What is there to say about the Session Moth that hasn’t been said before? Martina has taken the beer-drinking, raving master of Sesh Style around the world and now has her flag planted in Ring of Honor. We here at Steel Chair Magazine were given the chance to talk to Martina one on one where we asked her about the current situation, and all things ROH. Enjoy!
Normally, I’d start interviews by asking a wrestler to tell readers about themselves, but I think at this point, I’d be disappointed if people didn’t know who the Session Moth is at this point. So, I’d like to ask how you’re coping in the current wrestling deficit?
“Well, I think any wrestler is struggling majorly at the moment. Y’know you’re so used to every week, going and doing 2 or 3 shows, traveling. This is the most time I’ve spent at home in years. For the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve been on the road going between England, Japan, and America. So, it’s been a big change, but I think I’m a bit more used to it now. It’s getting a little bit easier if you know what I mean. It’s terrible, and I hate it, but it’s become routine, and I think we’re getting on the end of it now. We can see where there might be a light even if it’s ages away. The idea that okay we could have shows in August, we could have shows in September, we could have shows in October. Even though it sucks, it could be a lot worse. We could have had absolutely none for the year. Like everyone is trying to get back as soon as possible. We just have to bide our time with it.”
It seems you and fellow ROH competitor Joe Hendry have taken the same positive stance. Which is good, we kind of all need that…
“Yeah, we were both in Las Vegas when it all kind of happened. We had landed and the shows got cancelled for ROH, and I remember talking to Joe as we were both unsure. He was like, “oh no, this is going to be a long haul,” while I was like, “oh no, it’ll be over soon. We’ll go to Mania. It’ll be fine.” But no one had really understood how big and scary it was at that point. I definitely think the first few weeks were worse because it was just constant bad news. Now I feel like we’re on the thing where it’s like countries are trying to do their best to get back up and running. It’s not like the country wants to stop flights, wants to stop us doing shows, nothing like that, it’s just they have to take into consideration health and safety. You just got to keep that in your head that it’s so much bigger than me. It’s so much bigger than wrestling. It’s a world pandemic. So, you have to sit tight. The one thing I think is kind of hard is that even though everyone is sitting at home, I feel like, for wrestlers, it’s that little bit harder. Our work is live shows crammed with people. Our work is touching people, so social distancing isn’t possible. It would be the last on the list to get back as it is one of the most dangerous sports. So, even when the rest of the world returns to normality for work and stuff, for us, it’s going to be that little bit longer.”
Unless you’re Joey Janela and put on a social distancing match…
“Yeah, which was fantastic. I was like, that’s a match I want to do. Even when we’re out of this, I’m going to continue doing social distancing matches.”
We are in the age of cinematic wrestling, so I can imagine super dramatic social distancing matches. So, just touching back on ROH, how well do you think they’ve handled all this? Have they done it well?
“Absolutely amazing. I’m quite shocked even. Since everything was so unsure for a while, but they’ve continued to pay us our full wages even though we’re not performing, and they continue to check in on us. We do weekly calls with the roster to make sure everyone is okay and to come up with ideas for how we can best handle this. They keep reassuring us that they’re going to be okay and that there’s no worries of this ship sinking and to come up with more ideas on how to produce content. Like doing more interviews like this and doing more social media. As well as trying to find the best and safest approach to come back. They keep confirming that safety is first. Making sure all of us are comfortable travelling before rushing in to do shows, unlike the other big companies. They’re like we have enough content, we’re just going to do this as safe as possible. It’s fantastic. I’m lucky to have started there before all this happened. To be so well taken care of during the pandemic. If this was to happen last year, when I was just independent working booking to booking, I genuinely don’t know what I would have done. I was very much reliant on my shows and merch sales and so on. Obviously, every independent wrestler right now is struggling majorly right now because the idea of months and months without a show, it’s just scary not knowing where your next paycheck is going to come from. I even remember living like that last year. So, I really feel for my fellow independent wrestlers at the moment.”
Before all this kicked off, how was it going with ROH?
“Well, I’ve only done two matches there, so I had really only just gotten off the ground. But there were so many amazing plans in place. We were going to do the Supercard of Honor at WrestleMania weekend, and then they had the big women’s tournament to crown the new ROH Women’s Champion with the brand-new women’s division. I had so much to look forward to. I had started just in time, but now it’ll be a case of starting over again. So far, my experiences there, I was just blown away by everything about it. The whole roster is so amazing. They’re so nice and welcoming. You didn’t feel like you were an outsider in any way coming in. I feel like I’ve made friends there in my first weekend. Also, the production, how people take care of you, the way that they have ideas for you. In particular, you feel secure that you have a spot in ROH. You’re not fighting for a chance to shine. You are given a chance to shine, which is really amazing. I was really excited for this year, but I’ve got many years ahead of me to try and woo the American crowd.”
