by S. Mata
When Kacee Carlisle first stepped into the PGWA ring last year, she had no way of knowing that some arcane mixture of her skills, her look and her attitude would strike such a responsive chord with PGWA fans…so much so, they voted her as the Newcomer of the Year for 2007, even though she had only wrestled (thus far) for the PGWA in that sole match!
Clearly, there’s much more to Kacee Carlisle than one might suspect, and in an exclusive new interview, LadySports Online seeks to discover just what that something special is!
Hair: Light Brown
Hometown: San Francisco, California
LADYSPORTS: Kacee, congratulations on being named as the PGWA Newcomer for 2007...and this after you had only a single match in the organization last year. To what do you attribute your popularity with the PGWA fans?
KACEE CARLISLE: To be honest, I'm not really sure! I'm hoping it has to do with the fact that I try to put forth the same effort every match, regardless of who my opponent is, where we are, or how many people are in the crowd. I always give my all, and maybe that translates well. I also try to keep in touch with my fans as much as possible, responding to emails, correspondence on message boards, etc.
LS: When did you first get into the sport?
KC: I debuted in wrestling as a manager in June 1998. I began my in-ring career in July 2005.
LS: Who trained you?
KC: I was…and am…primarily trained by Shorty Smalls. He's a great trainer, who truly understands how to be a great wrestler. There have been countless people helping along the way though, giving pointers to me about things I could do better, differently, or just giving me different ways of thinking of and seeing things. Many people have contributed to my successes, and I appreciate them all.
LS: What was your biggest influence to become a wrestler?
KC: I think my desire to be a wrestler came about for several different reasons. I watched wrestling as a kid, and of course, I admired Elizabeth. Later on, I also took a strong liking to Sherri Martel. Watching them gave me a sense of what I could accomplish myself, and I began to dream about what it would be like to walk down to the ring, ready to help my guy whenever, and however, necessary. That's why I started as a manager. I would think of how cool it would be to have such an influence over people that they would cheer or boo me based solely on an action. Something I did. I expected that it would be a great feeling, and I was right. I think becoming a wrestler was a natural progression. I've always enjoyed watching the likes of Shawn Michaels, HHH and more recently, Edge wrestle. It's a business I've wanted to be a part of since I was a kid, and here I am.
LS: What other sports do you have an interest in?
KC: I enjoy football the most after wrestling. My favorite team is the Miami Dolphins, even though I get laughed at all the time about it. I also enjoy watching baseball, especially live.
LS: How would you describe yourself in terms of attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, and strengths?
KC: Well, I do tend to get a bit cocky, which is why my opponents have such a problem with me, I'm sure. I'm just willing to do whatever it takes to win. They usually are not. I can't stand girls who want to play by the rules every match then cry about not winning. That's what my attitude is--do whatever it takes. I didn't become a wrestler to play nice and make friends. I want to be successful, and that means staying on top. I have no problem backing up my words which, to me, is a strength. I suppose it could be said that my attitude is also a drawback at times. Sometimes I do bite off more than I can chew, and my attitude gets me in trouble. More times than not though, I can handle it.
LS: What is your most marked characteristic as a wrestler?
KC: I think my aggressiveness makes me stand out. I rarely shy away from a challenge, or a fight. I go all out to win my match, and that normally means taking the fight to the person across the ring from me and not backing off.
LS: How would you best describe your ring style?
KC: I'm definitely not a high-flyer. I have a style that is typically considered "Old School". I stick to wrestling, and go into my matches with a game plan. I find a way to weaken my opponent and capitalize on it. If you see me even come off the ropes with a move, you're lucky. I stay more mat-based, using wear down moves and power moves in my matches. I throw a lot of clotheslines, suplexes, punches, etc. I also have no problem getting dirty and choking if my usual arsenal isn't working.
LS: What moves are you best known for?
KC: You'll usually see me throw clotheslines, side slams and chops in every match. I usually finish off my opponent with a facebuster or a type of STF.
LS: Have you ever been injured in the ring?
KC: Not seriously, no. I have the usual aches and pains, but after my matches, the only thing lingering is the bruises I see the following morning. I do have bad knees from running year-round in high school, and my back can get "iffy". For the most part though, I'm healthy, which I'm thankful for.
LS: Who have been your toughest opponents?
KC: Everybody is tough in their own way, but overall the toughest have been AmyLee, Lorelei Lee and Discord. They all take…or give…a beating and keep coming back. I always know I need to be on my toes a wee bit more if I'm facing them.
LS: Who are your allies?
KC: My closest ally is Shorty Smalls. He was my main charge as a manager, and he watches my back, too. Other than that, I keep everybody at arms' length. I don't trust many people.
LS: What has been your most memorable win?
