by Shiai Mata
To be called a "Jezebel" is ordinarily not a compliment for a woman, but Eden Black takes it as a compliment. Tough, skilled,
opinionated, beautiful and ambitious, she's taking on all comers in her drive to be a major force not simply in her native Britain,
but in women's wrestling worldwide! LadySports Online is pleased to present her in this exclusive interview.
Ring Name: 'The Jezebel' Eden Black
Height: 5 foot 3 inches
Hometown: Richmond , London , UK
LADYSPORTS: When did you first get into the sport?
EDEN BLACK: Iíve watched wrestling for as long as I can remember Ė I grew up on WWE/F and loved guys like the Ultimate Warrior Ė definitely not the best wrestler in the world, but I loved his look and the passion he exuded, whether that was real or not, who knows!
I stopped watching for a couple of years Ė not really sure why Ė I think back then I mainly watched for the storylines and the drama, and after I had missed a whole bunch of episodes, my attention just drifted. Fast forward to my 18th year, and I was talked into watching a late night pay-per-view (I forget which one Ė maybe Survivor Series?) and got hooked again, but this time it was more the athleticism and psychology that interested me. After a couple of years of going to British shows in Barking Town Hall, and seeing Robbie Brookside and James Mason doing their thing, there was finally a womanís match, and I remember sitting there thinking: ĎI reckon I could do that!í So I found a training school Ė NWA-UK Hammerlock in Kent Ė and started training, and havenít looked back! Since then, Iíve wrestled all over the UK and Ireland for various promotions and have recently won my first title, the Real Quality Wrestling womenís championship, which was a huge thing for me.
LS: Who trained you?
EB: I was trained at first by NWA-UK Hammerlock coaches Andre Baker and Jon Ryan, but for the last four years, my fiancť JP Monroe has been my coach, trainer, mentor and sparring partner all rolled into one!
LS: What was your biggest influence to become a wrestler?
EB: I've always been a performer, whether that be in dance, gymnastics or horse riding, so thatís one aspect of wrestling that appealed to me and made me want to do it. I love anything physical and challenging, and I guess being such a big fan of the American product back then, and then finding out I could train in the UK and take part in this amazing sport in the UK just made me go for it.
LS: What other sports do you have an interest in?
EB: As mentioned, I have done a bit of dance in my time. I love gymnastics and horse riding. I am also training in kick boxing at the moment. I love a bit of football as well, and baseball and swimming. To be honest, there's not many sports I dislike - except ones where you don't break a sweat or feel the burn, and yet it's still called a sport...
LS: How would you describe yourself in terms of attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, and strengths?
EB: I think I'm a friendly, warm person. I try to be like this to everyone I meet, as you never know when you're going to bump into them again - they could be booking you, or you could be facing them in the ring, and if you've been a prick to them then you could suffer for it. I'm pretty easy going and just want to get on with everyone, and I hate the macho bullshit that sometimes accompanies some people in this business. We're all a team at the end of the day - our job is to make the fans go home happy and come back for more, and it makes so much of a difference with a positive and supportive backstage atmosphere.
LS: What is your most marked characteristic?
EB: I think my gear and my style set me apart from a lot of women in this business. While most seem to opt for tight lycra/spandex and revealing tops/hot pants (which is absolutely fine!), I tend to look more like a fighter. It makes me stand out as a little different to the rest, which I love. My style is strike-based, which I think also makes me stand out a little.
LS: What are you favorite foods, music, clothes, cars?
- Food: Iím a vegetarian, so I love pasta dishes and vegetarian Chinese cooking. I am a huge fan of crispy seaweed even though it is horrendously bad for me! I eat a lot of salad and vegetables though, so that cancels all the bad stuff out, right...?
- Music: I am really into my hardcore/metalcore, but I love all kinds of music, especially hip hop/rap.
- Clothes: I like being comfortable, so itís usually baggy jeans, or army pants and a skinny top. Iím never out of my trainers, unless Iím wearing my wrestling boots! I can scrub up well if Iím having a nice night out somewhere though!
