Firstly I just want to thank everybody that read and shared my first Ladies of the Indies spotlight on Alexia Nicole. I do this because I love it, but the fact that even a few people take the time to read it not only motivates me, but humbles me.
Let’s get into my second Ladies of the Indies spotlight interview.
Meet London, Ontario native, Shilo.
“My story is a bit different,” said Shilo. Most wrestlers have been fans of wrestling since they were kids. In fact she admitted that most of the people she trains with have been die-hard fans all their life, but with her that’s not exactly the case. Her journey began when she was looking for something to do on a Sunday night, and was invited by a friend to watch SummerSlam in 2017. She wasn’t excited at the idea of going and watching wrestling, but she decided to go because she had nothing else to do. “We get halfway through SummerSlam and I am mesmerized,” said Shilo.
That is where her journey not only as a fan, but a wrestler began.
When the event concluded she turned to her friend and proclaimed that she was going to be a wrestler. Shortly after SummerSlam, she started watching NXT, which was during the Gargano/Ciampa feud. “Ciampa was my first favourite wrestler,” said Shilo as we talked about how that feud was in many ways the true start of her desire to become a wrestler. “When I started watching those two, that was when I really became invested.” During that feud she started looking up schools in London, Ontario. Her story isn’t only “different” because of how late she became a wrestler, but also because of how late she started training.
She was 32 years old and not in the type of condition required to be in a tough business like pro wrestling. “When I started training I was horribly out of shape, I was smoking, I was in no position to be training,” said Shilo. But she credits owner of The Wrestling Factory and her trainer Tyson Dux for not giving up on her, pushing her to get to where she needed and wanted to be. “Training is incredibly difficult and I’ve hurt myself a lot,” said Shilo. “I was like a baby giraffe trying to find out how my legs work.” After breaking her wrist she credits her stubbornness for keeping her going.
After that wrist break many people close to her expressed that she should just stop, but she refused to give up. “I’m not doing this to prove other people wrong, I’m doing this to prove to myself that I can do it,” said Shilo. This is what kept her going, and truly made her feel like a wrestler despite her lack of exposure to wrestling. “I never really felt like a wrestler because I didn’t have the knowledge everybody else did,” said Shilo. Due to her becoming a fan so late in her life, she didn’t know much about wrestling or how it worked, like newer fans usually don’t. “I was the biggest mark on the planet,” said Shilo. “I didn’t know about the behind the scenes stuff or anything.” However she didn’t need to know about all of that because it was the entertainment aspect that she fell in love with. Shilo shared, “Wrestling is like this all-encompassing thing that takes elements from all of these different things that entertain people and makes it into one.”
As somebody that was purely a WWE fan, the world of the indie scene was something that she had no idea about prior to training. She had been to a SmackDown event, but had never been to an Indy show. Before she began training with Dux, she went to a local Smash show to see him in action so she could be confident that she would be in good hands. At this show she witnessed a triple threat women’s match between Jody Threat, Shotzi Blackheart, and Vanessa Kraven. She was blown away by all three women, but was especially drawn to Threat, who would end up being her first opponent.
She instantly fell in love with the Indie scene at that show. “There was an energy in that room that I felt like I needed to be a part of,” said Shilo. That love only grew fonder when she began wrestling. “Indie wrestling is like this weird sub-culture, but it’s a tight-knit family,” said Shilo. She believes it’s a different atmosphere, and it benefits the fans. Shilo also believes it benefits the wrestlers because they can feed off that energy.
Shilo believes going through the indy circuit makes people better wrestlers. “When you get that experience, you’re going to be better than you would be if you just got a crash course at the Performance Center, there’s no way you can’t be,” said Shilo. As Alexia did in our interview, she feels women’s wrestling on the Indies has affected WWE and their direction. “The women are working so hard to be wrestlers and not just eye candy,” said Shilo. She told me that she feels the level of talent that exists today has forced WWE to change how they view women’s wrestling.
We then got to talking about how AEW will change the independent scene going forward. “I think it’s going to help redefine the term Indy wrestling,” said Shilo. AEW is a wrestling promotion being run by independent wrestlers Kenny Omega, Cody, and The Young Bucks, it is no doubt revolutionary. “I think AEW is offering some competition, it’s going to give people options which is really important,” said Shilo. She also believes AEW is pursuing certain demographics that WWE may not be in tune with. Shilo says her goals keep evolving as she accomplishes them and very much just wants what the business has to offer. “I want friendships and I want rivalries and I want everything that comes with wrestling,” said Shilo.
You can follow Shilo on Instagram and Twitter: @iknowshilo!