“I was really sporty and very academic, I was always someone who wanted to go big with things” Aysha tells me. I suspect it’s the kind of modesty that comes naturally to many prodigies.
“I loved performing, I loved school talent shows. Wrestling was a combination of everything I loved.”
Having originally discovered local wrestling at the Supernova con before stumbling across WWE on tv, it was an unconventional introduction, but 9-year-old Aysha was hooked. “I was enamoured by it, I didn’t want to leave! The week after (Supernova) I watched Smackdown and realised this was actually a thing. Cena was my number 1 guy, Jeff Hardy was another I was obsessed with – later on he left WWE and I cried! And Triple H, he was one of my all-time favourites.”
Among women in WWE? “Melina was an absolute favourite, also Mickie James was a big one for me.”
I suspect another commonality among prodigies in any field, particularly wrestling, is an early dedication and commitment to it. “I found out about PCW being 25 minutes from my house – that’s where Buddy Murphy (/Matthews) and Tenille (Dashwood/Emma) started, so it’s a big deal. I saw on the website that you could start at 16. I remember being 14 and thinking ‘can I lie about my age or something?’”
Early thoughts of fraud notwithstanding, Aysha did wait until she was 16 and began her wrestling journey with Processional Championship Wrestling in Melbourne’s south-east. “You could start at 16, so I did! My goal was to have my first match at 16, and I did it a week before my 17th birthday.”
Some of those early PCW matches featured a woman who would go on to be a prominent wrestling name. “Wrestling (NXT Superstar) Indi (Hartwell) was cool. We came up together, we had like a gazillion matches. Seeing her on tv is like ‘wow, good on her!’ I think everyone knew she’d get to that point, she always had that drive.”
Success in her own right didn’t take long for Aysha, winning the tag titles as part of PCW’s RB4K stable, and main eventing PCW’s massive 2019 Grand Slam show in front of 2000 people.
“We main evented, but we weren’t supposed to. Literally the day before I got a call at work saying hey (one of the main eventers for the 1-on-1 TLC title match was injured), we’re moving you to the main event and it still has to be a TLC match.” And that’s the story of a 19-year old Aysha main eventing one of Melbourne independent wrestling’s biggest ever houses in one of wrestling’s riskiest matches.
“I didn’t tell my mum it was a TLC match. So when she’s watching everything come out for the main event she wasn’t very pleased. (But) to be able to main event that house was crazy.”
Soon after, Aysha embarked on her first major feud outside of PCW in a series of matches against local legend Vixsin for Battle Championship Wrestling. “Wrestling Vixsin was cool. I started watching local wrestling probably a year before I started training and one of the first shows was Vixsin vs Kellyanne in a tables match. So being able to wrestle Vixsin was great, she’s always helpful and always has our back.”
At around this time Aysha also had her first international match in the Philippines with Philippine Wrestling Revolution.
“I’m Filipino, so being able to wrestle there was a huge thing for me. I’m very proud of being Filipino, I love the culture, the food, the people, so being able to wrestle there was cool, and I was really surprised by the production. It’s a shame that it’s so far away and no one knows (about) it” Aysha recalls fondly.
“Good crew of people, good show, the fans were crazy, insane, very passionate. After my first match, it’s the first time I’ve been there, but they know me, and after the show someone asks for a photo and it ends up with a line of people who want to meet me. They were so happy for me to be there, I think I made a good impression and they were proud for an Australian to come over, but it’s also a proud thing for Filipinos to see other Filipinos do well.”
By the age of 20, Aysha was an internationally-traveled wrestler, a champion, and she was wrestling Australia’s top names. She was being broadly recognised as an Australian wrestling prodigy. Then wrestling closed down during the COVID break.
“A lot of training transferred to zoom, and I actually liked learning that way. I like listening about match structure, psychology, promos. We had guest speakers brought in, people you couldn’t get physically at school. There were wrestlers having zoom seminars, so even though I couldn’t get in the ring I was still studying and thinking and still learning about wrestling” Aysha says.
“The promo classes were a much better environment for me. Before then I didn’t feel like I had much of a character. I was like ‘I can’t wrestle right now, so I need to get better at this thing I’ve always struggled with.’ I started developing a character. Back then it was a little different, but (it was) the same First Class character I have now. I look back at it as a good time to really develop myself.”
