Bea Priestley is a British professional wrestler who moved to New Zealand when she was young and came back to wrestle in the UK. She is mainly known in WCPW and Lucha Forever in the UK and Stardom in Japan.
How long have you been in the business and what made you want to become a professional wrestler?
I started wrestling training in April 2012 at the age of 16 and had my debut in December 2012. I did however have 18months off in 2014 - 2015 due to medical reasons.
This is my second year being apart of the British Wrestling Scene.
I started watching WWE at the age of 14 and fell in love with the mixture of performance and athleticism. I’ve always played sports and have had a passion for drama so it was a perfect match between the two.
What would you consider the hardest part about being professional female athlete in a male dominated sport?
I think it’s important to find something that makes you stand out and different. A big problem I’ve had is people making accusations and jumping to conclusions that I only get booked through other people. So, I’ve found that I’ve had to work extra hard to prove that I’m in the position I’m in because of my own hard work and dedication and not because of other people. I think also a lot of girls get quite competitive because there is generally only one female match on a show (with some exceptions), so it is almost a ‘fighting for your spot’ vibe. I think it’s just important to focus on yourself and if you aren’t where you want to be in your career then maybe look at yourself and see what can be changed/ improved.
What are some of your career highlights?
My recent match with Toni Storm for STARDOM. It was the first ever female wrestling that had happened in Taiwan so it was amazing to be making history with all those girls. Sharing that moment with one of my best friends who I feel like we have great chemistry in the ring is definitely a big highlight.
Another one is just being able to be apart of STARDOM. I’ve wanted to wrestle for this promotion for years and I’m so proud to represent them and be training under their top girls. It is by far the best learning experience and most fun I’ve had with wrestling in a long while.
If you can name 3 wrestlers who influence your style, who would they be?
Chris Jericho - I love everything about him from his character work, presence and in ring style. He is actually the main reason I got into wrestling.
Daniel Bryan - I love his submission style and it’s definitely the kind of wrestling that I would like to perfect.
Kushida - He is by far my favourites NJPW star. His transitions and movements and so crisp and tidy. The athleticism shown by the NJPW roster is incredible. I actually do a Kimura submission which was inspired by Kushida.
Who would you put on the Mount Rushmore of WOMEN’S Wrestling?
Who would you say is/are the next breakthrough female star(s) in Wrestling?
I would definitely keep an eye on Candyfloss. She’s got a unique look and has some badass arm bar submissions she busts out. I would love to have a singles match with her one day as I feel our styles would collide quite well with one another.
Who are your favourite and dream opponents to face?
Io Shirai - She is my trainer at STARDOM and she is by far one of the best woman’s wrestlers I’ve ever seen. I’ve learnt so much from her already and I hope to one day have a singles match with her.
Toni Storm is definitely my favourite opponent. I could wrestle her everyday and not get bored. Also she’s ridiculously good.
What do you think of the current state of women’s wrestling?
I think there is definitely a lot of buzz on female wrestling at the moment. It’s definitely a time to take opportunities and work harder than ever to get noticed. There are so many decent girls but I think if people focus on being different and a stand out then it’ll help take that extra step.
How does it make you feel when people discriminate women’s wrestling and what should be done about it?
I generally tend to ignore negative comments on women’s wrestling. I get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. We are all entitled to our opinions and preferences.
What I don’t like is when people post negative things or use derogatory terms. That’s when it starts getting disrespectful.
What companies do you currently wrestle in?
What Culture/ Defiant
Those are the main promotions I wrestle for. There are many others that I have appeared at including Revolution Pro, Over the Top, Pro Wrestling EVE etc.
Do you believe women can, let's say, one day main event a show like WWE's Wrestlemania?
I don’t put any limitation on woman’s wrestling. The females in WWE at the moment have already had many history making moments. What’s stopping them now?
What’s it like dating a cat [Will Ospreay for those who don't get the joke]?
Will has helped me grow so much as both a person and a wrestler. I can always trust him to be honest when he watches my matches too. If he thinks something looked bad or something wasn’t quite right, he’ll tell me. I hands down think that he is the main reason I’m sitting here in Japan right now because of how much time he’s put into drilling me in the ring - to studying my matches and telling me how to make them better.
What championships do you currently hold / what championships have you won?
WCPW Women’s Championship x1
What’s it like wrestling in multiple countries and which is your favourite and why?
I love seeing the different talent from around the globe.
Japan is definitely my favourite so far. I love the culture and the training is awesome!
Australia has so much incredible talent too.
You and Will have been called a wrestling power couple. Is there any wrestling couples you’d like to face off against, if so who?
We’ve already wrestled Ricochet and Tessa Blanchard (rematch please), but I’d love to wrestle:
Dahlia Black and TK Cooper. I think Will and TK in the same ring would be insane.
Sami Callihan and Jessicka Havoc
Ryan Smile and Alex Windsor
Deonna Purrazzo and Marty Scurll
You had a brain tumour that was removed. What was your recovery like and how did you feel, both physically and mentally?
I had brain surgery at the age of 18 to remove a life threatening brain tumour that was causing me to have epileptic seizures. This had been happening to me since I was 14 years old. I had a very fast recovery. I was only in hospital for four days. They were expecting to have me for about two weeks but it wasn’t needed. For me the surgery was a relief. The tumour was ruining my life. So I wasn’t really traumatised or anything. I just wanted to make something of myself and it kind of gave me the opportunity to start again. So, after I got cleared I decided that I would move to England to pursue this wrestling dream. I left for the UK exactly one year after my surgery.
One last question. What’s next for you? Where are you going / what are your plans?
Well at the moment I’m at STARDOM, and I’m hoping if it goes well then this will become a regular thing. But I’ve learnt to just take wrestling as it comes, it changes all the time and sometimes it’s nice to just go with the flow.
Are there any people or organisations you’d like to give a special thank you / shout out to?
Thank you Travis Banks, Will Ospreay and Jimmy Havoc for helping train me and advising me. Also, thanks to anyone who has given me feedback and advise to help me become a better wrestler.
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Thank you guys!!!