I had a chance to talk with Thunder Rosa prior to FCW’s July 23rd show. In this interview we talk about her start in wrestling, how hardcore she is, Kobra Moon, negative reviews, Godzilla, and more. Click to read the interview.
Steve: I’m here with Thunder Rosa before FCW’s July 23rd show. First, thank you for agreeing to the interview. I think you are the most requested interview.
Thunder Rosa: Aw, thank you guys.
Steve: Now, there’s a ton of interviews with you out there so I’m just going to skim through most of the basic stuff. How did you start out in wrestling?
Thunder Rosa: It was just by accident. I had my full time job. I just finished college. I didn’t have anything better to do and I always wanted to do sports but they never gave me the opportunity to do something cool and wrestling seemed cool.
Steve: Did you grow up watching lucha libre or WWE?
Thunder Rosa: I mean, it’s part of the culture; lucha libre and AAA. Of course Santo and Blue Demon are all over the movies and stuff. But I wasn’t really an avid fan of wrestling. Still, when I meet people, I’m like, “who the heck is this guy”?
Steve: You went to college at Berkley?
Thunder Rosa: Yeah, UC Berkley.
Steve: What did you major in?
Thunder Rosa: Sociology.
Steve: Sociology? So, you have a degree from Berkley, which is a pretty prestigious school, but you want to do something where people get to hit you the head?
Thunder Rosa: Well, you know, I worked with clients who had mental health problems, so I was already restraining kids. There’s a lot of aggressiveness that I was not able to channel. Some were very difficult to work with and if you don’t have something that you can channel all of that negative energy that you get from them, then you’ll burn out. Wrestling and contact sports honestly saved my life and saved my husbands life.
Steve: So, you trained in Northern California?
Thunder Rosa: Yes
Steve: Who was your trainer there?
Thunder Rosa: My original trainers are Dylan Drake and Matt Carlos, which were part of the original APW with Roland Alexander. When Roland Alexander died they opened a new school and they were the trainers.
Steve: When did you first debut?
Thunder Rosa: I think it was in October 2014
Steve: Who was your fist match?
Thunder Rosa: I had a couple of squash matches before, but I think Kimmy Shellhammer was my first. It was one of my funnest matches ever.
Steve: As far as coming into SoCal wrestling, where is the first place you worked in SoCal?
Thunder Rosa: Let’s see. I think it was UIPW. And now I’m the champion there.
Steve: I was at the show where you won the championship.
Thunder Rosa: That was a fun match.
Steve: It was a good match. You and Datura really matched up well.
Thunder Rosa: I have had really good matches with Datura. A lot of women have beef with other women because they don’t want to work with them, which is dumb because there are so few of us, and right now we have such a big opportunity to just make it work, but people can’t leave their BS aside, and always like talking shit with whatever people think “he said/she said”. But I always liked working with Datura. I always had good matches with her. And other people said, “She can’t do that! She can’t do that”. With me, she is always able to do stuff.
Steve: You were talking about how there are so few women wrestlers, so what do you think about someone like B-Boy here [B-Boy walks by] can work throughout SoCal and get six matches in a month without having to drive more than a few hours to get a match while you have to go all over the country just to get in a decent amount of matches?
Thunder Rosa: Well, B-Boy is an established person so he’s been in CZW, to the East Coast, Lucha Underground. For me, I have to make sure I get to work people who are established so I can establish myself as a wrestler and a legitimate competitor. It doesn’t bother me that I have to do that because it makes me grow and it makes me learn from other people. Because of that, I can learn different styles instead of working in one place with the same style and when someone else comes along and is like “oh, I don’t know how to do this” I’m like “well do you want me to go this way? Or do you want me to go that way?” It’s easy; it’s fluid. I can understand the language of wrestling, from Japan to Mexico to here, East Coast or West, and that’s the beauty of traveling.
Steve: You got to work in Japan really early in your career. How was your experience?
Thunder Rosa: It was an amazing experience wrestling-wise. It taught me a lot about the business, not only in the ring, but outside the ring. The people I met, the mentors that I had, Nikki Storm, Starfire, which Nikki Storm is now in NXT, and unfortunately Starfire was unable to follow her dreams due to injury. But, they taught me a lot that I would have never learned otherwise. They taught me about friendship, they taught me about wrestling, they taught me about telling a story and being tough and not letting other people put me down no matter what. I took that to heart and when I came back to the States I really tried to reach out to people who wanted to go to Japan through the same company I did so if they needed anything, or just emotional support, I was there for them. That’s how I became really good friends with Holidead and now we are tagging together. That’s what I do when I work with girls younger than me. I’m not teaching them something I don’t know, I’m teaching them something that they taught me.
Steve: Was Holidead on the tour with you in Japan?
Thunder Rosa: No. She went like four months after I did.
Steve: You and her have had some really great matches. The last FCW show you were on together, I thought you had a great match, and the match you had last night was even better. I thought you guys were really trying to kill each other during the match. [Thunder Rosa laughs] It was super intense. There was a hardcore match last month here, and I think your match was more hardcore. Is she your favorite opponent?
Thunder Rosa: I guess when you have your best friend, that’s your best rival, right? We were talking about the Hollywood Blondes, it’s just like that. We trust each other and we push each other to the next level and I think yesterday we showed that. I’m still in one piece. I’m super messed up but still in one piece. We just mesh together, whether we are against each other or when we do it together.
