LadySports ::: ARIEL


Q & A with Darryl Gillikin

"Why now? Why not?"

It is fair to say that at the beginning of the 21st century, the New England 
region was one of the major hotbeds for women’s professional wrestling 
talent in the United States.  In July of 2001, a 17 year old girl would step 
into the ring for the first time.  And over the course of the next ten years, 
she would set foot in many more rings.  Not just in New England, 
but across the United States, as well as in Mexico and in Japan.  She 
would become one of the original members of the SHIMMER roster.

And then… she would step away.

But life takes a number of twists and turns.  Twelve years after first 
venturing into retirement, Ariel returned to the ring, and began picking 
up right where she left off.  

Ladysports Online recently caught up with the prodigal Portuguese 
Powerhouse to see why, and to get an idea of what might be next.

The Stats:

Height: 5’2”
Weight: A gentleman never asks, and especially not in the first interview.
Hair: Light
Hometown: Azores, Portugal by way of New Bedford, Massachusetts   

Ladysports:      First of all, the BIG question: why now? What 
motivated you to return to the ring in 2022?

Ariel: I wish I had a fun and exciting reason as to “Why Now?”, but 
it really was not that calculated.  After leaving the last time to have two more kids, 
returning was the last thing on my mind. By chance, my trainer, Brickhouse Baker, 
was toying with the idea of doing a House of Bricks Reunion show.  I made 
mention that if a reunion show was to happen, I should be a part of it… jokingly!  
But then it became, “Oh it’s just one match…” to now. I will say that my biggest 
motivation now is my children and the joy and pride on their faces 
whenever they see me out there.

LS:      You’re gonna make me emotional. Moving on…  Outside of a 
brief period in 2015-6, you were away from the business for a good decade. 
How have locker rooms changed during that time? Would you say for the better 
or for the worse?

A: Locker rooms are different now in the sense that there are a lot more 
girl wrestlers than there were back in my day.  (showing my age here!)   Some of 
the lingo has changed, so I often turn to my husband and ask him what they’re 
talking about.  As far as whether it is better or worse, I don’t think it's a fair 
question, because it is just different.  

LS:      Fair enough.  Now, I have to say… respectfully, as I believe the 
kids say today online. But, respectfully… your physical transformation from 2010 to 
2022 has been nothing short of amazing and impressive. What went into getting 
you where you are today? How difficult was it to get to this point?

A: Thank you so much for the compliment! I am still a work in progress. 
Between having six children along with some other health issues, it just was time 
that I needed to take care of myself.  It has been a complete lifestyle change, and 
I am still adapting to all the changes to this day.  Also, if you add to the fact that 
my hair is a different color, it is quite amusing seeing people I haven’t seen in 
almost a decade not recognize me.  


LS:      Just makes it easier to pay back old scores, if they don’t see 
you coming.  Obviously, the landscape of women’s wrestling in the US has 
changed dramatically since you wrestled your first match in 2001. What are 
your thoughts when you look at that landscape today?

A: There’s more girls who want to go out there, prove their worth and 
beat the s*** out of each other to show what they are made/capable of rather 
than a handful scattered around the country. That excites me because it means 
greater challenges and more opportunity to prove that it’s not I’ve still got it, 
but rather I never lost it!

LS:      Some of your contemporaries have left the business, some are in 
very prominent positions today. (You’ve wrestled Mercedes Mone, Natalya, Saraya, 
and Mercedes Martinez, to name just a few.) Is there anyone out there you’re particularly 
eager to cross paths with again? Or, going the other direction, is there perhaps 
someone who has come along recently that you’d like to get your hands on?

A: It is so interesting to see all the girls I have wrestled in some amazing 
positions on TV or living their best lives with their families.  I would love to cross 
paths with Malia Hosaka again. I learn so much anytime I am in her presence, let 
alone in the ring with her.  I would love to cross paths with Nikki Roxx…


LS:      Former PGWA Champion Nikki Roxx.
A: Right!  Like I said, I’d love to cross paths with her again.  
But she has retired, even though they say wrestlers never fully retire.

LS:      Well, we see how well you’ve stuck to retirement. 
 A: (laughs) 

LS:      I’m sure a lot of people would love to see you and Nikki go at 
it again.  Just… keep the fork retired.
A: I also really enjoy working with Davienne!  Since I have been back, 
we have had some tag matches and even a triple threat, but I would love to do 
a one on one series with her for sure!

LS:      What are your immediate goals, now that you’re back in the ring?
A: Immediate goals include continuing to have fun and show my kiddos 
that you can do anything if you work hard for it.  If I can wrestle part time while 
being a full time student, working two jobs and managing a home with six 
kids and pets, then they can conquer the world.

LS:      One home.  Six kids.  Two jobs.  Full-time student.  AND ruling 
the ring.  If that’s not the definition of a Portuguese Powerhouse, I don’t know what is.  
Ariel, thank you so much for your time! 

Photos courtesy of Ariel