- Cars: I own a little Nissan Micra, which I love. Iím not into cars at all. Thatís more my brothers thing. All I need mine to do is get me from home to a show and back in one piece!
LS: Describe a typical day of training for you. What is most important in your workout?
EB: Okay, so four evenings a week I go kick boxing training, which involves an intense warm-up, and two hours of combinations of punches and kicks and blocks, which are fantastic and it's really helping my stance and balance. Plus I'm learning a few tricks that may or may not work their way into my repertoire in the wrestling ring....
With wrestling training, which I go to weekly, it starts with a warm-up, involving lots of cardio, stretching and bridging, to ensure the neck muscles are fully warmed up, and then it's usually drills, i.e. running the ropes, continuous 'international' spots, etc. Then we move onto bumps, and everyone takes front back, side and flip bumps on the mats, then in the ring. And then we back bump from the first rope, then the second, and then if you're brave enough, the top rope.
Then, depending on the trainer, we do a bit of shoot/submission wrestling, where you have to make your opponent submit, no strikes, fish hooking, head butts or hair pulling is allowed, but everything else is.
We then go through a lot of technical wrestling, reversals, holds etc, and usually put together a five minute show case to present to the rest of the group. Then after a break, we warm back up and half the group gets some ring time, while the other half go through suplexes/power moves like slams, etc. Then the groups swap. After this, there is a free sparring session so we can go through things we're not sure of, or particularly liked, and then the cool down.
It's all very important to me. I am enjoying the submission stuff a lot, I have to say. But I think what's most important for me during these sessions is building and maintaining my stamina and strength, and learning as much technical stuff as possible.
LS: How would you best describe your ring style?
EB: Strike-based and technical. I throw a lot of kicks, chops and forearms, and love a bit of mat wrestling. I have been known to take to the top rope though. I have a lot of different things in my repertoire, but usually strikes and submissions, etc, get the job done.
LS: What moves are you best known for?
EB: I think one of my finishers - the Crucifix Bomb - gets a good reaction, as Iíve never seen another woman use it. My Spinal Tap is also pretty well known.
LS: Have you ever been injured in the ring?
EB: Sure, I've had a few concussions and things, the worst injury Iíve had so far (touch wood) happened during training with my now-fiancť, JP Monroe - I fractured my wrist and spent 8 hours in Accident and Emergency!
LS: Who have been your toughest opponents?
EB: Lexie Fyfe was pretty tough, as was Rebecca Knox. I'm feuding with a wrestler called Jetta at the moment, and she is very tough and mouthy to boot, so I'd count her in there as well.
LS: Who are your allies?
EB: Hmmm. I don't tend to trust people very easily, and few have actually proved to me that they're worth my trust. JP is one that earned it, everyone else really has to prove to me that they are on my side and have my back.
LS: What has been your most memorable win?
EB: Over Sweet Saraya and Jetta to win the RQW Women's Championship in August this year.
LS: What was your worst loss?
EB: Probably against Lexie Fyfe. I've met her twice in the ring and she's so tough. She knocked me out of the Ladies Night tournament for the IWF in Newcastle , and then pinned me at an 18 plus show in Kent a year or so later.
LS: Who is the one wrestler you would most like to face in the ring, but havenít yet?
EB: Rebecca Knox, although I've faced her many years ago, is like a completely different wrestler from when we met in the ring, so I'd love to mix it up with her again. MsChif is another lady I think would give me a great match.
LS: What type of match do you enjoy the most?
EB: Singles or mixed tags.
LS: What sort of reactions do you get from people when they learn you are a wrestler?
EB: Usually the 'ooh mud/oil wrestling' line comes out first. Then if people hear that I am a wrestler before they meet me, they build up a picture in their head and think I'll be all butch and masculine, but then they meet me and their like, oh...! Most people think it's pretty cool though. My best friend Alex loves it, as after shows she can come backstage and mingle with the muscles heh heh!
