On April 12, I got the chance to sit down with Pro Wrestling Iron’s Nikki (Sara del Rey) and Hook Bomberry. In some circles, Nikki is proclaimed as one of thee best female wrestlers in the country. And as of late, Hook Bomberry has been making waves out here on the SoCal scene, showcasing his Japanese-influenced style for all to marvel at (or hate on, if you’re not feeling the Japanese style).
These two Bay Area grapplers are some of the coolest people that I have met on the Indy scene. They were very down-to-earth and very easy to talk to. Before the interview, I got to meet Nikki’s family, learned that Nikki and Hook both have cats (Hook’s cat is named Kawada), and that Hook has a love and appreciation for old school hip hop. It took us several attempts to get situated
and find a place to conduct the interview, but we finally found a spot and got to it.
Scrub: Alright, I’m here with Nikki from the Bay Area’s Pro Wrestling Iron. Also with me is Pro Wrestling Iron’s Hook Bomberry. Thank you guys for doing this interview.
Nikki: Your welcome. (laughs)
Hook Bomberry: Yeah, right on.
Scrub: First question for Nikki, why’d you pick the name Nikki?
Nikki: I didn’t really pick it. I didn’t have a name. And Gabe [Ramirez] from APW really liked that Nikki show, with the wrestler as the husband, so he just kinda stuck me with that. I think it was kinda a rib, but I don’t know. I’m probably gonna change it.
Scrub: Why the name Hook Bomberry?
Hook Bomberry: Because it’s what Michael Modest gave me. He saw me in the ring with some bigger guys, and I was holding my own and showing a lot of submission skills so, as in “hooker”, Hook Bomberry.
Scrub: How did you guys get started in the wrestling business?
Nikki: I just liked wrestling a lot. So I looked on the Internet and found a school close to my house, signed up, and started going.
Hook: I was always a fan, and I followed some Bay Area promotions, and I signed up for the best [wrestling school].
Scrub: What got you hooked into wrestling? Why was it so appealing to you guys?
Nikki: I don’t really know. It’s really demanding on your body and mentally, and just like, all the crummy people you run into, but it’s just addicting. There’s nothing better than going out and being athletic and drawing emotions out of people and having them react to what you’re doing. It’s really awesome.
Hook: I just always liked it growing up. So as soon as I turned 18, I signed up for Pro Wrestling Iron. And since then, I just loved doing it. So I continued doing it.
Scrub: Which wrestlers did you guys admire growing up?
Nikki: Growing up, uhhh, like Hulk Hogan and what not. But actually after training and seeing what wrestling is all about, I admire people like Chris Benoit and Dynamite Kid.
Hook: Yeah, same. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, umm…
Nikki: Macho Man.
Hook: Macho Man, Brutus the Barber Beefcake, and uh, all those guys…
Nikki: Koko B. Ware!
Hook: Koko B. Ware! I was a big fan…
Hook: Yeah, and then now, I like the Japanese style, like Michael Modest, real big inspiration to me. Guys like that.
Scrub: What made you guys actually decide that you could be wrestlers? What made you guys believe that you could live your dreams?
Nikki: That’s a really good question. I don’t know, because I failed P.E. all through high school. I would never run a mile, or do anything. But, just when you have passion to do something and drive. Your determination just drives you so far with it.
Hook: I just believed in myself. [Wrestling] was my dream going up, and I got into it, and I just love doing it.
Scrub: When some people say you need height to get into bigger federations, how come that doesn’t stop you from fulfilling your dream?
Hook: Because I believe now, there’s people like Spike Dudley… Chris Jericho is not big. There’s a lot of guys that are not that big that made it into the WWE. And in Japan, it’s not really that big of a deal, and that’s why, I ultimately want to go to Japan.
Scrub: What was training under American Dragon like?
Nikki: It was awesome. It was really at the point where I needed to put all my stuff together, and [American Dragon] just had a way of working with me. And just because he is so smooth and crisp, and can do anything from any position. It just helped me out a lot with my fluidness. He’s just an awesome, awesome teacher.
Scrub: Who were your other trainers at the time besides American Dragon?
Nikki: Robert Thompson taught the class, but we did mostly personal training with American Dragon. Robert Thompson was influential… like, a lot of little people here and there, but like the main big influence was American Dragon.
Scrub: Who were the other people in your class?
Nikki: In my class, uhh… Apollo [Kahn], Jet Taylor… actually, he was in the class before me. Uhhh, I think that’s it.
