Rachel Summerlyn is a stunning blond powerhouse, known for making her opponents tap from agony, brutalizing them into saying ‘I Quit,’ and doing it all with a smile and positive attitude! Rachel is one of our favorite people in all of wrestling, and we were very happy to talk with her leading into this months’ huge Anarchy Championship Wrestling Queen of Queens 2011 tournament on June 26th. Rachel is one half of the ACW Tag Team champions and takes a large role in promoting the ever-expanding company. Please enjoy this interview with one of the nicest, and most bad-ass, women in wrestling.
Everyone is talking about ACW’s wrestling prom. As the organizer, how do you feel it turned out? Was it as real as your dream?
The ACW prom was incredible! It was so much bigger than we originally expected. It started out with the evening gown match, which was big in itself, but then realizing that it was prom season and adding the whole prom theme to it was something so different and unique.
The roster being behind it, dressing up and embracing it, and then the crowd getting involved was awesome. We were worried at first, because it is a themed show and those can go either way, but it blew all of my expectations out of the water. I am pretty sure it has to be an annual show now.
The most talked about match before and after was that evening gown match. It was quite memorable and a number of fans said it was their favorite match on a show with lots of great matches. What were your expectations going in? And how did it feel to be the woman who won such a historic match?
That is awesome! Going in I wanted this to be something historic. With the six Joshis that were in the match how could it be anything less? I wanted to show people that basically anything the Entertainment world can do, we can do a million times better.
I think we achieved that. It was still a great wrestling match and to win something that important was amazing. Such a proud moment that was completely ruined and destroyed in about a matter of 60 seconds by JT Lamotta.
Yes, the night took an immediate turn for the worse for you when JT Lamotta came out, ripped off your dress, and dumped red punch all over you. You’ll have a chance for revenge on the June 12th ACW show. One: What’s his beef? Two: How much are you going to kill him?
Lamotta is attaching himself to the success of the Joshi division after being beaten by ‘Showtime’ Scot Summers at Guilty By Association 5. At least that is what I think. He is trying to guide the Joshis in the ‘right’ direction because he thinks he can teach us a few things because he is the ‘Mind of Wrestling.’ I don’t think Lamotta fully understands how dangerous we are. I have held my own against the likes of Robert Evans, Delirious and many men in ACW so on June 12th Lamotta is in for the shock of his life.
One of the things that makes ACW unique is its gender equality, and it’s always been a part of the company, with you even competing in the first Annual Lone Star classic. Was this planned or did it just happen? How do you think it’s helped the company stand out and grow?
When ACW started I was just really starting to wrestle and I trained on the road with guys. I trained with men so none of them saw or viewed me differently, and there were not a lot of girls around Texas. It was really taken from IWA Mid-South who we were working closely with at the time, and Mickie was the first girl that I really rolled around in the ring with, and she always fought the men up there. I honestly think it makes us stand out and may even be a reason why the girl’s enjoy being here. They are treated as equals and not just ‘chicks.’
Now though, I think that as girls we can definitely enjoy doing girly matches, like the evening gown match, but it doesn’t have to be a specific way. We can make it our own. Which not many girls have the opportunity to do.
For fans who haven’t seen or been to an ACW show, what makes it such a unique experience?
The atmosphere, the energy, everything. Everyone feeds off of each other. It is a high that you can’t create, with so many people sharing this emotion for ACW. It is something that you can’t find in a needle. The passion that everyone has there is unmatched anywhere else. Many have compared it to the old ECW days, but in reality it is something completely new and different.
You’ve worked for several companies outside of ACW, most notably SHIMMER women athletes. What has your experience there been like?
Working there has been a learning experience. My first match there was against Amazing Kong. What a dream! It was nice to be around some of the people who still care and want to help out. All I can do is thank them for that.
Another dream match you had was against Ayako Hamada in JAPW [1. Rachel vs Ayako Hamada match available here from JAPW.], what was it like to work with such a legend?
Wrestling Hamada was incredible and so nerve-wracking at the same time! At that point in my career, it was my biggest challenge. I would like to wrestle her again because I feel like I have improved so much since then. The language barrier was frightening [because] if something happened, I couldn’t let her know. But at the end of it I really loved it and I think that it gets overlooked that I wrestled her.
Obviously you, and ACW as a whole, are fans of the Joshi Puroresu scene in Japan. Besides Amazing Kong and Ayako, who are some of your biggest inspirations there? Is it safe to assume you’d like to wrestle in Japan at some point?
