Interviews with one of the top women's wrestlers going today, a standout wrestler who bridged styles of wrestling and returned to mat action after a phone call from a respected friend and an up-and-coming talent who competed in last year's WWE Mae Young Classic.
Ivelisse of Lucha Underground
Lucha Underground standout Ivelisse appeared in South Florida to wrestle Sexy Star in the main event of Coastal Championship Wrestling's Cinco de Mayo show at Coyo Taco in Miami. She's wrestled in South Florida before and so many other places nationally and internationally, building quite the reputation as a tough competitor.
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Beautiful, too, she is one of the best going today, and Lucha Underground (8 p.m. Wednesdays El Rey Network) is happy to have her.
Ivelisse, 29, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. She began training as a teenager, learning from Carlos Colon and later Savio Vega. She made her debut in 2002 and has traveled the world, wrestling in Chile, China, Ecuador, England, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States.
"Because I'm so tenacious and ambitious, I could visualize all of that, that I wanted to attain," she said. "It's always been a matter of when. When will I get there? Because I know I'm not gonna stop until I get my goal."
WWC set the foundation.
"I began my TV [wrestling] experience in WWC in Puerto Rico with Carlos Colon," she said. "That's where I started to learn a lot about TV stuff — promos, hard cam stuff."
She paid her dues, and in 2011, Ivelisse was chosen for the fifth season of WWE Tough Enough. She did not win, eliminated because of injury, but WWE signed her, and she worked for FCW and then NXT.
After her WWE release in 2012, she wrestled the indies, including Shimmer and Shine. She went to Mexico, wrestling for AAA. She had a couple of spots with TNA Impact Wrestling, before inking a deal with Lucha Underground in 2014. She is a former Lucha Underground Trios Champion along with Son of Havoc and Angelico.
"Lucha Underground has been amazing," she said. "They've always been very professional. They took care of me, when I got injured. They take care of us great, when we're filming there [Boyle Heights, Calif]. It's been a pretty amazing journey."
A journey that has led to Season 4.
"It's gonna be awesome," she said. "New characters. Me in particular, I'm gonna be more mean. No love stories. I'm gonna kick ass."
The physical competition, that's what she enjoys most.
"I love that there's no love stories," she said. "I've been in sports since I was 8. I did cross-county. I delved myself into every sport I could. Volleyball, basketball, baseball. I've always been a sports girl, fitness, athletic. So that competitive drive is second nature for me.
"Also, I've always been a serious, hard working female, and that's something I feel is very important to represent, especially as role models...It's a big goal of mine to represent within women's wrestling, and it's something I always want to bring to the table -- to bring credibility to women's wrestling as much as possible."
Ivelisse is doing just that.
At CCW Cinco de Mayo, she and Sexy Star main evented the show, and they delivered a very sound, physical match.
"I've enjoyed being able to work in different places around the world, learning about different cultures, being able to inspire people, regardless of gender, regardless of race, regardless of anything," she said. "That, to me, actually has always been the most rewarding of all things.
For the full interview with Lucha Underground's Ivelisse before her CCW Cinco de Mayo match, click:
CCW on the Web:
For Ivelisse on Twitter, click:
“Lucha Underground," featuring Ivelisse, is in its fourth season on El Rey Network. The weekly one-hour show is 8 p.m. ET Wednesdays.
Lucha Underground on social media
Petey Williams of Impact Wrestling
The 5-7, 180-pound Petey Williams, a two-time Impact Wrestling X-Division Champ, helped open doors for smaller wrestlers to compete on a big stage.
Williams, 36, notes coming out of retirement to return to Impact Wrestling thanks to Scott D'Amore who has helped him in wrestling and in life. He also discusses earning a college degree, his kids watching him wrestle, and more.
A native of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Williams talks the importance of family, the X-Division, the talent in Impact Wrestling, his stellar finisher the Canadian Destroyer (front flip piledriver), being a fan of the NHL and more.
Impact Wrestling is 8 p.m. ET Thursdays on Pop TV.
Zeda Zhang of FEW
Rodolfo Roman of The Roman Show interviewed former NXT superstar Zeda at Fighting Evolution Wrestling Summer Showdown 3 at Coral Springs High School in South Florida.
Now known as Zeda Zhang, she gave The Roman Show details on her current status and her future.
"I have no idea if I’ll be in the [WWE] Mae Young Classic [this year],” she said. “I hope I am it. It will be awesome."
Zhang, 30, was chosen for last year's Mae Young Classic.
She said: "In the Indies I am wiling to wrestle anyone, because I want to get out there because I’ve really been exposed only to NXT for the most part at least here in Florida. Of course, I want to wrestle Renee Michelle.”
Michelle, the FEW Flares Champion, also competed in last year's inaugural Mae Young Classic.
Prior to wrestling, Zhang trained in mixed martial arts at California’s Black House MMA, the training grounds of Anderson Spider Silva.
“It was a great experience, very different. Before I went to NXT, it was like I had some Indy friends, and I saw some shows, but not a lot. But going in there is like learning how everything is done in there and then coming here I am like wow they are more for TV and more detailed cause they have to be, but this they are very entertaining. They are engaging, pulling fans it’s a whole other experience.”
The recently released WWE recruit doesn’t plan to continue in mixed marital arts.
“I want to focus my time in wrestling," she said. "I’ve spent 10 years in MMA. After doing all that doing MMA and the entertainment industry like singing and dance. I was always torn between the two. I was like, ‘Should I chase the MMA career or acting, modeling career?’ Afterward, what I realized there was this, this was fitting.”
Zeda Zhang has since worked for I Believe in Wrestling and Major League Wrestling in Orlando.
Watch the complete interview, as Zeda Zhang talks about training at Blackhouse MMA, how she got involved with professional wrestling and more.
For Zeda Zhang on Twitter, click:
Miami's own Rodolfo Roman also does Spanish commentary for FEW international TV tapings and ring announcing for local MMA shows
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