The Great White North has yielded many impressive exports, but none more impressive than Candice LeRae. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Candice hails from a country where wrestling is a national past-time. Great names like the Hart Family, Chris Jericho, and Lance Storm all called Canada home. Candice joins those fellow greats in preserving the Canadian heritage of phenomenal wrestling technicians (Courtesy of Women of Wrestling). Candice LeRae has wrestled for several major Indy Wrestling Organization such as Chikara, Combat Zone Wrestling and famously Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Candice LeRae is also known as the first female wrestler to be booked by Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and currently the only female wrestler competing for the organization. Candice LeRae spent the majority of her 11 years competing in Inter-Gender Matches taking on incredible opponents such as Human Tornado, The Young Bucks, Peter Avalon, Christina Von Eerie, Adam Cole and current tag team partner/best friend Joey Ryan.
I had the privileged of doing an exclusive interview with Candice LeRae to discuss her wrestling background, ongoing success in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and opinion of the growing popularity of Inter Gender Wrestling in the Indy Wrestling Circuit.
1). Candice what inspired you to get involved in the wrestling industry? Where did you go to receive your training to become a professional wrestler?
Candice LeRae: “I was 6 years old when I saw my first professional wrestling match on television. I walked passed my cousin’s room and asked my cousin and my two brothers what they we’re watching on television. It was a professional wrestling match. I don’t quite remember what match it was or whom was involved, but my brothers tell me it’s was a Battle Royal; Bad News Brown/Bret “The Hitman” Hart were the last two competitors in the ring. Bad News Brown betrayed Bret Hart, tossed him over the tope rope to win the Battle Royal. Bret Hart re-enter the ring and kicked the crap out of Bad News Brown and destroyed his Battle Royal Trophy”. I told my cousin and my brothers that’s exactly what I want to do when I get older. So when I was in high school, my brother took me to Indy Wrestling Event, after the event I spoke with a few guys. I told them I want to be a professional wrestler. So I took the Release Wavier Form to my father but he refused to sign the form. It did was a real downer, but it did not suppress my ambitions of becoming a professional wrestler”.
“I really admire Macho Man Randy Savage, he just simply stood out above the rest. He really had something special, which ultimately inspired me to become a professional wrestler. I found a School in California which was run by Jesse Hernandez. Jesse Hernandez did not have too many female students because the majority of inspiring female wrestlers trained on the East Coast, and finding female wrestlers on the West Cast basically was very slim. Jesse Hernandez was full aware of that realization, so he was very surprise and supportive throughout my training. Jesse Hernandez was a tremendous influence over earlier stages of my career”.
2). Candice, which Canadian Wrestler did you admire growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada?
Candice LeRae: “I really admire Chris Jericho. I have every DVD/VHS dating back to his days in Smokey Mountain Wrestling teaming up with Lance Storm as the Thrill Seekers. I feel like I’m totally obese with Chris Jericho”.
3). Candice you made your professional wrestling debut in 2002, describe your emotions heading into your debut professional wrestling match?
Candice LeRae: “I was very nervous, I doubt I slept the night before. I just wanted to get the match over with and head home. The match itself lasted only 5 minutes and it was over. After the match I picked up a flier with my name on it and ran around showing it to my friends and family, I was extremely excited”.
“I actually went to my first Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Event in 2005 Anniversary Show. I wanted to wrestle for the organization. I was told no, they do not book female wrestlers, during this same time The Human Tornado was betrayed by his manager. So he was in need of a new valet. I approached The Human Tornado and acquired about being his new valet, and I got my first opportunity with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla as The Human Tornado’s Valet”.
4). Candice you competed for various organization such as PWG, Chikara, CZW, etc. Describe your most memorable moment so far in your professional wrestling career?
Candice LeRae: “I have so many memorable moments as a professional wrestler. I would have to say probably the people of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla finally booking me in a wrestling match. I’m pretty sure it’s been very well documented my fallout with The Human Tornado, were he assaulted me after a match. Chris Hero made the save which stated a rival between the two. I had my first Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Match against The Human Tornado, Chris Hero accompanied me to the ring to basically make sure nothing funny accrue. The match itself went extremely well. The match ended prematurely because, The Human Tornado was expected to pull some sort of shenanigans, and so Chris Hero interfered and kicked the crap out of him. I returned to the backstage and gained a lot of respect for everyone”.
5). Candice, who’s the toughest opponent you ever face in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla?
Candice LeRae: “The toughest opponent(s) right know Mt. Rushmore (The Young Bucks, Adam Cole, and Kevin Steen). I competed against The Young Bucks of course with Joey Ryan, and I will face off against Kevin Steen on Dec 21st, 2013 as part of 6 person tag team match. Mt. Rushmore are truly truth and they freakin’ beat you down after every match so hopefully this coming December, we can get the upper hand on Mt. Rushmore”.
6). Candice you have competed in numerous inter-gender matches in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. Do you prefer inter gender matches over strictly women matches?
Candice LeRae: “I prefer Inter-Gender matches. I wish there were more women in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, I remember when we book Christina Von Eerie, and it was great. She receive a good reaction fro the crowd competed against men and women. I had the honor of facing Christina Von Eerie and it was an incredible experience, booking her was great for business. I really hope someday Pro Wrestling Guerrilla book more women, and currently right now I’m the only woman competing in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla”.
