Sunday, 1 October 2017

A Conversation with "Session Moth" Martina

ATPW recently got the chance to talk with "Session Moth" Martina (recorded 14th September 2017), this is that talk/conversation/interview. We talked about seeing red at NORTH, the appeal of Over the Top Wrestling, breaking into fresh markets, the wonder that is Fight Club: Pro and so much more. Let's get on with it, here it is, enjoy.

ATPW: I wanted to start by asking how you were following that match at NORTH? [Martina was busted open during a match at NORTH on 9th September]

Martina: Oh I'm fine! It looked a lot worse than it was, which is a good thing, in a way. I just did a dive, the footage should be up soon enough. I'm pretty sure NORTH put out their matches for free, they just put it up on YouTube. I just smacked heads with "Flash" Morgan Webster and instantly I saw blood and I thought it was him. I felt the bang obviously, but I was like "Are you okay?", then I realised it was me. It was very scary for a minute, because it wasn't a little bit of blood, it just started gushing. I checked my teeth and I checked my nose and I had so much blood in my eye at this point that I thought maybe I burst an eyeball or something. Once I blinked it out, I was like "Okay, I don't know what it is, but I can keep going". So we just kept going. People were handing me clothes and once it was out of my eyes and I knew I could see and I remembered everything and I was good to go. So, I carried on. It was a shock more than anything else, seeing that much blood, but once I knew I was okay, it was actually quite fun to work with and to power through. I'm very lucky at the same time, because it could have been crucial. 

ATPW: I suppose, that as long as you're okay, then it sort of adds something to the match...

SMM: Yeah, as it went along and we were doing brawls in the crowd, I could hear the crowd being like "Oh my God, she's a trooper!". I know it's very scary as well, being a female, in the ring, in the main event with three boys. It'd be more shocking to the crowd seeing a girl bleed. Regardless of gender, it's shocking to the crowd when they see blood, but I think being the girl in the match, they were probably like "Oh my God!", because everyone's a little more sympathetic towards women.

ATPW: We see don't blood that much these days, anyway. Especially, women, that's really rare. Then even more so because it was an intergender match...

SMM: Yeah, I remember, the promoter, instantly, before he knew it was all okay, he got worried about that. He was like "Oh no, is this okay?". But once it was fine, in a way, it gained me a lot of respect on Twitter and stuff like that and the crowd went home ridiculously happy and they were like "Oh my God, that was brilliant" and we ended up having a really good match and I was happy with it. 

Credit - The Ropes Photography

ATPW: Let's start the interview proper with wrestling interview question #1, which is...How did you get into professional wrestling and what made you fan? 

SMM: I'd always been a fan, since I was young. Me and my brothers used to watch wrestling growing up and around the time when everyone one lost interest or everyone fell out of love with WWF/WWE, I didn't. I was the only one in my circle that still liked it, but you know, life moved on and I did new things and hung around new people. Then I got a little bit older, I was out with my friends one time and something came up, when we were all out drinking and I was like "Do you remember Stone Cold? The Rock? Chris Jericho?" and we just ended up talking about a load of WWF memories. When I got home I went on YouTube and just started looking up all the old stuff and I was like "Oh my God, this is great!" and then fell into a loop of it and ended up becoming obsessed with it all over again.

The obsession just got bigger and then eventually, I never thought I would do it, because I was a lot bigger back then, I was a big girl, but I just loved wrestling, I looked up something about Irish wrestling and saw that there was a school that did it. I thought "Ah that's cool", so I looked it up on Facebook and I thought I'd love to that one day and put it to the back of my head. Then I met the guy who ran the school, by chance, because my next door neighbour was friends with him. So, we ended up meeting and I said to him one night "I'd love to do it, but I wouldn't have the balls to do it". The next day I had a message from him, saying "I set up a class for you, come down and give it a go" and I was like "Ah no, I won't be able to do it" but then I just said "Ah fuck it, I'll give it a go". Then I got in the ring and I did the few little bits and I was probably absolutely terrible, but I said "Okay, I actually like this". That was about seven years ago.