Aja Kong, Manami Toyota, and Bull Nakano are definitely the ones that I gravitate towards. I loved watching them! The ‘Joshi crack’ that an incredible person provides is so amazing! The SMASH promotion is doing some wonderful things. I would absolutely LOVE to go to Japan. Everything about it intrigues me.
You already live in a pretty interesting place, Austin. What about the city is special? What are your favorite things to do besides wrestling?
It is a liberal, free thinking environment that allows you to be creative without being judged. Just look at the ACW venue, The Mohawk. Where else can you go to an independent wrestling show and, while the show is happening, two blocks down you can hear Motorhead playing live? It is a beautiful city, full of beautiful people. Clean air acts and smoking ordinances allow Austin to be as beautiful as it is. Everyone here wants Austin to be as beautiful as possible.
Besides wrestling I love going to watch movies at The Alamo Drafthouse, a sweet theater that serves alcohol, although I don’t drink, and actual food. It is awesome to go and relax. [There’s also] the lake, downtown around the Drag, which is near UT campus, shops, Zilker Park, music, you can find anything to do in Austin.
One thing you didn’t mention, but obviously spend a lot of time doing, is hitting the gym. Besides improving your craft in the ring, you’ve gotten in phenomenal shape over time. What’s a typical day of training for you like?
Oh yeah! I just consider the gym and wrestling as together. That is a part of my job. So training, I get up at 8 AM, have my pre-workout booster and hit the gym for about an hour, which includes like cardio, weights, tan time. After that I will watch footage of wrestling. I am constantly surrounded by wrestling, working out, and eating so clean. So, thank you for noticing how much hard work I am putting in. I really enjoy what I do and work hard to do what I love.
For the past couple of years you’ve had a partner in crime for all your wrestling endeavors, Jessica James, whom you are currently ACW Tag Team Champions with as ‘Rachel and Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team.’ She’s a unique personality. Tell us about her and why you get along so well and make such a great team.
Jessica has been the Eggs to my Bacon for almost 2 years now. The Garth to my Wayne. I am so lucky to have found her as a partner in crime. We have only wrestled each other once and she is quite the feisty one. She is legit one of my best friends and reminds me to be young and have fun. Her uniqueness is what I love about her. Such a free spirit who shows me different sides of the world. We have fought hard to get where we are. We are without a doubt one of the most cohesive tag teams going today.
Another woman you seem to be getting along with is Serena Deeb, who teamed with you and Jessica last December. What does she bring to ACW and how excited are you to have her back for QoQ?
Best piece of Toast we could have had! She brings youth, creativity, positivity and such experience and creditability. To have Serena back is so awesome and [I look forward to] being able to learn more from her.
So, those are the women in the Joshi division who like you, now let’s talk about the people who have hated you. First, Daffney. You’ve been friends and enemies. Teacher and Student. You’ve had insane matches all across the country where you both tried to demolish each other. What can you tell us about her and your incredible relationship?
Daffney was the very first woman I really got to wrestle and, for whatever reason, she decided to take me under her wing which was, and still is, amazing and crazy to me.I am so lucky and honored to be able to learn from her. We have fought from Texas to Chicago. To have the battles that we have had really taught me so much. We have killed each other all over ACW shows and we have earned each others’ respect. For her to be proud of me is something that makes me smile every time I think of it. She will forever be my mentor.
Someone you’ve also learned a lot from, and had some epic multi-regional battles with, is Sara Del Rey. You’ve dressed up as her for Halloween (and survived), and almost had your pinky removed entirely from your body. Tell us how you feel about the “Queen of Wrestling.”
She is the best in the World. Without a doubt. Wrestling Sara makes me tougher, smarter and scared for my life. What Sara has done for independent women’s wrestling, along with Daizee Haze, has made it possible for ACW Joshis to be taken seriously. She is one in a million. I have so much respect for her.
When we talked about Portia Perez, she said tossing you down a flight of stairs was one of the greatest moments of her ACW career and that “Rachel’s actually one of the people I hate the most in my whole entire life.” How does that, and Portia in general, make you feel?
That’s ironic because one of my greatest moments was when I tapped her out after she threw me down a flight of stairs and winning the ACW American Joshi Championship from her…huh [2. Rachel vs Portia in a “Portia Perez’s Terrifyingly Dreadful Ninja Match of Doom” for the American Joshi Title avaiable here from Smart Mark Video.]. My issue with her currently is that her attitude has changed, or maybe she is just finally letting the bitterness show. Someone like Portia has a lot to be bitter about at 23 years young; the wrestling business has chewed her up and spit her out. At 24 the world is still my oyster. I have so much to look forward to. Don’t take that away from me.
Her world may be dark at 23, but mine is full of rainbows and gumdrops. For her to try and ruin my world? That will just not happen.
Athena is someone who came into ACW with seemingly the ultimate goal of making a name for herself at your expense, and it seems with winning your epic 10,000 thumbtacks match [3. Athena vs Rachel 10,000 Thumbtacks match available here from Smart Mark Video.], she may have done it. Tell us how you feel about her.
Athena and I have not gotten along since day one, which actually goes back to 2008. Which is when Athena and I beat each other up. We didn’t get along & hence why she wasn’t back in the company until late 2009. She has pushed me back to my earlier hardcore days with the thumbtacks, and that is something that not many can do. And hell, for her to be the top Joshi in ACW she does have to beat me.
If you don’t mind, please tell fans how Athena ‘helped’ you become a “Unicorn.”
At Guilty by Association 5 in our 10,000 thumbtack match she knocked me out. She did a dive over the ropes onto me and my head smashed a beer bottle and hit the concrete floor of The Mohawk. I was out cold. When I came to I realized that I had a baseball sized knot on the right side of my head. Very unicorn like!
You’ve been through a lot of hardcore matches and wars, yet as you said you are such a happy, rainbows and sunshine kind of woman. What about those matches do you find so fulfilling?
The ability to show people that, yes I am a beautiful woman and I can wrestle with some of the best, but I can bring a fight to you just as well. Also, to be able to do a thumbtack match and an evening gown match in the same year shows how well rounded of a wrestler I am.
We’ve watched you go from being the girl trying to prove herself to that well rounded, established, respected wrestler that others now look up to. How does it feel now that you’ve worked so hard to get to this point? What do you feel has been your greatest single accomplishment so far?
I have to! From a promoter standpoint and wrestling helping put together the American Joshi Queen of Queens tournament [has been my greatest accomplishment]. Such a huge, special moment, and then being on Ring of Honor television and wrestling the two pioneers (to me), Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze on national TV.
The 3rd annual Queen of Queens tournament is coming next month. Who do you hope to face in the tournament?
For obvious personal reason, Athena. But Serena Deeb for obvious professional reasons; we have never faced each other one on one. Also, Mia Yim & Christina Von Eerie as they are new faces to ACW, so new styles to check out.
In spite of being the woman of ACW, you’ve yet to become Queen of Queens. Why will this be your year to win?
Because I have never been better. I am in the best shape of my life. I have the cardio and endurance to go to the finals and walk out the winner. My wrestling is the best it has been and I am more focused than ever.
The other Joshi crown in ACW is the American Joshi title, currently held by Lady Poison. She has looked unstoppable since winning. You have a complex relationship with her. Do you look forward to winning that title back sometime after QoQ?
Lady Poison and I rarely encounter one another and I am Okay with that, but when it comes to the American Joshi Title I will do whatever I need to and fight whoever I need to, to become ACW American Joshi Champion again.
As if Queen of Queens, The American Joshi Title, and the ACW Tag weren’t enough, you’ll also be facing Scot Summers for his Anarchy Televised title in a pretty shocking, and pretty awesome, matchup. How do you feel taking on one of the biggest, baddest, toughest, most violent wrestlers on the planet?
You should ask him the same question….
What are some of your favorite bands? Any TV shows or movies you’re really into?
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Baby Mama, Semi-Pro, Wayne’s World are some of my faves. Music wise I am into everything. I will give anything a listen. Bands are hard to decide, but Counting Crows, Stevie Nicks, Lupe Fiasco, & many more. TV Shows are Community, My Big Redneck Wedding…legit one of my faves!
Portia’s use of “Edge of Seventeen” has not ruined Stevie Nicks for you?
Well clearly she chose to use a crappy Jonas version so, no, not too much.
Besides apparently winning every ACW title ever, what are some other goals you have in wrestling? Places you’d like to wrestle?
I want to travel anywhere and everywhere. To be able to see the world while wrestling is a dream of mine. Overseas anywhere really. Japan, UK, Germany, Poland even. All over!
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to all your fans?
Who are you to doubt El Dandy???
Seriously though, thank you for your support of me, RAJETT, ACW & independent wrestling in general. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
To learn more about Rachel you can visit her website (rachelsummerlyn.com) and follow her on Twitter (@rachelsummerlyn). Also check out her Amazon wishlist and ACW’s Official Website (anarchychampionshipwrestling.com).