Steve: Yeah. Another thing I noticed is that you guys will do a lot of promotion when you are going to be on a show. You post videos and promos and not a lot of wrestlers do that. If I were a promoter I would definitely be booking you guys because it is so much extra promotion for the show. What made you guys take that upon yourself to start doing stuff like that?
Thunder Rosa: First of all, when someone puts their money on us, we make sure that we tell everyone why they should come. We are technical wrestlers that are growing, are learning, and are training together and people can see that in the ring how well we can perform. We want people to come out and see us perform. We want to make sure that, what’s that saying, we want to put our money where our mouth is.
Steve: For Lucha Underground, did you get a tryout or did..?
Thunder Rosa: I was in the right place at the right time. Chris DeJoseph believed and still believes that I have a lot of talent and charisma. He saw that in me when he went to Stardom USA, and people who already knew me vouched for me and I’m very blessed to have a spot at Lucha Underground.
Steve: Did you have any input into the character of Kobra Moon?
Thunder Rosa: It was all them.
Steve: When you first debuted as Kobra Moon, I thought the match was fine. There were a couple people, like Dave Meltzer and Brian Alvarez, they were pretty negative about the match. Did you see any of that feedback or hear about it?
Thunder Rosa: I’m still learning. People are going to have a lot of opinions about my wrestling ability, which are valid. You know, it’s hard; it’s just wrestling. People are not going to like me. Regardless of if it was good or bad, I’m in Lucha Underground and they can’t take that away from me. Many people are lining up to be where I am right now. And I’m making sure that even if I’m not wrestling and if I’m just managing and if you see me creeping on Daga, then I am going to be the best creeper and people are going to be talking about it. You can give the same character to somebody else and they won’t be able to do what I do. They can say whatever they want. People don’t like inter-gender matches just from the beginning. This is completely different than other wrestling, than WWE. We are mythical characters, we do really weird stuff. I’m a freaking snake for Christ sakes. It’s just weird as it is.
Back then, yes, I was more green than I am now. I need to learn and I need to grow but they still believe in me.
Steve: Honestly, I thought the match was fine. I didn’t understand their criticism when I saw it and I even said as much. I said, “I don’t get it, because she is a completely separate character, she’s just playing the character.” Plus it was like a 3 minute match.
Thunder Rosa: Yeah, it was an opening match, they were building the story. You are going to see what they are trying to do with the character. I don’t want to give any spoilers but they need to relax. I think a lot of people take themselves too seriously. It’s the entertainment business!
Steve: There are a lot of people who are really negative against the inter-gender matches. I think Joey Ryan said it best: “Nobody is getting mad at Star Wars when Rey is fighting off everyone so why are they getting mad at wrestling, which is just another form of entertainment?” It’s not like you are in the UFC and someone is making you fight Nate Diaz.
Moving on, you are pretty fan friendly. I see you always taking pictures with fans and, this is a question I asked SoCal Val recently, have you had any weird fan interactions?
Thunder Rosa: Oh yeah, some very weird people. When I travel especially. My manager is always very weary of it and he tells the people I’m going to stay with so I have people watching over me. Also, I know how to defend myself and I know how to weed them out. I’m a girl, I post pictures of myself in bikinis, I put myself out there, but I know how to deal with that.
Steve: You are a big Godzilla fan. What is your favorite Godzilla movie?
Thunder Rosa: I just recently rewatched Godzilla vs. King Kong, the one from the ’60s, and I thought it was really really funny. I like that one and I like the new ones, but I like the more humorous ones more than the just-fighting ones.
Steve: Are you excited about the new Japanese one coming out?
Thunder Rosa: Yes I am! I really want to see it.
Steve: Is there anyone out there that you haven’t wrestled that you want to wrestle?
Thunder Rosa: Yeah, Candice LeRae, Heidi Lovelace, Kimber Lee, a lot of the girls from the East Coast.
Steve: Yeah, it seems like the East Coast has a lot more of the “name” girls.
Thunder Rosa: Yeah, it’s where it’s at right now.
Steve: You, Sage Sin, and Raze seem to people the only women wrestlers out here that get a lot of bookings outside of California. Everyone else seems to be stuck.
Thunder Rosa: It’s just hard. First of all, it’s really expensive to be flown over there. And two, you have to be able to sell a really good crowd AND be willing to work, and I’m not talking about, “oh, I can’t lose because I have this belt.” I don’t want to sound cocky but that is one of the things that I am proud to say, that can work, I like to work, I like to have good matches. Someone might say that I am giving too much but I don’t want to happened to me when I was green, where I was not allowed to do a lot and wasn’t able to show some of the stuff I can do.
Steve: Before I let you go because this show is going to get started here pretty soon, is there anything you would like to plug?
Thunder Rosa: Continue to watch the Twisted Sisters. There’s a lot of good stuff we have coming up. Also check my website, unstoppableTR.com. It has a lot of my matches, pictures, merchandise, fans can contact me there. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Fans can totally contact me there and I usually answer pretty quickly. If any fans reading this want to see me or my sister [Holidead] on their local shows tell their promoters.
Steve: Yeah, everyone should be booking you and Holidead. I think you guys are on pace to be the next two big names in women’s wrestling to come out of Southern California.
Thunder Rosa: Doors were opened for me in Chicago and the Midwest, and hopefully Holidead and myself will be able to wrestle together at Girl Fight together.
Steve: Thank you for your time and the interview.
Thunder Rosa: You’re welcome. Thank you.