Rosemary: “The Message That People Latched On To Is She’s Accepting Her Difference” (Exclusive Interview)

“The Demon Assassin, the Hive Queen – known for her macabre charisma, Rosemary has commanded the Knockouts division for the last two years. What the Shadow demands, she delivers.” Everything Rosemary is about was summed up in this recent IMPACT Wrestling tweet. “We”, as she’s used to saying about her, are the shadow that loves the brightness of the Knockouts title. “We” are a powerful woman who will never back down any challenge, whether it is Sienna, Hania or Taya Valkyrie. “We” have got through the multiple regimes in the company to become one of its biggest assets.

SteelChair Magazine had the opportunity last week to talk to IMPACT Wrestling’s own Demon Assassin. And behind the “we” lies a woman who chose to be different to build her own family of Outsiders.

I’ve noticed a great evolution of the character you’ve built. From this kind of our horror movie character, we can see now a character people love, with little girls coming to IMPACT with the face painted like you and the crowd cheering you. Did you expect this kind of reaction to your character?

Quite frankly, no. I love the reaction that I have right now because it came out so organically. So it means so much more. The character of Rosemary’s literally evolved since she first came on the scene on IMPACT. It’s evolved since even when I first started doing a Demon character before IMPACT Wrestling. Then Rosemary became a member of The Decay, and The Decay evolved to tell their own stories. Now Rosemary is by herself and she’s continuing to evolve in this human world. She’s an Outsider, and I’ve always been an Outsider who surrounded myself with other Outsiders, which is the case for people who aren’t accepted by society perhaps. I think that the message that people latched on to was she’s accepting her difference.

You just find other people who are different and you’ll be different together and then it creates a family where you will always be yourself and not try to be something else. I see that when these people are painting their faces and come to the shows, they’re reaching out to me as I walk on. This is amazing because you realize that you mean something to people and you have this responsibility to be something that they can look up to. Rosemary’s never changed her outlook, she’s never put a change to the poesy of the character that has always been attached to the shadow of the darkness. But at the same time that doesn’t mean you can’t have a family, you can’t care for people who are different like you, and that’s what Rosemary is about.

What do you feel your current position is in the Knockouts roster, with all people who come and go?

What’s amazing about wrestling is that it never stops moving. People come in, people go out, but everything keeps going. People may be moving in and out in our lives, we still see each other down the road. We do lose people like Jade or Laurel Van Ness who were some great characters. But we also deal with some new people who do come in at the same time, like most recently Kiera Hogan and Su Yung.

What I love most about the Knockouts roster is that we’re all strong characters, no matter who comes in and who leaves, everyone is so very distinguishable on who they are and we all stand out. Sienna is very different from Rosemary, who is different from Allie, who is very different from Laurel, who is very different from Kiera, who is very different from Alisha. You’re not going to get mix-up between 2 people. Everybody is very distinct and that makes the story so much easier to tell because everybody is working on defining who their character is and nobody’s fulfilling with anybody else.

Crazzy Steve, Rosemary and Abyss as The Decay

When I see you in the ring, with the green mist and the tarantula, I can’t help but think about Yoshihiro Tajiri. Who are the male and female wrestlers that influenced both you and your character?

As far as the character itself, there are a lot of different influences. In the sense of being different, I had to find my own way, with the head, the way she walks, the way she talks. It’s very differently distinct from anybody else. I’m going to take 2 examples, The Undertaker is unreal and has always been. He’s also somebody who went through a lot of evolution throughout his career. And at the same time, he has always had a presence and that’s something I tried to emulate with Rosemary, even though she’s changed so much in just two years. She still holds herself with the same kind of presence.

Another one is the Great Muta who is such an interesting character. Obviously, I really came along with the mist because we saw it in the past with Muta and Tajiri. I just wanted to add this cool supernatural element to appear there, so we brought it in the Rosemary character and it’s worked very much ever since. I grew up in Winnipeg so obviously, I’ve been a fan of Chris Jericho. He has found ways to keep himself fresh over his multi-year career. He has never been afraid to experience and keep refreshing his character. It’s amazing to still be able after all these years to keep making your character be interesting. And also keep yourself interested because it’s very easy to get tired of something when you’ve been doing it for so long.

