|Posted on August 13, 2016 at 4:50 AM|
Hey Greg here to deliver another exclusive Wrestling Divaz interview. Here with me today is an international female star that has been in the wrestling industry since the late 90s. Capturing numerous championships (held by both genders) she has worked hard for female wrestling to be seen on an equal playing field. Joining me now is Lufisto; thanks for your time today!
Q1. Some fans may not know that you made your professional debut in 1997. The industry was very different back then, especially for a female performer. If you can recall, stepping into your first day of training, what was the atmosphere like for you being a young women in a male dominated sport?
LuFisto: Pretty much everybody I knew was telling me that I would not be able to succeed. My step father kept telling me that wrestling was not for girls. Many mentioned that I was too short, fat, (I was 200 lbs back then) and that, “I was just a girl.”
When I first showed up at the school, I was the only woman in the class. Right from the start, people were looking at me weird. So, one of my teachers, Pierre Marchessault, told me that wrestling was a lot tougher than it looked like. However, if I showed up at every single class, he would make sure that I succeeded.
Back then, every time I was telling people I was learning to be a wrestler, people thought that I would end up being a “bar oil and gravy wrestler” because, “That’s what women did.” Being a girl in wrestling was “wrong.”
So I made it a mission to prove everybody wrong as soon as I joined the school. I would be the first to take the moves we were taught. Even if I was hurt, I wouldn’t say a word because I didn’t want anybody to tell me, “The girl was too much of a pussy to be a serious and legitimate wrestler.”
Fortunately, with all the negative stuff I had against me, someone mentioned the name of Vivian Vachon to me. Vivian, sister of Mad Dog and Butcher Vachon, was a bad ass. I wanted to be just like her.
Q2. Learning how to "work" is a process and many say that you don't truly learn something until you screw up. In terms of working through mistakes or obstacles, what do you know now that you wish you could have when your career first started?
LuFisto: I was thrown in the ring after only a few months of training because they needed a girl for a women’s match. My opponent was experienced, but she decided in the middle of the match that she would change everything. I think I did fairly well for being in such a situation. However, I should have said that I wasn’t ready. I wish I could’ve learned more before having my first actual wrestling match.
I guess it didn’t help either that before crossing the curtain, a male wrestler threw water at me saying that I was doomed to be a failure. He said, “You want it too much kid, know your damn place.” Then my music started playing, and I made my way to the ring.
I was fortunate to learn from other people later in my career like Grand Prix Wrestler Len “Kojak” Shelley, Mariko Yoshida, and Akino. However, I really wish that I had someone like a “wrestling mom” to guide me and teach me the way. Someone like Saraya Knight comes to mind. I pretty much learned everything alone through a trial and error process as my wrestling school closed its doors.
Q3. You’re known for your anime/cosplay wrestling attires as well as a history of participating in hardcore matches. When you go out there to perform, what is your objective while using this unique blend that isn't typical of a female wrestler?
LuFisto: When I started doing the anime, I wanted to mix cuteness with sheer violence. That way people would be surprised by what I would be doing in the ring, not expecting someone all funny and wearing cartoon clothing to be as intense and aggressive. As the years passed, I started to see the same type of character everywhere so I slowly killed the anime version of me. Staying unique and relevant is really important for me. I will change my hair color, my gear, and some of my move set quite often so people don’t get bored with me. I don’t want to get bored with myself either. After close to 20 years in this sport, you can get “blasé” easily.
My objective is always to offer the best match I can. I always aim for “Match of the Night,” or at least to give the fans something different from what they will see on the rest of the card. Slowing down has never been an option for me.
Q4. The psychology to a wrestling match is arguably the most important mindset to understand, and some would say it evolves as the business changes. What is your regime as far as studying and applying your craft; do you have a certain system?
