If you are a fan of Insane Championship Wrestling or British Wrestling in general you will no doubt be familiar with Kasey Owens. The phenomenonally talented has performed around the world and has shared the ring with some of the best in the planet.
Recently I was lucky enough to catch up with ICW’s current Women’s Champion, while she and her boyfriend, the ICW Zero G Champion BT Gunn, were in the middle of getting new tattoos and thankfully I was able to speak to Kasey while BT was getting an eye ball tattooed in his armpit (ouch!). Kasey went for something a little less extreme.
Neil Rogers – I was going to ask to start with your involvement with the ICW podcast people, how did that come about and what does that involve?
Kasey Owens – Pretty much Alan came to me initially what they are wanting is me to be their sponsored performer, representing their brand at shows and things like that and helping them with days and meet and greets.
NR – The promo reveal, on the steps, reminded me of what they are doing with football clubs now when they sign someone, they are getting more and more outrageous.
KO – Yeah, something rather than just the generic our new sponsored performer is… they wanted to do something a little more interactive.
NR – It was very cool, I enjoyed it. How long have you been doing the Harley Quinn inspired look?
KO – I have always been a huge, I’m a bit of a nerd, I have always been into Harley Quinn. Since Suicide Squad came out I thought that I might as well do what I understand so I started using that but of course with that coming out everyone started doing it. That’s why mine is more of a hybrid Joker/Harley Quinn, the whole split personality thing. Whenever Kay Lee did the promo’s on me at Shug’s she mentioned Leah, that was the thing that whenever anyone mentioned Leah that was my trigger word.
So it’s like one minute I can be calm and collected and then mention Leah and away I go which is why Joker and Harley, they are unpredictable that way. It’s the whole story behind Harley, everyone goes on that they want the whole relationship like Joker and Harley and I’m like no you don’t, she’s a lot stronger when she gets away from him and it’s kinda like my own story. I was in a pretty bad relationship in the past and the whole idea behind where I linked with Harley a lot and it wasn’t until I got away from him that I realised what I was under so it kind of helps.
NR– So does that mean that BT is more your Poison Ivy than your Joker?
KO – Pretty much yeah.
NR – I’m a little bit of a geek as well.
KO – Yeah so it’s kinda like that whole idea and he was the one who saved me. When I was with my ex I was ok to do everything for him and then never anything for me. I would have been in Japan a lot earlier than 2012 if it wasn’t for him. When me and the ex split up it was bye, fuck you and I was away.
NR – That’s great that you are doing better, it’s never great to hear bad things.
KO – That’s life though isn’t it? I couldn’t see it at the time but you move on from there.
NR – That’s great to hear, now moving onto your opponents, you are wrestling Little Miss Roxxy in September. Roxxy is from Newcastle, same place as me and we see her quite often, am I right in thinking you have worked with her before in Spain?
KO – Yeah I worked with her in Barcelona, I worked with her at MEW as well. I’m quite aware of what her abilities are and what she can get up to and how unpredictable she can be as well.
NR – What’s Roxxy like as an opponent compared to some of the other people you’ve wrestled?
KO – With her being pretty new onto the scene it’s almost a little predictable that I know what she’s going to come up with so I can be that little step ahead of her but with the little sneak attack at ICW I was like oh, you’re upping your game here. I’m looking forward to September, she has been working a lot more so she’s starting to get that wee bit more experience.
NR – You say that she’s quite new, how long have you been wrestling for? I know you were on the TNA Bootcamp and you were already fairly established then.
KO – Yeah, officially I made my debut in 2009 but I was doing a lot of backyard stuff before that. I always count 2009 onwards as my professional debut because I started training at a proper training school and things like that, so I have been around quite a while.
NR – How does someone get into backyarding? I look around and see some of the wrestlers in Britain who have done backyarding and it’s a really impressive list and I always wondered how you come about doing this.
KO – It was more the fact in Ireland there wasn’t really any training schools in the North, there were schools in the South but that was two and a half hours away from me so I couldn’t have really gone down and I wasn’t really aware of them at the time. It was a lot of my mates telling me about people starting up companies and asking if I wanted to come because I was always talking about wrestling. We went and trained on a Sunday in a leisure centre with crash mats. There was a guy that was training us who had been to Hammerlock and learned the basics but that was all he knew. We learned how to bump and that sort of thing but after that it was do what you like, there was no teaching us about psychology or anything like that, it do every move under the sun, there was no story involved.