Hook: Psycho Seth?
Nikki: No, he was in the class after me. OH! Bobby Quance. Bobby Quance was in my class. And everyone else dropped out. We started with 25 people in the class. I think we were the only two that made it.
Scrub: Did any of the guys give you a harder time for being a girl? Or were any of the guys cutting you some slack for being a girl?
Hook: I never had that problem. (Everyone laughs)
Nikki: Umm, I don’t think they were necessarily harder on me, but they never took it easy on me. Like with the cardio drills we had to do, I would always have to, like, even if I got a little hurt or banged up, [my trainers] wouldn’t force me to, but I was expected to be in there and not sit out like a lot of the girls do and do the regular workout. But because we’re all such good friends outside of wrestling, it’s really hard for them to really lay it into me, like they would the other guys.
Scrub: How long into training did you have your first match?
Nikki: Over a year. Because I trained for a year, then I got hurt. So I had to take three months off for surgery…
Scrub: What did you have surgery on?
Nikki: On my knee. And then I think a couple months after that, I had my first match. It was May of last year, and I started training in April of 2001.
Scrub: Who was your first match against, and how did that go?
Nikki: First match…first match, whoa… because, they made me be a manager first, and we did goofy little tag matches where I didn’t really do anything.
Hook: You were a gangster.
Nikki: Yeah, I was a gangster. (laughs)
Scrub: Oh yeah! I do remember that.
Nikki: Yeah, that was really goofy.
Hook: And you’d wear the bandana.
Nikki: Yeah, the bandana.
Scrub: So you’re not really a gangster?
Nikki: No, no.
Nikki: I’m sorry.
Scrub: That’s OK. So when was your first singles match?
Nikki: First singles match was May against Melissa in King City. It was a fair show, which was really good, so the crowd was really receptive to us, because we were girls, you know? But it was the worst. [Melissa] had to guide me and like… I knew I wasn’t ready, but I mean, there’s no other way than to just go out and do it, you know? It’s so nerve-wrecking to go out there and not be any good.
Scrub: How long into training did you have your first match, Hook?
Hook: Eight months into my training, I had my first match.
Scrub: And who was your first singles match with?
Hook: My first singles match… I think my first singles match was against Apollo Kahn, who I happened to tag with tonight.
Scrub: How’d your first singles match go?
Hook: It was alright, but we could have done a lot better. It was a learning experience. It was good.
Scrub: What other feds have you guys worked?
Nikki: GSCW, CWA, SPWC something.
Super Dragon: Say in my bedroom.
Nikki: NOOOOOOOOO… (Everyone laughs)
Super Dragon: I meant that for Hook!
Scrub: Go away.
Nikki: I worked the Legends of Wrestling show, and PWI, APW. I think that’s it.
Hook: I’ve done Pro Wrestling Iron, Revolution Pro…
Nikki: Yeah, me too!
Hook: Supreme Pro Wrestling…
Nikki: Oh! Me too, me too.
Hook: PCW in Northern California, and… CWA.
Scrub: This question is for Nikki. Do you prefer wrestling men or women?
Nikki: I prefer wrestling men because… besides Melissa, the women I have encountered don’t really have very good training. And it’s really hard to be in a match, and be giving someone a move, and their selling is all bad, and they don’t want to take your stuff because they’re scared. So I prefer wrestling guys. Plus, it’s easier to react and register things when they are actually making contact with you.
Scrub: So are you saying women don’t connect with their strikes?
Nikki: No. Excluding Melissa.
Scrub: Does it frustrate you that it’s hard to find women that wrestle your style, or are you content with just wrestling guys?
Nikki: It’s frustrating because a lot of promotions don’t want to book a guy against a girl. I don’t know. I just makes me want to work harder to get to Japan or go where there are some really good women… Mexico, or anywhere else. We did Cauliflower Alley last week, and then we had to go on and do a three-minute match. And then the girls… all Indy girls have the basic head scissor, body scissor, huracanrana spots. I like doing different stuff.
Scrub: What’s your take on US Women’s wrestling?
Nikki: I don’t know, because I haven’t seen much Indy women’s wrestling.
Scrub: Oh, so what do you think about WWE Women’s wrestling?
Nikki: Oh, it’s gotten a lot better. But they don’t know how to work. They have Fit Finlay do their matches for them, but it’s really good. It’s better than it has been. Well, wrestling in general on TV is just, bad. Not what I like.
