Holidead interview

(c) Holidead

I recently approached Holidead about doing an interview for SCU.

She graciously obliged and invited me to the Darkside (which *spoiler* is somewhere between Parts Unknown and Cudahy).

She wasn’t there, though.

Take a look at her schedule and you’ll see that Holidead is a Jetsetter and road warrior.

So we decided to do this over email.

(c) Holidead

Chopstix: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

Can you tell us about your background?

Holidead: That’s always been a weird open ended question I feel, not a 100% sure how to go about answering it…. My background, a universal experiment, identifying scientifically as Homo sapien, of this world but not fully in it…. The best I can give you on that one?

Chopstix: Were you always a wrestling fan?

Holidead: It was introduced to me early on. Wrestling on the grass, concrete, or any surface that could fit a square in it was a regular occurrence. Like I say, “wrestling is real, people are fake.” Since the first time I saw it I fell in love. Wrestling was, is, and will always be my first love.

Chopstix: Where did you train?

Holidead: I originally trained in Sun Valley, CA for about 2 years under head trainer David ‘Gangrel’ Heath, along with Reno Anoa’i and Solofa Fatu Jr.

Chopstix: Did you debut as Holidead? Where did the idea for the character come from? Honestly, I think it’s one of the most striking and unsettling images in wrestling today.

Holidead: The “idea” so to speak came from my trainers, the look so to speak, their idea. But who exactly Holidead was/is, that was all left up to me. And while there is someone behind the “paint” there is a pretty thin line between the smoke and mirrors. We haven’t even begun to see the full transformation/evolution of Holidead, I’m excited for the continuation and building of her.

Chopstix: How was the “idea” originally pitched to you?

Holidead: The conversation was along the lines of “we need something crazy, off the wall, you want to play? You think you can handle that?” And I wanted to get in the game, so I was down. My first instinct again… I wasn’t given a whole lot of direction as far as who Holidead was/is besides crazy. So the development initially was a bit of a struggle just to find that true identity. I mean, like I say, there is a person behind the paint, but it took some bringing the person behind it to mesh and be one, if you will. Gangrel would always tell me that you have to believe what you’re trying to sell or the people won’t. And I’ve taken some personal aspects and let them flow thru Holidead to help with development and helping her become who she is. It probably sounds like I’m talking in circles, but it’s the best I can explain.

Chopstix: Were you always a performer? You seem to have that charisma and instinct of a true performer. You also totally “commit” to Holidead and seem very protective over the mystique of her.

Holidead: Wrestling is the first thing I’ve done of this performance level. People tell me I get into the character really well. A quote I like to use a lot is from the “Wizard of Oz”, when Oz says, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. For me, and as it relates to Holidead, I feel like when people say I get into character so well or even when fans feel like they want to know “the real me” it’s like what if I told you this is me or an extension of me, not just some gimmick, that wrestling just allows me to openly express it, people might think I legit have some mental issues right? lol could be, but I feel Holi is a part of me, a darker part indeed, and this profession is probably one of the only things that allows me to share it without being committed, ya know? So uh, yeah that’s my answer as far as me “committing” to Holidead, it’s something I believe and believe in #wrestlingisrealpeoplearefake

Chopstix: I think where your name really started to get out there was after your first tour in Stardom in 2015.

How did that come about?

Holidead: As I mentioned earlier, I trained at one place for about 2 years and maybe some change. I was there exclusively, only working student shows and things like that. After a while, I reached a point where I felt I was ready, ready to test the waters and get a taste of what was out there in the world, ya know? And when I was ready to leave my original training facility, I talked with my trainers a lot about it and to this day I’ll always remember what Gangrel told me, he said “If you want this, go chase it, NOW.” I think that was the final push and I was ready to see what was out there and transition into the real world so to speak (the indies) and I was researching different companies, and seeing who ran what and who could I reach out to for an opportunity. It was Gangrel that actually suggested I reach out to Cheerleader Melissa, stating that she is someone that is very good with helping women’s wrestling and young talent in general. And so I gave it a try and shot her a polite, professional message, with pics and footage and it was one of those right place, right time things, and she hit my back like “are you interested in going to Japan?” In my mind I’m like, “Duuuhhh, absolutely!” Of course I did not reply that way, I told her yes and it was for an opportunity coming up the next month, so to say things were happening fast right after leaving the only wrestling environment I had known, would be an understatement.