I was about 2 years into that then my mate met Machine, who is now one half of Kings of the North, Bonesaw, he started up a training school and within three months of training with him I debuted in Londonderry. On my debut it was me and Machine against Jordan Devlin and Rachel so from then on I just went from there.
NR – I’ve spoken to Jordan Devlin, I’m a big fan of hjs. Now what was the name of that wrestling school?
KO – It was called MEGA, Modern Extreme Grappling Arts but that closed in 2012 because there weren’t enough people going. They have started a new one since then called Uprising in Belfast now which seems to be Bonesaw’s new school.
NR – That’s good, I’ve seen him a few times and he’s always impressive. It’s great that he’s getting more recognition now.
KO – Yeah he’s at least a 15 year vet, he’s been around since Hammerlock.
NR – How different was backyarding to professional wrestling, what’s it like looking back at what you were doing then to now?
KO – Looking back at it the difference is uNReal, we were wrestling in a boxing ring, we were doing stuff for the sake of doing it and at the time we thought we were so great. When I started professionally and companies like Pro Wrestling EVE gave me my debut, I was left thinking that I had no idea really what any of this was about. When I started training with Machine one of our first training sessions wasn’t even taking a bump it was etiquette, this is what you do in the locker room, you pay your dues and go to training. All that sort of etiquette thing was ingrained into me when I started and that’s so important, it’s a huge thing for me.
NR – I know quite a few people who have been training quite a long time and all of them agree with you how important etiquette is and the newer schools don’t train it as often.
KO – There was a girl at a recent training seminar we had to pull up she was the only one who didn’t introduce herself, didn’t say thank you afterwards, she just got her stuff and left. It goes a long way, if you are ring crew and you muck in, I still join in and do ring crew at the Hydro and that.
NR – Me and my wife go to shows regularly and we have seen you at MEW, we quite often go early I help with the ring and we have merchandise. Even though she’s not part of the show people introduce themselves so the etiquette thing is something that sets wrestling apart from other sports or activities.
Now, moving onto your career, how long have you been wrestling internationally and what is that like compared to the UK? I have heard that in Europe the crowds are very different, that they don’t have as much as we do here, we are spoilt.
KO – Yeah they are almost more grateful for it, they are all really excited and really up for it, you get really natural reactions to everything not like oh I’m going to clap because that was a good spot.
NR – What’s that like to Japan? I have heard Japan fans are different again aren’t they?
KO – In Japan they are even more respectful, they will sit and watch. Here often you see people in the crowds on their phones and I think hey I’m here to entertain you, if you aren’t going to sit and watch get out. In Japan they sit and watch and if they like you they will yell it just depends what sort of show it is, in New Japan they are very respectful, Stardom is the same sort of thing if you react with them how we would do anyway they get it that it’s ok to yell and react because that’s what we are looking for, what we feed off.
NR – Which sort of crowd do you prefer out of all of them?
KO – It depends really, it depends what sort of match I’m doing. With ICW I feel it’s a lot more nerve wracking because there is a lot of smarks and that sort of thing and if you fuck up they are straight on you. In Japan you know what you are doing you have had your few days to put your match together and that sort of thing, you know what you are going out there to do you just have to showcase how good you are which is why the likes of Viper, Kay Lee Ray and Toni Storm are flying the flag so well out there, they just seem to fit.
NR – I’ve seen that Viper has just won her first championship over there in Japan, it looks like she got quite emotional about it, I’ve spoken to Kim a few times, she’s one of my favourite people to talk to. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say a bad word about her at.
KO – Oh she is just the nicest person you will ever meet, she is so humble and she will help anybody, she is so so nice, we all love her.
NR – Now you have the women’s division in ICW with Kay Lee Ray and Viper and now with the additions of Martinaand Roxxy it’s getting stronger and stronger, what’s your thoughts on women’s wrestling in ICW?
KO – ICW were a bit slow on the uptake because we had Fierce Females, they disappeared for a bit but are coming back, that was a way of getting new girls into the company but for a long time there wasn’t room for new girls. Then Kim came in and me and Leah came in, it started making people realise there is a lot of women out there and just with the platform we have now and the calibre of matches that we are putting on they are realising we can go for it. Kay lee has been flying the flag for a long time, I have a lot of respect for her, always have since day one.
NR – When did you make the move from Ireland over to Scotland?
KO – It was after I came back from Japan, in February 2013. Leah had already moved over the year before and said that I had to come over, that there was so many more opportunities for us.