When wrestling returned to Melbourne, Aysha and her boyfriend Murdoch were front and centre for the start-up Deathmatch Downunder promotion. They were the inaugural DMDU champions – the first belts created by DMDU – and they held them for over a year.
“We initially didn’t come up with the idea of tagging together. They were asking who I wanted to tag with and they suggested Murdoch. He was only working in PCW, and I thought it was a good opportunity for him, and for me as well. So we went with it. They gave us the name Misspent Youth, and I think what made us successful was bringing our actual personalities and relationship dynamic to DMDU. It was more realistic than ‘we’re the wrestling couple that’s all PDAs’ – he’s the goofy one one and I’m the serious one. I really like looking back on those matches, you can see the chemistry. I would hope we had chemistry!”
The DMDU tag title run gave Aysha some incredible opportunities to build upon an already-amazing resume of opponents. At DMDU’s biggest show to that point, Misspent Youth faced Aussie Open.
“Insane! Even now I can’t believe it!” The match was uniquely meaningful to the Misspent Youth pair. “One of the first times me & Murdoch hung out was an MCW show and one of the people on the show was Mark Davis.”
“It’s just insane that we saw him on the first show that we went to together, and we then wrestled him years later. He’s grown so much. And wrestling them was a whole different ballgame. It was a completely different level to all the other matches we’ve had, we took so much from it.”
In predictable news, Dunkzilla Davis is a great guy – “Even after (the match) Mark Davis took the time to DM us feedback, he didn’t have to do that. That was a turning point for us – we were still new, and we were like ‘this is what we need to do from here.’ It was a big opportunity to learn.”
Opportunity continued to knock for Aysha after the incredible breakout match with Aussie Open.
“The night we wrestled The VeloCities was a crazy night cos I did double duty. I did the Velocities match, then I went to MCW to work with Jessica Troy. All are people who I see as the very top of best Australian wrestlers” Aysha says. “I was very focussed that night. Jess really took care of me – so did the VeloCities – knowing I was doing double duty.”
On the match with Troy, one of Aysha’s personal dream matches – “We meshed our characters really well – I did her hair thing and got hold of her arm. She was super easy to work with. As good as she is, I can’t believe how easy it was. I would love to work her again, she was great.”
By the age of 22, Aysha had already achieved a resume of opponents equal to almost anyone in Australian wrestling, and Aysha’s opportunities continued with the advent of Renegades of Wrestling and its commitment to a strong women’s division. ROW Uprising saw an underrated banger against Kingsley – “it wasn’t even a very long match, but everything felt really good together, and the feedback from peers was great, which means a lot.”
Fast forward to 2023 the already prodigious talent was searching for further opportunities to continue improving.
“Flatbacks is run by Tyler Breeze and Shawn Spears. It’s 8 weeks, by week 5 we were doing matches and getting very detailed feedback, stuff I wouldn’t have thought about, character based stuff, selling, making noise, making yourself larger than life.”
Aysha becomes increasingly excitable talking about her experience with Flatbacks. “Wrestling is almost the least important thing about wrestling, it’s all the other stuff that makes it bigger and grander. That’s something that I needed, it was the perfect place for me to go.”
She continues to reminisce – “the resources were incredible. Day 1 Xavier Woods came down. The Gunns won the AEW tag championships (and) they were training with us the day after. Kiana James from NXT, she trained at Flatbacks and then got signed, so seeing an example of someone who trained at Flatbacks and is now at NXT was great. We got to ask her questions.”
“We had the head writer from NXT come down, we could ask him anything, he wrote Raws and Smackdowns in the past, all these resources were incredible. I met some guys who trained with Flatbacks previously, they’re really good guys, one does extras work for WWE. The connections made it so worth it, worth the trip, every dollar I spent was so worth it. I have all these connections and all this knowledge now, it was a life-changing experience.”
Aysha’s excitement in talking about her Flatbacks experience is infectious, and it’s cool hearing her talk about something that has changed her life.
At this stage I think Aysha is giving me a great article about the feats and continued development of a wrestling prodigy, and the incredible resume she has already built. But then I ask Aysha about the “First Class” character she’s been playing. Her eyes light up and her exclamation tells me she’s excited to talk about it.
