Tuesday, May 31, 2011

David Falcon Interviews Marti Belle

Marti Belle
Photo by David Falcon

Smart and sexy indy wrestler Marti Belle caught my attention when she first began working WSU shows in the winter of 2010.  She is articulate, athletic, with an effervescent smile, the kind of girl that lights up the room, the gym, or the wrestling ring.  I have seen her wrestle in New Jersey and Ohio and many more people need to get acquainted with this rising star in the independent wrestling world. 
                   All David Falcon's photos are in high resolution (click to enlarge)

DF:  Marti Belle is a name increasingly known on the indy scene in NY, NJ, PA, and OH.  How did a talented NYC girl with model looks get interested in wrestling?

MARTI:  Well first off, thanks! I actually grew up watching wrestling. I was a big fan of WCW and WWF growing up as well as watching it with my father when I was younger. When I got to high school, I got involved in a lot of things and sort of dropped my interest at that point. After graduating from College, that’s where I think I saw the fire pick up again.  

DF:  How did your friends and family react when they learned of your passion for wrestling?
MARTI:  Well, when one of my sisters first found out, she really was against it, she just remembered the “Attitude Era” and hated how the women behaved and were treated. My parents and grandmother were always just afraid of me getting hurt. I am super sensitive and known as the emotional one in the family; they just couldn’t see me in the ring. Once they realized how serious I was, they fell behind me 100%.

Marti celebrating her WSU tag belt with family & friends
Photo by David Falcon

DF:  You are from the Dominican Republic originally.  Do they have wrestling there?  Is it an acceptable career for a young woman to pursue?
MARTI:  It's funny that most people think I was born in the Dominican Republic when actually, I was born right here in New York, I just happened to live there for a few years when I was little. There is only really one company that regularly runs in the Dominican Republic called DWE (Dominican Wrestling Entertainment). I was able to actually work out with them for a few days last time I visited. They have no females on the roster and usually have to bring in talent if they want to use a girl (Awesome Kong was the last female they had brought in). It's still looked upon as a male dominated sport and women who are interested in it do get a lot of puzzled looks and the men usually tend to giggle and think you’re joking.

 DF:  You seem to be in great shape.  Have you always been athletic?  What sports did you play in high school? 
MARTI:  Thank you! I have always been somewhat of a “jock”. I started playing softball when I was in the 5th grade and ended up playing Varsity Softball for my high school (mainly as the starting pitcher) and Varsity Volleyball where I ended up being ranked #8 in our division when I graduated.  I’ve always been “one of the boys” whether it was bike riding, skating or playing whatever else the guys were playing.  

DF:  Have you ever had a serious injury or a very close call in terms of your safety as an athlete?

MARTI:  Besides the regular aches and pains that come with being an athlete *knock on wood* the only real problem I’ve had has been my right wrist which I injured in high school playing softball and continued to aggravate in college during stage combat and when I first began training.  I finally learned how to properly wrap and protect it so as to not continue injuring it.  I should have had surgery on it years ago but keep putting it off because I don’t want to take time off from any sports.

Marti and Tina, the Belle Saints, @ WSU (11/6/10)
Photo by David Falcon

DF:  I can see you inspiring women with your amazing physique. How do you manage to stay so fit.  Talk to us about your diet and exercise program.
MARTI:  This is always such an embarrassing question to answer lol. I didn’t really have a diet or exercise program until very recently which is usually pretty surprising to people; I actually had terrible eating habits (pizza all the time, fast food every other day, ice cream, chocolate, etc) and didn’t really do anything other than train at the wrestling school. I’ve put on a few pounds and decided I really wanted to tone them. My eating habits have gotten much better but I am still not exercising as much as I should be, most of my work outs are at home or bike riding which I love.

DF:  When did you begin training and with whom?  Tell us about your start in WUW and your relationship with WSU. 
MARTI:  I officially began my training under Johnny Rodz in August of 09. I had replied to an a casting on Model Mayhem where Tristan Spade & World of Unpredictable Wrestling (WUW) were looking essentially for valets to come down to the ring with a few of the wrestlers. I went in and was selected to be one of the girls. Eventually, they kept bringing me back & I started over seeing pretty much all the valets that came in and became Tristan Spade’s manager which I did for a little over a year. Just a few months of being there, I wanted to start training but the stars weren’t aligned properly, when they did, I jumped in full force, I am currently the WUW Stunner’s Champion.
     WSU came about a year ago when Rick Cataldo recommended my partner Tina San Antonio and myself when Sean was looking to build their tag team division. It's been a crazy ride so far!

