Exclusive Interview with Emily Hayden
Hayden is a star to watch. Photo- David Wilson

As a rising star on the independent scene, Emily Hayden is quickly making a name for herself, becoming someone to watch in the process. Being part of the thriving UK wrestling scene, Hayden is hoping to make a big impact on the business and recently took the time to talk to Matthew Wilkinson to discuss her career to this point.

Matthew Wilkinson: How did your love of wrestling first start?

Emily Hayden: It’s pretty generic but I grew up watching WWF at a really young age with my dad and my brother. I always loved watching Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero, they were a few of my favourites as a kid. The main moment that always sticks out in my mind though is seeing Lita with Team Xtreme for the first time and watching her hit the moonsault. That’s when I got hooked. I remember thinking, “Girls can do this too?”. From then on I rarely missed a show.

MW: What was the moment when you decided you wanted to get into the business yourself and start wrestling?

EH: In 2012, a friend of mine that I met through college told me about PBW (Premier British Wrestling) as he overheard me talking about the Summerslam PPV of that year. I had never even known that there was a wrestling scene in Scotland until that point. My friend then informed me of the PBW Academy which trained people to become wrestlers. After hearing this, I decided to go along to a training day and have a look.

MW: You trained at the PBW Academy, how did that come about and how was that experience?

EH: As I said, a friend of mine told me about the school. After getting the details from him I went along to my first day at the PBW Academy. There were two schools at the time when I first started: Barrhead and Airdrie which are run by Ross Watson (Kid Fite) and TJ Rage. The Airdrie school was run at the local gym not far from my house. When I arrived I met my coach, TJ, who has been a big help to me since I first started, I only watched for my first day to see what training was like.

At the end of the day, TJ asked me if this was something I wanted to do and if I was coming back to take part the following week. I did and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. When I first began training, I was very quiet and it helped me to become more confident and I have made great friends from it. The school and everyone in it are so welcoming, I would go as far as saying there’s a family vibe to the PBW Academy. It’s like a home away from home. So for me, my experience has been a positive one.

MW: Did you have any inspirations in the industry growing up?

EH: There are a few inspirations:
- Chris Jericho
- Eddie Guerrero
- Lita
- Trish Stratus
The list could go on!

MW: How would you explain your in-ring style to someone who may not have seen your work?

EH: My in ring style I’d probably say is just between being really arrogant and really angry all the time…an angry goth, maybe? Haha, I don’t actually know. The words ‘bitchy’ and ‘sneaky’ pop into my mind. Yeah, let’s go with that.

MW: For those who may not have seen you wrestle, how would you describe your persona and in-ring style?

EH: The best, the beautiful, the only. That’s how I would describe Emily. That’s all you need to know.

MW: You continue to wrestle for PBW, what is it about them as a company that you enjoy?

EH: It’s where I got my debut and where I was trained. PBW is my home company and I love working for them, Ross Watson (owner) always puts his trainees first and there is always an opportunity for everyone as long as you work hard and are dedicated. There has been a lot of amazing talent that has come out of the school. Graduates like, Kay Lee Ray, Kenny Williams, Lou King Sharp, Aaron Echo and Lucy Cole. Think it’s safe to say I enjoy working with one of the best training schools in Europe today.

MW: You have had the chance to work with some fantastic talent, who would you say has been your best opponent?

EH: There have been a lot of opponents that I’ve really enjoyed but two of my favourites that I have ever worked with are Kay Lee Ray and Sammii Jayne. I learned a lot from both women and they really helped me to up my game, taking my matches to a whole other level and were really encouraging throughout.

MW: Who have you learned the most from in the industry?

EH: I would have to say I’ve learned a lot from TJ Rage and Ross Watson (Kid Fite). Both coaches have always been really encouraging, giving me advice when I need it. They taught me to be more confident and brought me out of my shell. I owe a lot to the two of them.

MW: Recent years have seen a real focus and growth in women's wrestling.How pleasing is it to you to see it evolving the way it is, not just in WWE but on the indies as well?

EH: With all of the talented women popping up everywhere, women’s wrestling right now is the best time to be involved and I absolutely love it. With names like Candice LeRae, Nixon Newell and Kay Lee Ray who compete in the ring with not just women but men, it’s really showed that us girls are capable of keeping up with the guys. There’s a bar being set in women’s wrestling and I truly look forward to one day making my mark.

MW: The 'Four Horsewomen' of WWE rightfully get a lot of credit for their roles in helping women's wrestling on such a global stage, how important has their rise to the top been for female wrestlers?

EH: I would say it’s been very important. When you look at what WWE once was with women’s matches only being 3-4 minutes long and essentially having the ‘divas’ presented as eye candy, it really set back women in WWE. Thanks to ‘The Four Horsewomen’, they have shown that the women are more than capable of competing in a match just as good as the men on the roster. Now, you have the change of the term ‘diva’ to ‘superstar’ for women making the roster equal as well as two women’s matches per show on a big global stage like WWE. The sky’s the limit now.

MW: The British indie scene is fantastic right now and there are some incredible talents such as Nixon Newell and Lana Austin, does having such strong competition help you raise your own performances?

EH: Definitely. Recently we had a seminar at the PBW academy with Nixon Newell and it was great to get her insight on wrestling. After that seminar, it’s really helped me to elevate my in ring style. Seeing strong competition with the British indie scene means you need to be able to raise your game and I look forward to achieving someday becoming the level of competition that Nixon or Lana are currently.

Hayden in action for PBW. Photo-PBW
Hayden in action for PBW. Photo-PBW

MW: There has been a lot of talk about WWE potentially having a women's tournament this summer, what do you make of that idea and how big could that be for women's wrestling as a whole?

EH: I’m genuinely excited for the tournament, shows how long a way women’s wrestling has come. It will be interesting to see all of the different styles from around the world mixed into the one show. Like the Cruiserweight series, it will give many of the WWE fans an insight into the women who are very talented on the indie scene and a fantastic opportunity for the women involved.

MW: For yourself, what are your aims for the rest of the year?

EH: To keep learning and keep getting better. I’m aiming to being able to become a more regular face on some local companies and to debut for some others. I’m taking my goals one step at a time and really determined to make them happen.

MW: What would be your dream match?

EH: A one on one match with Candice LeRae, Kay Lee Ray or Io Shirai.

MW: You have had involvements with ICW, with seminars and wrestling, how helpful has that company and Mark Dallas been to you?

EH: The seminar which we recently had at the PBW Academy with Mark Dallas was very insightful. He was brilliant with advice on character development and promo work, all of which was taken on board. It’s great to get a chance to pick the brain of the owner of a big company like ICW.

MW: Finally, what is your ultimate career goal?

EH: The ultimate goal is Japan. I would love to wrestle there one day.

To follow Emily's journey, be sure to check her out online.

Twitter- @EmilyHayden_PBW