Cult Q & A: Pro Wrestler Rhia O’Reilly

 Professional Wrestler and Super Nerd: “I wish people still made mix tapes.”

“Six Feet Under was the first series I saw that completely blew my mind and it was a gateway for the modern golden age of TV we are having today.  However the show I rewatch the most is Buffy. She saved my world. A lot.”

International Professional Wrestler and Pro Wrestling EVE Champion Rhia O’Reilly is one of the most sought-after, talented and impressive wrestlers in the world.

When she was a young girl, O’Reilly discovered wrestling and found her calling. Training under Justin Richards, the Knight Family and Lance Storm, Rhia made her professional wrestling debut in 2010. Since then she has worked in several countries across Europe as well as in Canada and the USA.Rhia is also a self-proclaimed “Super Nerd”, and she’s in the hot seat this week for the Cult Q & A.

What were you like at school?

I actually liked school for the most part and got good grades. Sometimes I wish I had applied myself more but I got bored easily and very early in life decided life was meant to be enjoyed.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I know at one point I wanted to be a vet. I considered acting for a hot minute and then I wanted to be a drama therapist. Then a forensic psychologist. Then a wrestler.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

You’re going to make some terrible decisions but the results of these decisions shape the person you become so don’t worry – one bad decision doesn’t fuck up your life. Also start pro wrestling training when you’re 18.

What are your best and worst qualities?

I think it’s one and the same: That I fight hard to see the good in people and situations. Maybe I give people chances when I shouldn’t but sometimes its worth it.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I’ve been pretty lucky. The only job I’ve had that I hated was a sales job in a gym. People know going to the gym and exercising is good for them and they are either going to sign up or they aren’t. Putting financial pressure on people to buy isn’t my jam.

Who were your pop culture heroes growing up?

Catwoman was a big influence. Her first series starting in 1993 was my first foray into monthly comics and I adored her. Then as a teenager it was all about Shirley Manson, Gwen Stefani and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

What do you consider to be the single greatest piece of television ever?

Six Feet Under was the first series I saw that completely blew my mind and it was a gateway for the modern golden age of TV we are having today.  However the show I rewatch the most is Buffy. She saved my world. A lot.

Monty Python: Is it funny?

Seriously? It’s hilarious. Anyone who doesn’t find Dead Parrots hilarious can’t be friends with me.

What was the last film that you watched?

I was just at Frightfest at the Glasgow Film Festival and saw 13 films in 36 hours. Intense but awesome. Strong line up with some great films such as Detour and The Transfiguration standing out for me.

What film could you watch every day?

Labyrinth or Fight Club.

What’s your favourite film soundtrack?

Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet.

Which four actors would you like to see in a film together and which genre?

Joseph Gordon Levitt, Gillian Jacobs, Milo Ventimiglia and Patrick Stewart in a horror movie.

Which film, book or album last disappointed you the most?

Maybe I haven’t had high expectations of late but nothing’s been a real let-down lately. I mean I thought that new Linkin Park track was diabolical but I didn’t have high hopes…

Which album would you recommend and lend to a friend?

I can’t possibly choose – my tastes are so eclectic that Spotify makes me six different daily mixes…I recently discovered The Interrupters so maybe I would tell people to check them out. I wish people still made mix tapes…

Which record, comic or book wouldn’t you let out of your sight?

I’m not precious about my stuff but I am probably more protective of anything in my comic book collection by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. I probably wouldn’t let anyone borrow anything that Ben Templesmith has sketched in either.

Neil Gaiman: Rhia’s cult fave.

Which book would you save if your house was on fire?

My signed copy of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

What’s your definition of what makes something cult?

I guess something that maybe doesn’t have critical acclaim or mainstream success at the time of release but resonates with some section of society strongly.

What are you reading at present?

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

How did you first become involved in wrestling and how did your career as a professional wrestler begin?

When I was 12 I went round a friend’s house and she put on wrestling and I was hooked! I dabbled with a couple of weekend training camps in England as a teenager but it wasn’t really until I finished university and headed to Canada to train with Lance Storm that my adventure really began!

Rhia O’Reilly vs Kellie Skater.

Is there much of a sisterhood between female wrestlers?

I think the attitude towards women in the business has changed dramatically in the last decade. And that’s from both genders. I think there is a sisterhood because we are a niche within a niche and we still need to work together to make something epic to make people stand up and support their local girl gang!

Which other professional wrestlers have inspired you over the years?

I mean, initially it was Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly and the women of the WWE. It quickly moved on to people like Sara Del Ray, Allison Danger and MsChif who were killing it on the independent scene. Really, the whole Shimmer roster were an inspiration – seeing so many women of different shapes and styles.

What’s the best bit of advice anyone has given you?

Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career, and how has that person changed your life?

My former trainer and friend Justin Richards. He made me fight to be better and never just “good for a girl”. But more importantly he constantly made me stay grounded and let me know it was ok to never compromise on who I am as a person just to get further in life.

Do you think it’s true that you should never meet your heroes?

No. I just think it’s important to remember that they are just people too and they have good days and bad days and you never know what kind of day you are meeting someone on.

What would you like to be your epitaph?

The world is quiet here.

We are at a bar, what are you drinking?

Probably cider. Unless it’s a cocktail bar and then we are drinking a little bit of everything!

What are your three favourite cities?

London. New York, Amsterdam

What do you do to chill out?
If I need headspace then I run. If I just need to relax then its time to binge watch a TV show or inhale another book or comic.

Do you have any upcoming engagements or projects?

Until I know the situation with my ankle I can’t confirm when I’m back in action but Pro Wrestling EVE will be back at the Resistance Gallery in London on 20th/21st May and even if I’m not cleared to wrestle – I’ll be there!

How can our readers discover more about you and you work?

Twitter (@rdpixie) is where I ramble about what I’m doing/watching/reading the most and I try to post fun stuff on my Instagram (@rhiaoreilly).

Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us!

❉ Pro Wrestling EVE will be back at the Resistance Gallery in London on 20-21 May 2017.

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