“Classes during COVID is when I was developing First Class – the attitude, the way I carried myself. Who really helped me was (Renegades & Wrestlerock Promoter) Mikey Jay, I started getting on WrestleRock shows and he pitched me First Class Bitch, he gave me the song, then he gave me the champagne bottle and said I should start hitting people with them.”
Aysha continues: “It snowballed from there, I really liked it. It was exactly what I was trying to develop over COVID. Now I have more of a label. It’s helped me so much, because I used to dread promos back in the day cos I didn’t know who my character was, but now I know ‘this is what the First Class character would say.’”
“Before I went to America was version 1 of First Class Aysha, but now I’ve been to Flatbacks I started to develop her further, I have a better idea of who she should be. So the shows from now on you’ll start to see version 2 of who the the first class character will be.”
Aysha described her what, when and why in a couple of sentences. She delivered the promo of her life to an audience of one. She did something, without preparation, that plenty of wrestlers will never be able to do.
I’m gobsmacked. She somehow made me even more excited for her upcoming Renegades of Wrestling Women’s Title match, where Aysha will challenge inaugural champion Shazza McKenzie. “Version 2” of First Class is about to rule.
Aysha is excited by the prospect of being a ROW Champion. “Winning the title would mean everything! I’ve never won a singles title, it’s a big deal for me if it could be in Renegades. I want to work in a women’s division that has depth, a title win means so much more than if I was the only woman there.”
And it’s not just any opponent. In Shazza McKenzie, Aysha adds yet another incredible name to her wrestling resume, aged just 23. “Shaz wrestled at a time when women’s wrestling didn’t get the respect that it gets today. She’s gone through everything, (and) she still supports the women and looks after us. She’s someone us women in Australia look up to. Even with my recent US trip I went to her for advice.”
But Aysha retains one eye looking forward. “To wrestle her at Renegades for the Women’s Title is a big test of what I’ve learned and gained in America and over my years wrestling.”
Shazza McKenzie, one of the all-time legends of Australian wrestling, about to move to the US to give full-time wrestling one last go.
Aysha, a prodigious talent who has already fought everyone, who has already won titles – all before really understanding who she was, and all by the age of 23 – who is now fresh off the back of an overseas tour where she’s taken more steps to putting all that incredible talent together.
This could be a generational battle for the ages, and it’s one you should go out of your way to see.
“Getting in the ring with Shazza for a big match, for a company I really enjoy being a part of, a company I believe in – it’s going to be insane!”
She says it with such confidence and assurance it’s impossible to disagree with anything that version 2 of “First Class” Aysha says.
Tickets to Renegades of Wrestling – The Return of The Renegades are available at bit.ly/3JUoLv5
Renegades of Wrestling shows have previously become available on Fite+ 3-4 weeks following the event.
Height: 5ft, 2inches / 158cms
Companies: Renegades of Wrestling, Deathmatch Downunder, Professional Championship Wrestling
Titles: Former DMDU Tag Team Champion (inaugural champs), former PCW Tag Team Champion
5 matches to watch:
Jessica Troy vs Aysha – MCW Right of Passage 2022
MCW shows are available on Fite. This match is available for free below.
Misspent Youth vs Aussie Open – DMDU The Juice is Worth the Squeeze (Night 2)
DMDU shows are available on IWTV. This match is available for free below. Seriously, watch this match now!
Aysha vs Kingsley – Renegades of Wrestling Uprising
Renegades of Wrestling shows are available on Fite. This match is available for free below
Martivo vs Aysha – Philippine Wrestling Revolution Vendetta
This match is available for free below.
Misspent Youth vs VeloCities – DMDU How I Spent My Summer Vacation
DMDU shows are available on IWTV.
Thanks to Aysha for being so generous with her time. You can follow Aysha on twitter @AyshaFCB and on Instagram @Aysha.FCB
Thanks to Rhi and Renegades of Wrestling for helping out. You can follow ROW on twitter @ROWrestlingAU and visit their website at https://renegadesofwrestling.com/
You can by tickets to Renegades of Wrestling – The Return of the Renegades at bit.ly/3JUoLv5