Affectionately known to fans as “the Hardcore Bitch”, Vixsin is a 15-year Aussie wrestling veteran.
Her love of wrestling started as a young blood-lusting child. ‘I was mesmerised by this blood. I know that sounds weird, like I’m Dexter or something,’ Vixsin recalls her first impressions of wrestling. She became infatuated with WCW (World Championship Wrestling), ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) and FMW (Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling) after watching with her dad. ‘Back then [in the 80s and 90s] there was a lot of blood in wrestling… everyone was bleeding and it was awesome! But of course, I was intrigued by the wrestling itself and the characters and all the stuff that came with it.’
‘If I get laughed at, whatever. This is what I want to do. I’ve found the reason that I’m alive.’
After training with George “the Hitman” Julio, Vixsin had her first rumble match at 16 for NAW (New Age Wrestling), closely followed by a tag match in her hometown of Melton. ‘I was super shy back then, just this sweet innocent girl. I would like to go back and tell past Vixsin, “You’re going to be a fucking bad-ass, don’t stress. You’ve got this.”’
It’s a very different story today; Vixsin is now one of the fiercest and most respected competitors in the Australian scene. So, how did “the Hardcore Bitch” come to be? Vixsin reflects: ‘Well, I got the nickname from Julian James of Wrestlerock. I wrestled Krackerjak and we got a bit violent. From then, it’s just a name that’s stuck.’
‘People ask if I get offended by the name. Of course, I don’t. I’m a pro wrestler. This is my job, to go out there and make the fans stand up on their feet and chant for “the Hardcore Bitch”. That’s why I’m here. Without them, I wouldn’t be here,’ Vixsin pays respect to her fans who have allowed her to do what she loves for so long. ‘When I step in the ring for that 15 minutes, I’m in control. Sometimes you’re not in control of your own life, so I hope that when people come to the wrestling they can let go of all the shit that’s going on in their lives for a few hours.’
‘I’m just a wrestler. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I haven’t slacked off.’
The journey of a wrestler is no leisurely stroll. Vixsin doesn’t have time for thoughtless labels: ‘I trained with the guys when I first started, and I’ve probably wrestled more guys than girls in my wrestling career. I still train with the guys. We are wrestlers. I’ve had matches with Lowzen ten years ago that were well before the “Women’s Evolution”. We were doing power bombs, all the shit back when females just didn’t or weren’t trained to do those moves. I was just wrestling like the guys because that’s all I knew.’
Vixsin’s fascination with hardcore wrestling sets her apart from her peers. She wrestled in her first hardcore match in a tag with Maddog against Chuck E. Chaos and Vida Loca in Preston. Stood in front of 20 fans and covered in blood, she never looked back. From there, she set off to Diana Wrestling in Japan, and has continued to look to the world of hardcore for inspiration: From Freedoms, FMW and BJW (Big Japan Wrestling), to CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling) and Mexican hardcore, there’s something for everyone.
She is always on the lookout for new ideas to bring in to the ring. ‘A few months back at NAW, I was the first female to ever use a cactus in the ring. I was very itchy in the hands and face for a while, but it was worth it,’ she laughs, ‘It worked against me in the end when I took a drop toe hold onto it.’ From cactus, to barbed wire and exploding flaming tables, the world of hardcore is eclectic and intoxicating.
Blood has long been used as a storytelling device in pro wrestling, from the east to the west. In the 90s, a need to keep the business alive in the west led to mainstream saturation of hardcore tropes: Infamously, Mick Foley is widely regarded as a connoisseur of hardcore – taking leaps of faith from 20-foot-cages and bleeding for the cause – and an image of the poor health that comes with the risk-taking style. From this kind of exposure, unregulated backyard-style wrestling (colloquially known as “garbage wrestling”) became a cult phenomenon, jeopardising people’s safety and the integrity of pro wrestling. However, Vixsin stresses that hardcore is an art, a branch of pro wrestling to be studied and mastered, and when performed properly, has a place in the contemporary wrestling landscape.
‘If you go to Japan or Mexico and you see what they’re doing, it’s an art. It’s beautiful. It’s beautifully violent!’
Hardcore runs deep in wrestling’s rich cultural fabric. From the glory days of Japanese deathmatch wrestling, to world’s stage, its purpose is something fundamental to wrestling itself: the desire to elicit a reaction. ‘The power of deathmatch wrestling and hardcore wrestling is just so overwhelming. I wish I could do it every week.’ Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of opportunity for hardcore wrestlers in Australia, purely due to the small talent pool, then the smaller number of wrestlers dedicated to the hardcore branch. ‘I think there’s only a select handful that really love and have a true passion for hardcore wrestling and can portray it at a high level,’ says Vixsin.
‘Strangely enough I’ve only been seriously injured in normal matches. I’ve been cut up, I’ve got scars from light tubes, I’ve got a cool scar under my armpit from being power bombed from the ring to the outside through a barbed wire flaming table,’ Vixsin laughs. There is an element of torture porn for spectators and lovers of hardcore, and pain is just part of the bargain for performers. Vixsin explains her strategy: ‘I don’t think about it until it’s over. I don’t like pain. I’m like everyone else. I just think about what the crowd reaction is going to be… Some people can’t handle the sight of blood. Whenever someone gets hurt or they’re bloodied up, I’m the first to go over and see if they’re alright. You’ve just got to put your feelings aside and make sure they’re alright. But admittedly I do like to look at people’s gashes.’
Wrestling can be risky, without factoring in the accessibility and sustainability of hardcore. Despite being a safe performer, luck wasn’t on Vixsin’s side when she suffered a severe shoulder injury after performing a Samoan drop that sidelined her for 15 months. ‘That’s wrestling, it doesn’t feel good. It hurts after a while. Especially in winter, I wake up like an old lady thinking “What have I done to myself?”’ But, Vixsin fought her way to recovery, and is back in the game to stay.
‘Tomorrow I could get hit by a bus, you just don’t know. So, if I can walk and breathe, I can wrestle.’
You’re only as good as your last performance, and Vixsin is far from finished. With her sights set on returning to Japan, she wants to inspire a generation to fall in love with hardcore once more. ‘I want to bring female death match wrestling back to Japan. I want to make it crazy again, like the FMW days. You don’t really see many female deathmatches anymore. It’s starting to make a comeback in America. I don’t know what happened in Japan, but I want to make it popular again.’
Australian wrestling has evolved in leaps and bounds during her career, from the accessibility of training schools to the overall culture of lifting each other up. However, there’s one more thing left on Vixsin’s Aussie wrestling list: I also really wish that someone would hold a deathmatch tournament in Australia. It doesn’t need to be female. It just needs to be violent and bloody.’
Vixsin’s Wrestling Idols
I look up to a lot of people, especially my fellow Aussie wrestlers. I’ve had people come into wrestling now saying they’ve been watching me for ten years and I’ve inspired them to be a wrestler, that’s crazy. I’m always happy to give advice, because when I first started that was very limited. I only had two other female wrestlers to turn to and they were Michelle from Perth and a wrestler by the name of Mercury at PCW (Professional Championship Wrestling), who later became Charmaine. They were probably my first mentors when I started out, then [I looked to KrackerJak, Maddog and Chuck E. Chaos. [I’m always] asking questions and seeking advice from those who have a wealth of knowledge in hardcore wrestling, because you’re always learning.
[Other inspirations of mine are] Bull Nakano, Big Van Vader and Mick Foley.