Featured image by Pix Photography
When she was ten, Izzy Shaw was on the hunt for love. However, it came to her in a form she didn’t expect. ‘I was actually trying to impress a boy who liked wrestling when I first started watching it. At first, I thought it was going to be weird. Then, I remember seeing Edge, and for some reason I just loved him. I was hooked on the entire show from that moment,’ she reflects.
Every week, her TV would call to her. She soon became a wrestling fanatic. ‘I was at my nanna’s house, watching wrestling as usual, and my uncle said, “Are you going to be a wrestler one day, Izzy?” I said “Yeah! I want to be a wrestler!”’
Fast forward twelve years to 2018, where the “Sweetheart of Adelaide” has just won her first Championship title in her wrestling career, the Hunter Valley Women’s Championship. Izzy reflects on her match with Tarlee back in August: ‘I felt like that was one of the best matches I’ve had. That entire experience of finally winning the belt, it’s always something that you want. I was just in shock the entire weekend.’
It’s been a process getting to this point for Izzy. When she started training at Riot City Wrestling, and still to this day, she faces the obstacle of, what she admits is, her limited athleticism. When her parents gave her an ultimatum – her eight years of dancing, or a new start in pro wrestling – she quickly realised that she had her work set out for her when she first stepped into the ring.
Jealousy has been an issue for Izzy in the past. She says, ‘It was hard to watch other people getting it so quickly. I’m just not athletic, so it was hard for me to grasp things. Even now, I go to training and I stuff up, more than other people. But, it’s just the way things are. I just have to work harder.
So, what has kept her going all these years? ‘When things are getting hard, I remind myself, “You’ve put so much [effort] into this, you can’t give up now. Just keep going,”’ she says.
‘I’ve given my entire life to wrestling. It’s all I can think about, since I first watched it ‘til now. I love wrestling. I couldn’t live without it.’
This drive is one of many things that makes Izzy Shaw whole. ‘I don’t see a lot of differences between myself and Izzy, except for the fact that she’s more confident. She can be a bit crazy and energetic, but I’ve always been a very energetic person myself,’ Izzy laughs.
Izzy is well known for her sweetheart persona, but she’s always looking to change things up. She says, ‘I love being [the good guy], but, I don’t want to just be a permanent baby face. I find being a heel hard, because face-Izzy is so much of who I am. It’s hard to find a way to be hated. I’ve been trying to work on that.’
In Adelaide, there’s a history of territory divisions, as Izzy explains: ‘Companies might have a small handful of women [on their roster], but we often can’t wrestle the women from other companies. That’s always been the thing in Adelaide. I don’t think it’s a bad thing and it works for us, but I do wish sometimes our scene was more like Melbourne and Sydney, where you can wrestle in different companies in your state.’
The Adelaide scene is brimming with talent, Izzy nodding to the likes of Savannah Summers, Miss Fortune, Blair Alexis, Wrestle Rampage’s Amity Row and Joanie May. Izzy considers a potential hometown dream match: ‘I think Joanie and I have got some similarities, so that would be interesting, if we were able to do something together in the ring.’
Australian women are taking over. For Izzy, this has meant having to overcome the dread of watching others pass her by. With the successes of Aussie women in WWE in mind, particularly Adelaide’s own Demi Bennett (Rhea Ripley), Izzy considers how she has grown in her attitude. ‘I am ashamed of it, but when I was younger, I felt a lot of jealousy towards Demi. She was and is an athletic freak and I wanted to be as good as her. Looking at her success now, I’m so happy for her.’
‘She’s made Australia proud, especially Riot City Wrestling.’
Izzy reflects on her favourite career moments, including her RCW debut alongside Brad Smyth. ‘That has always been my absolute favourite thing I have ever done in wrestling. I loved working with Brad and I will always treasure that memory,’ she says. She also recalls opportunities to travel beyond South Australia’s borders. ‘One of my most favourite places to wrestle is SHWA (Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance) in Perth, I love that company to bits. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to have worked for Underworld. I love the idea of Underworld – the point system and the rules that they have – They have changed wrestling up and made it different.’
Looking to future changes, Izzy has a handful of goals. ‘I’ve always wanted to go to the UK, ever since I was a kid, before I even watched wrestling. Seeing the scene now, I’d love to fly over and wrestle there. I want to train in America: I want to be on Shimmer and Shine and, eventually, go for a WWE trial.’
‘In Australia, I want to capture the RCW championship,’ Izzy calls on an intimate memory with this title. ‘I was there the day that it was brought in. I got to look at it before it was even announced.’
‘I remember holding that belt and going up to everybody saying, “One day I am going to have this.”’
Izzy’s Wrestling Idols
Toni, Demi, Peyton and Billie; They all inspire me. Also, Erika Reid, because I think her gimmick is so unique and amazing.
I based the start of my career off Mickie James. I still use some of her moves. Candice LeRae [is also a big one for me].
I can’t not say Savannah Summers. She trained me and has done the most for me. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even have gear. She’s done so much for the women in Adelaide. She’s an absolute inspiration and I hope that I can be as good as her.