Chopstix: Was going to Japan always part of your goals? Was it SPECIFICALLY Stardom or just “Japan” in general? Were you familiar with Stardom prior?

Holidead: Within the time frame that I had from leaving my training facility to the offer to go to Japan, I have to say honestly it was the furthest thing from my mind. I thought I would start a little on a smaller scale, but I was for sure excited for the opportunity, and had many people I couldn’t let down, and those I wanted to prove wrong. I regret to say I was not too familiar with Stardom before then, but the weeks leading up to leaving, I got to attend the Stardom USA shows and get a dose of what I was in for.

Chopstix: Your first show was at Shinkiba First Ring, right?

Holidead: My first show was at Shinkiba is correct.

Chopstix: What was the audience reaction to you? I would assume the typically subdued Japanese crowd wouldn’t know what to make of you.

Holidead: The audience reaction was a little different than anything I was used to in America. For the most part the Japanese crowds are very quiet. I like to say they are more students of the sport of pro wrestling and they like to do more observing than reacting, and really pay attention and study what they are watching. It was something different than what they were used to seeing for sure, make-up aside, I am also considered VERY tall on that side of the waters, so combine the 2, in their eyes I was like a “giant monster”.

Chopstix: And shortly after that, you joined Oedo Tai. One of the things I remembered most about that time was you being led to the ring on a chain, which I thought was a great visual.

Was that your idea or theirs?

Holidead: Actually, after that first match in Japan at Shinkiba, it was Act Yasukawa that extended the invitation to join Oedo Tai. I don’t know if I knew for sure what I was getting myself into. What I did know is that I was an outcast, a loner, in a far and new land. I had just won my first match in Japan and apparently gained respect of one of the most badass Joshis around, and upon observation, Oedo Tai seemed to be their own group of outcasts that play by their own rules. So when the invitation was extended, it didn’t take me long to think it over and accept. And speaking of the whole dog collar thing, that was the first time I tagged with Act. And she had been in the ring or ringside for all my matches so far and we had a talk about her perspective of me, and not to butcher the conversation, but she doesn’t have the greatest English and I do not have the greatest Japanese but from the beginning to now we’ve had an understanding of each other. To quote her, she would always say, “me and you, same same.” Meaning, even though we didn’t speak each other’s language, we got one another. And she thought coming out with her holding the reigns of me with a chain around me was a good description a bit of who Holidead is and with Oedo Tai. Her being the leader I think she saw me as one who needed to be controlled at bay until the right moment to unleash me on opponents. I agreed and we went with it. It was my only time tagging with Act, I wish it could have happened more than once, but I was grateful for that time indeed.

Chopstix: To me, the most special moment was you carrying Act Yasukawa out on your shoulders after her final match. What did that moment mean to you? Was it planned or a spur of the moment kinda thing?

Holidead: Getting to carry Act out on her final hoorah let alone be involved in her last match has so much meaning to me, something I will hold with me always. I legit say she is family, she looked out for me a lot while I was there. I’ll always consider her my Senpai and we still keep in contact to this day. So for her to even allow me to be a part of her moment is a big deal. We talked about me carrying her around the ring after the match. However, again, let me mention her English is not so great and my Japanese is not so great. Apparently, what was supposed to happen was she would just be on my back, piggyback style, but that got lost in translation and before I knew it, I had her on my shoulders and we were walking through a flood of streamers. I think things work out for a reason and it was actually probably better that way. She deserved to be hoisted up in a parade-like fashion, and I didn’t drop her, so no harm no foul.

Chopstix: What did you take most out of your time there? Did you add to your moveset or was it more conditioning and strength training?

Holidead: I mean the experiences, the culture, the people will always be something I’ll have and remember forever. I can’t say I added to my moveset because of Japanese style, but the conditioning and training there was definitely something of a different beast/nature than I was accustomed to. A lot of things were a challenge, which I like, so it was a good thing.

Chopstix: After returning from Japan, you started to team with Thunder Rosa as the Twisted Sisterz. How did you two connect since you were on two different tours for Stardom?

