and have access to all previous shows as well.
Online fanbase is just part of the story. The live crowd is something else. Brittany even says some fans go just for the atmosphere, and weren’t wrestling fans to begin with: “The crowd is so much part of the experience – we have literally some of the best fans in the world. A lot of the fans aren’t wrestling fans to start. They go to the shows because it’s a party and it sounds like fun, and they end up hooked by the wrestling while they’re there.”
Hoodslam is nothing if not fun. Up to four shows a month are all packed out. They regularly turn away fans at the door, while commentator and party host “Broseph” Joe Brody whips the fans that are present up into a frenzy.
Brittany was until recently the holder of “The Best Athlete In The East Bay Golden Fanny Packs” – yes, really – one of two titles available in Hoodslam, open to men and women. Winning the title in front of those fans was an emotional moment for her: “They made me cry, I’m not gonna lie. When I won that first title at Hoodslam, I cried. It was so emotionally overwhelming – 1,000 people jumping up and down for joy.”
It’s that connection with the fans that makes Hoodslam something special, as Brittany says: “The fans are really so into their wrestling and into the storylines, they really care on an emotional level. We don’t try to tell you, oh boo for this guy, cheer for this guy. We do what we do. Wrestling is painting your own picture, telling your own story. You have to make it interesting, you can’t make it boring.”
Brittany’s rise up the card as one of the faces of Hoodslam has also helped her establish herself as an up and coming name on the women’s scene, something she’s very proud of – “My goals when I started were to be a pro wrestler, then to be a good pro wrestler, then to help try and change women’s wrestling, which out here, I’ve definitely had a hand in that.”
So, what’s next for the Ultragirl? Apart from more miles on the road and that PPW title shot, Hoodslam is her main focus: “I want to see Hoodslam thrive and grow, and make a living doing what I love. Beating up people in spandex and paying the bills. I will always be a Hoodslam girl. Without that company, there would be no me.”