Wrestling with fame
Merissa’s grappling success story
An Airdrie wrestler has proven to be a powerhouse performer by getting to grips with her job as a carer and grappling with oppenents in the ring.
Merissa Fraser, 23, became engrossed in the sport when she was just five years old.
However, not content with cheering beat downs from the stands she decided to administer her own, and stepped into the ring in 2012 after a college friend told her about Airdrie’s Premier British Wrestling Academy.
Now, Merissa works as a support assistant by day, but by night she is a larger-than-life ring star.
Competing under the name Emily Hayden she has performed across the UK for a host of top promotions – including a recent outing at Airdrie Town Hall.
Merissa told the Advertiser: “I first discovered wrestling at a very young age because of my dad and brother.
“That was when I became a fan and would watch it as often as I could.
“It was when I first saw Lita in action that my dream of actually being a wrestler began.
“I remember seeing her do a moonsault from the top rope and thinking, ‘wow, girls can do this too’, and became hooked.
“I loved everything about wrestling, the story lines and the characters. To me, wrestlers were like real-life superheroes and villains, and the coolest thing I’d ever seen!”
Merissa was bullied at school and says getting into wrestling allowed her to become more confident.
She explained:“It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
“I used to be pretty shy which resulted in me being the victim of bullies.
“Wrestling helped build up my confidence and through it I’ve made a lot of friends and met a lot of great people.
“Back then I had no idea there was a wrestling school so close to me and when I discovered it was there I knew I had to give it a go.
“After my first day learning the basics from my coach, TJ Rage, I was hooked and I’ve never looked back since.”
Merissa now balances her spectacular spots between the ropes with a busy worklife, where she shelves her competative and combative alter ego to help care for the elderly, a role she was inspired to follow by her big brother.
She said: “I’m a support assistant for Cornerstone and work within a private home, caring for two elderly ladies.
“I started my job over a year ago and decided to pursue a career in this profession because of my older brother, who has Aspergers syndrome and dyspraxia.
“I became aware growing up of his needs, little things like the labels having to be cut off his shirts or his need of an established routine.
“Because of this, I became inspired to want to help others.”
● To find out more about Merissa visit the Emily Hayden Facebook page and follow her on Twitter at @ EmilyHayden_PBW. For more from the PBW Academy like them on Facebook.
Ring star Merissa gets to grips with an opponent
Alter ego Emily Hayden
Wrestlemania Merissa has been a fan since the age of five