Holidead: We didn’t start teaming right away. Actually, we were supposed to fight that October but around the same time I got the opportunity to go to Japan, so I was not able to have that match with her. I really didn’t know her, but when it was announced that I was going to Japan she was one of the first people to tell me congrats, that I was going to kill it and if I needed anything feel free to ask. We actually started messaging a little back and forth my first tour over there. And when I got back to the states she was hitting me up and everything and then soon after we were announced to have our first match at BTW, she hit me up again, she was excited. I was excited too, again, even though I didn’t know her like that she seemed to have a passion for wrestling like me and that was cool. So after our first match we got booked to fight each other like SEVERAL times after that. And we ended up on a lot of shows together in the same place, and we just clicked and bonded. And I think after one match we were having a post-match meal, because that was our routine at this point, we try to kill each other in the ring then go break bread after. And we were eating and talking, and her manager was like, “you know instead of always fighting each other you ever thought about tagging?” And we both looked at each other with a half-smile like, “you want to?” And from there we kind of just took off running with it.

Chopstix: One thing I notice about the two of you is that you’re both out there hustling and making the towns. Is that part of what bonds you together?

Holidead: I think our hustle is something that brought us both together. She had been on her hustle out in the indy world a little sooner than me and I think she saw the hustle I had and it was just mutual respect. Also, I think in a way as far as wrestling we were both kind of loners, like we don’t really have any cliques, or a bunch of companies backing us like that, it’s legit just us. And we know we have to bust our asses to get out there and make a name for ourselves because NOBODY else will do it for us, we must, kind of like do or die.

Chopstix: What do you think it is that makes you two just click together? You seem to complement each other very well. It also seems like during a lot of your promos, SHE doesn’t even know what to make of you.

Holidead: Again, both of our hustle and work ethic I think that’s what initially brought us together or started the bond. And I mean, even after our first match, like we beat the crap out of each other, but afterwards it was like YES, thank you for not holding back, thank you for bringing it, thank you for pushing me. We both wanna go to that other level and like to be pushed. And I mean I guess our personalities just mesh. We click but we actually are pretty opposite. She is more of the loud kind of out there one, I like to think I’m more of the subtle laid-back one, but people say opposites attract. Also, she is someone I’ve been able to open up to and she’s accepted me for who I am and helped me be better in and out of wrestling, I’d like to think I’ve done the same lol but seriously though, we just say sometimes the universe brought us together.

Chopstix: What was it like going back to Stardom for your second tour as the Twisted Sisterz?

Holidead: It was nice to go back to Japan as the Twisted Sisterz for several different reasons. I mean the first time I was alone in the sense that I didn’t really go out there with anyone I knew like that, and this time I was going with my best friend. And even beyond that, it was the fact that at this point we hadn’t even been tagging a full year and Stardom, the top women’s promotion in Japan, recognized us as not only a dominant but legitimate tag team…..felt like a little respect, that was a really good feeling.

Chopstix: Can you tell us what it was like defending the NWA tag titles against Queen’s Quest in Korakuen?

Holidead: My first tour in Japan I actually got to fight for the Women’s NWA title at Korakuen, and the first time around I don’t think I understood the full magnitude of it all. The second time around I was a little more aware of everything, and also came in as champs. It was a big moment for both Thunder and I. I know we both felt there were a lot of adversities that we had faced in the business at this point and were still facing. But then, it was like no matter what we are making history, first ever female NWA tag champs and first ever to defend them in Japan at Korakuen Hall. It was something we took very seriously and we were going to make sure made an impact and left a lasting impression for our last match on the tour and in general.

Chopstix: I mentioned it before, but you’re a true road warrior. My friend and I waited for you after a WOW show in LB once and when we asked the guy if you were still there, he came back with a “she’s already on her way to LAX.”

It seems like you’re constantly traveling to make towns and you’re on shows all over the country. What’s it like being a road warrior and constantly on the go like that?

Holidead: I love it. I actually feel like I don’t travel enough. You should see me when I feel like I’m not doing enough or not working enough, I go crazier. I hate having down time, like why am I not busy??? Whenever I have conversations with people and they say things like, “Ahh, my body hurts. Ahh, I’m tired” or things like that, I’m just like, “Hey, this is the life I chose and if I want to be doing something else, then I will.” Until then, I won’t complain about being out here working and making towns, and working in new cities, making new fans, and getting my name out there more. This is the life I chose. I knew what was in it when I signed up, and I’m head first deep in. Like I said, I feel like I don’t have enough work. I want more, so I’ve got more work to do to prove my work, my worth, and that I belong to be out there. I feel like I’m always fighting, even if it’s just to prove something.

Chopstix: You recently had a match on Monday Night Raw with Bayley, what was that like? I mean, you’ve wrestled in the storied Korakuen Hall, but I would have to assume that Monday Night Raw and the WWE was a completely different beast.

