Credit: Bronco-busters.com/Erin Dick
R.I.P Kristen Mitchell “Miami” 1987-2023
Australian wrestling loyalists will know and love the many iterations of Miami. With over eight years of in-ring experience under her belt, she now dedicates her time to priming the next generation of Australian talent, as a trainer with the Melbourne City Wrestling Academy.
After hanging up her boots in 2014, at the brink of Australian wrestling’s Renaissance on the global stage, Miami turned her love of training into a living. She’s since stuck with MCW as a non-competitive performer and a role model for the academy’s young trainees.
Miami reflects on her in-ring career and relationship to the business.
Q: What made you decide you wanted to pursue wrestling? Do you have a specific memory?
A: I discovered pro-wrestling in my teenage years. I watched it, I enjoyed it but I never ever thought of actually doing it until I struck up a conversation with a work colleague. Turned out, he and his brother ran a training school. I went to see one of their shows, and just like that, I was hooked!
Q: What was the scene like when you started training?
Q: When did you make your debut?
A: I made my in-ring debut only a few months after I started training. I was nowhere near ready – I didn’t have wrestling gear or any kind of move set. It only happened because an interstate wrestler pulled out of the show at the last minute.
Q: How would you have described Miami to someone seeing her perform for the first time?
A: This is difficult to answer. There are many different evolutions of Miami. When I first started wrestling, I was an optimistic baby face, eager to please and make a name for myself.
I moved from Adelaide to Melbourne in 2013 and channelled my inner rock star. Then, I joined Hard Way Inc [a faction featuring Mike Burr and Jay Andrews] and found a much tougher and hard-hitting side of myself.
After I ended my in-ring career, I teamed up with “LoverBoy” Lochy Hendricks, which forced out my ultimate bad-ass persona as his bodyguard.
Q: What would you say was the highlight of your wrestling career?
A: I would say the highlight of my wrestling career was joining Hard Way Inc. I learned more in just a few months [from] working with those guys than I had learned in the years I had already been wrestling. Joining the faction opened so many doors for me; to new promotions, new opponents and new opportunities.
Q: Would you change anything about the way your wrestling career ended?
A: No, I decided to give up in-ring wrestling when I started working at a gym. I quickly figured out that I couldn’t show up to work everyday with bruises, soreness and injuries, so I decided to stop.
I felt really content with my decision. I had already wrestled all of the people I wanted to and felt there was nothing left for me to do at the time.
I don’t see my career as ending. I’m still involved in the business. Even though I’m no longer wrestling, I still work for both MCW and the MCW Academy.
Q: Is there anything at all you wish you got to do before retiring?
A: I would be lying if I said I haven’t had thoughts of coming back to the ring whilst training the amazing women coming through the MCW Academy now. However, I’m incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to wrestle some phenomenal overseas talents like Awesome Kong and Tomoka Nakagowa. [I’ve wrestled] some of the best wrestlers in the world, including Toni Storm, Shazza McKenzie, Kellyanne & Demi Bennett [WWE’s Rhea Ripley]. I had my final match against my absolute favourite opponent, KC Cassidy [WWE’s Peyton Royce], and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Q: What impact has being involved with the MCW academy had on your life today?
A: Since opening the MCW Academy in August 2018, my passion for pro wrestling has been higher than ever before! I love being there – I love seeing these kids grow week-by-week and progress to their first matches. I feel like a proud Mumma Bear.
Q: How has the academy been adjusting to social distancing measures?
A: At the MCW Academy, safety is our top value. So, as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we had to make changes, we didn’t hesitate to follow restrictions. We have always had a strong hygiene policy and clean after each session. I think this has only reinforced to our members the importance of hygiene in life and wrestling.
Although we are unable to train together physically, we are able to run our virtual classes including online stretch/strength, conditioning/cardio, promo/character and in-ring performance review classes.
Our MCW Academy community has held strong despite the challenges we all currently face, and members are continuing to learn and grow their skills.
Q: Who should we be looking out for in the academy right now?
A: We have an incredibly talented group of females coming through the academy. After seeing Solara perform at our MCW Academy Showcase, she is my pick of “One To Watch” in the near future.
My favourite thing about all of the #FierceFormidableFearless females at MCWA is the camaraderie they have. They are all so supportive of each other and have formed a truly unique bond. I honestly can’t wait to see the landscape of women’s wrestling change as these ladies step on the scene.
PWdownunder.com send our condolences to Kristen’s family and friends