Pro-Wrestling:EVE, the wrestling platform for women, is coming to London this weekend!
EVE is the UK’s premier feminist-punk-rock wrestling promotion which gives women a huge platform for gaining a career in wrestling, where their presence isn’t just a small feature. The event hits London’s Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green between May 20 – 21, in what will be a weekend filled with elbow-drops, silly amounts of fun and a punk-rock ethos. We sat down to speak with organisers Dann and Emily Read to talk all things EVE, what it’s doing for women’s wrestling, punk-rock and the future of the sport.
How much are you looking forward to Pro-Wrestling:EVE this weekend?
Dann Read: “Is it weird to say I’m excited over the chaos that’s about to ensue? I always look forward to obliterating any first-timers’ preconceptions and misconceptions over what an EVE all-female pro-wrestling event is. This time it is especially exciting because Saturday and Sunday’s events are pivotal, era-defining events for us. This is because our champion, Rhia O’Reilly, is being forced to vacate her title due to breaking both her leg and her ankle in her last title defence. So this weekend we have 16 of the best female wrestlers from all over the world in a two-day championship tournament to crown a new EVE champion, which means each wrestler is performing like it’s a main event match. We really get to see the best of everybody this weekend.”
Emily Read: “I’m so excited about EVE this weekend. I am honestly absolutely heartbroken about Rhia’s injury, but I know she’s tough as nails and will be back in no time. In the meantime, her injury has opened up so many opportunities for the other women on our roster, and I can’t wait to see what they do with it.”
Could you tell us the story behind EVE wrestling?
Emily: “EVE wrestling was born out of a desire to give female wrestlers the platform they deserve. In most companies the women are seen as a ‘feature’ match and given very little time on the show. With EVE we gave them the same opportunities the men were being given and it was beautiful to watch how they took that and really ran with it.”
Dann: “I wanted my daughter and other people’s daughters to be able to grow up seeing woman be able to do anything they want, and not be told, ‘No, women can’t do that.’ Trust me, when we started nobody was doing this the way we do, and I don’t just mean wrestling – I mean female role-models and superheroes.”
Is women’s wrestling increasing in popularity?
Emily: “Women’s wrestling is absolutely increasing in popularity, and with programs like GLOW and the women’s tournament that WWE are running I only expect this interest to grow and grow.”
Dann: “There’s still a hell of a fight on because of society being so slow to adapt and move with the times. There are still people out there trying to rubbish women’s wrestling down, saying that it’s a fad, saying women aren’t as good, trying to make out it’s all about perving and all that bollocks. It’s the insecurities and fear of change. You know, all the shit that’s said to keep society conforming and the farm still producing. That’s what we’re fighting, but there’s absolutely a kinetic shift occurring as those that attend are being woken up.”
What can we expect from both shows?
Emily: “You can expect the same from this weekend’s shows that you can expect from every EVE show: great and unique atmosphere, great entertainment and fucking brilliant wrestling.”
Dann: “Shit to get real… You’ll laugh, you’ll drink, you’ll dance, you’ll scream, you’ll cheer, you’ll boo, you’ll be amazed, your jaw will hit the floor, you’ll become a junkie to the action, comedy and adrenaline and you’ll come away wishing it never ended. And that’s just Saturday afternoon. Then we’re gonna drink Saturday night and come back to do it again on Sunday.”
Would you say this is the most punk-rock wrestling out there?
Emily: “EVE is a feminist, grassroots promotion. We don’t shy away from political things, we’re not afraid of removing people who say vile or offensive things. We’re not trying to make you like us – that’s your choice. What you see is what you get with EVE. This is not an act, this is how we live our lives; we are true, we’re loud, we don’t compromise and we don’t give a fuck if that offends people. So, yes, I’d say we’re pretty punk.”
Dann: “You tell me! I’m always shy to giving us labels as it makes me feel like I’m telling you what to think about us… My view is we’re gonna do what we’re gonna do and we’re passionate about that… I worry that the term is being over-utilised and killed like a buzzword, but if people say it with passion about us and they truly mean it, then that’s more than cool by me…”
Finally, where do you see the future of the sport?
Dann: “I don’t know about the future of this sport as a whole but for EVE, what Ronda Rousey did for women in MMA, I want us to be able to do that but not just for pro wrestling. I don’t want to create just one bigger sport or entertainment product – I want this to be part of a bigger sociological adjustment. I want wrestling to be something that brings people together, that helps bond people much like being part of a really cool mosh-pit bonds you all together. You bond with one another in the pit and you bond with one another in the crowd. I see it happen all the time at EVE because you don’t have to be a wrestling fan to ‘get it’.”
Emily: “There’s a big boom in British wrestling at the moment and that’s great to see, but I do feel like that is going to die down eventually as the market becomes oversaturated. I think the focus on women’s wrestling and wrestling in Japan is going to grow and grow, and the wrestling companies with real heart and passion, who don’t fear change, are going to continue to get stronger. That’s something I’m looking forward to seeing.”