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My Family Banned Me From Wrestling: My Indefinite Hiatus After Wrevolution X

Editor's note: This article is a guest contribution from PWR wrestler Nicole Le Saux, better known in the ring as Nina.


Hey, it’s Nicole. Nicole Le Saux. Don’t adjust your, whatever devi—oh, are we not doing that? Okay. Never mind. Hello! I’m Nicole from The Wrestling Gods, also known as Nina from the Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR). Allow me to tell you all a story about both the best and worst day of my life happening in the same week. If you’re interested, of course.
Emotions ran unbelievably high during the weekend of Wrevolution X 2017 as I made my debut on the pre-show against Bolt. I play the mean girl on that stage but what the audience didn’t get to see was that the moment I stepped foot behind the curtain after the match, I dropped to my knees and broke down in tears, overwhelmed with joy and relief.
I don’t cry out of happiness. I honestly can’t remember the last time I ever did prior to the show. I guess it was the weight of all the accumulated stress, sacrifice, frustration, and patience that were finally lifted off my shoulders after almost three years of work. Granted, it was “only the pre-show” and I “lost,” but I was never someone who cared about any of that stuff—nobody in this industry really should—especially when all I could think of was all the fun I was having in front of these people.

*****
If you’ve heard my guesting on The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast shortly after WrestleMania 33, you’ll know that I’ve loved wrestling ever since I was a little girl. I grew up obsessed with WWE, wearing baggy wrestling shirts to school, doodling logos and writing catchphrases all over my notebooks. When I’d get home, I’d play the SmackDown! video games on the PlayStation 1 all afternoon until any WWE program was scheduled to air. When I was around eight years old, I told myself that this is what I want to be when I grow up. So when I got to the right age and discovered the opportunity, I surely didn’t hesitate.

I started out in PWR almost three years ago, before any properly-conducted Bootcamp program was ever even introduced. This was also way before their first show at Makati Cinema Square. I had just turned 18 that year, a fresh graduate from high school without a single friend in the country; these PWR guys were my first friends out here.

I was beyond ecstatic. This was it—I  was finally on the road to living my dream. I was then added to local wrestling groups on Facebook which officially made me part of the local wrestling community. I was used as a “plant” during the shows for quite a while, always sitting at the front row and even playing a small role in matches a couple of times. I loved being a part of it all somehow, and people were starting to wonder who I was. But most importantly, they were wondering when I’ll ever get to step into the ring. Just like these people, I started to wonder the same thing.

Little did I know that it was going to be a very… long… road. I’ve been in and out of PWR for various reasons: surgery for a collarbone and shoulder injury, emotional setbacks, financial issues, and a lot more. Consequently, and understandably, my chances of wrestling at a show diminished every time. And even though I kept on tripping over the obstacles set on my path, I always somehow managed to pick myself back up and keep going. But the biggest setback really was my injury. After my surgery, my whole family and some loved ones were completely against me getting back in the ring. It constantly killed my spirits, but my stubborn little self just didn’t want to let this dream go. Will I do things for them, or will I do things for myself?


I was always determined, however, no matter how jealous I was of the others who had it easier than me. They didn’t have to hide. They didn’t have to manually restrict about 100 Facebook friends just to be able to plug a PWR event. They didn’t have to come up with a different excuse to go out every week. They didn’t have to get scolded about curfews. They didn’t have to starve or walk halfway home from school just to save every peso they could to wrestle.
On the day of WrestleMania 32 (which was also my birthday), I got to witness the amazing triple threat between Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte, as well as the reveal of the new WWE Women’s Championship. Upon wiping the tears off my face after ugly crying for about 20 minutes post-match, I made a clear decision: this is what I love more than anything else in the world. And I was going to come back and train after my nine-month long absence; and nobody was going to hold me back.
After about a year of training and dealing with whatever the universe decided to shit on me with, I was starting to feel so beaten up. I am unwillingly part of a family where in order for you to want to get anywhere in your life, you have to break the rules. On top of that, my family isn’t too well-off either—I don’t have a regular allowance for school and I often had to work for any extra. So for so long, I had to sacrifice essentials like meals just so I could have enough money to train during the weekend and be able to hang out with the roster after training.

Lately, when I’d get to training, I’d usually finish my biggest tumbler of water that I bring from home within the first two hours. I wouldn’t be able to have enough to go home if I bought a bottle of water at the store, so I’d quietly ask some of the guys if I could have sips from theirs to last for the next four hours. The option to stay and eat dinner with them gradually vanished.

I was always determined, however, no matter how jealous I was of the others who had it easier than me. They didn’t have to hide. They didn’t have to manually restrict about 100 Facebook friends just to be able to plug a PWR event. They didn’t have to come up with a different excuse to go out every week. They didn’t have to get scolded about curfews. They didn’t have to starve or walk halfway home from school just to save every peso they could to wrestle. But I got used to it. I have always worked my way around things, and never really complained much to anybody because wrestling doesn’t owe me anything. I do this because wrestling gives me indescribable and irreplaceable bliss.
Somewhere along the way, I had the amazing opportunity to join The Wrestling Gods with Stan Sy, Ro Moran and Sandro Hermoso on FOX Philippines and be the show’s first female co-host. I’m the type to be up for anything as long as it’s wrestling-related. The biggest concern I had, though, was getting my first taste of exposure for being Nicole—a bubbly and sweet little wrestling fan—than for being Nina—a mean troublemaker who wouldn’t take anybody’s shit. I was afraid that contrast would make Nina much less convincing. Nevertheless, I had so much fun doing this, and it’s such a shame that we had to part ways with FOX due to circumstances beyond our control. But I knew very deep down that I was never going to be completely satisfied until I get a match on a PWR show. After all, that’s always been the priority and the goal.

The thought began to sink in that I’ve been training for a pretty long time. Gigs like The Wrestling Gods arose but I still felt nowhere near the show’s wrestling ring. I’m not the perfect wrestler, and training’s attendance was so difficult to maintain. I guess at this point, it really started to take a toll on me somehow. But I never raised my voice and made noise about my concerns; all I knew was that I just had to work even harder and stay patient because the results you get reflect the work you put in.

Shortly after our show was discontinued, I was finally granted my time in the ring. The graduation match I put on received praise, which led me to the pre-show of the country’s biggest wrestling show of the year. Good God. Finally! The joy that filled my heart was so overwhelming! This also fell around my birthday (yay), so it was truly the best gift I’ve ever received. I dragged all my friends to come watch me on what I knew would be one of the most special days of my life. This was supposed to be the beginning of a new and important chapter of my life.

The week before the big day, things were getting more and more real. My biggest concern was how to hide it from my family. Once I got out there, everything would be so public. I even considered wearing a mask but it was just something I didn’t want to do. I became too excited to care.




D-day came and I went out there, and I did what I had to do. Naturally, I had the biggest hangover of a lifetime. Post-show depression is real, you guys. I just wanted to go back out and do it all over again. People were telling me to create a Facebook page for my character already, which I so carefully restricted from my personal Facebook profile as much as possible. It got over 150 likes in 24 hours and I was starting to feel nervous. About a week passed by, and as expected, it reached my family.

I was at training when it happened. I’d been getting angry calls from my family telling me to go home. