Veda Scott needs little introduction, which is astonishing considering she still has one week left in her rookie year as a professional wrestler. A combination of fan support, high-profile gigs (including Ring of Honor TV), and just plain old fashion sense has made her a recognizable figure in a very short time. Veda was kind enough to chat with us about her whirlwind of a career thus far, her recent matches with some top names, as well as music, art, fembots, and obsessive love for Pro Wrestling.
Photos 1, 4-6 by Gregory Davis
When did you first fall in love with Pro Wrestling?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t completely wrapped up in Pro Wrestling to a distressing degree. I’m a fairly obsessive person who needs to go headlong into any of my interests. I don’t follow other pro sports and never have. Never had “my team.” Just wrestling, always.
Also, I was a weird kid (who grew into a weird adult, I guess) and I always felt the need to accumulate and consume as much pro wrestling as possible. Making my own really shoddy “comps” and trading tapes – you know, with the multiple VCRs going? Awful! I also grew up in an area of the country that’s always been hot for wrestling.
Before actually getting in the ring you were involved in a very interesting project called WrestlingInterviews.com. Tell us about it.
I don’t want to go into the details of the WI project only because it wasn’t my idea and I don’t know how much the person behind it wants disclosed. However, my involvement came about from my often weird but always amusing friendship with Hydra and UltraMantis Black. Though they had their obvious differences, I was the best person to try and bring them together. In front of a studio audience. I’m still a bit bruised from the rejection from Orange Cassidy, I must say. Also, it’s completely baffling that some clips have found their way back online.
It’s no secret that you are pursuing a Law degree while building your wrestling career. What was it about becoming a Pro Wrestler that you felt such a need to do it while already engaged in something as all-consuming as Law School?
I’ve had several points where I was so close to training; I always stumbled into something more, I guess, practical right at that moment. The Wrestling Interviews gig was a total one-off situation. It didn’t spawn anything and I didn’t intend it to. Until I had my first match, I’d never been in front of a crowd, never did the valet/manager thing.
The reason I finally said “Eff this, I’m wrestling” is bifurcated. First off, I kept pursuing other paths (obviously, if I’m in law school, I’ve already gotten my BA and I worked as a TV producer for a while as well) and was completely miserable because I’d never done the one thing I really wanted to do. The other reason, which I don’t discuss often but was huge is that I was unhappy with the quality of people who I saw breaking in. Not the quality of the wrestling. The quality of the person. But there’s really no use in being annoyed by that if you aren’t going to step up yourself. I know I have a different sort of mindset than someone who started this whole deal at 18. It makes me prioritize differently because I’ve been out supporting myself and living “on the outside” for quite some time. Yes, there are times when I acknowledge I’d have a much different potential career trajectory if I was younger or had less to lose. But there’s so much in wrestling that’s silly, trivial, obnoxious frippery and my other experiences have given me perspective on that.
But seriously you guys. Don’t go to law school and also be a pro wrestler. It’s dumb and you’ll never sleep. Law school is like two full time jobs – being a full time student competing against 200 other insane overachiever plus the whole outside of school work experience component. I’m looking forward to the stroke no doubt awaiting me on my 30th birthday.
When I first met you it was either just before or just after you had begun your training. It’s been interesting to watch you transition from a person I see at shows to a person I see on shows, and the relative fame and celebrity that goes with that. I imagine it’s been even more interesting for you. What’s the coolest thing? What’s the strangest or most unexpected thing?
Pro Wrestlers are not really famous. Independent pro wrestlers are definitely not famous. As much as everyone complained about Maria Menounos, for instance, she’s actually famous because someone your grandmother watches on Dancing With The Stars. And it’s honestly sort of nice. I’m not really someone who enjoys attention. I enjoy entertaining people. I hope they are entertained more often than not. And I wish we could all make enough money to do this for a living. But I don’t know that I would be the right person to handle any other aspects of celebrity.
But if we are looking just at the fishbowl of Pro Wrestling, I do acknowledge that I’m starting to gain a little foothold and I’m certainly more well known than I thought I’d be at this point. The best part of wrestling “fame” is that it presents opportunities to travel and wrestle new opponents. And that overrides all the potential worst part candidates.
The first time I saw you wrestle live was at AIW’s Girls’ Night Out 4. Your match was somewhat infamous as you were dropkicked into a ring post by Cherry Bomb before being pinned. How much of that can you actually recall? Any interest in a revenge bout?