NR – Now, with there being so many more companies in England and Scotland that you can work for, is there ever a weekend when you are not booked?
KO – There is a few weekends that I’m not booked but I think that’s more to do with there being so many more females on the scene now that everyone is fighting again for those limited spots. On most shows there is just the one female match and that’s why me and Leah have really gone our separate ways because there just aren’t female tag teams and companies don’t want to bring both of us down because they don’t have two other girls for us. We are both off doing our own thing but we will still tag in places like Barcelona because that’s what they know us as.
NR – You wrestled the Blossom twins, when was that?
KO – That was 2011 I think, that was the first ever twins v twins match but it was the very first time Leah and I had ever tagged. I used to tag with Kazza back then.
NR – It has been more recently that Kazza has been Martina right?
KO – Yeah the last couple years, me and Kazza go way back, she used to just go by Kazza G.
NR – That was a very different look to how she is now.
NK – Yes very very different.
NR – Did you and her train together or just around at the same sort of time?
KO – Just around at the same sort of time, I was training in Belfast and she was training in Dublin. I was driving people around and it’s the number one rule even if you aren’t booked bring your gear with you, just in case so I would go down and they would ask me to jump in the ring with the girls and do some training so that helped.
NR – Forgive my naivety, is the scene in Ireland if you are working in Northern Ireland that you can cross and work in the Republic as well?
KO – Yeah yeah, it’s the same as England and Scotland. The only thing is a lot of the Irish Whip guys don’t work Dublin, they don’t cross over, I don’t know if that’s still going now but when I was in Ireland Irish Whip were very much on their own.
NR – I know you have been all around the world but where is your favourite place to work?
KO – ICW is such a great place to learn and grow, great people, no matter what someone is there to give you advice. I always go to Coach Trip or Shamer for advice.
NR – Is it now getting to the point where you have been wrestling for so long that you are the person to go to for advice?
KO – I go round everyone in the locker room vet or new starter for input, I tell new trainees to come to me for advice, I’ll give advice to anybody. If I have seen your match I’ll give you as much advice as I can, if I haven’t I’ll be completely honest and say that I didn’t but send me the footage and I’ll watch it. Nine times out of ten people do send me footage and I’ll give them every point I can think of. I see it often with trainees they are so focussed on the next spot that they forget about crowd work and it’s like the crowd are there we are there to entertain the crowd you can’t forget them.
NR – Do you think the trainees are so focussed in the ring because they are maybe anxious?
KO – Yeah that’s it, they are going over the next spot is, the next spot is and you will see the little wheels working and when they can’t remember the next spot panic sets in but that comes with time. The girl I wrestled on Sunday, Jamie Winters that was only her second ever singles match and to have that sort of match infront of an ICW crowd is a big thing. She really kept her cool and said that she thought it was because she was in there with me and I was like it doesn’t matter who you are in there with as long as you work together and you can see things to work with and if something goes wrong don’t flap about it then you’re fine.
NR – I’m struggling to believe that someone’s second ever match was at ICW.
KO – Yes and it comes down to the fact that [Mark] Dallas had seen her at a Pro Wrestling Elite show and had seen her match with Kay Lee at one of the trainee shows and went Sammii’sinjured who can we get that can step in, let’s give Jamie a wee go because she is very very good on the mic and that helped her as well as she already has her personality. I can see her being the next Carmel, sort of pipe bomb princess, she’s doing very very well, she did me proud.
NR – I’m guessing you beat her?
KO – Yeah yeah yeah, it was during my celebration Jamie left and when I was sitting on the edge celebrating Roxxy blindsided me.
NR – Evil Roxxy!
KO – Well we will see what happens in Newcastle.
NR – Having ICW on her resume so early on do you think it will help her?
KO – It will yeah, I remember the first crowd I wrestled in front of, when I did that tag match with Leah it was about 60 or 70 people in the crowd and Jamie came out to a couple of hundred people in the crowd but that helps people learn – throw them in at the deep end! To me it’s a bit of a cruel way of doing it but it proves if you just want to play wrestling or if you are in this for the long haul.
NR – Do you think it’s getting to the point where wrestling is becoming bigger that people are getting into it not realising how difficult it’s going to be?