Scrub: You are largely considered to be the top female wrestler in the United States. What are your thoughts on that?
Nikki: They’re wrong.
Scrub: How come you jumped ship from All Pro Wrestling to Pro Wrestling Iron?
Nikki: I don’t have any problems with anyone in APW, and it was a really nice place to be, and I got really good training there. But I just feel like now, I want to advance and I want to be around more advanced wr… not, I don’t know. I don’t want to take anything away from the people at APW, because they are all really great people. But like, just the level of the people at Pro Wrestling Iron is miles above APW, and that’s what I want to be a part of and that’s what I want to learn. You have to be in a place where you respect everyone there, and a
place where you want to be and where everyone wants to be and they all want to help each other, and just be in a real positive place, and that’s what Pro Wrestling Iron is.
Scrub: Is that true, Hook?
Hook: Yeah, I completely agree. I’ve had no problems since I’ve been there, and I’ve been there since it opened. I love it there.
Nikki: It’s not really jumping ship. It’s moving up, and moving on.
Scrub: OK, for the record, she’s not jumping ship.
Nikki: Someone was chanting that while I was wrestling, “She jumped ship, she jumped ship”!
Scrub: Yeah, I told him to stop.
Nikki: Was that you?!
Scrub: I swear to God it wasn’t me!
Nikki: Oh. (laughs) OK.
Scrub: (points at Hook) It was the guy you hate.
Hook: Joey Ryan’s Fan?
Nikki: Oh yeah. It was that guy.
Hook: Joey Ryan’s fan is a bastard. I want that on record. His sign was stupid too. That’s why I ripped it in half.
Nikki: What did his sign say?
Hook: “Got Hook?”
Nikki: Oh. (Everyone laughs)
Scrub: Why were you pulled off the GSCW show?
Nikki: When I decided to leave APW and go to Pro Wrestling Iron, I knew that there was a lot of political nonsense going on, and that there would be a lot of drama surrounding it. So I called Henry [Luna, GSCW Owner] and I let him know, and I didn’t want to create any bad vibes in his locker room, so I explained the situation to him, and [Henry] just thought that until things are settled down, that it would be better if I wasn’t on the show, because people would get angry. It’s just not the place. Wrestling should be a fun, happy event. Bad business, bad blood, bad anything in the locker room, you don’t want. And I don’t want to be a part of that.
Scrub: How come you did not go on the ARSION tour in February as planned?
Nikki: Well, last I heard, Bionic J was my main contact there, and she was getting all my stuff, and I sent her all my passport information, and she said she’s just waiting on my visa. But then the war, and [ARSION] got a bunch of shows cancelled. [ARSION] said it was postponed, but I haven’t heard anything since. But now, with Mike [Modest] having the title and NOAH coming down here, I’m hoping to just stay here and learn as much as I can. Japan is not my number one goal anymore…
Scrub: So what’s your number one goal then?
Nikki: Just to keep learning at Pro Wrestling Iron. Hopefully… not that [PWI] can bring in girls from Japan, but it would be beneficial for Japanese women wrestlers to come here and work a show, and that would be great for everyone all around. That would be ideal for me.
Scrub: Which Japanese womens wrestlers would you like to wrestle?
Nikki: I really want to wrestle Aja Kong.
Nikki: (laughs) Yeah, she’d kill me! I really really really really want to wrestle her.
Scrub: Uraken! BLAWH!
Nikki: Yeah, yeah.
Scrub: BRAIN BUSTAAAAAAAAAH!
Scrub: Yeah! Oh, she’s the best. But other than that, [Mariko] Yoshida…
Scrub: She’s my favorite womens wrestler.
Nikki: Yeah, yeah, Yoshida, oh… she is the best. And…
Hook: I have no idea who you guys are talking about.
Nikki: You don’t know Yoshida?
Hook: I know…
Nikki: Aja Kong?
Scrub: Yoshida does some insane, insane matwork. She’s badasss.
Nikki: Yeah, and [Aja Kong’s] like 250 lbs of five foot two. (laughs) She’s a big girl. She’s so tough. Even [Japan’s] young girls are at a level so much higher than American women.
Scrub: Oh definitely. Would you rather be in Japan where the fans take your wrestling seriously, or be in the WWE and be a diva?
Nikki: Oh Japan, definitely. I have no desire to be on TV or be famous. I don’t expect to get rich doing this. I don’t WANT to get rich. I don’t want to be famous. I just want to have fun and wrestle, and know that I am doing the best that I can do. So TV is definitely not my goal or aspiration.