LuFisto: I study every opponent I am scheduled to fight. I believe in being a ring general. It’s important to enhance the strengths and cover the weaknesses of everyone involved. When I read or hear that, “So-and-so had the match of her life against LuFisto”; I know I did my job for sure. Wrestling should be about team work. It’s about having the best match you can despite wrestling with someone who has less experience, or someone that has to work with an injury. If I had to give a name to my system I would probably call it the “Weaknesses and Strengths Equilibrium.”
Q5. You stated that, "Wrestling is a way of life." For some this is a blessing, others a curse. After so many years of sacrifices, injuries, and obstacles, how do you manage to stay away from the demons of the industry?
LuFisto: I have demons, but I don’t drown them in alcohol or pills. I try to deal with them some other ways and it is not always easy. I’ve worked so hard to make sure female athletes are seen as serious, and I’ve even fought the government for women wrestlers to have the same rights as man. You get beat up so bad just to prove that you can take it just as the boys do. I’ve never said no to receiving dangerous moves and bumps in order to prove that girls can do it too. I’ve worked injured because you don’t want to hear that women are too weak for wrestling. I’ve worked so hard to get the same recognition, titles, and opportunities. However, when you’ve done all that and haven’t reached your goal to make it big, it takes a toll on you.
There is nothing worst as an entertainer/ athlete than to be ignored. Even if you did some great things, all you see is a failure. I keep reading stuff like, “This girl is the first that did so-and-so," when I did the same years ago, people forget. When you are not on TV, it is like you don’t exist. I think I might be the only women who won so many male titles that didn’t make it to the PWI 500, when some who had just a few matches against males made it
You ask yourself how can someone sacrifice so much and get nothing. We always hear work hard and your dreams will come true. However, when they don’t, what do you do? The harsh reality is that hard work and sacrifices doesn’t guarantee success or recognition. Trust me when I tell you that it hurts a lot.
Q6. As mentioned before, you've spent nearly 20 years in the business. That's quite a long time for anyone to have a wrestling career male or female. As the landscape of the business changes, how do you manage to stay relevant and in the eyes of people where desired?
LuFisto: As mentioned before, I try to stay relevant by changing my style/gimmick often. When I feel someone is too close from what I do, I change my look and style. I’m actually working on something new with my seamstress at the moment because I’m seeing too many similarities with some people, especially on TV. I’m trying to come up with something that just can’t be on TV. Being a heel in California for Alpha Omega Wrestling, it gives me the opportunity to try something new. I’m looking forward to their next events.
Q7. As you've gained more experience, you've trained a fair number of prominent wrestlers. Do you mind sharing the first piece of advice you give them on their first day of training?
LuFisto: Wrestling is about learning how to deal with pain on a daily basis, physically and mentally. It is more than just a sport; it is a way of life. If you are not ready to sacrifice a lot, you won’t go far. Also, to know where you are going, you need to know where you came from. Read about the history of wrestling. Talk, and especially listen to the veterans out there whenever possible. Their experience and knowledge has no price. Finally, make sure you always learn. Once you think you know everything, it’ll be time to stop.
Q8. When your career has run its full course, what is it that you'd like to be remembered for the most?
LuFisto: I hope people will remember me as the little one who stood tall for all women in the sport of wrestling when there was nobody else. I was the one who got all the beatings just to prove that women were as tough as men, alongside Mickie Knuckles, who is also too often forgotten. We stood toe to toe with the guys, and we proved people wrong. We were the women’s revolution in wrestling before it became cool.
Q9. If there wasn't wrestling in your life at all during the time when you first broke in, where do you think you'd be?
LuFisto: I would probably be playing music. Heavy metal has been my escape since I heard the first riff of “Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden when I was only 3. I was playing bass and signing in a band before I got involved in wrestling. I was also an artist, painting and drawing all kinds of stuff. Therefore, I think I would probably still be a graphic designer, which I am in my everyday life outside of wrestling. I would be singing or focusing on my art for sure.
Q10. If you could sum up your experience as a pro wrestler using just one word, what would it be?
LuFisto's Website: https://www.lufisto.com/
Categories: Text Interviews