Well it was just last week that Ireland’s own Becky Lynch made her debut for NXT. Years ago when Becky first made Ireland her stomping ground, she was the only female wrestler in the country. By the time she returned to wrestling in 2012, that was no longer the case; women’s wrestling has grown a lot in Ireland in the last five years. And this reporter has decided to introduce all of you to the various ladies that have chosen to step inside the emerald square circle. And what better way to kick off this series of articles than with a girl that calls herself ‘The First Lady of Irish Wrestling’? Meet the Jill of all trades – she’s a wrestler, karate instructor, pole dancer, stunt woman, personal trainer and dog rescuer. This is Katey Harvey.
Katey Harvey Highlight Reel
Katey Harvey (24) grew up with two younger brothers, so there was always a tomboyish edge to her – meaning wrestling was always part of the equation. As a tomboy that tended to hang more with boys in her youth, Katey found herself inspired by WWE Diva Lita and her punk rock image. “She was kind of different from everyone else – the way she dressed and the way she acted” Additionally as a watcher of WCW, she was a fan of Madusa Micelli and her hard-hitting Japanese style of wrestling. On the flip side, the girly girl in her also loved Miss Elizabeth. “I know she wasn’t a wrestler but she was so glamorous and so pretty so I really looked up to her a lot”. Katey made the leap to professional wrestling in 2011 when – as a budding film student – she and a friend from college were making a documentary about Irish wrestling. The Fight Factory Pro Wrestling training school was just a 20-minute walk from their college. Katey and her friend Paul Scarfe – who she later would manage as part of the tag team Rough Stuff – got ‘the bug’ almost immediately. When she was first starting out, Katey was no stranger to the physicality. Having done thirteen years of karate, roughing it up with people was no challenge for her. In an ironic way, she describes her karate training as making it difficult as well. “In karate we’re taught not to let the other person know what your movement is so I did have a problem with the theatrics of wrestling – making everything look big and impressive” but laughs as she says that these days she loves that part of wrestling.
Katey Harvey vs Lasso Lucy at Poetry Slam II, September 11th 2011
Katey made her debut in August 2011, after a tough two-day training camp with recent WWE signee Fergal Devitt. Her opponent was Lasso Lucy and she remembers it fondly. The crowd responded really well to the match and told the girls they were Match of the Night. “I think at the time they expected – cause we were girls – for us to have a bit of a catfight and a roll-up” so when Katey busted out a Mexican Surfboard, it prompted them to chant “best match ever!” – Katey still counts it as one of her favourite matches and the video on Youtube has over 3500 views. She laughs at the statement that her matches tend to be the most popular on the FFPW Youtube Channel.
Katey’s initial persona on the Irish scene was that of an arrogant heel. A fan of Maryse, Katey drew a lot of inspiration – including adopting the signature hair flip as part of her entrance. On creating her character, she says she tried to think about what other girls would hate. She theorised that she hated seeing vain girls that were full of themselves – so she made it part of her character. Things like carrying a can of hairspray to the ring, anxiously checking her make-up in a compact and throwing powder in her opponents’ eyes followed suit. Katey remarks that she draws inspiration from every wrestler she watches. Although playing a heel, Katey’s idolisation of Lita had her eager to use moves such as headscissors and hurricanranas – but she credits her trainers Phil Boyd and Justin Shape with helping her understand how to properly be a heel. “A heel is there to make the face look good. It’s bad if someone walks away from a match and the heel is the one they think looked deadly out there”. She also linked up with her college friend Paul Scarfe and his partner Bull Reilly to form the stable Rough Stuff. After a successful string of matches, Katey ended the year 2011 being ranked as the 21st best wrestler in Ireland – the only woman to make the list.
Katey with Rough Stuff
In the year 2012, Katey decided to try her luck outside of Ireland. Although the women’s scene in Ireland is growing, opponents are still limited. Katey started sending messages to several promotions in the UK. In July she made her debut for UK Women’s Wrestling in a victorious effort against Lisa Fury. Katey has since returned to the UK on numerous occasions and even competed in Holland – and is due to compete in France soon. Doors continued to open for her across the Irish scene too, resulting in matches for Mainstage Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Ulster, Celtic Championship Wrestling, Full Throttle Wrestling and wrestling.ie.