LS: What is so special about this sport to you?
EB: I love how passionate the fans are. I love how they will get behind you 100 per cent if you give them reason to. It's a drama played out in the ring. I love the performing aspect, I love going out there and giving everything I have to make the match memorable. I love the feedback I get from fans after the show. I love how, a great deal of the time, it's like a big family, as you see guys from one show at another and then another and you keep meeting up in random venues around the country. Itís a very cool business to be in.
LS: What are your fans like?
EB: Amazing, in a word. My most memorable experience was when I wrestled in Ireland for Irish Whip Wrestling, and as I came out to the ring I was mobbed by fans, which was incredible. All through the interval I was signing autographs, and being told by the younger fans that they love me because 'I can do the things that the guys are doing'. My last tour in Ireland ended in Waterford , and the fans there are incredible. I got my first ever 'Jez is gonna kill you' chant there, during a brawl with Jennidee, and it was just electric.
LS: What is the one thing you would most like to change about the sport?
EB: The preconceptions people have about it. British wrestling is seen, by the mainstream, to be a bit naff, but things have seriously changed over the past five or six years, and I think we have one of the best up-and-coming scenes in the world. The company I hold the championship for, RQW, is going all out to improve the image that wrestling has to fans and mainstream people alike, and has some seriously exciting things in the pipeline. This should help get UK wrestling back onto primetime mainstream TV again, and become as accepted as WWE is at the moment.
LS: If you had the power, what one thing would you do to improve the sport?
EB: The things that I would improve are pretty much being played out with RQW - revolving around production values etc. But I would certainly implement a national training syllabus, so all workers are at a certain standard before they are allowed to be booked for shows. I would also ban gimmick matches (bra and panties matches) as I think they are completely demeaning and have no place on a wrestling show. If you want women on a show, book a frigginí womenís match, not some sad-ass wank fantasy bra and panties match.
LS: Where have you wrestled, and what titles have you held?
EB: I've wrestled all over the UK and Ireland , and am hoping to come over to the US at some point. My aim is one day to wrestle in Japan , as that is the Mecca of wrestling as far as I'm concerned! I am the current RQW Womenís Champion and have held the belt for about 2 months now.
LS: What are your thoughts on women participating in the sport?
EB: The more, the merrier. But only if they are trained, and competent. The womenís division can sometimes become somewhat stale as there are so few women workers, and you just keep seeing the same matches. But that seems to be changing with Shimmer and promotions like it actively promoting womenís wrestling. I would love to see more women involved in wrestling, but only if it is taken seriously, and they aren't rats or anything like that. If Iím going to be wrestling someone, to steal a phrase from UK legend Ricky Knight, they should know the difference between a wristlock and a padlock.
LS: What was your most unforgettable moment in the sport?
EB: Winning my first title ranks up there. An amazing feeling.
LS: Any regrets?
EB: I try not to have regrets about anything. Everything happens for a reason, and you can't change what's happened, so just enjoy what you're doing. I regret that I can't put all of my efforts and time into wrestling like some girls. But I have rent to pay and a student loan to pay back. But that was always my thing - I'll move further into wrestling once I have something to fall back on - I got myself a degree in History and Journalism and now have a good job, that I can fall back on if the worst happens and I cant wrestle anymore.
LS: What would you do if you couldnít be in wrestling?
EB: Well I'd still be doing my day job, so I'd be a journalist. But if I couldnít wrestle, I'd love to be involved somewhere, like scouting or booking. Me and JP plan to have kids in a couple of years, so while I can't wrestle I'll be involved elsewhere in the business. But that's a long way off yet, folks!
LS: What is your personal motto?
EB: I stole mine from Lou Thesz: "If it is to be, it's up to me."
LS: What would make you most happy in life?
EB: Knowing that I took advantage of every opportunity life afforded me and that I gave everything 110 per cent.
LS: Anything else youíd like to add?
EB: Check out the following sites for info on the Jez!
Pics courtesy of Eden Black