Jessicka Havok has been in the pro wrestling business for over a decade. She’s wrestled throughout the independent scenes for promotions from Shimmer to Stardom to CZW and was an Impact Knockouts Champion. She’ll be on TV again soon, billed as Havok, on the new WOW Women of Wrestling series set to premiere on AXS on January 18, 2019.
With Spandex spoke to Havok about the evolution of women’s wrestling, going toe-to-toe with her heroes, her new role on WOW, and more. That conversation is below and has been edited for length and clarity.
With Spandex: So you’ve been wrestling for fifteen years.
Jessicka Havok: I have.
And the industry’s changed a lot over fifteen years.
It’s funny that you bring that up because I was actually just telling somebody just yesterday that when I got into the wrestling business fifteen years ago women’s wrestling was looked at as a joke… When I started to wrestle, I was the only girl that trained at that facility – the rest were guys, there were like 25 other people and they were all guys – and I didn’t find out until later that they were trying – like, I trained four days a week with them for a year, and they were trying to get me to quit for the first few months, and I had no idea, and I just thought “Oh, well, I get my mouth busted open once a week. This is normal; it’s wrestling.” No, it turns out they were trying to bully me out of the picture because they’re like “Women’s wrestling is stupid and it’s a joke and girls are drama,” you know, whatever.
But after they realized that I wasn’t going anywhere and the potential that I had, then they would try to break me down in other ways, saying, you know, like, “You need to change your look. You need to be blonde. You need to lose weight. You need to do this,” and a lot of it went against where I stood for myself, but I was just like “Well, if I want to do this in wrestling then I need to listen to them because obviously my trainer’s been in wrestling for such a long time and, you know, he knows what he’s talking about.”
So I struggled through the first couple years of my career trying to find who I was, and then I just eventually said “Screw it, I’m going back to my roots” and for years now I’ve been building my own brand on the independent scene. I’ve done some television stuff with other companies, but… what I’m most proud of with myself is that I stuck with women’s wrestling even when the era was so different, and I feel like I have witnessed and experienced every era of women’s wrestling since I started. So it’s kind of cool to see where women’s wrestling is now compared to where it was when I first got in.
And how did you get involved with WOW?
So I’d followed WOW for a few years and there was a few of the girls that worked here that they’ve always talked about how it was a great atmosphere, but for some reason I just couldn’t figure out who to contact. And finally one of the girls here got in David’s ear and they decided to give me a chance and now I’m back. So I think I impressed him. (Laughs)
Is the atmosphere actually really different from other places?
It absolutely is. One thing that I have noticed about female wrestlers in general – but it’s not all of them, there are always exceptions – but I notice in women’s wrestling, especially out on the independent scene, there are so many girls that are out for themself who are willing to, you know, cut another girl’s throat, stab another girl in the back. Here at WOW what I like is it doesn’t matter if you’re the best wrestler in the world, if you have an attitude here, they’re not going to put up with it. What I like about this particular company is… I have that family feel here. And it’s like everybody’s just here to uplift each other and it’s a positive atmosphere…
And I wish wrestling was more like that everywhere, but you’ve got to think, all these girls who they all think they’re competing for the same spot and each other’s going to take their spot, you know, and then they do things that would go against their morals and stuff like that. But I think what they honestly need to realize is that if you work hard and you’re dedicated, there’s room for all of us in this business.
Especially on indie shows, when it’s not Shimmer or something, there’s usually like one women’s match on the card.
Typically there are. However, with the platform that women’s wrestling has taken the past few years, there’s a ton more outlets for women’s wrestling shows, and even now on standard wrestling shows there’s two and three female matches on a show now, which is awesome to see. At the end of the day though, some girls get upset because they’re like, “Well, I don’t want to be looked at as a female wrestler. I’m a wrestler too…”
I’m so passionate about women’s wrestling and I’ve literally dedicated almost half of my life to this business and I take pride in what I do in the ring and I protect my opponents and it’s – we all have to work together, and it’s like why as a female wrestler wouldn’t you want to feel like that attraction match? There’s people that wouldn’t normally come to these shows to see some of these guys wrestle, but they see “Jessicka Havok versus this girl, they’re going to be there. I want to see that,” like, you know. So I think that girls should… take a little more pride in the fact that they are female wrestlers and… we are just as good, if not better than some of these guys, like, at the end of the day, we’re women in this industry, like, killing it, and I think they should take pride in that.
Talking to people from this show, I’ve heard there’s a pretty strong, intentional message of empowerment for women and kids especially. How has your experience been with that aspect of the show?
It’s been really refreshing because… WOW Women of Wrestling, they refer to us as superheroes, and I think that’s pretty cool because I feel like we should empower each other and we as entertainers and athletes and performers don’t realize the impact we have on that little girl out in the crowd or even a little boy. Like, with my look and my character, you don’t know how many little boys come up to me like “You’re so cool! You remind me of Batman” or this and that. I love that! It’s awesome. Like, I don’t think it goes just for girls in this instance, I think… we should really empower who we are and show that you can be diverse and be different and still, like, you know, feel important, if that makes sense.