Scrub: Do you feel that your options are limited being a female in this business?
Nikki: No, not necessarily. I think it opens a lot of doors, just because now, people are looking more towards females more, but the style that I have and I’d like to stay to true to, I guess there’s not much of a market for.
Scrub: What is your favorite match that you were in?
Nikki: Uhhh… favorite match, favorite match. I don’t know. I had a lot of fun today, even though I screwed up the finish. I don’t know. I don’t have a favorite match so far. I like working, I mean I LIKE working. So my favorite match would be like any practice match we have where we don’t go over anything, and we just go in there and do our thing and have fun. Any time where there is not a lot to think about.
Scrub: As a fan, what type of wrestling do you watch now?
Nikki: I go in these weird phases. So right now, I’m watching a lot of old WCW matches. I have a tape of just all Benoit and Malenko and Eddy Guerrero. So I like that. But then, I’ll go in my Japanese mens phases, and then I’ll get so sick of that, that I’ll just watch Japanese women or I’ll just watch, what else do I have… I don’t have any Lucha stuff. So mainly between old American wrestling and Japanese.
Scrub: How do you feel about the Southern California wrestling scene, and how would you compare it to the other scenes out there?
Nikki: I think it’s great, and the people are so supportive here. It’s great. And everyone in the back is so happy and friendly and they all work this show together, work that show together. It’s just a big ol’ Southern Cal family. It’s fantastic. I don’t know any other wrestling scenes because I haven’t been around anywhere else…
Scrub: Could you compare SoCal to NorCal?
Nikki: There’s so many more workers out here. And everyone is just personal friends with everyone. It’s amazing. Because, there’s the whole APW/PWI thing, and then there’s all these other really small Indy feds that don’t really uhh… I don’t know. Is that a good comparison?
Hook: I like it down here. All the people here are really welcoming to me…
Hook: Really made me feel like a part of Revolution Pro, and everywhere else I’ve been. UPW, I wrestled a lite show over there, everyone was just super cool, and everyone was just nice, and everyone knows each other…
Nikki: And they all work their different feds. It’s just so nice.
Hook: There’s really no political stuff, that I’ve seen so far.
Scrub: How do you like it here Apollo Kahn?
Apollo Kahn: It’s cool so far. Everything out here in Southern California has gone perfect so far so, I don’t have any problems with anybody out here.
Scrub: In SoCal, who is someone you guys would like to work with, but haven’t yet?
Nikki: I really want to work with Erika Porter. I hear she’s really good. And uh, guy wise, there’s just so many good guys out here. I’d just be lucky to wrestle any of them. But girl wise, definitely Erika.
Hook: Super Dragon would be my number one pick. I’m gunning for him. So, anybody who wants to get it booked, I want to wrestle him. And I also want a match with Joey Ryan because he took me out with his neckbreaker move. I want to get revenge on him too.
Scrub: Is there anyone you’d like to work with in SoCal, Apollo?
Apollo Kahn: The only person I know so far is Sacramento Dragon.
Editor’s Note: Since I feel that someone is behind me, I swing my recorder over my shoulder and ask…
Scrub: Who would you like to work in SoCal?
Scorpio Sky: McDonald’s. (Everyone laughs)
Scrub: How about anyone in the world?
Nikki: I don’t know. (talking to Super Dragon) You gotta go. (laughs)
Super Dragon: What?! I gotta go?
Nikki: Yeah, you’re making me nervous.
Super Dragon: Just me, or them too?
Editor’s Note: People present during this interview: Nikki, Hook Bomberry, Apollo Kahn, Super Dragon, Scorpio Sky, TARO, Angel. Those were the only people I saw as I briefly looked around.
Nikki: No, just you. I’m sorry Dragon. You just make me nervous. OK, what was the question?
Scrub: Would you like to wrestle, not just SoCal, but anywhere in the world?
Nikki: Besides Aja Kong and [Mariko] Yoshida… uhhhh, I don’t know. Those are my two majors.
Scrub: Alright umm…
Hook: What about me?
Scrub: Who would you like to wrestle?
Hook: I’d like to wrestle Michael Modest in a singles match…
Nikki: Yeah, yeah, yeah, me too!
Hook: That’s like my dream match.
Nikki: I’m with ya. I never got a singles match with American Dragon either, so I’d like that…
Hook: I would also like to wrestle American Dragon.
