Cracks in the Framework, By Kyla Knight

© CN Media, Zachary Shane, Jake Hurdle Photography.

By Kyla Knight

Cracks in the Framework

“1…2…3!” The streak lives on and Shawn Michaels’ career was over. That was the exact moment I decided I wanted to wrestle. The allure of WrestleMania, the emotion on Shawn Michaels’ face. ” I want to be there” thought 12 year old me as I watched my favourite wrestler’s final match.

Growing up I didn’t have older brothers, but I did have older cousins who introduced me to wrestling when I was young. It was this new and strange wonder that I watched religiously every Wednesday after school. I thought Lita was just a spectacular looking woman and I wanted to be like her but Shawn Michaels was my absolute idol, from the moment he returned from his back injury he had me hooked. I was very impressionable and I used to try wrestling moves on the trampoline, even jumping out of a tree onto it to try and get the frog splash just right.

In Grade 7 we were given an assignment to make a magazine of anything we wanted and, you betcha, I chose wrestling. It included quizzes, wrestling theme song lyrics and fun facts. It also includes an “exclusive interview with John Cena!” (That we had to fake as part of the assessment.) Sadly I only got a C for it. I still have that “magazine” in my closet somewhere.

That was actually around the time I decided I wanted to be a wrestler, being so invested in the Streak Vs Career match after Shawn Michaels’ loss at WrestleMania the year before and spending so many years admiring him as my favourite wrestler, I wasn’t ready for him to go. Until the end of his match with the Undertaker at WrestleMania 26, looking sad yet accomplished, that was something I wanted to feel.

So for the next few years I participated in almost every sport I could possibly do to help me better my chances (and a few just for the hell of it). I played netball, soccer, basketball, tennis, softball. I took up boxing for a month, before the gym got shut down strictly because it was next to, ran and owned by a Motorcycle Club. I took up MMA in High School, I attended an amateur wrestling seminar held by Japan’s former top 10 Olympian Nachi Masuda. I was… An overachieving underachiever, in other words I went above and beyond to be somewhere and someone only to just fall short, but that’s okay! It was all a part of learning and growing up.

Fast forward to April 2016, Gold Coast Supanova was on that weekend and I, with a few of my friends, went and enjoyed the weekend. Diamond Dallas Page happened to have a booth there and while my friends were off getting photos with Teen Wolf’s Daniel Sharman I was trying to get the confidence together to even approach DDP. When I finally did, I handed over my $50 for an autograph. I went to open my mouth to ask him a question when my brain froze. I completely forgot everything I was going to ask him.

“Oh man, I wanted to ask you a few questions but I just completely forgot.” I told him, at which, he stops signing my photo, puts the pen down and looks me up and down, sitting back in his chair he simply states. “You want to be a wrestler don’t you.” And if there was ever a record scratch freeze frame moment, that was definitely it.

Shy and awkward in that moment I nod my head yes. He invites me back when I have my questions sorted and to take as long as I need. I probably spent an hour thinking of stuff to ask him but if you were to ask me to tell you what those questions were I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

I go back, I ask my questions and he’s very patient with me. Answering every single one of my questions and offering up advice and when we were done, he looked me in the eye and said “I believe you can make it.” And that one passing sentiment has stuck with me for years because at that point Diamond Dallas Page was the first person in a really long time to tell me I could do it. I’d say he was definitely the catalyst in setting my career in motion because three months later on the 27th July, 2016 I took the first step and started training.

I had the privilege to be trained by some of Queensland’s best such as Obie Cartel, BJ Blade, Sweet Assassin and Kiwi Thriller and Skhorn. Whose advice and teachings I follow every time I step foot in the ring.

My journey has led me to attend training seminars held by some of Australia’s greats such as Robbie Eagles, Mick Moretti, Rionne Fujiwara and AJ Istria and even international stars such as Eric Young, PJ Black, Toni Storm and Juice Robinson. Even taking me internationally, in 2020 just before COVID took over the world I went to Florida and was the first Australian to train at Flatbacks training with Shawn Spears and Tyler Breeze, to being the first Indigenous Australian to go through the NJPW Fale Dojo in New Zealand to even being the first Indigenous Australian to wrestle under the NJPW banner with more international opportunities happening later on this year. I’ve had the pleasure of making many historical moments, like my singles match with Joel Bateman and DMDU where it was the first singles match to be streamed on a live PPV that included two Indigenous Australian wrestlers, to being part of Pro Wrestling League’s first women’s (and hardcore singles) match with Lucille Brawl.

But with every good there’s always a bad and unfortunately I’ve been exposed to the very toxic side of wrestling. A little trigger warning for those who’ve had experience in assault, bear with me as I’ve only confided in a small group of people about these next two experiences. 

When I was 19 years old, maybe two years into my training I made many friends, some of which were a bit too headstrong but I just ignored it, unfortunately one night that would bite me in the ass. One night I was out celebrating one of our mutual friends’ birthdays, both of whom are not in the business. The first hour out was fun! The evening was going well until I had my 4th drink of the night when things took a turn. I was maybe halfway through when I realised something was wrong. I started feeling dizzy and nauseous and my drink was surprisingly salty. I barely made it to the bathroom to throw up and that’s when I figured my drink was spiked. It’s not a fun experience and I was just dizzy on my feet so I called a friend, who was in the business at the time, to help me. I could stay at the club because I was in and out of consciousness and my friend who I was there with was busy making out with a foreigner. The so-called friend in the business picked me up and I was passing out in his passenger seat, not being able to direct him to take me home. He took me to his place which was fine, I’ve been there before to hang out. Except I was very vulnerable and incoherent that unfortunately I was taken advantage of. To this day I haven’t seen nor spoken to him and I hope I never come across him again.

However this isn’t my first experience with older men in the business not taking no for an answer. Fast forward 3 years, my nan, my absolute best friend, passes away and I’m in a very mentally vulnerable situation. I left wrestling for 6 months because I didn’t want to injure others while I was training and wrestling because I wasn’t in a good place mentally. I take up Crossfit to help vent out some emotions and apply for Flatbacks, but during that time a trainer had developed an infatuation with me that got so bad that I was on the brink of suicide. It was a scary 12 months and it only got worse as the year went on. It started out small, a message here and there, until it was constant texting and calling and if I didn’t respond within a certain amount of time he’d blow up. He threatened suicide whenever I rejected him and threatened to tell people my secrets such as my history with self harm. He’d show up at mine unannounced, felt entitled to me and my body because he helped train me and the worst thing was those I did confide in didn’t help. I was scared and alone and in a very dark place and I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I got angry enough to finally get myself out of that situation, I left and started working and training elsewhere and realised I had friends outside of that one company that were there for me and pretty much saved me. I’ll pay that forward to anyone in the business who is in a vulnerable position and needs someone to confide in and talk to – my DMs are always open.

No, I won’t name names or companies because they have gotten rid of these people and at the end of the day I’m grateful for the foot in the door they gave me and I still have a lot of love for those who wrestle and train there.

To say I’ve had a wild ride from the start would be an understatement, everything that I’ve experienced and lived through has allowed me to grow and continue to grow and I’m grateful for every person who has supported me in everything I do, from my partner to my best friends to the close friends I’ve made in this crazy business.

Here’s to this journey taking me to new heights. Here’s to what the future holds.

If you have been affected by this article or know someone that may need support please head to for online chat and video call services, call 1800 737 732 or text 0458 737 732.

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