Talking about inspiring kids, who was that person for you as a kid, or those people?
So the ultimate inspiration for me, of course there’s a small handful, but there’s a particular female wrestler that I always loved and watched and I thought “Man, I want to be like her,” and it’s funny because now I call her my wrestling mom, but she went by the name of Jazz. And she – I thought she was the biggest, the baddest, and she was so much different from all those other girls, just throwing them on their face, just showing her power, and just showing that she didn’t give a crap. Like she was here to just kill it, and I loved that about her. And then, like, I was also a huge fan of Chyna and Luna Vachon, like anyone who stood out as different. I was a huge fan of Ivory as well.
In 2005 I got to wrestle Ivory at the Keynes Civic Center and it was a really awesome, rewarding experience, and then a year later I got to wrestle Luna Vachon and it was one of the worst, but memorable and biggest learning experiences I’ve ever had in my career. It was rough, like it was crazy how polar opposite they handled things, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten my butt whooped worse than when I was in the ring with Luna. But I feel like I got through that and it was like, “You know what, if I can get through that, I can get through anything that’s thrown at me in that ring.” I’ve yet to wrestle Jazz yet, but she promised me a match, so at some point it’s going to happen, Mom.
Are you going to go after the NWA Women’s Championship?
Oh hey, I might as well. That would be an added bonus. (Laughs)
With Luna Vachon, I’ve heard she was very old school.
Very, very old school. She’s very old school and… I honestly think that day she was having a bad day, which, it all happens, but I can’t imagine taking it out on somebody who’s giving you their body in the ring, but I was able to protect myself as best I could… I had goose-egg lumps all over my head. She cut my face with nachos – she smashed nachos in my face and somehow I got cut on them. I was like “Holy crap, I need to rethink this!” But I obviously stuck with it. I’m glad I did. But yeah, she was very old school, very aggressive, and very angry, so I would never – and I never did hold it against her. It did hurt my heart because it was like, “You were one of my heroes!” But it’s okay. It happens.
Do you have a favorite match that you’ve done for WOW so far?
Well, so far I’ve done, because we just did our first set of TV tapings, and I wrestled three matches on the second day, all in one day, and I had so much fun in every one of them, but I have to say my favorite match that I’ve had here so far has been against Tessa Blanchard. The main event feel of that match, it was just so cool. And Tessa and I have a history together, and we were very, very close and she’s somebody that I highly respect in this business. I believe that Tessa Blanchard is running women’s wrestling right now. She’s everywhere. She’s the best. All she does is improve in the ring. So it was really, really cool for everything that she and I have gone through to come full circle here at WOW.
Do you have any, like, dream matches right now of women you haven’t wrestled? Besides Jazz.
Besides Jazz – she’s definitely a dream match – I mean, I don’t know. I’m a huge fan of Alexa Bliss’s work, but that girl needs to get fired in order for me to wrestle her, because I’m not going there. (Laughs) No, but like, I don’t know, there’s a few girls on the indies and stuff. It feels like it’s almost perfect that I’m here now because I would love to get in the ring with Beast.
Oh, you haven’t wrestled Beast?
I have not wrestled her yet. We’ve had a confrontation, but I think that we would tear the house down.
Yeah, for sure. That’s like maybe the closest you could get to wrestling Chyna, I think.
For sure. For sure. She would obviously be the ultimate dream, but you know, it is what it is. But definitely a pioneer in this business. For sure.
And what do you see in the future for your career?
Well, what I see now is, especially the past few years I’ve definitely hit rock bottom a couple of times and went through some hard times that had to do with wrestling specifically, and I’m looking at WOW as a new light, so I think for the future of Havok in wrestling is to be the new monster in WOW. That’s what I see for myself, and I don’t see that being too far from reality.
The only other thing that I really focus on aside from wrestling is I’m partnered with Twitch TV… When I’m not traveling, I stream video games live for my fan base throughout the whole week and I’ve been focusing on that a lot and trying to build a following there. I’ve only been streaming for a little over a year, and what I like about Twitch is that there are people who are following my channel, like half of my followers never even knew that I wrestled. So it’s nice because it’s like, you’re following me because of the content I’m putting out rather than, “Oh, you’re Jessicka Havok the wrestler.” So it’s cool because it’s like okay, I do have a personality that people like! So that’s cool… Gaming’s a huge thing, and it’s just another outlet for me to connect with an audience.
If you could wrestle any video game character, who would you wrestle?
That is a tremendous question and one that I’ve never gotten before. Some of my favorite series are like Tomb Raider and Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat and Uncharted. I feel like a Mortal Kombat character would be cool to wrestle… There are so many choices. I’d fight Albert Wesker from Resident Evil for sure. I think Mortal Kombat, I could go toe to toe with Shao Kahn. I don’t know. I might have my work cut out for me.