ATPW: So when you began wrestling as Kazza G, mostly in Ireland, what was the scene like back then in 2011/12? 

SMM: Compared to now it was dead. There wasn't much going on. When I first started training my training school had just started running shows and I was their ring announcer on the first few shows. Eventually, they said "Okay, you're ready to wrestle, we're gonna put you in a battle royale" and there was no other girls training at this point so I was in there with the guys from the get go. Once I debuted it just sort of took of. I remember another promotion that did smaller shows, but they were all around Ireland, they used to travel all the time, because there was so few women, he booked me for every show! So from the start I was wrestling every weekend, because of that place and my home training school shows. They got better as it went along, it was still the one big show in Dublin once a month and then we do these smaller shows around the country. But it was the same, it was very old, camp style, boo-yay kind of wrestling, but it was great experience for getting me comfortable in front of a crowd. I wasn't doing anything to the degree I do now, I was either a basic heel or a basic face, but it was great to have that amount of experience in front of a crowd and get comfortable, wrestling all the time and improving in-ring. But, looking at the scene then compared to now, it's insane to see the difference, but I think that's the same for British wrestling and Irish wrestling all the same, all sorts of indepdent wrestling has just exploded over the last few years.

ATPW: Over the Top Wrestling (OTT) started in 2014 and you were on the very first show...

SMM: Yeah, I was Kazza on that show. I'd done a fair bit now as Kazza. I'd wrestling in Switzerland and I'd won a belt in Belgium and I'd wrestled for every promotion in Ireland, so it wasn't a case of where I didn't do anything before Martina. I did a lot and I got a lot of respect in Ireland and obviously winning a belt in Belgium was a big deal and even flying over to a different country from Ireland was very rare. I definitely had experience under my belt before OTT began.

I wrestled the first show as Kazza G. The first show did have such a special air to it and everybody knew that something special was happening here. I kinda just knew straight off "wrestling as Kazza isn't gonna do it", because we had such eccentric characters on the show. The Wards were the main guys, who were a stable of characters, then we had the Lads from the Flats, who were a stable of characters. So I was in Germany for the second show, so I wasn't on that, so then I came back and I was there for the next one but I wasn't on it. I was like "Nah, gotta do something different, something's gotta change". So I was like "I'll go with the Lads from the Flats", because they were like "They need a girl with them". So I said to myself "I'm gonna need to be like a townie girl" because who would the Lads from the Flats hang out with and I thought "A Session Moth is such a popular term in Ireland right now" because a Session Moth is pretty much a townie girl. They go to clubs, they drink, they just want to party, they're real common and just want to have fun. That's all the care about. So then I thought "What would a Session Moth wear? She'd wear pajamas!" They're the ones that go, hungover the next morning, they go to the shop in their pajamas. So then I got leopard print pajamas, because leopard prints so tacky! I was like "I'll wear hoop earrings and I'll come out with the Lads from the Flats and we'll have a rave and we'll just drink and we'll do this". That was the beginning of the character and as time went on I just kept adding things to it and started to get to know Martina and fell in love with everything about her, because it was just so much fun to do. The comedy wrestling aspect just made me fall in love with wrestling all over again, because I was going out there and making a fool of myself and having so much fun.

ATPW: What do you think has made OTT stand out as a promotion in Ireland? Because it was probably the first Irish promotion that came on my radar, as a fan in England. 

