Millie McKenzie is fast becoming one of the most recognisable names on the UK wrestling scene and for all the right reasons. The 17 year old has had an incredible few months working for the likes of Revolution Pro, PROGRESS, Fight Club Pro & Pro Wrestling Eve to name but a few.
Like most, Millie recalls falling in love with the business at an early age and never looking back from there.
“Well I used to watch it on TV. I just remember one day it was on and I recorded it and just got into it from there. None of my family liked it but I was really invested in the storylines and became more and more loyal from there.”
“It must of been about 2008, I remember the first match I ever saw was John Cena Vs Dolph Ziggler on a SmackDown show.”
Her initial fandom centered around CM Punk and the Shield and she had an interesting encounter with Shield member, Dean Ambrose which only made her a bigger fan.
“I love them (The Shield) because everyone hated them, I just thought they were cool. CM Punk was unique and I hadn’t seen anything like him before. So I started followed him more closely and looking into his past.”
“I was also a massive fan of Dean Ambrose when he was Jon Moxley and was with Sami Callihan. I am a massive fan of Callihan and have been lucky enough to train with him. But yeah I was a huge Ambrose fan and when I went to see WWE I made a sign and he gave me his shirt after the match. I framed it and put it on my wall.”
Millie started her training at the age of fourteen and was fortunate enough to have very supportive parents, although to start with they were also slightly hesitant to let their little girl enter into such a male dominated world.
“I think my mum initially thought that I would grow out of it. But I am very lucky to have very supportive parents. When I first started training my mum was shocked. I would turn up and there would be these big scary men and then little 14 year old me.”
“I think my mum thought that I would be scared but I am so determined and I stuck at it. Now they absolutely love it. My Dad is an expert and likes to tell me what I am doing wrong and they make an effort to come to as many shows as they can.
The PWA (Phoenix Wrestling Association) in Coventry was the first school that Millie attended to learn the ropes and it was also the promotion which hosted her first professional match (You can watch the match in the video below). A match that with the benefit of hindsight she isn’t overly fond of.
“I remember everything about my first match. It was at PWA against TJ Sky and I was so nervous. I had ordered some gear but the top didn’t fit so I was running around my bedroom trying to find a top I could wear.”
“At the time I didn’t think the match was too bad and I was just glad to get through it because I was so nervous. But watching it back it is not great.”
The evolution of her character has come on leaps and bounds in such a short time, something that she gives full credit to her new coaches Travis Banks & Martin Zaki at Fight Club Pro.
“Travis is ridiculously intense, his sessions hurt. Like for example the warm up we have to do 250 squats, 100 press ups and carry men on our shoulders. But its the best way to learn.”
“We have also been working a lot on reacting to stuff in training which makes it so much easier when it comes to doing a match. It becomes second nature and is one less thing to think about. Travis and Zaki are just the best though they have taught me so much.”
Whilst Millie’s rise to her current position has been a huge testament to her hard work and the team she surrounds herself with, she has not found every aspect of the industry a walk in the park.
“I was quite shy, I mean I suppose I still am really. I used to struggle making noise and stuff in my matches. At training its hard because there is no audience so I kind of didn’t do it. But I am now working on that and making more noise in my matches.”
“With promos I’ll happily speak about anything if I have something to talk about. I struggle if there isn’t a specific thing to talk about. When I trained at Kamakize at the end of each session we would have to cut a promo on the person behind us in the line. But it was all off the cuff and I struggled with that a bit.”
One thing that Millie hasn’t struggled with has been working with both men and women and has started to make a bit of a name for herself working inter gender matches, something she is very happy with.
“Its nice to be able to have a mixture of both because I try to mix up what I do a bit with men and women. I do love wrestling the men because I think with the moves that I do such as german suplexes can look better if I am doing them on men.”
“For example if I give Chris Brookes and german suplex it looks more impressive because he is so much bigger than me. Its even more unbelievable and I think that works well.”
At just 17 years old it really is incredible to take into account what Millie has achieved and its almost a formality that she will only continue to improve with age. In an environment which demands professional wrestlers to perform at such high levels, pressure can be a huge challenge but one in which Millie fully embraces and uses to her advantage every time she steps inside the squared circle.
“I have been very lucky because I have got to where I am quite quickly. I forget I’m quite young sometimes, I’m not very patient. From June last year its really taken off and I put lot of pressure on myself.”
“Before then I had no expectations because I was so young and small, people assumed I was going to be bad. But pressure is a good thing, it makes you perform at a high standard.”
Be sure to follow Millie on twitter @MillieMcKenzie0