These wild and wacky lady wrestlers are turning Toronto Island into a circus of hurt this weekend

These wild and wacky lady wrestlers are turning Toronto Island into a circus of hurt this weekend

Bruises, body slams and the beach—tonight won’t be any ordinary night on Toronto Island. For the past three years, the League of Lady Wrestlers has made a tradition of bringing the pain to Gibraltar Point with the Island Rumble, a spectacle that echoes G.L.O.W.-era antics, features zine scene panache and stars some of Canada’s most ruthless heels.

The League was founded in Dawson City, Yukon, in 2013 by wrestler Big Jody Mufferaw. Originally meant to be a one-off art performance, the circus of hurt continued in community centres, and other local leagues soon popped up. “It was built on a love of professional wrestling and wanting to create a hilarious spectacle and a safe space for women to embrace the sport,” says current general manager Erin Fleck, a.k.a. Kitty Stardust. “We use the ring, a traditionally male-dominated space, to explore power and gender stereotypes.”

We spoke to some of the Island Rumble’s combatants on what they’ll be bringing into the ring.

Doughnut Messaround

aka Acacia Christensen

Why did you join the League of Lady Wrestlers?
I’ve been a huge wrestling fan as long as I can remember. At one point, I heard about a queer feminist league that passed through town. I offered to sell merch or work their doors, and they asked me to pitch a character. It’s just like a soap opera, but with more headbutts and body slams.

How did you decide on your persona?
I used to announce roller derby but thought doing so in plain clothes would be boring, so I came up with a persona, Doughnut Messaround, and made a cool costume. I thought making her into a bratty heelish monster would be just too perfect in the ring.

How do you prepare for a fight?
Eat lots of doughnuts. I also train with the league and professionals at seminars at wrestling schools in Toronto, Philly and Austin, Texas.

What’s your special move?
I have two finishers: the “Boston Cream” and the “Jam Slam!”

 

Big Rig

aka Jennifer Crawford

Why did you join the League of Lady Wrestlers?
I was an early WWF fan, but my interest waned when my early-adolescent feminism kicked in. It felt like I was watching the toxic masculinity I had to deal with in real life. Which is a shame! I loved it so much. A full card of women’s wrestling is so important, so I was stoked to join. What’s not to like? Feats of strength, jokes, gnar athletes, feminism, costumes, art, snacks—basically, all my favourite things.

How did you decide on your persona?
I feel more like Big Rig chose me. She’s kind of bossy. I just try to keep up.

How do you prepare for a fight?
Pffffft. Prepare? Please. I’m always ready to fight.

What’s your special move?
No one comes outta the “Fender Bender” without a lotta damage.

 

Manic Pixie Doom Girl

aka Lauren Fournier

Why did you join the League of Lady Wrestlers?
I attended the first and second Island Rumbles and loved them as performances and feminist and queer celebrations. When the collective put out a call for new wrestlers this summer, I was up for the challenge. I like exploring characters, stereotypes and tropes and reclaiming them in playful, performative and productive ways.

How did you decide on your persona?
Manic Pixie Doom Girl is a reference to Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a film trope coined by Nathan Rabin in 2007. The MPDG is a madwoman for the millennial age: her head is in the clouds and she is disconnected from reality, in a kind of psychosis. I wanted to take the trope and make it more sinister and complicated—my persona is tired of facilitating the fantasies of alt boys.

How do you prepare for a fight?
I watch movies that “I” have starred in and get all riled up and pissed off. Then I take a nice warm bath with rose petals and various herby essential oils.

What’s your special move?
The “Non-Sequitur Strangle Drag,” where I stomped on a VHS tape, remove its innards and drag my opponent around the ring with them. I find Garden State particularly crushable, along with 500 Days of Summer. I also have a finishing move that involves a banjolele.

 

Lalahoney

aka Leanna Barwick

Why did you join the League of Lady Wrestlers?
I attended the last Island Rumble as a spectator, and I knew this was my destiny. Physical, performative, artistic, absurd and feminist, it had all the right elements.

How did you decide on your persona?
Lalahoney is a volcano goddess with anger management issues. I wanted to work with an aspect of myself that I wanted to be improve by completely blowing it out of proportion.

How do you prepare for a fight?
I connect to my inner goddess and push through all my human weaknesses. I stay in a solid two-month minimum regimen of discipline: diet, stretching, training, sleep.

What’s your special move?
My special move is “Lala’s Rage.” I shoot fireballs when I get angry.

 

Crimson Wave

aka Hannah Simpkin

Why did you join the League of Lady Wrestlers?
I went to the Island Rumble last year to support my friend Glass Shard. I figured, since the surf spots are so limited in Ontario, I should get into a new sport.

How did you decide on your persona?
I grew up surfing in Australia so it made sense to play off real life. The idea of Crimson Wave then came about when I was on the first day of my period and was feeling pretty defeated, emotional and stressed. I liked the concept of a wrestler who becomes stronger from menstruation. Plus, it would allow me to cover myself with my own blood.

How do you prepare for a fight?
Going for a surf before a fight really gets my blood pumping.

What’s your special move?
The “Sync-up,” where I lock eyes with an opponent, causing them sudden extreme lower abdomen pain, cravings and mood swings.

 

Gravestoner

aka Emily Scherzinger

Why did you join the League of Lady Wrestlers?
I don’t really know. It gives me a reason to smoke weed in public, I guess. That’s pretty chill. I don’t have, like, a lot of pent-up anger like some other wrestlers do, because I smoke too much weed to be angry.

How did you decide on your persona?
Huh?

How do you prepare for a fight?
I basically just pack a bowl, get off my couch and get dressed. It’s, like, whatever, I guess. Doesn’t take a lot of effort. I’m not really a “high-energy” person.

What’s your special move?
There’s one called the “Bong Hit,” and another called the “Grinder.” I sometimes fight from my favourite chair, and when I hit someone with the recliner footrest, I call it the “One-Hitter.”

The League of Lady Wrestlers’ third Island Rumble takes place on Friday, September 9 at Artscape Gibraltar Point.