Journalist Elena Pogosya, 23 from New York, decided to put her body to the test by entering her first wrestling match, just months after she’d started training. Here she describes how it felt…
‘After four months of training as a wrestler, I decided to take the next step and get into the ring.
Wrestling has always been an interest of mine and when I moved from Las Vegas to New York to develop my career in journalism, I thought it was time to turn my interest into a reality.
I began my journey as a wrestler by joining the renowned Gleeson’s Gym, in Brooklyn. There, I met my coach Michael John Frisone. He took one look at me and tried to convince me it was a bad idea, telling me that despite what people think, wrestling is a dangerous sport and I was putting my body on the line.
Unfortunately for him, his stories of people getting paralysed in the ring didn’t put me off and I embarked on a strict training regime of four to five hours a day.
In time, I learned how to roll and bump, but it came at a cost. Michael wasn’t wrong, I was putting my body through a lot.
Wrestling isn’t just about learning the moves to take your opponent down, there’s a lot more to it than that. I submerged myself in the scene, learning how to riff – basically improvising moves on the spot – and dabbled in announcing too.
I did everything I possibly could to prepare myself for my first match.
When the day came, my stomach twisted with nerves. My coach had told me that there was probably going to be 500 people in the audience – eyes were all going to be on me.
To make matters more nerve-wracking, I found out on the way to the stadium that I was going to be wrestling against two opponents, instead of three. Something which I had never practiced before.
Dressed in loose, black pants and a black cropped top, I stood in the dressing room listening to the buzzing of the crowd.
Last-minute thoughts flashed through my mind: Why was I doing this?’ ‘Am I going to look like a fool?’ And more importantly: ‘What if I do the wrong move and seriously hurt myself or my opponent?’
I adopted a confident strut and walked into the ring. As the crowd roared, adrenaline pumped through me.
The match was a blur. Everything happened so quickly. In the first half I took some serious hits and actually blacked out, but the second round was mine.
Three rounds and five minutes later, I had won my first wrestling match!’