KC: The first time I ever won a belt was cool. I'm not one to go crazy about whether or not I have a title, but the very first one is cool for everybody, I'm sure. I also think of the first time I won a match with my parents and brother in attendance as a highlight. Having my family attend some of my shows is a great feeling.
LS: What was your worst loss?
KC: Any loss. Who wants to lose? The worst one was probably losing to Mercedes Martinez in the final round of the 2006 WXW Elite 8 tournament. It was my third match that night, and losing it was a hard pill to swallow. I have to admit though, she was tougher on that night, and deserved the win.
LS: What type of match do you enjoy the most?
KC: I enjoy singles matches. I like doing things on my own, my way. It allows me to have the control of the match without having to share the spotlight with a partner. I like slower paced, old school style matches. It's what I know.
LS: What sort of reactions do you get from people when they learn you are a wrestler?
KC: Usually a mix of shock, disbelief, and laughter. Depending on the person's perception of wrestling, they either think it's really cool, or really weird. Regardless though, once they know, they're interested in knowing every detail about it. It's always interesting to see what people's reactions will be. They're all different.
LS: What is so special about this sport to you?
KC: Everything. It's such an underrated sport. Because to me, it IS a sport. It doesn't get the respect it deserves, and probably never will. Wrestling is like nothing else. You basically throw your body away for it, but once it's in your blood, it's there. The respect wrestlers have for each other is amazing. It's an understanding, because we know what each other goes through. We're all in it together. To know that there is this fraternity of peers who are the only ones capable of understanding why you'd drive 7 hours to get paid $20 is priceless. There is nothing like hearing a crowd chant your name, or boo the heck out of you just for walking out of the curtain. Or having a kid ask for your autograph, or a picture with you. Wrestling allows you to incorporate your "real self" with your "wrestling self" and when people take to that, it's magic. I was mesmerized by it as a kid, and now I'm on the other side. I wouldn't change it for a second.
LS: What are your fans like?
KC: Loyal. Very loyal and very supportive. The fact that I won the PGWA Newcomer of 2007 award is proof of that. If I didn't have such great fans, I never would've won that. And there was so many other great ladies up for that honor, I was shocked that I won. My fans understand me I think, and know that I just am who I am. I'm just me, and I think they see that. I don't BS anybody. I try not to insult anybody's intelligence. It's a mutual thing between me and my fans.
LS: Where have you wrestled, and what titles have you held?
KC: I've wrestled in VA, MD, WV, NC, PA, MA, OH, IL, and FL. I've held the WXW Women's title, the NWL/HoPWF Ladies title, and the UCW Women's title. I've been lucky to have wrestled in as many places as I have. Hopefully that list will grow in 2008.
LS: What are your thoughts on women participating in the sport?
KC: I'm all for it of course. As long as they're trained. It's hard enough for women to earn respect in this business. Having women who have not been properly trained makes it that much harder. This business is so hard to begin with, it just makes it that much harder when women are given labels so easily. But the sport is mainly men, so we need to earn our respect, just like the guys do. I'm hoping the day will come when a women's match will be heralded as a great match...period. Not a great match for a women’s match...just a great match. It's like saying a girl "is pretty...for a redhead". Those little footnotes make it seem like we don't try as hard, or care as much, which is so untrue. There is room for all types of women, the girls who provide the T&A stuff, the girls who do the announcing or interviewing, and the girls who are great between the ropes. We just need to keep doing what we're doing, and that's forcing people to notice that we do belong in wrestling, and we do deserve to be here.
LS: What was your most unforgettable moment in the sport?
KC: The first time I was on a show. That very first time. There weren't many fans in the crowd, but to be up there, next to the ring, and to have them watching me and reacting to what I was doing was amazing. I'll never forget that feeling.
LS: Any regrets?
KC: Not yet!
LS: What would you do if you couldn't be in wrestling?
KC: I would probably just be working my day job, and still attending the matches as a fan, watching wrestling on TV, etc.
LS: What is your personal motto?
KC: Don't stop, no matter what, until it's on my terms. It gets hard to keep going sometimes, but I have to remind myself that this is my dream, my life, and nobody else's, even if it's hard to keep my chin up sometimes.
LS: What would make you most happy in life?
KC: To be healthy when I'm done wrestling, and to be able to look back on it and smile. I have a few close friends who I met though wrestling, and hopefully they will be friends for life.
LS: Anything else you'd like to add?
KC: Thank you to everybody for all the support!! I truly appreciate it, and I promise to keep giving it my all and entertaining you to the best of my ability. Please support your local indy wrestling shows!!
LS: Kacee, congratulations again, and we look forward to seeing you back in the PGWA ring soon!
pics courtesy of Kacee Carlisle