Interview with Katey Harvey

Sitting on top of the Women’s division in Over The Top Wrestling the past 5 months Katey Harvey has reigned as Champion taking on all challengers. Since scoring a double pinfall on December 18th 2016 in Belfast Harvey has had her hands full and is been kept busy with not just her OTT title but also her Pro Wrestling Ulster Women’s title and until recently her Belgian Tag Team title too. Sitting Front Row caught up with Harvey to discuss all things wrestling related.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You are being kept quite busy at the moment being the Women’s Champion for both Over The Top Wrestling (OTT) and Pro Wrestling Ulster (PWU). How much of an honour is it to be champion of the 2 biggest Irish Promotions at the same time? It is, and especially at Christmas where I also held the Belgian Tag Titles. It’s nice to be recognised and have that sort of faith put into you.
Of course you also wrestle outside of Ireland for various promotions in Europe including Flemish Wrestle Force in Belgium, German Wrestling Federation and Pro Wrestling Showdown in The Netherlands. How much do you enjoy working abroad for these promotions? Personally it must be good to wrestle against as many different style of opponents as possible which in turn improves your own work overall? One of the best things for me in wrestling is getting to travel so much. I’m lucky that I get to go to the same promotions frequently so I’ve built up really good friendships in these places too. I’ve wrestled some of the best guys & girls in the world in these places. Also I’ve got to meet and spend time with people I’ve admired growing up, getting to ask questions and hear stories. It makes you better all around.
Are there any women who you’ve seen compete in these European promotions who you’d like to see booked by OTT and PWU? When I first started wrestling, there was a lot of bitchiness and horribleness in women’s wrestling. There wasn’t many good spots, and I will always remember how awful some people made me feel to get those spots. Now I will go out of my way to get girls booked if I can, I’m always willing to put in a good word. I wanted Pollyanna badly in OTT before she retired. I wrestled Danielle Hunter and Isla Dawn abroad last year – both are excellent wrestlers I would put forward anywhere. You get out what you put in.
One of your long time nemesis in both OTT and Pro Wrestling Ulster is Session Moth Martina. You two have had many a battle and always push each other to the limit each time you meet. You faced Martina as far back as 2012 in what was your 4th professional match at the time. Would she be one of your favourite opponents you’ve faced so far and how much do you anticipate each others moves inside the ring each time you meet? We’ve gone from ‘Party Hardy Katey Harvey’ vs ‘Kazza G’ in 2 minute matches in front of tiny crowds to wrestling each other in front of 2,200 people last month. I feel like we’ve grown up wrestling each other and bring out the best in each other. I’ve joked we’re the Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens of Irish wrestling (but with less flips)…lots of matches in the bag but lots to come I’m sure.
At OTT Scrappermania 3 you and Martina once again came head to head in front of OTT’s biggest live crowd to date at The National Stadium in Dublin in front of 2,200 fans as part of a 6 Woman Tag Team match. You teamed with Bea Priestly and Jinny Couture while Martina’s partners were Nixon Newell and Alex Windsor. On a personal level for you and Martina this must have been a special night? It was incredible. There was one point in that match after the dives where we got into the ring against each other for the first time that night, and the reaction was amazing. I could hear the crowd rise with every blow we hit and that’s the moment that will stay with me forever. We spent years being told we were a piss break match and at that moment we had 2,200 people on the edge of their seats. It makes everything worth it.
Last October at OTT WrestleCon, profile wise, you took on your biggest opponent to date in former WWE Women’s Champion Melina. You would go over in this match too and get the win. This must have been a great career moment for you and what was it like working with Melina? If you go back and watch my old matches or see pictures, you will see me doing the splits entrance. She has always been a hero of mine. Working with her was amazing – in one match I learnt so much. You hear stories, and I’ve seen it myself, of Ex-WWE guys showing up just for a payday but she was the opposite. She wanted to go out and have a really good wrestling match. We’ve met up for drinks and spoke a lot since that show, she’s so willing to give advice and listen to any questions I have.
