|Posted on May 5, 2018 at 7:35 PM|
Greg here with another exclusive Wrestling Divaz interview. Joining me today is “The Princess of Ponsonby,” Ashley Spencer. A softball player beforehand, she has become one of New Zealand’s hottest rising stars and captured the PWE Women’s Championship despite being young in her career.
1. There are a lot of wrestling fans out there who fall in love with the spectacle of it all for many different reasons. For you, what was the exact moment where you knew you'd be a die hard pro wrestling fan? Was there any particular moment in it's history or athlete in particular that cemented your interest?
Ashlee: I’ve always been around wrestling. My grandmother was a huge fan of Jake ‘The Snake” Roberts, so from the time I was 3 or 4 years old, I was already being influenced by that. However, I was raised in a strict Christian home and wrestling wasn’t deemed an acceptable viewing choice. When my grandmother passed, I was only able to see pieces of wrestling through things like K-Zone Magazine, which is a popular children’s magazine here in NZ. It wasn’t until I hit 22, and I was at a friend’s house. They had WWE on in the background, and I became a fan. This was during the Cena/Lesnar feud in early 2015. The real pivotal moment for me was the Raw after Mania (Wrestlemania 30) that same year, when Paige debuted and won the title off of AJ Lee. I started training less than a year later.
2. Given your modeling background accompanied by your young age and gender, did you feel that there was a double standard at all when you first started training as opposed to your fellow male trainees?
Ashlee: Being a male dominated business and coming in as a 23 year old female had its challenges. I wouldn’t describe it as a double standard so much, but there is a phenomenon within wrestling that I hadn’t experienced elsewhere, which we refer to as “Vulture Culture.” Basically, the males try to pick off the young female trainees. Little did they know I’m a Taurus Sun, so I’m not afraid to butt heads with anyone. I would put them in their place pretty quick.
3. In wrestling (because it's part of the entertainment industry), there tends to be much more failure than success. Since there are no promises, how do you personally define success within this career?
Ashlee: If the crowd is hot, and I’m not unconscious, or I sell merch that night, it’s a success for me. I’m here because I enjoy the art form, and when it stops bringing me joy, I’ll leave.
4. In your blog you write that you have been (at times) highly critical of your own work when it comes to getting the desired reactions from the crowd you wrestle in front of. What do you feel is most important in the growth process in terms of being able to stand by your conviction and sense of trust?
Ashlee: My desired reaction and the booking team’s desired reaction often don’t align. I’m playing the role they write for me, and in that sense, I’ve never let them down. I’m highly critical of my own ability to wrestle, but not of my ability to play a part. If I’m uncomfortable with something I’m told to do, I voice it. I’m sure it annoys the hell out of people, but I know if I don’t feel something, then it’s going to look like I’m just going through the motions in the ring.
5. You have also blogged that your in-ring persona, "The Princess of Ponsonby," is built through the negative stereotypes of the millennial generation concerning entitlement and instant gratification. How do you feel your character reflects you in real life if at all?
Ashlee: The real me now owns quite a few tiaras, but otherwise there’s not a lot of similarities. I’m either coming from the gym, or heading to it; so I’m always in active-wear, an oversized hoodie, and sneakers. I don’t care what I look like or what I wear as long as it’s functional and ethical. I couldn’t tell you the last time I went out on the town. I like to distance myself from the online world; it brings out the worst in people.
6. There are some heels (villains) in wrestling that are committed to carrying their personas outside of the ring to convince the audience that they should be truly hated. Are you bothered at all with people who might believe that you really are this spoiled princess?
Ashlee: I’ve never been spoiled in my life so I just laugh. I am however, highly sarcastic, and I think that comes out a lot in character. Sarcasm makes me happy. My opinion of myself trumps any other opinion of me, so people can think what they like, and I’ll just carry on doing things that make me laugh.
7. After many years of hard work, women in wrestling are getting more spotlight on TV and abroad. How would you like to influence this welcomed shift as your career continues to gain momentum?
Ashlee: If someone turned me into a meme I would be stoked. It would be cool to see more women in New Zealand take interest in becoming a wrestler, so building a strong women’s division here is my goal. I’d love to see 10-20 passionate women alongside me, and maybe even outweighing the boys in numbers. I would hope that women look at me and think, “She makes me think I can do this too.”
8. You are very young in your career as mentioned before, but once you've had your final match, what would you like to be remembered for the most by the fans?
Ashlee: Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to do a really great stipulation match like a TLC or cage match. We don’t see women doing that here in NZ, so I feel that would be remembered for a long time.
9. If you could sum up your experience as a pro wrestler using just one word what would it be?
You can follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleeSpencer.
Categories: Text Interviews