It’ll be all about Tenille Dashwood at Wollongong’s Snakepit on Saturday night.
Pro-wrestler Dashwood, who performed in World Wrestling Entertainment as ‘Emma’, will headline the ‘It’s All About Me’ tour.
The Australian-born performer will wrestle under her real name for Illawarra-based promotion Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling this weekend.
She said it had been at least seven years since she wrestled independently in Australia, with the Wollongong show marking her return to the local circuit.
“It’s my first time wrestling in Wollongong, so I’m excited about that,” the 29-year-old said.
“I haven’t wrestled in front of the Australian fans independently in such a long time, and for the past six or so months just been flat-out travelling the world.”
Dashwood grew up watching pro-wrestling with her brother, and became a fan of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Trish Stratus.
She began training in Melbourne at age 13.
Dashwood later trained with renowned wrestler Lance Storm in Canada, and was signed by WWE in 2011.
Since leaving WWE in late 2017, she has been wrestling on the independent circuit, and signed with American promotion Ring of Honor.
Dashwood said life post-WWE had been “awesome… I’ve probably been busier than I was before”.
However, a key difference is she’s now able to make her own schedule.
“It’s been a really fun journey so far, and I feel energized and alive again for my career with wrestling,” she said.
In recent times, women’s wrestling has undergone a shift, with greater emphasis on the performers’ in-ring ability and athleticism.
“It’s taken a long time to get there, but women’s wrestling is really having a boom right now,” Dashwood said.
“It’s everything – it’s the production of the shows, it’s having opportunities for the women, and the women delivering on those opportunities.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to main event a number of the shows that I’ve been on since I started the independents at the beginning of this year.
“That’s a huge opportunity for me, and somewhere I can showcase just how much I love wrestling, and how fortunate I am to be in this position.”
Whereas previously it was difficult for many pro-wrestlers to make a healthy living outside of the WWE machine, the rapid growth of the independent scene internationally has enabled performers such as The Young Bucks to do just that.
“Wrestling for WWE has definitely helped me a lot to get me to this platform where I’m able to do that, to be as busy as I am and travel the world,” Dashwood said.
“I’m very lucky to have that, and lucky to have the fan-base I have.
“But wrestling is very popular again right now. The talent that’s out there, and the production that the independent companies are putting into their shows is just bringing more and more fans in worldwide.
“So I think as a whole we’re all putting in that effort, and bringing a better product for the fans worldwide.”
Tickets for the Wollongong show are available here.