Featured Image by Digital Beard Photography
Had she not grown up as such an adventurous soul, Melbourne wrestling might not have ever met Avary, who encountered WWE by chance. ‘I got into wrestling pretty late compared to most people, about 12 or 13. I never grew up watching it or anything. No one in my family was into it,’ she reflects. Channel surfing, she was captivated.
‘I watched one match on RAW, I remember it was Wade Barrett vs Kofi Kingston, and I thought, “I kind of want to watch the rest of this show.” I really wanted to try it, instantly.’
The 19-year-old grew up on a farm 40 minutes out of Geelong, trying her hand at everything she could. ‘I’ve always been super active. I did equestrian, gymnastics, karate…If I ever said, “Hey mum, I want to try this,” she’d be like, “Awesome, let’s do it!”. We were spoiled that way. Mum would encourage us to do anything active.’ Avary thanks her mother, a full-time farmer and carer for her 30-year-old brother, for pushing her to run free.
She wasted little time getting started. Avary started training at 14, before breaking out at 16 in an Outback Championship Wrestling match against Vixsin. ‘Vixsin called me a week in advance to say that someone had pulled out of the show. She trusted me to get in the ring with her, so we gave it a go.’ From there came monthly call backs for Avary.
When Avary did finally start watching wrestling, the WWE’s Divas Era was in full swing. She says, ‘Women’s matches were called a “piss break”. Why were these women doing a bras and panties matches when they could be having a street fight? We can do this. We can be just as good as the guys!’ It was this motivation that drove her to become her own role model.
Melbourne City Wrestling regulars might recognise Avary as the wing-woman of the Brat Pack, Nick Bury and Mitch Waterman. The young and hungry lads came into MCW’s tag division strong, with Avary blasting their air horn by their side. ‘Working with Mitch and Nick is my favourite thing. Seeing them progress from us starting probably about a year ago now to today has been so rewarding. They’re my biggest supporters and I try to be theirs.’
Avary relishes in the abrasive nature of her Brat Pack persona, even as a singles competitor. ‘I love working as the Avary Brat Pack character, because I’m able to project myself and carry myself most confidently. I’m such like a grimy grotty bogan person, that it’s so easy for me to be that grungy character.’
‘When I’m in the ring, I’ve got the power. You might think, “Oh, you’re not wearing much so you’re not worth much”. Honey, you’re watching ME wrestle. I’m in control of everything I do.’
‘We’re more than tits over talent. But, I can be talented and confident with my arse out.’
Finding work elsewhere has meant stepping up to new challenges. Avary finds herself in different shoes at an Underworld Wrestling show. ‘I’m a bit of a peppy babyface at the moment. It’s throwing me out of my comfort zone, but it’s something that I probably need and I’m excited to try. The fact that Underworld are throwing the girls full force into the top tier of the company is amazing to think about. It’s such a different environment and a push for the girls that I just don’t want to let the division down! I think there’s also the pressure of so many phenomenal females in that company as well, that you just want to be one of those women.’
Avary has worked hard to stand alongside her peers, in an era where women’s wrestling is the next big thing. Yet, regardless of your “brand” as a wrestler, her stance is clear. ‘It does not matter what you wear or how you project yourself. If you’re confident and you’re loving it, that’s you.’
When Avary injured her wrist two months ago, she needed a pastime to keep engaged. It was then that she took up painting. ‘I live in this little man cave type thing outside of my house with wooden walls. I was doodling one day on my walls with Texta and I just thought, “You know what? I should just paint something”. The next thing I knew one wall was completely covered in lots of different little pictures.’
An art form in its own right, Avary finds herself at home in the squared circle. ‘It’s a whole different world. You can be everything you’ve always wanted to be. I could be sitting at work and I could think of something. For instance, I saw a stapler at work and I thought, “I’m going to get someone to staple something to my forehead at my WrestleRock match.” You’ll be listening to music and think, “This would be great for a video package, or a theme song.” And you just imagine yourself coming out to it.’
‘It changes everyday life, because you’ve got somewhere to focus that creative drive that everyone’s got.’
Just as it is a creative outlet, wrestling is an escape for many. Avary has found performing as a means of coping with her social anxiety. You can just imagine yourself as this larger than life character and that’s why you’re so able to get up and do it. I still get terrified. When I have to do a promo [talk on the mic], it takes me like 40 tries and I’m nervous and stuttering… That’s something I didn’t think I’d be able to overcome ever, but I’ve talked on the mic a few times and I haven’t stuffed it up yet.’
Her mother doesn’t get to come down and watch her perform often, but the world stops when she does. Her brother got to see her for the first time in April this year. ‘He tells everyone, even strangers, “My sister does the WWE wrestling.” He loves it!’
‘It’s like a double life. I’ve done things I never thought I’d ever be able to do thanks to wrestling.’
Avary’s Wrestling Idols
Recently, I’ve been super inspired by the Japanese style. leading up to one of my biggest matches, my match with Toni [Storm], I was looking for inspiration and I just could not stop watching Io Shirai. She’s an incredible woman. I can’t wait to go to Japan out of respect for the wrestling.
In wrestling, I’ve got my gorgeous close group of friends. I’ll always have a huge space for Vixsin, for essentially kick starting my career. I’ve met some amazing women, like Erika and Taylah, people that give you faith that there are beautiful and heart-warming people here.