Sparkly Marti Belle

DF:  What do you like most about a life in wrestling?
MARTI:  Wrestling combines my passions- sports, acting, dancing and entertaining in general. I love being able to entertain and there’s no rush like it! I love also the people I’ve had a chance to meet on the road as well as traveling.   
Marti v Tina @ AIW in Ohio (July 2010)
Photo by David Falcon

DF:  Tell me about your relationship with Tina San Antonio and the genesis of the Belle Saints.
MARTI:  Tina started training at Rodz’s when I was starting to finish up my program as a manager for Tristan Spade and then began training. Her first match was a few months before mine and in fact, she and the Sweet Pea were my opponents in my very first match. She was also my first singles match.  A few months later, we first teamed up as the Belle Saints for the first time. We teamed up once at WUW and then a few weeks later, got the opportunity to work together for WSU which we of course jumped at. She is one of my closest friends, our relationship is that more of little sister/big sister. I know I drive her crazy but she’s one of the first people I go to for any advice and any help. We’re hitting a little rough patch right now but I know we’ll get through it.
Marti grasps the WSU tag belt for the first time!
Photo by David Falcon

DF:  November 6, 2010 was a glorious night for you and Tina in the ACE Arena.  I was there that night when you won the WSU tag belts from Cindy Rodgers and Jana.  A huge contingent from your family was there as well.  Tell me how you felt that night. 
MARTI:  That night was really amazing. Finally bringing down Jana and Cindy which eventually lead to the disbandment of the Cosmo Club felt great, like all of our hard work was finally starting to pay off. We bust our behinds training and it was just a great moment for us both, especially having such a large part of my family there who are huge Belle Saints supporters. The fact that it was on the first ever iPPV made things even better as my parents who were both out of the country were able to see it as it happened.
Marti celebrates her tag championship with a young fan
Photo by David Falcon

DF:  Does having a belt change you?  Do you feel an added weight of responsibility when you hold a championship?
MARTI:  I think in my case, its changed me for the better. I feel like it meant that I had  to work extra hard to show to everyone why we were at the top of the ladder when it came to tag teams. Holding onto the belt for as long as we did also was great, we were fighting champions, willing to defend them at any time.

DF:  Because of your celebrated success with Tina and The Belle Saints, you are more well known as a tag teamer than a singles wrestler.  Would you like to work more singles matches?
MARTI:  It's funny because I’ve worked a lot more matches as a singles wrestler but most people seem to remember the tag matches more. I enjoy working tags but singles is also really fun and challenging because there is no shared dynamic, I have the spotlight to myself and have to make things happen for myself.
Marti in disbelief after being pinned by Boston Shore

DF:  What happened last Friday in Queens?  You and Tina seemed out of sync and at odds with one another.  Before we knew it, The Boston Shore had stripped you of your WSU title. From your perspective, what went down?  Can you and Tina find your grove by June 25 when you have a shot to win the belts back?
MARTI:  The PWS show last Friday in Queens is still replaying in my head. It feels like a bad dream. I am not sure exactly what happened. It's all still a blur to me; I really want to look back on the tapes and see where we went wrong. There’s unfortunately been some tension between of us as of late, Tina isn’t a big fan of Jazz being included as a Belle Saint. I think we can definitely get back into sync and recover our belts from the clutches of the Boston Shore.
Marti gives Tina a piece of her mind after loss

DF:  What are you looking forward to in the next year?  What can we expect from Marti Belle?  Will you work some new promotions?  Will you expand your regional status to the Midwest, South or international venues?  What indy promotion would you most like to work?
MARTI:  I’m definitely looking towards expanding more now and having my arsenal grow. I am trying to add a lot more into my matches, different styles, different techniques; I just want to explore and see what I feel most comfortable doing. If my schedule permits it, I would love to travel abroad, Mexico, Puerto Rico & Japan are all on the list of places I’d like to conquer. I would be honored to work for SHIMMER as well as AAA or CMLL. Expect a stronger, more determined MB!
Gorgeous Miss Marti Belle

