Ripping open the world of wrestling you find a lot of woeful tales –many pros not making it past the age of forty, after a lifetime of injuries on repeat, and blood pumped with steroids. With its roots in carnival and gypsy, there’s no Union for the fighters, and this lack of support combined with the ultimate aim of being the baddest ass, means it can be a very dangerous game.
When WWE (then WWF) held it’s first UK event back in 1989, there were few kids who weren’t inspired to smackdown their little sister after watching it on a Saturday night before their mum hogged the set for Blind Date. It was glossy, exciting and dangerous, and what’s more – the outfits fucking ruled. Men in neon lime lycra, with names like Honkytonk Man and Randy Savage, stomped around the ring jumping off ropes and having a chill on someone’s face.
Obviously some parts were staged, and it was a ridiculous theatrical trip with grown men bounding around pretending to be in love with the other wrestler’s wife, or pissed off because Hulk had just eaten their last Hogie, but that didn’t take away from the unbridled jaw dropping that happened when you saw them…dropping on someone’s jaw. Unsuprisingly there is now a huge wrestling scene in the UK, with weekly meets, and kids all over the country strapping on their mum’s spanx pants and slapping their cousins round the chops in homage to Triple H. And what’s more – a lot of them are girls.
Hannah and Holly are 21 year old wrestlers from Stockport. They’re twins but despite sharing the same blonde hair, sweet voices and penchant for cupcakes, they aren’t identical, although “Everyone seems to think that”. Platform gave them a ring to find out how they got onto the mat, and were immediately surprised by their timid manner and day jobs – Hannah is a Nursery Nurse, while Holly provides learning support for kids. Hardly the most obvious context for a wrestling tag team, but then they are called Team Blossom. Mid way through the interview you’ll notice we stop separating their answers up, this is down to a very technical reason – I COULDN’T TELL WHO WAS WHO
How did you get into wrestling?
Hannah: When we were 12 we came across it on TV because our brother was watching it, and we’ve just been hooked ever since.
Holly:Our heroes were the Hardy Boys. They were brothers and we were sisters – it was always what we wanted to do. We wanted to follow them and be a tag team and do everything they did, then one year our mum and dad surprised us with tickets to the live show. That first time we went we sat right next to the ring, it was amazing to see it all when we walked in. Very surreal.
So you both still live with your parents, how do they feel about it?
Hannah: Our mum doesn’t really like watching us, but they are both very supportive of what we’re doing, and they help us out as much as they can.
Why doesn’t your mum like watching?
Hannah: She doesn’t like us getting hurt! She sees us coming home with our injuries and bruises, and when we walk around the house all proud of our war wounds, she’s like, “stop doing that!”
What do your parents do?
Our dad’s a shop fitter and our mum is a housewife.
How does working with children go alongside Wrestling?
Well what we love about wrestling is when you get to meet all the little children afterwards. The shows we enjoying doing most are the ones where there are lots of kids around. At our matches there are some kids who come up and talk to us all the time and give us hugs and stuff. That’s really lovely.
You’re very girly girls aren’t you
Yeah we love cupcakes, and baking. And we like the 50’s pin up style with roller skates and the classic glamour look. We love that. That comes from our dad, he’s very into classic cars, like American style stuff.
Do you have boyfriends?
We don’t, no. We have a lot of friends based in wrestling, and ones from work. So we meet a lot of people, but at the moment we really like just doing our wrestling and hanging out with our friends. So I guess we wouldn’t really have time for that stuff…but we’d make time if the right person came along!
What are boys like in Wrestling?
Very different. You meet so many different people, and that’s one thing that draws you to it really. There are so many personalities, it’s a very quirky but close community. The friends we have at the moment are lovely though, they look after us and there are some really good guys who are very protective over us.
What it’s like hanging out with wrestlers then?
Loud. Sometimes it’s just chilled, we tend to talk about wrestling stuff, because we all have the same goals. But we all get along and just click.
Do you have to take care of yourself and not drink too much?
We’re not really into drinking, so we don’t drink or go out a lot. Some of our friends do, so we have a mixture.
Is there a really big Wrestling scene in Stockport?
There are a few people around Stockport. But it’s all over.
Are you young in the game?
One of the promotion companies we are with has one fifteen year-old and one thirteen year-old boy, and they’re amazing, but it does scare you sometimes watching them.
How do you find the fights?
The promoters will set you up with people they think it would be good to see you fighting against, or that would give a good story. Then they arrange it all then tell us who we are fighting against, sometimes we won’t know until we get there.
Is that scary?
Well we’re always very nervous because we want to do well, but we enjoy it, it’s always a very exciting and new experience.
Have you ever had any really bad injuries?
Hannah: I’m going through one at the moment, I tore some tissues and fibres in my ankle about 8 weeks ago, and I am still at physio. I was wrestling and did a baseball side, and ended up not getting one of my legs straight, so landed on my ankle quite badly. It hurt very much – that was the worst one yet.
Holly: I hurt my knee a while ago, and it was pretty painful because I couldn’t bend down for a month – my knee just wouldn’t go that way.
Are girls more vicious than boys?
Sometimes they can be – we grew up training with the boys, so we’re more comfortable with them. It’s not really different though, because you have your style and that doesn’t change whether you’re wrestling with boys or girls.
How do you choreograph the moves?
When you start training you learn the basics and the moves – how to fall safey and bump safely. Some people are really good at getting on the top rope and doing high flying, and some people are really good at mat wrestling.
What are your stories/characters?
A lot of ours are based on being the underdog because we’re very small. Especially when we’re against the guys. With girls you just want to win, so you do anything.
What did you think of the film, ‘The Wrestler’?
We’re waiting for a film that shows the positive side. It was very sad to watch because we think Wrestling has moved since the old days, but I think it does have still have that element to it. There is a lot of struggle sometimes and you have to build yourself up to make money out of it. Sometimes it’s not easy. We’d read a lot of autobiographies, so we knew it was out there, but it’s still hard to watch on screen. It was a very good movie to show that side of wrestling though.
What’s your ultimate aim?
We’re planning on going to US to do some more training for a few months, that is where we would love to be permanently. We want to be like the Hardy Boys and be the WWE champions. At the end of September we’re going to do the training in the US so hopefully being out there will help us meet people, and get one step closer. We’ll have to work really hard to do what we dreamed of when we were kids – WWE is the ultimate goal.
What have you won?
We’ve been GNP tag team champions, which is a contest in Sheffield. That was a little dream come true, eventhough the next year we got beaten. We won a belt!