American female wrestlers didn’t make many waves at the Olympics last month, but every Saturday night a couple of young West Roxbury sisters – Theresa and Rachel Kerr – head up to New Hampshire to bring on the action as members of WAW – We Are Wrestling – an independent group of grapplers that’s been running matches since 1998.
The wrestling group will pay a visit to the Newton Elks Lodge (429 Centre St.) this Saturday, Sept. 8 for an evening of wrist locks, arm drags, leg drops and, in the case of Theresa Kerr (ring name Delilah), a special finishing move she calls the "Dance Dance Twirlalution."
Theresa, 22, and Rachel (ring name Trixie), 19, had both been playing "babyfaces," or good guys, until recently when Rachel, who has moved into a manager position since an errant slap to her head resulted in a punctured ear drum, became a heel, or bad guy.
The sisters, who are known to fans as the Hayden Sisters, are both college educated. Theresa has a degree in design from New England Institute of Art, and Rachel is at Bunker Hill, where she’s planning to be a theater major. They recently sat down to chat about their extracurricular activities in the ring.
Girls aren’t generally fans of pro wrestling. What got you interested?
Theresa: We saw “The Mummy Returns,” which had in it, and we thought, ‘Hey, he’s a wrestler. Let’s watch some wrestling and see what’s happening there.’ And we got hooked.
Rachel: I really got into the acting and the storylines. Boxing is a sport, but wrestling is all about entertainment. You have to be able to sell to everyone, to make people believe it’s actually happening. You have to be invested in the characters.
Where did you learn how to wrestle?
Rachel: As soon as we got into it, a friend of our dad, who has all of these pay-per-views on tape, gave us a box and we sat there and watched them all.
Theresa: WAW has tryouts every two months. They bring you up there, you train for three or four hours, then you’re on a trial period for the next two weeks. They’ll put you in the show to see how you perform under live pressure. If you fail, they’ll ask if you want to manage or do something else.
Rachel: They start you off with the basics, like how to bump (fall) correctly. That’s the most important thing; you have to learn how to fall. It’s weird to learn that when you’re falling, you don’t catch yourself. You just have to slap your arms out and make a “T,” so it spreads the impact.
Have you had any other injuries besides the ear drum?
Rachel: No, but it didn’t heal properly, so I had to have a surgery. Then I had to have a second surgery to fix it.
Theresa: My upper shoulders and part of my neck are killing me right now, but I’ve never been hurt badly.
How many wrestlers are in the company?
Rachel: There are 18 all together. It’s mostly guys, but there are two girls wrestling – Theresa and Bianca Wild. I’m a manager now, and so is Moody Starr.
So do women also wrestle men?
Theresa: Yeah. I just won a match where I was fighting Bianca and three guys. And I got the WAW Pure Wrestling Championship Belt from Derrick Conway when I hit my Dance Dance Twirlalution on him ... twice! We’ve had women win team titles before, but I’m the first woman in the history of the company to win a single championship.
What are your strongest areas?
Rachel: When I was wrestling, I did a lot of technique, and I’m very quick, so I could get away from people and slip out of things.
Theresa: I’m not much of a striker, like with my fists. But I kick very hard.
WAW is at Newton Elks Hall, 429 Centre St., Newton, on Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; kids, $7. For more info, visit www.wawwrestling.com.