Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Plain Evil Interview

Just Plain Evil in a contemplative mood

Recently, I had the chance to interview the grand dame of New Zealand women's wrestling, Just Plain Evil (JPE).  She has been in the ring for eleven years in a country where wrestling has not been a well known sport.  A single mom committed to raising her two children and a woman who suffers from Asburger's Syndrome, JPE is nothing short of remarkable for her commitment to wrestling.  Recently she has been the super-heel-mother-hen-draped-in-black for some fine young talent coming up in Kiwi Country -- I'm talking about Britenay, Megan-Kate, and Evie.  These four NZ wrestlers took a big trip earlier this month to Australia where they wrestled in a PWA and PWWA shows.  It was one of the highlights of her 11 year career.  I hope you enjoy this close-up look at New Zealand super heel, Just Plain Evil.

DF:  For many fans that are just discovering you and NZ wrestling, how long have you been wrestling and what piqued your interest?

JPE:  I have been wrestling for 11 years on and off, mostly on.  I watched WWF as a child and always loved the drama of it.

DF:  Who did you train with and for how long before your first match?  Tell us about that first match.

JPE:  I trained first with a sport-fighting coach, then a stunt man, Steve Hodgenson.  I learned a lot from Charles Warner, The Machine, along with IPW male wrestlers.  My first match was on an all-female card.  I was totally nervous till I walked out of that curtain and then realized "This was what I am supposed to be doing!"  It came naturally after that.

JPE in action earlier this month in Australia

DF:  How did you discover your ring character – Just Plain Evil (JPE) – and what is her most frightening attribute?

JPE:  Since I have had the same name for 11 years, back when I first started, i was a troubled angry person so being evil and mean just seemed to fit.  It was in a way the person I was then, but I could enhance it tenfold!  It gave me an escape in a way.  Most frightening attribute would just have to be my glare; it has scared kids, and even intimidated adults.  My nasty, hard-hitting performance in the ring is pretty frightening to watch as well -- especially for fans of my opponent, muaw-ha-ha.

DF:  Playing a super-heel looks like so much fun!  Do you enjoy your work?

JPE:  It is amazing fun!  I could not imagine being anything but a heel.  It’s nice to know you do your job well that people end up legitimately hating your character.  I enjoy it immensely!  It’s why I have carried on wrestling even through bringing up two kids on my own.

JPE just being her nasty self

DF:  Can you ever imagine yourself doing a “face” turn?

JPE:  I have tried it in the past against male opponents.  It always feels weird.  I guess if the moment was right then maybe I’d try it -- I'd give it my all and make it work anyway!

DF:  In the IPW promotion in New Zealand’s relatively small wrestling scene, you see a lot of Britenay, Evie, and Megan-Kate.   How do you make matches fresh for the audience when you have worked each other so many times before?

JPE:  It is small, very small. As far as trying to make matches fresh:  personally I keep seeking out new material, trying to make up my own stuff.  I have a core group of moves that I don’t change; I don’t need to -- they do the job.  I guess the fact it is mixed up a bit helps mixed tags, triple threats, etc.  Adding new element to my character every few shows can help too.

"You talkin' ta me?"

DF:  The fact that you four NZ girls got to travel to PWWA in Australia must have been a thrilling professional moment.  What was the highlight of that trip for you?

JPE:  It was an honor.  It was definitely meeting new people.  That’s a thing which I admit, personally, is very hard for me – someone who suffers from Asburgers Syndrome.  It makes it very difficult for me to know how to act in social situations despite being a wrestler and performing regularly.  The person behind the Just Plain Evil character is amazingly shy, which sometimes may be mistaken for rudeness. The matches were a highlight being able to work with new amazing talent was fantastic! Everyone was very welcoming.  I received great feedback on my matches from various male talent on the brother promotion so that was lovely.

DF:  Do you see yourself traveling to Australia and beyond in the future to wrestle?  If so where would you most like to go?

JPE:  I am not sure to be honest.  I am a single Mum as mentioned before.  I’ve been around 11 years, so if the opportunity arose, sure, I'd give it 10000%!  If not, maybe moving down the line here in New Zealand and giving it a go down there maybe, the future is a wide open space full of opportunities. I am definitely aiming for Brisbane, Australia early next year though.  If I win lotto, I'd try USA.

JPE lowering th boom on an Aussie girl

DF:  Do you see the New Zealand wrestling scene expanding and growing in the near future?  What does women’s wrestling in NZ need in order to be on par with the Australian, Canadian, or European women’s wrestling scenes – is it just a numbers game (more girls needed)?

JPE:  Definitely, more girls are needed!  Our girls are just as talented as overseas wrestlers so it would be nice to showcase that more. As for expanding, who knows?  New Zealand is small and the scene is small, but huge progress has been made already so I see future success.

DF:  Your country must be going crazy right now hosting the Rugby World Cup.  I happy to see that the All Blacks are off to a good start in the tournament.  Can anyone pay attention to wrestling during the next month will rugby is king?

JPE:  Well, yes, the Rugby World Cup is huge to New Zealand.  We are the rugby nation, really.  Sure the focus may be off wrestling a little bit, but it could also encourage overseas visitors to pop along.  So we will see if wrestling gets a bump in attention from so many outside visitors in NZ.

Young Evie does not look too confident with this cover on JPE

DF:  How important is it for wrestlers to keep an online presence through Facebook, Twitter, websites, etc?

JPE:  I think it's important especially in NZ where you are relatively unknown.  I have a few sites I like to keep updated, (!/profile.php?id=100002476327965 ). I have a demand for it so I supply it; if that dried up I'd stop.  Sometimes it can work against you also so it's a balancing game.  I enjoy promoting various wrestling pages and wrestlers, we’ve got to stick together and look out for each other in this business.

JPE logo poster

DF:  What wrestling event in the next four months are you most looking forward to?

JPE:  Definitely Aussie next year, looking to travel there more.  Always looking to travel in order to improve and learn.

Thank you for taking time to do this interview.  Best of luck to you (and the All Blacks) this autumn. 

Kiwis are cheering their beloved All Blacks rugby team this month in the World Cup (NZ hosts)

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