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The Traditional Sense: An Interview with Kacee Carlisle

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Few women have compiled a list of accolades the size of Kacee Carlisle’s. As a twenty plus year veteran of the industry with twelve of those years as an active wrestler, Carlisle has seen them come and go in a landscape of rotating faces both new and old. Priding herself as a pro-wrestling traditionalist and a massive fan of the NWA’s “heyday”, it seems that fate came full circle for Carlisle in 2012 as she captured the coveted NWA World Women’s Championship. Since that victory, Carlisle has never showed signs of stopping as she has competed and won titles in many notable promotions such as Lucha Pride, World Xtreme Wrestling and VALKYRIE, all respectively.

Coming off a huge bout with former WWE Women’s champion Jazz at an Aug 12 Lucha Pride event and another successful defense of her Dynamite Women’s Championship this past weekend; Carlisle took some time to talk with me about her journey, her dream match ups and why she is deeply rooted as a pro-wrestling traditionalist. Take some time and get to know one of my favorite in ring competitors, Kacee Carlisle.

1) You started off your career managing but transitioned into being an in-ring performer? What brought about that decision and how hard was it to transition?

The decision to transition into a wrestler wasn’t a difficult one at all. That had been my plan and goal from the start. I absolutely loved working as a manager, and learned a tremendous amount during that time as a result of being ringside and having the opportunity to hear the crowd, how they were reacting to what was happening in the ring, how their reactions would change as the match progressed, etc. It really drives home how important crowd interaction is. However being an in-ring competitor was always my ultimate goal. I craved the physicality of it, the chance to be the one telling the story inside the ring. Beginning as a manager allowed me to be active in the wrestling business and be learning while I was training and preparing for that transition from manager to wrestler.

2) You are one of the few that can say you have won the coveted NWA Women’s World Championship. Can you tell us about that moment and what it means to you?

Winning the NWA Women’s World Title and having the honor to carry it is and always will be a highlight of my career, no matter what else I’ve been or will be lucky enough to accomplish. At the end of the match, I made it a point to lay there and absorb the sound of my name being announced as the new Champion. Titles are always an honor, but I grew up during the NWA’s heyday, and the history of the company means a lot to me. Seeing my name listed among the great Champions in the past is extremely humbling. “Success” means different things to different people; I found that holding the Title provided me with a sense of success. To this day I keep an eye on that Title and if I’m ever presented with the opportunity to challenge for it again, would without hesitation.

3) On your Twitter page you say “Old school and proud of it” in your bio. Can you shed some light on that statement as I assume it’s in regards to your in-ring style.

It’s 100% in regards to my in-ring style, but is applicable to my way of thinking and approach to many aspects of the wrestling business as well. I grew up watching wrestling in the 80’s, and that style of wrestling is not only what I know, but what I’m good at. It’s a certain mentality as far as my strategy going into matches and I how I operate in the ring. However, again, it also applies to other aspects of what it means to be a professional wrestler, in my opinion. Beliefs about locker room etiquette, interactions with promoters, bookers, other wrestlers and fans…It’s more difficult to adhere to a true old school mentality in today’s social media-heavy world, but I do my best to stay true to my roots as much as I can.

4) With the landscape of wrestling changing constantly, do you see any styles or characters in the business that you are not too fond of? I know some wrestling “traditionalists” have dubbed some of the current styles “flippy shit” and feel it doesn’t belong. What are your thoughts?

To me, opinions are just that, and everyone has one. There are certainly aspects of wrestling–whether it be styles of wrestling or characters–that I don’t necessarily like or am overly fond of. However professional wrestling is like anything else. There are millions of fans, therefore there are potentially millions of different opinions as far as how things “should” be. I use music as an analogy when speaking about wrestling styles. There are tons of different genres of music. One person may enjoy rock, another person country, a third person classical. That doesn’t mean any one genre is better. It’s a matter of personal preference. It’s all music, it’s all enjoyed by music fans and it’s all good in its own way. As I said in the answer to the last question, I personally prefer a more old-school style of wrestling, without all the flips, twirls, etc. It’s just not my cup of tea. But at the end of the day, there’s a place in wrestling for all styles, no matter what one person’s opinion of it may be. Hell some people still feel women shouldn’t be in the ring wrestling. You don’t see women’s wrestling coming to a halt because some hold that opinion. That’s true for different styles of wrestling, too.

5) What are some of your most memorable matches; both good and bad?

I don’t make it a point to necessarily hold onto memories of matches I believed to be bad. If I did, I’d dwell on them way too much! Also because if they were bad, the best thing to do is learn from it, take mental notes of how to do better next time, and go onto the next. As far as good matches go, it’s hard for me to narrow down one because I like many of them for different reasons. If I had to choose though, I do remember very much enjoying my match with Mistress Belmont that took place in NJ a few years ago for VALKYRIE Women’s Wrestling. We ended up having a brawl that went around the building, which was different and fun, not to mention hard-hitting and crazy at times. But fun. I also enjoyed my match with Robyn Ivory from a year or two ago, as well as my matches with Tess Valentine that have taken place at Elite Pro in WV. More recently I had a match against Delilah Blue, who is a young up-and-comer, which went well.

6) Is there anyone you want to have a dream match with?

Sadly two of my dream matches won’t happen because the ladies are no longer with us. I’d always wanted the opportunity to wrestle both Sherri Martel and Luna Vachon. I was a fan of both ladies when I was young, and after getting into the wrestling business I always hoped I’d have the chance to share the ring with them. However I’ve also always wanted the chance to work with Victoria/Tara/Lisa Marie Varon which hopefully could happen one day.

7) What are your goals for the future and where can we find you wrestling next?

My constant goals are to continue enjoying the privilege I have of living my dream for as long as I’m able to do so, and to continue to travel and chase whatever opportunities may be placed in front of me as often as I can. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the career that I have, and hope that I’m able to continue for many years to come. The only thing that will get me out of the ring will be any physical issues that may arise. Again though, I’ve been very lucky to be able to work very steadily and stay very booked up for years without having to take a long hiatus. As long as the wrestling business continues to present opportunities, I plan to be around to take them. I will be wrestling in NY, NC, SC, VA and NJ over the next few weeks; my social media sites and my website provide details for fans who may be interested in attending an event I’ll be part of.

8) What are your thoughts on the WWE/NXT women’s divisions compared to the independent circuit?

I honestly don’t really compare the two these days as much as I have at times in the past. Women’s wrestling as a whole is very strong right now, with a lot of great competitors all over the business, not just contained to either WWE/NXT or the indies.

9) Any parting words?

Thank you so much for the time! Thank you as well to the fans who have shown so much awesome support over the years. Anybody who would like to know more about me are always welcome to visit me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or visit my website at KaceeCarlisle.com. Thank you!

photo – Andre Smith

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