7). Candice why do you think competing in inter-gender matches, makes a woman wrestlers more marketable?
Candice LeRae: “Yes competing in Inter-Gender matches does make women wrestlers more marketable. “Who don’t like seeing a girl stand up against guy”. People want to support a underdog and love seeing a person stand up for themselves. Joey Ryan and I are extremely marketable, and we receive a tremendous reaction from the crowd whenever we compete inside the ring. We’re a big draw whenever Pro Wrestling Guerrilla decide to book us for a major event”.
8). Candice, why do you think more Indy Wrestling Promotions are leaning more towards inter-gender matches?
Candice LeRae: “I have been seeing more Indy Wrestling Promotions, leaning towards Inter Gender matches over the last year. I been a professional wrestler for 11 years now and the level of excitement for Inter Gender matches have increase because it becoming more entertaining and it’s a huge draw for promoters”.
9). Candice, describe your relationship with your Tag Team Partner Joey Ryan? Candice do you think Joey and yourself would eventually capture The PWG Tag Team Titles and defeat The Young Bucks?
Candice LeRae: “Joey Ryan and I are good friends, really best friends. People honestly think we’re dating, so I’m enjoying keeping people guest about our relationship. True story, Joey and I went to a bar a while back and these drunk guys stated “you two should be together”. They keep going with it the entire night it was funny. Joey and I are a great team inside the ring. We continue to improve ourselves individually and as a tag team. Someday we will take the PWG Tag Team Titles away from The Young Bucks’. A couple weeks ago I campaigned via twitter on the possibility of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla booking myself against Adam Cole, but unfortunately they booked Chris Hero vs. Adam Cole for PWG World Heavyweight Champion at PWG All Star Weekend Night 1. Chris Hero is a tremendous friend, and I’m glad to see him back at Pro Wrestling Guerrilla”.
10). Candice on December 20th, 2013 PWG All Star Weekend X Night One, you and Joey Ryan will face RockNES Monsters. What will be your guys strategy heading into the match. Candice, you, Joey Ryan, and Drake Younger will face Matt Rushmore (The Young Bucks and Kevin Steen) on ASW Night 2 will you guys defeat Matt Rushmore?
Candice LeRae: “We wrestle the RockNES Monster before, but it was during the early stages of Joey and I tag partnership. We were getting a feel of each other, but we been watching film, improving our strategy and style heading into the match. As far as my 6 person tag team match against Mt. Rushmore (The Young Bucks and Kevin Steen), I’m hoping everything goes well, and after the match we don’t get jump or beat down. I mention earlier in the interview I wrestled The Young Bucks before, but this will be my first time wrestling Kevin Steen, so I’m pretty excited”.
11). Candice you will be competing at the Beyond Wrestling Tournament for Tomorrow, have you ever competed in inter gender tournament before? What are your chances of winning and who do you look forward to facing at the tournament?
Candice LeRae: “No I never had participated in an Inter-Gender Tournament before, as stated earlier theirs definitely more of a demand now than ever before as it’s relates to Inter Gender Wrestling. As far as whom I’m looking forward to facing at the tournament. I wish I could face everybody. I love facing someone new because you’ll learn a different style and approach everytime, it makes you a better competitor overall”.
12). Candice, do you have any aspirations of competing for either the WWE or TNA?
Candice LeRae: “Probably, I don’t blame the WWE for going PG and not allowing too many Inter Gender matches, because young mothers don’t want their young boys having the perception that it’s okay to hit a young girl. Also with my style of wrestling probably won’t be accepted in the WWE”.
13). Finally Candice, whats your opinion on the Chris Hero situation being release by WWE?
Candice LeRae:” I personally feel the WWE dropped the ball, really they drop the ball with a lot of people. I know Chris Hero huge talent and great competitor. I really hope good intentions were made before the decision was made to release from his contract”. Support Joey Ryan/Candice LeRae buy their merchandise www.prowrestlingtees.com/joeyryan
Special Note: If you want to read more articles from Pro Wrestling Smark Talk please go to our blog page www.prowrestlingsmarktalk.blogspot.com. Pro Wrestling Smark Talk currently has five feature articles posted: The Santino Bros Wrestling School, Dragon Gate USA COO Sal Hamaoui, CZW Wrestling Academy (DJ Hyde/Shane Strickland), Cedric Alexander of C & C Wrestle Factory Interview and Beyond Wrestling Tournament for Tomorrow 2 Preview. Pro Wrestling Smark Talk can be reach via social media: www.facebook.com/prowrestlingsmarktalk and www.twitter.com/pwsmarktalk.
The Heel Turn Podcast on December 9th, 2013 will preview Ring of Honor’s Final Battle 2013 with one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagons Bobby Fish and C & C Wrestle Factory Cedric Alexander; also preview Combat Zone Wrestling’s Cage by Death XV with Shane Strickland. Please go to www.theheelturnpodcast.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/theheelturnpodcast, and www.twitter.com/heelturnpodcast for more information.