Scrub: So it looks like everyone wants to wrestle American Dragon, huh.
Scorpio Sky: I didn’t say that.
Scrub: You don’t want to wrestle American Dragon? Oh, OK. Who would you like to wrestle then?
Scorpio Sky: I’d like to do a Lucha Libre style tag match with me and Quicksilver against Mel Gibson and Danny DeVito. That’d be a good match.
Scrub: Four stars. OK, I’m going to do some word association with you now. First, Melissa.
Nikki: Very hard worker.
Scrub: Roland Alexander.
Nikki: Good business man.
Scrub: Gabe Ramirez, Jason Deadrich, the APW Brass.
Nikki: Very good at what they are doing.
Scrub: Michael Modest, Donovan Morgan, and the people over at PWI.
Nikki: Just one line?
Scrub: Or you could do it in a paragraph.
Nikki: Family. Just phenomenal workers. Outstanding work ethic, great reputation, oh, what’s that word? God-like, they’re just so much higher and inspiring, you know? The whole crew is just inspiring.
Scrub: Bobby Quance.
Nikki: He’s a quick little devil. Don’t put that. He is really quick.
Scrub: Don’t put “quick little devil”?
Nikki: No, no, no. Bobby Quance, uhhh…
Scrub: Why not? That’d be cool. (pans hand from left to right) “Quick little devil”. No?
Nikki: Nooo. Uhh…
Nikki: Bobby Quance.
Hook: Quick little devil.
Nikki: Yeah, he is a quick little devil.
Scrub: I think we’re gonna go with “quick little devil”.
Nikki: OK, OK.
Scrub: Jardi Frantz.
Nikki: He’s a very good flyer.
Scrub: Super Dragon.
Nikki: I really like Dragon. He’s never dropped me on my head.
Scrub: Robert Thompson.
Nikki: He is just the best. Ball full of energy. Very energetic.
Scrub: Bionic J.
Nikki: Oh, she’s good at what she does.
Scrub: How was your training session with her, by the way?
Editor’s Note: Bionic J had visited the APW Boot Camp to scout Melissa and Nikki earlier last year.
Nikki: It was OK. It was kinda goofy. Me and Melissa just worked out and [Bionic J] was there. And she had us both do some cardio drills and suplexes and what not. But it was really interesting. She’s a very nice girl.
Scrub: Did you know that Michiko Ohmukai and GAMI were out here in SoCal, and they were having training sessions?
Nikki: NO! WHEN?! WHERE?!
Scrub: It was after the first Rev J. September 2001.
Nikki: ARE THEY COMING BACK?!
Hook: I knew about it.
Scrub: Yeah, I don’t know when they are coming back.
Nikki: OH! I love her!
Scrub: Yeah, it was Ohmukai, GAMI… Rossy Ogawa was out here, and they brought with them press people from Samurai TV and the Gongs. They had tryouts and no one showed up.
Nikki: You’re kidding me!
Scrub: I swear. Well, nobody that deserved a tryout.
Nikki: (sighs) Yeah, Ohmukai, wow. I don’t know what she’s doing now, but yeah. Wow. I really want her to kick me in the head. Like her axe kick? Yeah. They’re great. I’d do [axe kicks], but it doesn’t look good unless Japanese people do them. I would always have Mokoto (sp?), this guy we train with, he’s from Japan. I’d always have him axe kick me because, it’s really cool. Yeah, she’s good.
Scrub: Nikki. Umm, your take on yourself.
Nikki: Uhhh, oh, who’s that girl? (laughs) Uhh, I don’t know. My take on myself… I don’t know.
Scrub: What’s your take on Nikki, Hook?
Nikki: Yeah. There you go.
Hook: She’s great. Hard worker. Real equal with a lot of the guys…
Hook: And better than a lot of them.
Scrub: Any final thoughts for the SoCal wrestling fans?
Nikki: Go to church!
Hook: I like all of them, except for Joey Ryan’s number one fan. All of them besides him are cool.
Super Dragon: We came to play spin the bottle.
Scrub: Uhhhh, I’d like to thank Nikki and Hook Bomberry for joining me for this interview. Thank you guys.
Scrub: And who?
Nikki: Apollo Kahn.
Scrub: Apollo Kahn, for chiming in every now and then.
Super Dragon: Did you chime in?
Apollo Kahn: Lightweight, lightweight man.
Scrub: Alright. Thanks guys.
Nikki: Thank you.
Hook: Thank you.