Holidead: Did “I” have a match on Raw or was that a chick named Cami Fields????

Chopstix: Dun, dun, duuuuuun.

Holidead: Hmm let me see if I could step into Cami’s shoes for a moment how would she respond?…*pause*….*unpause*….. growing up a wrestling fan, growing up a WWF/E fan it was a big deal. The moment I was told I would be having a match, my outer composure was *shaking hands*, thank you for this opportunity, I am happy to be here. And on the inside there was a bit of a freak out moment like, wtf, oh crap, I’m having a match on the longest running episodic show in television history, the show you watched growing up, looking around the empty stadium into the stands telling myself, DONT FREAK OUT!!!, yea those were my inside thoughts. But all in all I got through it, I talked to my trainer afterwards who is very brutally honest and he gave me good feedback. So I felt good about it, even if it was all for one night only, it was a cool moment I’ll never forget.

Chopstix: What are your goals for the future? Maybe Shimmer? Is the WWE ultimately where you want to end up? I mean, I think that’s pretty much the goal for everyone, but would you be happy keeping the vagabond lifestyle?

Holidead: Hmm future goals? I actually think ahead, but don’t plan too too far ahead. As far as wrestling I cannot say that WWE is the end all be all for me, I know people who say you’re crazy if you’re in the business and WWE is not your goal. Before I began training, WWE was all I knew, but it’s like once I actually started training my eyes opened up to the world of wrestling outside of the main stream. If the opportunity came to work for Shimmer I would love that. But as far as goals, maybe working in Japan full time would be cool, they don’t really seem to put an “age limit” on women of when they have to stop wrestling, they seem solely about whether you can work or not, and even though women wrestling is evolving I still think they are ahead in many things over there.

Chopstix: Right, I mean Hiromi Mimura is just starting her career at 30 years old. But even if you look at some of the legends like Aja Kong or Manami Toyota who’ve been around since the 80s, they’re still going and relevant.

Holidead: Also, Ring of Honor seems to be building up its women’s roster and doing some good things with Women of Honor, I wouldn’t mind stepping in/working for ROH/WOH. I still want to do more travelling. Wrestle in parts of the world I have yet to. Various countries in Europe, South America, Australia, Africa, as well as every state in the United States that has a wrestling market. I may be crazy for saying this, but at the end of the day I want to make a living as a professional wrestler. I love nothing else like it and I guess I just want it to love me back the same, like that one you’ll forever chase, but don’t know if you’ll ever get it or if it’s worth it in the end ya know? But wrestling is the love I want, and as long as I can and am able to survive off of it, I will. It’s like a drug, once you’re hooked, that’s it. It gives you your highest highs and lowest lows, but you just can’t leave it alone…At least for me anyway.

Chopstix: Is there anyone you’d like to square off with that you haven’t already?

Holidead: Hmm, I’d love to go one on one with Mariachi Loco, we’ve actually squared off in tag action, but I want to go one on one with the Loco. Also Dalys from CMLL, I enjoy her style very much and think we would make a good match up. Meiko Satomura, probably one of the best in Japan today.

Chopstix: Yes, please.

Holidead: I’m pretty sure she would put me through the ringer and be one of my toughest challenges ever, but to continue to be challenged and grow in this business is something I want always. Hiroyo Matsumoto, I think we size up pretty well. We’ve only seen tag action against each other and I’d always tell her I want a one on one match, and she’s like, “yes, please make it happen!” If only I had that kind of power.

Chopstix: I never realized I wanted to see that match until right now. Someone needs to book that.

Holidead: Just to throw some other names out there as well Alpha Female, Azumi, Lisa Marie, Taya, Cheerleader Melissa, Su Yung, Rachael Ellering, Willow Nightinghale, Karen Q, Joey Ryan, either member of the Seastars, Penelope Ford, Amber O’Neal. Just to name a few others.

Chopstix: Alpha Female and Su Yung would be VERY interesting match-ups. Any last words for SCU?

Holidead: Thank you for taking the time to try to get to know me a bit, didn’t know there was interest, so cool deal. Hopefully, I’ll be able to wrestle again in SoCal soon, if not catch me on the road, Twitter, Facebook, and my YouTube channel where you can catch up on my matches. And just thank you guys for your support. Here’s to the journey!

(c) Gregg Sugimura