Wrestling with fame

Merissa’s grap­pling suc­cess story

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Working For You - Mark Pirie

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.