In a weekend of fundraising events, Julie Winters, 30, from Anchorage, made her world professional wrestling debut last Friday, in the Homer High School commons. According to the New Frontier Wrestling Alliance’s Alaska Facebook page, the wrestlers on the event card, including Winters, brought in a cumulative $900 from two shows over the weekend. At a similar event in Wasilla, the money went to Hope for Heroes and a fan in need. Homer-grown Power Plant Productions helped raise a $500 scholarship, for a vocational technologies student at HHS. For Winters though, this weekend’s successes weren’t all about winning.
“So much has happened this weekend. It was all very important to me. Maybe most importantly, I confirmed my notion that people are ready to accept a woman competing directly with men. There wasn’t an eye batted at those shows concerning me being in that ring…Even though I lost, I was proud to go out there to compete,” she said in a Sunday interview with the Homer News.
Being accepted as a woman in the professional wrestling world isn’t always the case in American professional wrestling. She said that women in mainstream and network professional wrestling are still facing challenges when it comes to being taken seriously.
“It’s a sad fact that every wrestling fan I’ve talked to feels that these matches are an appropriate time in which to go buy merchandise or take a visit to the restroom. People view it more as an intermission than a serious match…There have recently been women such as Melissa Anderson who have held several men’s titles. And more and more inter-gender matches.”
She also said that the notion that professional wrestling is a boys’ club hasn’t been a part of her experience, as a member of an independent wrestling association.
“Most of the guys have been very supportive and accepting of me. Although, all may not agree with my way of thinking, those who opposed me are no longer around,” she said.
Winters, who moonlights as a carpenter when she’s not wrestling, knows the importance of supporting students in career technologies, such as construction, welding or autoshop.
“Vocational work is very important to me. It’s what pays the bills right now. Clearly, it is something that is close to my heart. I am so happy to be contributing to that,” she said.
Her message to kids looking at a vocation or trade: “Stick with it, it’s well worth it, and it will build you a great future.”
Also aiding in the fundraising efforts on Friday and on Saturday in Homer was the NFWA Alaska Team. All of whom currently reside in Anchorage or the Mat-Su Valley.
In Homer, the other first-timer Toussaint “the Haitian Hercules” Dijon, of Edison, New Jersey, won his match against Stephen Wolfe, also of Anchorage, in what the New Frontier Wrestling Alliance called a surprise pin. Of the other wrestlers featured, Darious Douglas, of Nashville, Tenn., won against Mickey “AK Lightning” Wharton, of Wasilla. Brody Adams, of Stone Mountain, Ga., won against Marco Kaloa, of Tyonek. JT West, of Memphis, Tenn., beat Calvin James, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in his second match. West’s first match was against Winters.
In Wasilla on Saturday, The wins and losses remained the same. Except, Douglas lost to Wharton. James won against West.
The main wrestling event on both nights was Max “the Sarge” Steele against Hassan “JB” Payne. Payne lost his World Wrestling Express title.