SMM: I dunno. I think it's obviously I think everyone looked over at Ireland and they didn't see much, because there wasn't any "adult shows", lets say, because it was all kids shows. If you ever saw any photos or film, growing up, it was kids in the crowd. Then OTT began and it was geared towards adults, it was Over 18s and people drink at it and it was such adult content, like myself and Lads for the Flats and stuff like that. We didn't have any British wrestlers on our first few shows, except for Pete Dunne and Ryan Smile, they've been with us since the start. I met Pete and Ryan years ago in another promotion in Ireland, a small kids show again, so we've all known them a very long time and we've been friends for a very long time. So they were already known to us, so when they came over and obviously Pete started getting more exposure as the years went on. Pete would always go back home and say "There's this great place in Ireland called OTT" and he loved it there because he was so over and got his job done so well. As time went on it just became word of mouth and then social media and then obviously we started booking more British wrestlers and our production values started was kinda the same way any of the big promotions got to be big promotions, people just started catching on and saying "Oh wow, look at that".

I think what makes OTT stand out to all the other British promotions, even now is our character content is very original and our comedy aspect are very original. There's a mix of characters, you'll have your comedy, you'll have you highflying matches, you'll have your big man matches, there's literally something for everyone. We always like to do different thing and I like to think you'll see matches in OTT that you won't see anywhere else. 

ATPW: Yeah I've seen a lot of interesting and different stuff from OTT, mainly on YouTube and social media. I think that's the stuff that catches peoples attention and goes on to catch even more attention...

SMM: Yeah, I remember a show last year, it was the show that Will Ospreay debuted on, but we had the characters from Father Ted on the show and they were involved in the same match that I was in. So it just became this big thing and the video went viral around Ireland, because everyone was like "Oh my God, it's Father Ted in wrestling!". So I was asked to be on the national TV station for it, along with the promoter, so that was really good exposure for us and obviously Will loved it, so then Will started talking about it and telling people about it and again with Pete. It had all these great aspects with and it did really boom from then on. 

ATPW: So from OTT, you started coming to the UK in 2016, initially with PCW, how was that initial experience? 

SMM: Yeah that was my first UK booking, which was quite huge at the time, because I remember people saying "Will the UK get the gimmick? Will they understand it, because it's so Irish?" And that was my fear with it and as well I wouldn't say I would know Martina as well as I do now. I wouldn't even have wrestled as much as I do now. Oh my God, I can't even remember when it was. I didn't have much more since then, but towards the end of the year last year I started getting more exposure and then before I knew it, I had to leave a job. I've been booked in the UK, I think it's been two weekends this year that I haven't wrestled, which is insane, because looking at my life last year where I was working for OTT once a month and that was it because all them kids shows had stopped. There wasn't anything happening, so it was literally just OTT. So I was wrestling once a month last year and I was looking at all my British friends I'd made, who were wrestling every weekend and I got really jealous and I was like "That's what I want! That's what I want!". Then last year just kind of boomed and I've been so lucky this year.

ATPW: You talked a little bit there about a worry that the gimmick might not have translated when you came over the UK. In December, you're working in Canada, do you have similar kind of feelings about that? (This has since been cancelled after the company turned out to be a bag of shite)

SMM: I always worried about that. I worried about that wrestling in mainland Europe as well, but then I wrestled in Germany and it got ridiculously over and I'm debuting for wXw at the end of the month and I've got a fair few dates with them for the rest of the year. I think, maybe my spoken comedy may not translate for a lot of them, but I think people just get it, when they see me drinking beer and they see me dancing, I think regardless of what it is you can understand it. I think I've toned it, to where...because I have a lot of followers from Canada and America and even Japan, that have really gotten on board with it and seem to love it. So I guess it's just going over and make the best showing that I can. 

ATPW: Have you ever had a situation where you've gone out and the crowd has gone for it? 

SMM: No, I think the majority of places that I've been have really, really taken to it, which I'm very lucky to say. There, of course, might be the case were you do one joke and it might not get the reaction you hoped it would, but usually you can cover it up pretty well, so that's fine. I've always gotten a very, very good reception. I think one of the hardest places I've worked, because I know they have mixed feelings is ICW. My character is always you love or you hate me and they're always very strong on either side of that. Which is fine and I perfectly accept that, because it is such a strong gimmick, that you can't be indecisive about it, you either like it or you don't. I mainly find it from Scotland people, "I'm not really a fan", but it's very rare that I get that, so I'm lucky. 