KO – Absolutely, I’ve been to a lot of different promotions where I’ve seen it. For me a big thing on shows is no repetitions of moves, if somebody uses a move as a finisher don’t use that move and I see it a lot in little companies around the country where there are a lot of people who don’t care. When I’m putting a match together I tell people my moves and I will say please don’t use that move, that’s what I use for a finish, it’s very much well protected in ICW. We all talk, the Polo’s we know there are going to be scoop slams but they are known for a scoop so people don’t tend to use them. I don’t do a lot of things Kay Lee Ray tends to do, that sort of thing, its more established whereas these other companies people do what they want.
NR – How would it work if two people have the same move?
KO – It’s usually if you know you are in the main event then you know their moves are protected. Also you keep it in the ring now lots of people think you have to go out and brawl or do dives but my thinking is keep it in the ring, that’s my mentality.
NR – Why do you think people have that mentality where they go out there and try and do things that don’t necessarily fit, just because they can?
KO – I think that’s more the way wrestling is going now, it can be very well done if it’s the likes of Ricochet and Ospreay but when you get people doing it at half speed, no, if you can’t do it as well as they can don’t do it. I wouldn’t go out there and do a big running spot because to be honest I don’t like running.
NR – Now one of the few things I always ask when I wrap an interview, is there anyone around that you would like to wrestle or that you regret not crossing paths with to this point?
KO – I really really would have wanted to wrestle Nixon in a singles match, I got to wrestle her in a four way at Southside but I never had the opportunity to wrestle her in a singles. I put her right up there with Kay Lee Ray, I knew if I had a match with her A I would have really enjoyed it and B I would have learned so much.
NR – I hadn’t really heard of Nixon a great deal until WhatCulture and when she started wrestling for them and it was nearer to me it was match of the night pretty much every time she wrestled.
KO – Exactly and when you go back to when she first wrestled for Southside against Kay Lee when they put matches together it was stuff that made sense it wasn’t spots it was story, it was psychology and that’s what I think makes Kay Lee so good that she can work with anybody and can work any style and get a story put across. I have pretty much wrestled everyone I wanted to do but the one that got away was Nixon.
NR – There’s still time yet.
KO – Exactly.
NR – Is there anyone else except Nixon?
KO – If I was to go back in the day it would have been Lita, she was a big influence on me when she first came in with Essa Rios and hit that moonsault it was like “wow” and that was me hooked on her.
NR – Everyone says Lita but the only person who hasn’t was Nixon who wanted to wrestle Molly Holly.
KO – Yeah yeah, she always told me that as well.
NR – I liked Molly but she was no Lita.
KO – It is difficult talking about everyone in WWE, if I could wrestle an intergender match it would have been Eddie Guerrero, he was my favourite with Jeff Hardy a close second.
NR – Viper said Cesaro would be the person she would most like to wrestle.
KO – He would be fun.
NR – Is there any companies or promotions that you would like to wrestle for that you haven’t yet?
KO – I would love to work for PROGRESS, WhatCulture, Fight Club Pro and Attack and of course WWE.
NR – Still could happen, that’s why they keep looking here for talent. I think you are good enough to go over, the only think that could stop you is that Kay Lee has to go first.
KO – Of course, I couldn’t go before her, I think she should have been there years ago, there are just so many eyes on her.
NR – Now the WWE tend to have more than one woman’s match on a show they need a bigger roster. Do you think that will happen in the UK soon where there will be more than one woman’s match on?
KO – I hope so because again that’s more opportunities for everyone. I’ve just thought of someone else I would love to wrestle Asuka, I met her when I was in Japan in 2012 and she is a lovely lovely person. I was doing seconds for the girls, basically you are sitting outside the ring when a match is going on and watching the intensity that she’s got is unreal.
NR – What’s your plans over the next few months.
KO – I will be representing BWE in Barcelona, me and Leah for the tag team championships. Then I am in London against Laurel Van Ness for British Empire Wrestling so I’m looking forward to that.
NR – Is she wrestling as Laurel or as Chelsea?
KO – I don’t know I asked but they haven’t cleared that up yet, either way it will be fun.
NR – Laurel and Kasey are not too dissimilar in being crazy.
KO – Exactly so we don’t know, we will have to see what happens.
NR – Well I’ll have to check that once it goes up, I like Chelsea Green, I’ve spoken to her as well, she’s lovely. The WWE need to start up a show for the women like they did with the cruiserweights. Well thank you very much for your time Kasey.
Kasey has a new t-shirt available. If you are Interested in purchasing one contact her on Twitter at KaseyOwens5
Credit to Warrior Fight Photography for the featured photo