DF:  You are one of the most articulate, composed, self-confident women in wrestling.  I can see you as an announcer, a spokesperson, a news anchor, an actress, a talk show host.  Do you see wrestling being a phase of your development as an entertainer and media personna?  I mean, why put your body through all that punishment if you can have fame and a good paycheck  by working the mic?
MARTI:  Thanks, Falcon. I don’t think wrestling is just a “phase” I see wrestling as a part of my life for the long run. And for the same reasons you have stated, I think I can I do all of the above things while still developing my in ring skills. I would love be able to continue working in/around wrestling as long as my body permits and then, maybe venture out into the other fields.

DF:  I'll ask the question a different way:  What are your goals in wrestling and beyond?  Can you see yourself in the WWE or TNA?
MARTI:  Honestly, I think my goals are many. I want to be able to work for a company where I am properly treated and where I am safe and happy. I want to be able to stay healthy at the same time that I am entertaining fans and doing what I love what I do every day. I could see myself working for either company.
Smart and sexy Marti Belle

DF:  Is there something you'd like to say to your fans before we go?
MARTI:  Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really do have some amazing fans, some who have been by my side since the first day I stepped through the ropes in a little corset, heels and shorts until now. I hope you will all continue to stay by my side and please follow me on twitter, add me on FB, and keep the comments and notes coming!

Thank you for doing this interview with me!  Your fans (and I am a BIG Marti Belle fan!) love you and look forward to you recapturing the WSU tag belts on June 25!

Monday, May 30, 2011

ABS-olutely Terrific Tummies

Here is a gallery of some terrific abs in the wreslting business.   W.H. Auden wrote a poem "In Praise of Limestone"; this photo essay is in praise of ab-stone or abs-tone!  See what I mean?

Mariko Yoshida                                                                             Mercedes Martinez

Cheerleader Melissa

Estrella Magica
                                                                                Jacqueline Moore

Haruhi Moeka

Serena Deeb
                                                                                     Daizee Haze

Marti Belle
                                                                           Tsukasa Fujimoto
Photo by David Falcon                                                    

Trenesha                                         Hikari Shida
Haruhi Moeka



Mercedes KV

Gail Kim                                                
Hikari Minami
Hikari Shida

Nikki Roxx
April Hunter

Angel Dust (left)
Photo by David Falcon


The remarkable Jemma Palmer of Great Britain -- bangin' abs!

REINA. Hiroyo Matsumoto v. Mia Yim

This is Mia Yim's debut match at REINA 2, May 15, 2011. It's a great match with Hiroyo Matsumoto, Joshi's rising young star. The previous post of this video was defective. This one is clean right to the end -- enjoy!

Mia Yim Returns to Japan: July 18-August 25

                                                                                     Mia Yim = REINA Girl!
Mia Yim, Manami Toyota, Hailey Hatred

Something for Joshi Puroresu and Mia Yim fans to look forward to

According to Masanori Horie, Mia Yim will have the following match schedule when she returns to Japan later this summer:


July 18(Mon)5:00PM-Itabashi Green Hall, Tokyo

July 24(Sun)12:00PM-Shin-kiba 1stRING, Tokyo

August 14(Sun)12:00PM-MiSC, Toda City, Saitama

August 27(Sat)7:00PM-Shin-kiba 1stRING, Tokyo

August 21(Sun)1:00PM-Radiant Hall, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Mia vs Hailey in REINA 3
Photo by Youji Kawauchi

Mia Yim Talks about REINA 3 and Her New Inspiration

REINA 3 Match Questions for Mia Yim:

DF:  Where does this match rank among the matches of your career?  Why was it so significant?
MIA:  I think it was significant to me because it involved one of my closest friends, Hailey Hatred who I trust my life with and a living female legend in Japan, Manami Toyota. I was able to pull out moves I wouldn't have been able to back at home. Like I said, I trust Hailey with my life so that gave me the confidence to break out some high flying moves the CMLL girls (Zeuxis and Silueta) had been teaching me the past two weeks.  I didn't want to put that to waste. And to make it better, it was in Japan in front of a Japanese crowd. 
Moonsault from ground camera