After nearly two years playing a heel non-stop, Katey decided to ‘see the light’ and try her hand at being a face. Drawing a little inspiration from AJ Lee, she wore her hair in pigtails, donned some pop punk-themed attire and started using Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” as entrance music. Describing herself as a face, she uses the stock phrase of “exaggerated version of yourself” – but also commenting that she got to add some flashier moves to her arsenal like crossbodies, dropkicks etc. On comparing working as a face and heel, she likes both. This reporter recalls a conversation when heel Katey was still in her ‘all of Lita’s moves’ phase and joking about her eventually turning face – and she responded “I’m never being a face”. A few months ago I reminded her of this conversation and she said “Oh I love it”. “I think everyone loves the attention of the little kids coming up to you and thinking you’re deadly so that’s really fun – but veterans tend to respect wrestlers who are able be heels more so that’s important too”. Being a face opened up some new doors for Katey in terms of opponents – she began to try her hand at intergender matches. Katey remarks that it’s a completely different ballgame; against the other women, she’s normally the larger opponent and more likely to control her matches. But against men, she’s able to be more fast-paced and bust out moves like hurricanranas and top-rope leg drops. She talks fondly about her favourite intergender matches – her first against Captain Deadbones Dawkins at an over 18’s event, against Justin Shape as part of a gauntlet match and against Sammy D at the inaugural Dublin Comic Con last year. “He’s one of the best wrestlers in Ireland and it was one of my first proper times being a face – I just loved the match and everything about it”
Katey Harvey vs Sammy D at Dublin Comic Con, August 11th 2013
Katey also drops a fun fact about none other than WWE’s Becky Lynch (or Rebecca Knox for those more familiar with her past); fourteen-year-old Katey used to attend the FFPW shows (back when it was still NWA-Ireland) and saw Becky competing at age eighteen. She describes one incident of Becky handing her a flyer for the school but being too nervous to give it a try. Although as fate would have it, Becky and Katey would meet in a wrestling ring several years later. When Becky returned to wrestling in October 2012, she and Katey teamed with B-Cool to defeat Captain Deadbones Dawkins, Danger Dawn & Lasso Lucy in a 6-person tag match. A few months after that, they were on opposing sides – Katey teaming with Sean South in a losing effort against Becky and Robbie Morrissey. Outside the ring, Katey describes Becky as “so nice” and “a hard worker” – and is ecstatic to see her in WWE.
Katey Harvey & Sean South vs Rebecca Knox & Robbie Morrissey, FFPW January 24th 2013
These days Katey is a big fan of the NXT women’s division. She appreciates it because the girls are both able to go in the ring and they’ve also worked on their characters. She compares it to a few years ago where there were good wrestlers like Alicia Fox but who didn’t have any character (until recently of course) – and the inverse where someone like Kelly Kelly had the character of “this big bubbly blonde but didn’t get to showcase herself as a wrestler”. She says she loves all the girls on NXT – naming Charlotte and Sasha Banks as her favourites. “Sasha Banks looks the business; when she walks out, you know who she is from how she looks and how she walks”. She also has a soft spot for the recently debuted Alexa Bliss – “she had me from the moment she walked out and blew that glitter everywhere”. She also describes former WWE Diva Maxine as the first woman since Lita to properly wow her both in the ring and with her character. She’s also a fan of the Bella Twins.
The First Lady of Irish Wrestling
In her short career, Katey has already accomplished several milestones – as far as the Irish women are concerned. In August 2012 she and Danger Dawn became the first women to main event an Irish show, teaming with Rough Stuff and Team MEGA respectively in a 6-person tag match. In September 2013 she also competed in the first all-women’s tag team match in Ireland – teaming with Alex Breslin to defeat Danger Dawn & Lisa B. And back in February of this year, the first ever women’s triple threat match in Ireland put Katey against Danger Dawn & Lucyfer – Katey was victorious in her home county of Wicklow. Katey looks ahead to the 19th July where Fight Factory Pro Wrestling will be putting on its biggest show yet. Katey will be facing UK veteran Pollyanna – with whom she has had two matches already, describing their 2/3 Falls match as one of her favourites. “She’s really intelligent about the wrestling business…she’s won one and I’ve won one so this is going to be the rubber match. It’s going to be huge. I want everyone to come and I’m going to love it”. The event will take place in the Liberty Hall venue in Dublin – and will feature talent such as El Ligero and former WWE signees Tron and Luther Ward. Tickets are available from https://www.ctb.ie.
Additionally you can find Katey on Facebook and Twitter.