Since starting wrestling in 2011 you have steadily built up the amount of matches a year you have wrestled culminating in a career high of 28 matches last year. This still leaves you space to secure more bookings in your calendar. Just how hard is it to get booked outside of Ireland? It’s not that easy. I’ve had really good showings when given the chance in Holland, Belgium and Germany so they will book me a few times a year each. I prefer this than working lots of promotions as it means they have faith in you and want you involved in their story lines. I’ve also been very lucky that working in a tag team with Pollyanna over the last year or so gave me exposure in the UK, leading to bookings with the likes of Progress and IPW. Again the goal is to be asked back so I’m excited to be returning to these places this year again.
With Women’s wrestling finally getting the proper recognition it deserves lately do you foresee this year being your busiest yet? Yes. Already I have so much going on throughout the year. I can’t say until they’re announced but I’m wrestling some really cool people over the next few months. And aside from my own wrestling myself and Phil Boyd (Fight Factory Head Trainer) are moving the wrestling school to Dublin and planning a run of shows for the summer. I’m looking forward to getting more hands on in training and running shows again.
You always appear to enjoy playing the heel inside the ring? How much fun is it for you and do you enjoy it better than playing a babyface? Wrestling is your own personality with the volume turned way up. Feminism is not a gimmick for me – I’ve spent so long in male dominated industries like wrestling, working in a gym etc. that I can just turn those real feelings up to obnoxious levels. Whatever way I work in the ring, whatever personality I’m using, I like to have kernel of truth in what I’m saying. It keeps it authentic and interesting. I cut a promo for OTT where I spoke about training and wrestling despite injury, and that’s true. I really have had issues with my shoulder and neck but again I just turn it up and use it for character work.
Have you any influences on your feminist icon and all around queen character you play? I am a feminist, I believe in equality, but as I said before I just turn it way up so I become the type of faux feminist that you would see in a Buzzfeed comments section who wants all men to burn. I take little bits from everywhere. Randy Orton and the Miz are two people I would try take a lot from in terms of movement, body language etc. Character wise – it’s a strange one – but Rick, the character Rik Mayall plays in the Young Ones is who I would watch for promo inspiration.
Besides wrestling professionally you also coach new trainees at Bray’s infamous Fight Factory Pro Wrestling school. This obviously keeps you busy. Have you any new names you think we should watch out for in the future, any future opponents challenging for your crowns? And how much do you enjoy training new talent? I mainly just assist Phil Boyd, the head coach. He was trained by Finn Balor and Paul Tracey and has been wrestling for like 14 years now. I love the fact he still trains every week despite being in the business so long – so many people ditch training when they start getting shows and then they stagnate. If I’m not assisting him I’m on the mats training with everyone else. As for the future,  I could list everyone’s names but the next tier about to break out onto shows are the ones to look for – Valkyrie, Debbie Kietel, LJ Cleary and the Cartel, Darren Kearney, Michael May….The OTT contenders show and the, PWU and upcoming FFPW shows are going to have the best new talent in the country.
Speaking of opponents, who would be a dream opponent for you past or present? From the past, Chyna, Beth Phoenix or Alundra Blayze. Present I think Charlotte is unbelievable. And I got to wrestle Becky Lynch once before she left, I would love one more round.
Have you a favourite match of your own so far in your career? Its a match very few people saw, but OTT Limerick last year I took on Valkyrie, one of the FFPW trainees. Everything just clicked and I’m so excited for everyone to find out how good this girl is. I also love the Scrapper mania match too, and wrestling Melina.
Do you aspire to make it to NXT one day or have you a different journey in mind? I think everyone who wrestles wants to end up there and I’m no different. What’s cool now though is WWE isn’t the only option anymore. I’d love to go to Japan and Mexico, and I’d love to keep travelling Europe.
Going forward, what is in store for you in 2017? Lots more title defences of both PWU and OTT titles, back over to the UK and lots more travelling around Europe.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and best of luck with everything in the future.
-DS
Sitting Front Row
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