DF:  Were you nervous facing a living legend?  If so, what caused the most anxiety?
MIA:  I was extremely nervous. Nervous enough to go up for a top rope missile drop kick, which I have done plenty times, and slip off the ropes >.<   But I am sure anyone would be nervous. It's like a college basketball player playing Michael Jordan in front of the NBA scouts.  It is a lot of pressure -- as everyone is watching your every move. 
Manami has Mia in a painful figure-4 leglock
Photo by Youji Kawauchi

DF:  Some of Youji's photos of Toyota's double boots in your kidneys and her massive missle drop kick from the top rope look stiff as hell.  Was she as tough as advertised or tougher?  She never takes a night off, does she?
MIA:  She is truly one tough cookie. Major respect for her! She gets it in like one of the guys!
Missle dropkick from Manami Toyota
Photo by Youji Kawauchi

DF:  Where did that moonsault come from, girl?  That was Ayako Hamada-like, or, dare I say -- Toyota-like.  How did you develop that move?  Why did you chose this moment to unveil it -- so far from home?
Mia's lucha-inspired Moonsault -- Pure Magic!
                                                           Photos by Youji Kawauchi
MIA:  As I said before, Zeuxis and Silueta taught me a lot of lucha during my stay here. Including some high flying moves. Zeuxis personally said in Spanglish, "I want see you flip!"  Zeuxis and I have become close during my trip, and I didn't want to let her down.  I wanted to show the world what she has taught me.  That along with Hailey gave me confidence to do it.  I wanted to leave people with a "Holy cow! Bring her back!!!" statement!
Mia vs long-time friend, first time opponent, Hailey Hatred
Photos by Youji Kawauchi

DF:   What was it like going against Hailey for the first time? Was it significant that this first-ever meeting between you two was in Japan? Why does everyone love and respect Hailey so much?
MIA:  It was fantastic. I love Hailey sooo much! It was great finally working her.  I can see why people love n respect her.  She is a tough girl who wrestles tough. 
Streamer Salute for Mia Yim
Photo by Youji Kawauchi

DF:  How have the fans treated you in Japan?  What was it like getting streamers for the first time?
MIA:  Fans here are great! Super friendly and respectful. They give presents too -- I love them!  Some also recognized me at the NJPW show.  I love it here!! 
Action from Toyota and Yim at REINA 3
Photo by Youji Kawauchi

DF:  You have described the joshi ring as a TOUGH place to make a living.  These girls hit hard every night.  The matches are long and demanding!  The fans have high expectations.  What toughness lessons do you want to bring back to US indy rings?
MIA:  I want to bring EVERYTHING back to the US.
Mia Yim finishes her monster moonsault to the outside vs. Manami and Hailey

Photos by Youji Kawauchi

DF:  The REINA promotion obviously loved you!  They gave you two marquee matches against the best young wrestler in the country (Matsumoto) and the best all-time in Japan (Toyota) -- that's a HUGE compliment to be paid to a US girl just beginning to climb the ladder of respect at SHIMMER.  Both matches went over 11:00!  Why do you think you were given so much respect in Japan?  What do you have to look forward to on your next visit?
MIA:  I don't know why I am liked everywhere really.  I just do what I love doing. I think they like something different since I am of mixed race.  I am looking forward to meeting more fans and training a lot more.  Also to go watch more NJPW shows; I learn A LOT just by watching.
Fujita Jr. Hayato in New Japan Pro Wrestling
Photo by Mia Yim

DF:  You have made no secret of the identity of your new wrestling muse -- NJPW's Fujita Jr Hayato!  You have seen him wrestle twice in the last week.  What do you love about this man?  List some of the ring attributes that you would like to emulate. 
MIA:  I can talk about Hayato for hours! I am so glad to have gone to a NJPW show and be introduced to him and a lot of other amazing talent like Taichi and Ibushi.  Hayato just has that young fire! He has the look like he wants to kill someone. He is all serious -- down to business.  His kicks are LETHAL!  He is super smart with his matches and uses a mix of wrestling moves and MMA moves.   Although he is smaller than some of the other wrestlers, but he is quick and kicks the hell out of everyone.  He is my ultimate favorite now and I hope to meet him one day.  Every time I go to Japan, I will try to see him wrestle a few times whether its at NJPW, Zero 1, or M Pro.  Much respect for that guy!