Interview: “If it’s not good, it’s because it’s fucking amazing. That’s what EVE brings” – Emily Read (Pro-Wrestling EVE)

This interview first appeared in our wrestling magazine SteelChair in April 2017 – Order here

For years, fans within the UK and many more across the world have spoken about an all-female professional wrestling promotion dedicated to showcasing the best women wrestlers in all of Europe. That promotion has had an incredible 2016 and an already sterling 2017 with events that have made fans stand back in awe at what they have witnessed. The promotion is Pro Wrestling EVE, and we recently spoke to Emily Read, Co-Creator/Owner and Ring Announcer of EVE.

So how did you get started in wrestling and being involved in wrestling promotions?

I couldn’t see a logical way to get into wrestling apart from training. The Wrestling Channel was out and I saw the adverts for FWA Academy and I was in Norfolk so I was like, “Yeah.” I signed up and started training. Then I just moved there so I could train to be a wrestler and that’s when I met Dan. I decided to stop wrestling for many reasons, my Bipolar was quite bad cause I wasn’t medicated, so that made training hard. I didn’t really want to be a wrestler anyway, I always wanted to be a commentator. Then I got very interested in the details of how to run shows. Through Dan I got to work as a runner on a Ring of Honor over here. I worked backstage, did a load of shows, then worked on CHICKFIGHT which really opened my eyes to Women’s Wrestling, how under-utilised it was and how amazing it could be.

How do you feel about the stigma of women’s wrestling today compared to what it was back then?

I’d say it’s not as bad, some of the things I had in training was awful. Considering that I was told that, the male trainees had a right to sleep with the female students and the wrestlers. I mean, just being told that point blank by people…

Bloody Hell.

That’s messed up. I do believe things aren’t that bad anymore. After being told that the only reason I’d be booked anywhere is because the promoters wanted to sleep with me, I’d reply that they can want to sleep with me all they want, doesn’t mean they are going to. It was the girls, it would be the rumours that would fly around and that having sex with someone meant that you didn’t earn whatever you were doing, which is ridiculous anyway. I don’t believe it is that bad anymore, but I believe there still is a stigma more rumours going around. Just like it is in society. With EVE we ignore all the bullshit, and that’s the best way.

Men especially, have a problem thinking that a strong, athletic woman would be hard work, so they won’t use them. It’s still not equal and it’s still not right, but with EVE we ignore it. We can’t tell promotions how to book, but we can make ourselves better and better and more visible so people can see the talent more.

So, your debut show was in May 2010, featuring Saraya Knight, Paige, Jetta and Rhia O’Reilly. How important was it to make an impact on your first show?

We had to knock it out the park on that first show because we needed people to look and see and feel something better than the men’s wrestling to impress them. It was a bizzare situation. We all knew from the very start it was gonna be something special and we all wanted to fight for it. I think people knew how much it meant to me and Dan. We just tapped into something. People got the names straight away, they got it was a nod to NOAH, and it was easy for them to think it was an all-female promotion because of the connection with CHICKFIGHT. People were putting lists up of their favourite promotions and EVE was theirs, even before we hosted our first show (Laughs).

What do think and feel when people use the term ‘women’s wrestling’? Should it just be wrestling because people don’t says, “Men’s Wrestling?”

It’s funny because, I hate it when people call it WMMA, it’s just MMA. With wrestling I get it, I just call it wrestling. When people ask me what I do, I don’t say I run all-female wrestling shows. When I am talking about EVE I point out that it is a women’s promotion because you will get complaints if there are no men. Also, it’s making a statement. It’s saying this is what we are and we are not ashamed of it. I get complaints anyway. I get messages from male wrestlers and fans telling me that I’m sexist and I’m discriminating against men, so that’s quite funny. I get messages from male wrestlers, “Can you book me?” Nope. “But can I do this angle?” Nope. Maybe we can talk about it for an XWA show but not on EVE, it’s an all-female show. You do not need a man to get the story over, you don’t need a man to make the women look stronger. WWE does enough romance storylines like that, we don’t need a guy involved, apart from obviously with Dahlia (Laughs), and then, she’s at the forefront, he’s encouraging her, telling her how good SHE is.