ATPW: I think with ICW there's very much a case of "shades of grey" with how the crowd react to things...

SMM: I always think that they're very much in favour of homegrown talent and I think that was it. I did notice, because I've been there for most of the year, as time went on they were warming to me the more they saw of me. So it definitely did get better towards the last few of them, but at the start it was difficult, because I think they weren't decided on if they wanted just plain wrestling or if they wanted a character. I think overtime they've started to grow to like the character. Especially because I like to give Martina a lot of backstory and it's not black and white, there's a lot to it. I'll always be like "Oh no, this is about Martina, this is what Martina would do, she's mad like this. This time she's going to approach it with her drinking, this time she's going to approach it with her sex, this time she's going to do it because she's angry" I like to think that there's a lot to her. 

Credit - Jamie Spaul

ATPW: It sounds like you spend a lot of time thinking about what your character would do in each situation? 

SMM: In every situation. Say it's a title match, I'm not gonna be full of jokes this time or I might be at the start but by the end of it, maybe you've pissed me off and maybe I'm gonna kill ya for it! I look so much into Martina, if you ever see me on Twitter that's why I'm always saying I've got so many kids and the number keeps changing and that's just a joke I play, even for myself, but people seem to love it and people seem to jump on it. That's the whole thing, I like to pretend I'm this mother to a million kids and I don't know any of the Dads, so it's like I'm trying to make a living, so that's what I'm doing! It just makes it a lot more fun it you actually have something when you actually have something, when you're going out there and changing into a different person. Maybe I'm fighting this girl because she's pissed me off or she's slagged what I'm wearing and I'm thinking "Bitch, I'm wearing better than you!" 

ATPW: I wanted to talk a little bit about a promotion that I got to a lot, Fight Club: PRO...

SMM: Oh my favourite! It is my absolute home from home. OTT is my home, of course and it's my all-time favourite, but Fight Club in the UK is my home from home, I adore that place. I look forward to it every month. 

ATPW: I think on your first show, when you came in and went to bar, there was a sense "What's going on here?" and then it's just sort of snowballed into a story with Shay and all sorts of stuff...

SMM: I think it was a case of I was very friendly with everyone in Fight Club and I knew they really liked my character and I know Fight Club didn't really do comedy before I came along and that's one thing they always said to me. Once I did get out there and actually did start having matches, they were like "We really like the dynamic that you're bringing to the table", because they have their insane dream matches all the time, sometimes it can be nice to just get out there and the crowd just have a laugh. They have great women talent when they come in, but the great thing about Fight Club is they only book the best, they're not just going to throw away a match. It's always going to top notch, when you're going and I think they really liked the idea that I could get in there and it's the place the London show, it was such a mad scramble where it had the UK Champion and a Session Moth and Jack Sexsmith and Eddie Dennis and Jordan Devlin, the big head, thirsty to prove himself and Millie McKenzie and Charlie Evans, just all of us in the same match and everyones just looking around and thinking "What? This is such a clash of different people, what the hell is this?". I never thought I'd be in the same ring as the WWE UK Champion, we're two different sides of a card, but it happened and it was so much, it was one of the funnest matches that I've ever had, because it was just so ridiculous, but there was so much wrestling and there was so many moves and there was so many comedy spots. It was just the perfect snowball of a match and I loved it! 

Credit - The Ringside Perspective

ATPW: I was gutted I missed that weekend, I think it was the first FCP show I'd missed in a couple of years...

SMM: My match with Dan Moloney, that was another different side to me there. I went in laughing and joking, but by the end of the match he'd been beating me up so I was angry and Shay was angry. So that showed even a little bit of a different side, it's the evolution of the character. 

ATPW: It's certainly a different kind of story to what FCP had been telling previously. 

SMM: It's all based around the fact that nobody had noticed that Dan Moloney was undefeated in Fight Club and he'd never been pinned, but it's all coming around.

ATPW: If someone hadn't seen your work, what would show them to win them over to the Session Moth?