I’m not 100% sure what I actually remember and what memories I’ve appropriated from watching the match. Sort of how you think you remember your first birthday, but really you just watched the home movie a million times. I would absolutely love another shot at Cherry Bomb! She is faster and better every single time I watch her. So it would be even more of a challenge this go around.
You had perhaps the biggest match of your career at the most recent Girl’s Night Out against Sara Del Rey. What were your thoughts on it?
It was my first time wrestling Sara. And, I hope, not the last – I have a win to get back. I think anyone who watches the match will attest to the fact that it was very different from anything else that night. Other than the fact that I lost, it’s one of my favorite matches because I got to display a different side of my abilities than I normally do. Objectively, that is the sort of wrestling I prefer to watch and study. I know it’s not necessarily what’s en vogue. But my mat work is one of my stronger points – I’m not ever going to be particularly powerful and I haven’t taken the high flyer route to any great degree. I am fairly confident I could also wear someone down with the power of my voice, but they always seem to hide the microphones at ringside.
You made your second appearance for SHIMMER at the tapings in March. How did you feel about your matches and opponents? How terrifying is Saraya?
This time around, I got to have a tag match with Shazza McKenzie, who in 3 weeks time became one of my absolute favorite people in the world and I’m currently plotting her abduction back to the States. As much as I love studying tag team wrestling, I don’t do a lot of it myself. And I’m not part of a tag team anywhere. So there was the added pressure of never having tagged with Shazza before and not exactly being a tag specialist. On the other hand, our opponents, Melanie Cruise and Mena Libra, had their team strategy fairly well sorted. I think the next time ShazMac and I take them on, it’ll be a slightly different story.
I also got to wrestle Kellie Skater one-on-one, which was a match I had my fingers crossed to see on the lineup. The best thing about SHIMMER, from a wrestler’s perspective, is the opportunity to face opponents from not just all around the country, but around the world. Especially at my level of inexperience, I’m not making regular trips trip out to Australia or England, for instance. But in Berwyn, those matches happen.
My match with Saraya is always going to have a star next to it for me no matter how long I wrestle. Despite the fact that she’s a horror show and completely obliterated me, I still got the opportunity to share a ring with Saraya Knight. The response from the crowd is similarly significant to me. Anyone who’s familiar with my work outside of SHIMMER knows I’m not often, shall we say, shaking hands and kissing babies. I let the Shimmer fans see a different side of my personality and during my match with Saraya, they really showed me that sometimes the warm fuzzies you get from the support of the crowd is not the worst thing in the world.
Outside of Berwyn, though, you all can suck eggs.
You also appeared in two recent tournaments for Indy Gurlz and 2CW.
Tournaments are such a weird deal. There’s no way to strategize because you don’t necessarily know who you’re wrestling later on in the night. Rachel Summerlyn was on my wrestling bucket list and I didn’t think I’d get to face her anytime soon. So when the 2CW offer came to me, I accepted it not just because I wanted to win the whole shebang, but because I could get a match with Rachel out of it. It didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped, but Rachel ended up winning the tournament so I suppose she was the better wrestler that night. I suppose.
You’ve also spent some time in Beyond Wrestling wjere fou faced some of its more interesting characters. How did you feel about that and the unique Beyond environment as a whole?
Over the past year, Beyond Wrestling has inarguably gone from one of those “I don’t know if I like this” niche products to a “legitimate” source of Pro Wres content and it’s honestly all because of the efforts of the guys who work for Beyond and believe in the product. Not all the wrestling (and they have every style on display) is my personal cup of tea, no – but the passion and enthusiasm the Beyond crew has for what they’re doing is close to unmatched. And some of the content they release for free is a freaking crime considering the quality and what a similar match on a DVD could cost.
Here’s the other undeniable fact about Beyond Wrestling: they are showcasing talent and giving them a springboard into other opportunities. And in a sport where these are hundreds of people trying to do the same thing you are, to have a company actively push to turn talented-but-unknown wrestlers into “names” so they can find more work and entertain more people? That’s freaking awesome.
Of course, Beyond just announced their next Tournament for Tomorrow will include all inter-gender opening round matches. Beyond makes it a point to have matches you can’t see anywhere else, so I figure most of this tournament is going to be constant, “Are you really letting me watch this for real?” – particularly because not a lot of places promote inter-gender wrestling. I might be wrong about this, but I don’t think Beyond has ever even HAD an all-female match. Exciting. So exciting. Whether I’m in the tournament or not!
You’re known for having a distinctive fashion sense both in and out of the ring. How important do you think that is for a wrestler to be aware of?