With the new women’s division, who were you looking forward to mixing it up with?
“I was meant to wrestle Nicole Savoy at the Anniversary show, which I was very excited about. That would have been a really great match, so I hope I get to do that in the future. They had Kelly Anne from Australia coming in who I had met before when she was over in the UK and when I was in Australia. She is someone I’d very much like to wrestle. I’d say those are the two names on my list that I was eager to mix it up with, but I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities in the future.”
And, is there anyone, in particular, you would have liked to bring to the company?
“I would love to be in ROH with my former Japanese stable because they have wrestled at ROH before, but they’re retired now. That would have been great. When Hazuki and Kagetsu were in ROH, they wrestled at Maddison Square Garden. So, I’d love it if they were still around to wrestle. I also love Jamie Hayter, who is one of my best friends and was in Oedo Tai with me, I’d love her to come, but I think she has her own plans.”
You are part of the UK contingent of ROH, there are a lot of people being brought from the UK and Ireland to ROH, and they have shown more of an interest in touring the UK. Do you see this as a good thing for UK wrestling?
“Yeah, absolutely. ROH is some of the best wrestling on the planet, I think, and it always has been. I feel over the past couple of years it hasn’t been as highlighted with so many of the UK stars going to WWE. I feel like a lot of the attention has been brought to WWE. So, I think having someone like myself, Joe Hendry and Mark Haskins, Mark Haskins being one of the best wrestlers from the UK ever and obviously Marty Scurll at the head of it. I think that it’s great that a few, especially with myself and the run that I’ve had in the UK over the past 3 years and built up such a fanbase. That I’m another person to bring eyes to that side of ROH rather than just WWE when so many people have gone to WWE.
It’s just great that if they were going to run again in the UK, there’s another household name on the shows for people to recognise as well as the local talent they like to give opportunities to. Also, with it now airing on TV in the UK and Ireland, just that I’d be the only Irish person wrestling there, I’m kind of their way of tapping into the Irish audience. Which is great, I’m very proud that I get to be the one to highlight it because aside from myself, the wrestlers and the matches I watch on that are phenomenal. What I think everybody loves about independent wrestling is what you see at ROH. Like what everyone loves about a PROGRESS show, what everyone loves about an OTT show is the high-class wrestling matches, and that’s what you get at ROH. It’s like a big big big indie with just the absolute best matches put on every time.”
That hints at another of my questions as you were part of an NXT UK tryout then appeared in ROH. How did that come about?
“I did the WWE tryout about a year ago and it went really well. I had a great time, and I was asked to stay on for the week. Obviously, it was great because a lot of my friends work there, so I was very comfortable and so on, but I had the option between WWE and ROH, and I had to try and figure out what was going to be the best move for Martina. For Session Moth Martina. Which direction would suit Martina better? It wasn’t about me wanting to go to WWE because of my friends being there. I had to pick what would benefit this character that I’ve worked on for five years. I just felt ROH offered a lot more opportunity to stand out and to travel the world as well. I was going to get a US Visa and get to see all these different parts of America, which is a dream come true. So personally, that was one of the main reasons I took that, but then I figured professionally Session Moth Martina is going to stand out a lot more in ROH more than WWE when it’s very overflowing with people. Whereas I was going to be the first person from Ireland and the first female from Europe signed to ROH so in that way it was a standout by itself.”
I can definitely see the logic in that. Were there ever any concerns about your character going into ROH?
“Yeah, I’d say I was nervous about how much Session Moth Martina they would want since ROH is a very wrestling based company. But once I got there, I discovered there was plenty of room for characters. They do encourage characters, and they kind of had a spot for me because they had the Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser and Brawler Milonas.) So, they had something for me straight away like a faction to go into. They were very much go ahead, be Session Moth Martina, we want Session Moth Martina. Drink beer, dance, maybe not focus on the comedy aspect of wrestling so much. I decided I’d try my best to wrestle as great a matches as I can when I’m there, but keep my comedy for my promos and backstage segments and so on. But, try and prove I belong in ROH with the best wrestling in the world by having the best wrestling matches I can have. We’ll see when I finally get the chance to take off.”
What has it been like working with the Bouncers?
“It was really fun. It was a great way to debut. I think my video came out before I’d even debuted on the show where I met them. People just loved it. I guess we have a dynamic that works. So, we’re trying out best to keep it alive while we’re in different countries. I’m looking forward to getting back and hopefully tagging with them a few times and seeing where we can go.”
All images are courtesy of RING OF HONOR/Ian Storck