Next up, we should discuss the hugely popular, and apparently controversial, “Pile Drive A Fascist” t-shirt, why do you think its termed as “controversial”?

I think it’s because we have named something political in wrestling and most wrestling promotions won’t touch on anything like that. In life, people tell you not to touch on that but with Facebook everyone is sharing things. We have had people ask for refunds, we have had people not like it, we have had people say we shouldn’t talk about anything like that, mental health or gay rights, or feminism, with regards to our wrestling shows. I disagree with them. When we moved and we decided to do EVE again, I had a mental breakdown and I was recovering from it, part of my recovery and part of the way I got better was that I wasn’t going to hide who I was anymore. I didn’t want to be ashamed for being ill, and with EVE I wanted to push exactly my vision. I didn’t want to half ass it. I wanted it to be something I am fully passionate about. I will put in my political views in there, doesn’t mean you have to agree with them but I’m not going to hide them.

See for any fans who suffer from anxiety, that do suffer from depression or similar conditions that may cause them distress what advice would you give them as someone who has been through it?

Get help, I grew up with a lot of people who would say, “Don’t take the medicines, you can exercise or take supplements, and crystals.” I do not think you can name a complementary therapy that I have not done, and it’s not always the right path. It is hard when you do the medicines, it takes a while to get the right ones, and that one may not work so you try another, and it’s hard, I know it is hard because you get some new med’s and you hope that this one may work and it doesn’t and it is crushing. So you try again, and you know you are gonna have that hope again. So get help, keep being brave, it is horrendously difficult.

Praise yourself, you took a shower today, well done. Hey, you changed out of your pyjamas. That’s fucking great. I had days where I couldn’t get out of my pyjamas, and washing the clothing made me feel too anxious. Praise yourself, for the basic things but get help, it will take time. I don’t think it is said enough, that Depression, Bi-polar, anxiety are fatal illnesses, they may not kill you in the way a heart attack does, but they do kill you. They are scary, they are serious and hard.

Let’s talk about your next event “Babe’s With The Power”, on May 20/21. You have already got a great line up, Rhia O’Reilly is coming back, RIHO, The Legendary Emi Sakura, Sammii Jayne, Kay Lee Ray, VIPER and more, what can fans expect to see there?

Same thing we always bring, a great time, a kick ass atmosphere, that’s something we have never not had at EVE. We always bring the wrestling quality. Every match is good. If it’s not good, it’s because it’s fucking amazing. That’s what EVE brings. We don’t use people that aren’t ready. We don’t do long overbooked shows, because it takes away from the quality of the matches. We do well rounded shows. We always do high quality matches.

How do you feel about the mainstream representation of women at the moment compared to what it was ten even twenty years ago?

This is really like a WWE question right? I like that that they are using more women, I think it would be nice if they stayed clear of the romance story lines. They’re unnecessary and dated. I don’t think they realise how sexist some of the stuff they’re putting on is, but I understand it is easy to fall back on old habits. I don’t watch WWE it makes me too angry. So I’ll watch the odd match, see the match quality, see Charlotte, she that she is still amazing and that she is getting better and better, but I can’t sit and watch the show.

The thing is, I love that they are pushing it because, for a lot of fans, it is the only female wrestling they will see, and I am all for them making the match quality higher. I like that they are using a wider variety of women, as weird as that sounds. I like that they are happy to use tattooed women and to use women that are beautiful in different ways, just like everyone is beautiful in different ways. But the thing that got me is, that they kept saying they were doing the Women’s Revolution, but they weren’t doing anything different. Triple H kept coming out saying there’s are Women’s Revolution. Well, Meyoni Toyota already pointed out that the Women’s Revolution has been going on a long time in wrestling before that. But I am pleased it has finally reached WWE, so over the past year they have started to make more changes. I hope they continue to do this. That said, the Women’s Tournament is coming up and obviously I’ll be watching that. I think there are some things they are doing well, I just think they can do better.

 

Find out more about EVE at www.evewrestling.com | Photos: Oli Sandler