Las Vegas. March 2020. I have just been signed to the massive American wrestling company Ring of Honor (RoH). I’ve made my debut on one of their pay-per-view events in front of a packed house in Baltimore, Maryland, and am getting ready for the next one. At the same time, the world around me is shutting down.
had only a couple of ROH matches before being sent home to Ireland. I had no idea how long I would be sitting at home, longing to get back to doing what I love: wrestling.
In my early teens, I struggled to find the life path that was right for me. It seemed like all my friends had their lives planned out from a young age: go to college, get married, have kids, etc. As a young woman, I never thought my dreams of becoming a professional wrestler could ever become reality. I took a massive chance when I began training in 2011, but the training school is where I found my tribe.
In 2014, Joe Cabray founded Over the Top Wrestling (OTT). This was the beginning of a renaissance in Irish wrestling. It was the only promotion in Ireland at the time that catered to adult wrestling fans.
Before OTT, I wrestled as the good girl Kazza G and I had never really done character work. OTT gave me the opportunity to dive headfirst into a new role. This is when I became Session Moth Martina, an inner-city Dublin girl from the flats who loves to party. I threw myself into the character. I wore pyjamas, drank cans and danced to techno on the way to the ring.
The number of attendees at OTT shows was growing larger year on year. We began doing shows outside Dublin and in bigger venues such as the National Stadium.
For me, wrestling had got to the point where I could leave my day job. A women-only promotion, Stardom, a sister company of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, flew me over to wrestle on several tours.
Over the years, I have wrestled in a multitude of places such as LA, New York, the UK and even Australia — a long way from home for an Irish “session moth”. People have always doubted how well my character would come across in other corners of the world, but each country has their own “session moth” or party girl. We all know someone whose ultimate goal in life is to have a good time.
All my wrestling dreams had come true. Then the pandemic hit. I went from travelling the world, meeting new people and doing what I love to sitting in my room again.
It had taken me years to climb a seemingly impossible ladder, yet I was back where I started, in this purgatory-like phase of my life.
This is what I found so tough about lockdown, and I’m sure a lot of others can relate. It was a difficult time to improve ourselves mentally and physically as we were cut off from the rest of the world.
And how are we supposed to improve, if not with others helping us along?
That is what wrestling is all about: working together to make each other have an amazing match and show that the fans can enjoy. That’s why I love it so much.
As the world has reopened, live events are slowly coming back. It has been a long wait.
OTT returned to Belfast on July 12 after a long year of hard work to ensure everything is up to code. Even with a comparatively smaller show, the atmosphere was electric. It made me truly appreciate how lucky I am to be where I am.
After losing our old wrestling school at the start of the pandemic and receiving absolutely no government funding, we managed to get a brand-new premises in Tallaght.
The School of Irish Wrestling will be opening its doors to aspiring wrestlers on September 25. They will be trained by some of the best performers Ireland has produced.
I am proud to say I’ll be the school’s first female trainer. I am excited to teach the new recruits the importance of character work and how it can set you apart from the crowd. I want to raise the next generation of Irish female wrestling talent. I am very excited to see where each of their journeys takes them, whether wrestling remains a hobby or turns into a full-time career. I have taken a young girl named Eliza under my wing.
OTT is finally returning to Dublin on October 9, for my very own Martina’s Gaff Party 5, and I could not be more excited. The fire that is OTT and Irish professional wrestling is about to be reignited in the best way possible: a good old-fashioned Martina party. This time with a lot of new, eager talent waiting to prove to the country and to themselves that they could be the next big thing — and along with the new faces, there will be some well-known names as well.
After a long 20 months without wrestling, it’s good to be back.
Martina’s Gaff Party 5 takes place at the KFR Centre on October 9. Tickets have sold out but it will be available on OTT’s on-demand service (ottwrestling.com). Contenders 17 is at the KFR Centre on October 10. See eventbrite.ie for tickets