SMM: Oh wow. I'd probably show them my promos to start off with. I'd show them my highlights video at the start, that's just different clips of me doing moves and dancing to my entrance song. That kind of gives a jist about what I'm about, all over. I like my promos that I've done, I remember my very first promo. It's so long ago now, but I just pretended I'd got my pay from the social and I was going out to buy my kids food, but I ended up going out and partying all over town instead. I liked the last promo I did for ICW, for my hen night, where I just had a mad night out, with the lads. Because what else would you do on a hen? Another one where I was hitch hiking to ICW. My favourite one as well, after ICW's fanpage blew saying I'd set women's wrestling back five years, I did a promo addressing and it was called "Public Service Announcement by Session Moth Martina" and I just did a short public service announcement outside a courtroom. That was fun.

Match-wise, I really enjoyed my PROGRESS debut match with Dahlia Black, and TK Cooper ringside. I just think that was a great mix, it was just fun. The story was that I was trying to steal Dahlia's fella, because that's what I do and it just gave me the perfect opportunity to tell that story. Because yeah, I'm gonna steal her fella and she's gonna hate me for it and that's why she's beating me up and I just want him and she's not gonna get in the way of that. I really like that match, the crowd were fantastic. I love mine and Shay's "Fans Bring the Alcohol" match, I thought that was just so much fun. It was just mad. That's what I love. I'd also show that eight person scramble. Then a million ones from OTT, where you could just show my wrestling matches. I love my ones with Alex Windsor, I love my ScrapperMania matches.

Credit - Rob Brazier Photography

Yeah, there's loads, there's always different stories to tell. That's one thing I really like, that I can flip the penny. Another thing I really like is that everytime I have a match, I try to do something different, something a little bit out there, something unseen and something that you wouldn't expect. One thing I've started doing recently is calling myself a hardcore wrestling, but only having sweet fights. I'm just beating people up with sweets because it makes no sense and that's what I'm about! I just like to have fun and do something that you won't see anywhere else, you won't see another woman do it, that's for sure, you probably won't even see a man do it.

ATPW: Let's talk about goals, short term, what would you like to do? Then long time, what would like to do in the next five or ten years?

SMM: Well, in five or ten years I probably shouldn't be wrestling any more! I suppose, my goal this time last year was to get booked in the UK and I've done that. Then I had a list of promotions that ideally, before I was booked anywhere, where I was like "I want to get here" and I've debuted for every single one of them, which is such an honour. I'd love to get to somewhere outside of Europe and I'm meant to be going to Canada, I might have some other stuff in the pipeline coming up. It's pretty surreal sitting there and literally seeing your dreams come true. Little things that you've set for yourself, it's very overwhelming. It's crazy, really, because I never ever thought it would happened so far. I guess coming to end of this year, I just want to keep it going. I always want to stay at Fight Club, that would just be the place that I always want to go every month. If I've got them every month and OTT, then I'd be happy, but of course, I just want to keep wrestling, I want to continue to be someone recognisable on the scene and liked on the scene and requested to be around. To stay in demand, I guess, would be the main thing for now. Long term, I've definitely got goals and as I say some of them are coming true, which is surreal and you'll see as it unfolds. Just stay relevant is my main thing, just stay relevant and don't be boring. That's why I do everything in my power not to be boring.

ATPW: I think if there's one word someone wouldn't use to describe Martina it would be boring! To close, where can people find you online and anything else you'd like to add?

@Mothfromdaflats on Twitter. Session Moth Martina on Instagram and the Facebook like page. Buy my merch. Just keep an eye out and hopefully I'll see you on a show, just dance with me when I ask you to dance with me and bring me beer! That's all I ask.


Well, that was a lot of fun! Seriously, I had a blast recording this and I hope that comes across. I feel like we only scratched the surface with Martina in this interview and hopefully we'll get the chance to chat again later down the line. A big thanks to Martina for taking the time out to do this!

Article by James Marston 

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