Liz Savage Has Arrived!
The Champion of A.W.E.S.O.M.E “Fallah” and I in 2008, photo by Robert Payes, Stiffshots Photography
So maybe you’ve heard of me, maybe you haven’t. Either way, here is a little introduction to the madness.
I grew up in a small town in New York. From as long as I can remember I was a professional wrestling fan, as my grandfather was a huge fan, and it was always a must watch in my house. I remember begging to see the very first Wrestlemania, as my grandparents friends were getting it on closed circuit TV. They told me it was an adult party, however after much begging, they gave in.
Wrestlemania was what solidified my idea to be a professional wrestler, at 5 years old, I already knew one day, I’d step into the squared circle myself. Watching Wendy Richter vs Leilani Kai was the epitome of awesome, to see women who were just as talented in the ring as thier male counterparts.
From there I watched wrestling for almost 20 years before I gained my own opportunity to get in the ring. When I was 24, I discovered the wacky and somewhat elusive world of independent pro wrestling as a regular listener of the “No Holds Barred” wrestling radio show hosted by Jason Barrett and George “The Animal” Farmer on WPDH. They decided to do a calender girl contest, which my friends decided for me, I was going to enter. When JB called me, I honestly thought it was a joke, really me??!!
After the calender was published, I started traveling with them and doing promotions. We went to indy events, fan signings, and even WWE Shows. I was hooked and wanted a piece of the action.
NHB was in regular contact with Tony Devito, of the ECW tag team “Da Baldies”. Tony was running a wrestling school in Newburgh, NY at the time, and had been putting the fans of the show through tryouts. As of that time, not one had been able to pass Tony’s tests. So the hosts of the show, sent me down to Tony’s to see if I had it in me.
When I arrived at the school, I was the only woman there. Tony put me right to work, showing me front bumps, back bumps, and forward flip bumps. It felt like I did at least 100 bumps in the ring, then he asked me if I was ready for body slams. I said “Sure” and took 10. After that he let me rest and told me if I wanted in, I was in. Sadly at the time, I was barely scraping by, working multiple part time jobs, with very little income, so I could not afford to train right then. By the time I was ready to go, he had closed that particular venue.
I started looking around for other opportunities, and began working as a manager, in NJ. During this time, I discovered a school I will not name, that I thought sounded really solid. Unfortunately I did not realize at the time, they were mostly about making money. They told me I could no longer work as a manager elsewhere, after telling me I could when I signed my contract. I traveled for over an hour and a half to go to class, at least twice a week for months on end. During this time, I was forced to move out of state, and had been told this was reason to get out of my contract. After moving, the 4.5 hour trip each way, became too much of a burden, and I put in notice. 2.5 years later, the remaining partner in the school decided to sue me, and multiple others, as apparently he was failing miserably in finding new people to rip off. That was my first taste of the bullshit in the industry.
After that experience I became more aware of who I worked with, and that they weren’t trying to put limitations on me, based on their financial gain. I volunteered countless hours working behind the scenes, to get the training I so desperately wanted. I designed promotional materials and logo’s, I did ring crew, I ran sound, I set up chairs, I used my skills to make sure I became an asset to any organization I worked with. When I got ring time to practice, I went full in. I learned from both men, and women. One of my best teachers, wasn’t even a coach, she was a fellow wrestler from NY, who I worked with multiple times a week for months on end, Year after year, to learn moves, to put together fun, engaging matches, that made sense.
I also was honest with myself about my limitations, hence why I mainly worked as a manager. As someone who suffers from chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, I limited myself to old school style, comedy, or the occasional intergender tag team matches. I was not going to be jumping off anything, as I was afraid to get hurt too badly. I learned quickly I was not going to allow myself to be booked into things that were dangerous. I learned that you cannot trust all bookers judgement on bookings, and that not everyone in wrestling is willing to work with the movesets you want, nor are willing to “spot-check” themselves, as to whether or not the moves they wanted so badly to do, were worth the effort for the crowd, and the very real possibility of getting hurt.
I spent 9 years working in professional wrestling, inside the ring, outside the ring, and hidden away in the background. I had the opportunity to work for over 30 promotions in 12 states, and be an extra for WWE. I managed over a a dozen champions. Shows I was featured on, were broadcast on television networks across the world, sold for download online, and also in DVD format, and still are. Sadly some of my best work, was seen by the least people. I learned from the opportunities I got, and I grew into the person I am today because of it. I hope my writing can educate, and inspire others to pursue their dreams, but to do it in a way that benefits them, and not just the ones who profit off workers willing to put their bodies on the line for entertainment.
I look forward to entertaining and engaging those who visit this site, and feel free to ask me anything! I can always be found on twitter @lizsavage