I think it’s important for a wrestler to remember that she’s going to be out in front of a crowd and everything about her look adds a little sliver of information to that crowd’s perception of you. My philosophy of Pro Wrestling centers around creating a complete experience from the moment the curtain parts to after the ring clears. Regarding my look, what I wear in the ring is a spandexy, showbizzy version of how I dress outside of it – you’re right about that. Veda Scott in and Veda Scott out of the ring aren’t dissimilar. Anyone who watches my work knows it’s more personality–driven than a lot of other wrestlers choose to be. For me, that’s partially because many of the wrestlers I’ve admired and now studied are of that ilk. But it’s also because the Veda I present in the ring is not very many steps away from the Veda my friends and family see out of it. Clothes and style have been such a driving force in my life for so long I had to incorporate it into my gear. Getting dressed is the best part of the day! I’m not a particularly artistic person when it comes to, say, drawing or painting or flower arranging. My look has evolved into a major creative outlet for me. Thrifting, vintage shopping, sewing – it’s all integral to my sanity.
Your choice in entrance music is pretty distinct as well. Generally, what sort of music are you into?
Well, this is probably going to be a really lame answer, but I don’t listen to a lot of music. With all the reading I do for school and for fun, I don’t have time to listen to anything. I am a huge proponent of public radio, so when I’m in the car or cooking or what have you, I usually listen to NPR – and it’s all talk radio. I do love both Robyn and Sleigh Bells, the artists who do my entrance songs. I’m also very much pro The Hold Steady, The Smiths, The Thermals, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Weezer. Or at least that’s what’s on the CDs in my glove compartment. Yes, CDs. I’ve never owned an mp3 player and I don’t have anything on my iPhone!
My father is a musician and my mother worked in radio. I grew up in a house full of music; I never had to love it because it was always there. Never really latched onto anything personally, though. I’ve found I can’t write while listening to anything, and I’ll always choose writing.
The Robyn song you use has the line, “Fembots have feelings too.” There was a slight controversy on or Twitter related to fembots recently, and most people came down on the anti-fembot side. Are you yourself a Fembot or just raising Fembot awareness?
Yes and yes. I’ve come to destroy you all through Pro Wrestling and Swedish pop songs.
Finally, you’re an unapologetic bibliophile. What do you think your fellow readers of Vonnegut or Austen or Shakespeare might get out of Pro Wrestling that they wouldn’t expect? Do you consider Pro Wrestling art?
Pro wrestling is art. Pro wrestling isn’t just art, it’s the closest thing to emerging, organic theatre that most people will see in their lifetimes. I realize that seems a bit lofty. But this is something I’ve thought a lot about. Most of the population doesn’t seek out relevant, new theatre that reflects current culture. Okay, maybe most of the population doesn’t seek out Pro Wrestling either, but a lot of people do. Anyway, even what’s on TV every Monday has potential to be a mirror of the audience. To be completely responsive and, on the other hand, facilitate catharsis unlike any scripted TV or movie. It’s live. And if you look at wrestling as not just episode-by-episode or event-by-event, a wrestling promotion is staging a performance for an audience who engages themselves entirely in the drama just by being there. I’m not talking about what the audience might think is “fake” or anything like that. I’m talking about the choices a wrestling promotion makes about what to put in front of the fans and how the athletes in those matches engage with their audience. It’s the closest thing to Elizabethan or Jacobean dramatic theatre I know of. Er, not the content necessarily. I’m not confusing “Seasons Beatings VI” in Random, Indiana with Twelfth Night. This is a reference to the environment. Again, this has nothing to do with what is allegedly real or not real – how the wrestlers portray themselves and how the audience responds tells a story, and a wrestling promotion makes choices about what to place in front of the audience. And it’s a completely consuming experience for all parties. It’s accessible at every socioeconomic stratum.
In my perfect world, professional wrestling would be where we saw all our most relevant, pressing issues and cultural quirks played out in a violent metaphor. I’d say South Park and how it’s produced almost achieves this, but it’s not live. Every wrestling event, be it televised or in front of 5 people, induces a more visceral catharsis. I’m not proud to be associated with of a lot of what I see in Pro Wrestling. The hate speech, the misogyny – which, depressingly, seems to emanate more and more from other women – the downright stupid or boring…it’s all so offensive. But when professional wrestling is perfect, nothing can come close to that merger of performer and audience. We are all fans and we all want to be in obsessive love with pro wrestling forever.