Thursday, November 10, 2016 sees the debut event of RISE: Developing Tomorrow’s Women Athletes. 40 up and coming women will descend on the Berwyn Eagles Club in Berwyn, Illinois to partake in a world class development seminar Participants will learn from former SHIMMER Champion Sweet Saraya Knight and Colt Cabana while vying for the opportunity to compete on RISE 1: Ignite later that evening.
I had the opportunity to visit with one of the women vying for a spot on the IGNITE card, Gemma Cross, about her career and the inaugural RISE event.
Scott: Could you give our readers a little bit of information about yourself? Where are you from?
Gemma: I am from New Jersey. I say New Jersey vaguely because I’ve lived all over the state. I’m originally from North Jersey, I consider my hometown to be Rahway, NJ. I currently reside in South Jersey.
Scott: Where do, or have, you trained?
Gemma: I was trained by Pat Buck at Create-A-Pro NJ based out of (my hometown) Rahway, NJ. I also had additional training from Dan Maff, Mario Bokara, and Craven Varro.
Scott: How long have you been involved in wrestling?
Gemma: I have been involved with wrestling for 2 years. I started out as a valet and manager.
Scott: Where have you worked (and titles held)?
Gemma: I am fortunate to live in the northeast in which wrestling is very hot and live so I’ve been working shows around NY, NJ, PA, and WV (so far). Places like WrestlePro, SWF, WDWA, BattleClub Pro, EWE, The Sanctuary, the old PWS, and Wrestler’s Laboratory. No titles yet, but I will be a champion one day!
Scott: What made you decide to start training to become a professional wrestler?
Gemma: I first started watching wrestling as a little girl, about 7-8 years old. I didn’t have cable when I was a kid because I grew up in a poor household, so I just watched Smackdown every Thursday night. I made sure I did not miss a single episode because I loved it so much. I had it rough growing up, but for some reason wrestling was the only thing that I looked forward to and gave me hope week after week. When I was a Senior in high school I didn’t have any desire to go to college because there was nothing that really interested me career wise. That’s when I knew I wanted to pursue a career in pro wrestling. That’s all I ever wanted to do.
Scott: In your #YG2, You’ve Got Two, video, you mentioned being based in New Jersey. With the Northeast being such a big scene for women’s wrestling, how has that impacted your career.
Gemma: I think it’s always tough at first starting out no matter where you are from. Wrestling as a whole is very alive over here, as you mentioned and I think it has been good to me thus far. There is also lots of competition and reputable woman’s wrestlers from all over so there’s more pressure being the new girl from the block. I’m still pretty new to the scene & I have a lot to prove.
You can view Gemma’s #YG2 video here.
Scott: So far in your career, who has been your favorite opponent? Why?
Gemma: So far in my career, my favorite opponent has been Craven Varro. We had a fun, fast paced match and I think its cool to work with someone who has helped me along my journey. Not to mention good chemistry because we are also a couple.
Scott: Let’s talk about RISE. The seminar and show, RISE 1: Ignite, has been created by Kevin Harvey to Develop Tomorrow’s Women Athletes. What do you hope to get out of this experience?
Gemma: I think the concept of RISE is such an amazing thing for all aspiring woman’s wrestlers looking to improve themselves. It is designed and puts all the focus into the development of a woman’s wrestler. I’m not sure if there’s anything like this out there that focuses on just woman, so I’m definitely looking forward to an in depth learning experience. After the seminar, #RISE1 will follow in which no one knows who will be on the show which makes it exciting & crazy. I hope to take away as much knowledge as I can to improve my game in/out of the ring. I’m putting myself out there on a bigger platform when it comes to woman’s wrestling competition, and the fans that follow. I’m just excited for everything.
Scott: In the spirit of developing talent for the future, where are some of the places that you would like to start working (i.e. any particular promotions, tours of other countries, etc)?
Gemma: I would love to go to Japan one day, European tours, you name it! I know that it will be a while until I can achieve those goals as I am still “up and coming” but that’s definitely a goal of mine. As of now, I just want to improve my skills and eventually make my way to SHIMMMER, Woman Of Honor, etc.
Scott: One of the RISE online competitions was the #MOMC, Match of My Career. You submitted a match against Craven Varro. What was it about that match that made you select it for the contest?
Gemma: The match I selected was my favorite match and I feel that it represents the beginning of what you can expect to see from Gemma Cross. Like I have mentioned before, I started out as a manager/valet so I didn’t have much match footage of me wrestling out there to begin with but I am making my way out there now & you will see a lot more of me in the upcoming year!
You can view Gemma’s #MOMC match here.
Scott: A group of participants will be selected for the RISE1: IGNITE show. Why should you be selected to compete?
Gemma: I think I should be selected to compete because once you see the energy I bring you will want to see more and I promise I will be everyone’s favorite devious chick!
Scott: Is there anything you would like to say to the other girls, one of whom you may wrestle on the IGNITE show?
Gemma: The only thing I would like to say is whether I compete at #RISE1 or not I guarantee our paths will cross someday and I am looking to compete with the best. Berwyn, IL will be full of so many talented ladies at RISE and I am very much looking forward to seeing all of them there!