"I defy odds, it's what I do."
That's Nicole Matthews, wrestler for Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, based out of Metro Vancouver.
She'll be in a match at the top of the card during Ballroom Brawl III on Saturday (January 17) at the Commodore Ballroom to regain the ECCW championship from Bishop in a tap-out or knock-out match.
It seems unusual to have a woman versus a man in this kind of match, even in professional wrestling, but ECCW is proving that being different works.
For example, a wrestling show at a downtown Vancouver venue best known for music isn't the first place you'd think could hold a successful wrestling show, but all three events have sold out fast, with Ballroom Brawl III selling out faster than the previous two, according to Matthews.
"A lot of the times in independent wrestling, more successful promotions are popular because they have popular wrestlers, or they are popular among their fans, but I think ECCW is really unique because our fan base is Vancouverites who just want to watch a really good show," she says.
At ECCW's previous shows at the Commodore, you'd find the same young, tattooed, beer-drinking party monsters you'd find at a D.O.A. show.
"It's like the best rock concert you could ever go to, that's the vibe for the fans," Matthews says. "Rather than 'Oh, wrestling's in town, let's go to that,' it's 'No, ECCW, I've heard that's a fun show to go to, for a pretty good price, it's a good excuse to drink a lot of beer at the Commodore, too."
Backstage, she calls the vibe "Electric, we're all really excited to be there, a lot of us have been to the Commodore a ton, it's a huge honour."
Matthews has worked her way up the roster, from women's champion, to tag-team Champion, to ECCW champion, getting louder and louder cheers from the crowd.
It's still not common to see a woman in professional wrestling command such a prominent role, but Matthews is noticing a change.
"Veda Scott is a great example, she does a lot of inter-gender wrestling," she points out. At every Ballroom show, ECCW features one wrestler from the indie circuit with a lot of buzz from fans; this time it's Scott, best known for her work in Ring of Honor on the East Coast.
When Matthews climbed the top of the mountain and won the ECCW Championship, she expected more of a backlash from fans, saying, "I thought it was going to be controversial, I thought people were going to have polarized opinions on it, but it was mostly positive."
"I think there were some wrestlers, who don't wrestle in our company, who were questioning the decision and thinking it's not the best way to go," Matthews says. "But I don't think they were right, obviously."
As far as Matthews' future, she isn't really sure which one of the many doors she has open she'll take, from studying in the recreation-management program part time at Langara College while working full-time as a supervisor for the City of Coquitlam to pursuing her pro-wrestling dream.
"I've been thinking more and more about sending my stuff in to the WWE," she admits. "It depends on a lot of factors, I think I could do it, I could do very well at it. A lot of it is just a matter of timing."
"As long as you have the talent to back it up; I think people just want to see talented wrestlers, whether you're female or male, if you can capture the crowd with a good match, it doesn't matter what your gender is."