Power and Respect: One indie wrestler’s journey from Canada to Japan
Cat Power has been competing on the independent circuits in Canada and the US for over a decade. She has held the Pro Wrestling Xtreme Woman’s Championship, the Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling Woman’s Championship, and in 2010 was ranked #42 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 50 Female Wrestlers list.
Currently, she finds herself on a career threshold, having recently signed a one-year contract with Japanese promotion REINA. The Daily Jobber sat down with Power to learn more about what led to this huge step in her life as a sports entertainer.
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Knocking back coffee outside Starbucks as a sky-train screeches to a stop nearby, Catherine Ann Power seems at first glance like your average eccentric Vancouverite in her denims and punk tee-shirt.
When asked to describe herself, Power mentions her obsessive caffeine habit, her natural introversion, and her tendency toward being a complete geek. As if to illustrate her point, she laughs a bit at her own expense, during which a snort escapes her nose.
“Because I’ve broken it three times,” she quips.
It’s not the first time during our talk that Power casually mentions injury. Multiple concussions, broken noses, and a persisting knee issue are dropped with nonchalance, as though they are nothing more than a normal part of the job. Which, for a professional wrestler, they are.
I feel fortunate to snag some face-time with the former Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW) Woman’s Champion, as her days in Vancouver swiftly draw to a close. She is eagerly waiting for red-tape to clear and her new career wrestling for REINA Joshi Puroresu (a Japanese promotion, founded in 2011) to begin. It is a move which she considers a great personal honour.
The long road that brought a seventeen year-old girl from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to the Land of the Rising Sun began March 17th, 2002. The Skydome in Toronto played host to WrestleMania X8, and a starry-eyed Cat Power looked on from the nose-bleed section as icons such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Ric Flair, The Rock – not to mention home-grown Canadian superstars Lance Storm, Test, Christian, Chris Jericho and Edge – plied their craft.
That night, Power knew what she wanted to do with her life.
Leaving college to attend Can-Am Wrestling School in Ontario, Power met the men who would have a massive influence on her career: Scott D’Amore, Tyson Dux and Johnny Devine.
D’Amore boasts a long career in the wrestling business, with experience working for virtually every major promotion worth mentioning. He currently works as Vice President of International Relations for Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, in addition to owning and operating his own Canadian promotion, Border City Wrestling, which in 2010 merged with fellow Ontario-based promotion Blood, Sweat & Ears to form Maximum Pro Wrestling.
Can-Am Wrestling School, located in Windsor, Ontario, is one of sports entertainment’s most recognized institutions, and D’Amore one of its most recognized talent developers. His head trainer is Johnny Devine, who himself is a former student of the world-renowned Hart family “dungeon” in Calgary.
It was Devine who, on Power’s first day of training, taught the ambitious nineteen year-old her most important lesson: respect.
“When you’re just starting out,” Power recalls Devine telling her all those years ago, “introduce yourself to everyone and shake their hand.”
That simple but effective lesson of respect for her profession, her peers, and those who came before her has permeated not only Power’s career in pro wrestling but her life as well.
After honing her skills in the ring at Can-Am, Power wrestled for various independent promotions in Ontario under the name Haley Rogers. In 2008, her career got a boost when she joined Shimmer Women Athletes, a promotion based in Chicago.
It was there that Cat Power further developed her skills as an in-ring performer, in part because of her experiences with great opponents like Rachel Summerlyn, Allison Danger, Veronika Vice, Jessie McKay, LuFisto and Nicole Matthews.
Power attributes her recent run of success to her choice to re-locate to the west coast and her working relationship with Matthews, ECCW’s most dominant Woman’s Champion.
“I was out,” Power recalls. “I had lost my spark. I was twenty-seven, and was feeling like that was it for me.”
Moving to Vancouver with a new goal to pursue a career in acting, Power continued to attend ECCW shows at the Russian Community Centre and the Commodore Ballroom. Much like what occurred over a decade earlier, a starry-eyed Power sat in the audience and desired to be nowhere else but standing in the squared circle.
“It wasn’t the very next day,” she laughs, “but it was shortly after that I called them up.”
Since returning to action and joining the ranks of ECCW, Power has been on a tear. Defeating first Skarlet and then Kate Carney in a single elimination tournament, she nabbed the vacant Woman’s Championship. Through the spring, she worked a program with Jaida (aka Chelsea Green, recently of WWE Tough Enough – Season 6 fame) before continuing her feud with Matthews.
Back in late February of this year, Power received a message from her old trainer and good friend Johnny Devine, informing her that Reina was interested in her. After submitting some tapes of her matches, the organization asked if Power would like to work in Japan.
She agreed to go across the Pacific for a two-week run of shows. During that brief time, the people of the East went wild for the five-foot ten, hundred and fifty-pound, blonde bruiser with the boxing gear and cocky strut. Power likewise fell in love with the people of Japan and the opportunity to compete in a land of legends.
In the wrestling industry, to work in Japan is held in high regard. The Japanese wrestlers are renowned for their talent and professionalism, and the Japanese fans are among the most respectful in the world. Power is both excited and intimidated by the prospect of working in the land of her heroes, Shinsuke Nakamura and Mayor Fuji – both of whom she openly admits to “completely geeking out” over.
Power dropped the ECCW Woman’s Championship to Syuri on June 12th, 2015. After a loss to Nicole Matthews in a “Loser Leaves Town Match” on September 19th, the former champ is left with nothing but air and opportunity between her and the Land of the Rising Sun.
It appears great things lay on the horizon for the ambitious indie star, but she remains humble when it comes to all her success.
“People ask how things are going. I tell them: I don’t know whose life I stole, but… don’t tell them, ’cause I’m not giving it back.”
Photos copyright SHIMMER, ECCW, REINA