If we move into women’s influences, when I was in high school, The Attitude Era was happening. There were 3 or 4 people I was looking up to because they were very distinct and very different. Trish Stratus, Lita who was such an alternative and it was like “hey we don’t have to dress like a Barbie and be a female inspiration” and I liked that. To me who was very much into grunge music in high school, I was like “Oh I can identify with you, I can’t identify with the popular cheerleader girls but you I get.” Molly Holly is another one, I love the Mighty Molly character and the idea of being a real-life superhero, who doesn’t want to be that? Ivory was already awesome on her own, but when she came in starting doing The Right to Censor character, she took that character that was just a little different, so like a linen dish, and threw everything into it and made it a hero. You did want to see her get punched because this awful censoring didn’t want anyone to have any fun.

I would be remiss not to mention Chyna, a woman who was not conventional but very much a role model. And somebody who, again, was not a small girl. I played eight years of rugby before I started wrestling training so I definitely wasn’t like the other players. I was a bigger girl and I was athletic. Chyna was this woman who was an Amazon and someone who I was like “okay that’s awesome”. I truly believe without Chyna you won’t have me on TV, you won’t have Sienna on TV, you won’t have girls who are bigger than a 5’0. I truly believe without her, you won’t have us.

Your trainer Scott D’Amore recently became the executive Vice-President of IMPACT Wrestling. How do you feel as a wrestler and as a performer in the middle of this new rebuilding stage?

When I made the decision in 2007 to go training at Scott D’Amore’s school, it was because I was a fan of Impact Wrestling and a fan of what they were doing with the Knockouts division. At that time, he was the head of the Knockouts Division. So now fast forward, I get to work with him in the capacity that I had dreamed of when I started training at Impact Wrestling as part of the Knockouts Division. I know the creative mind that he is, his attention to detail and the care that he has for wrestling. To have him and Don Callis in charge, the last tapings that we did in January, which were the first under their regime, were very refreshing, very positive, like the feeling backstage.

For the past year before that, there was a distinct lack of directions that you could feel and then, it’s there, you really feel like “okay, things are coming together now” and it’s exciting. It’s still wrestling, like you don’t know what’s going to happen there, everything is changing at the drop of a hat as we saw with Jeremy Borash departure. You can’t predict anything, which is good. But good things are going to happen, they’re going to catch us off-guard and that’s how it is. I still have a very exciting, refreshing, positive feeling that comes with the fact there’s a direction now. There’s this energy to create, to present something worth doing a second chance. I know that they’re going around because they know the job that they have in front of them is convincing the people once again to give IMPACT a second chance. I honestly believe if there was ever a time that you were going to give Impact a second chance, it’s now.

Sienna and Rosemary in a Last Knockouts Standing Match for the IMPACT Knockouts Championship last July

What is your opinion on the Women’s Evolution/Revolution as Impact started it way before WWE in many ways?

I love the opportunities that women are getting everywhere now with wrestling and there’s a lot of moving forward. It’s very positive being on there but there’s still a lot of clichés to get rid of. If you watched Elimination Chamberthey did a great job. I personally am a big fan of Alexa Bliss. She’s great, she knows her character inside and out, and the little things that she does are just fantastic. Her promo at the end of the Chamber match was perfect, in the way she drew people in the idea she was turning into a babyface.

Having said that, I will say the same thing that I was saying to everybody when I was starting training ten years ago. As much it’s awesome of all the opportunities we gained now, WWE is just catching up. IMPACT started it at a point when in WWE all the girls were very like cookie cutter and characterless. In TNA everybody was already a distinct character, you had Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, ODB, The Beautiful People, Hamada or Roxxi Laveaux. They were all so different. That’s why I fell in love with TNA.

 

Follow Rosemary on Twitter @WeAreRosemary

Pics and screencaps courtesy of IMPACT Wrestling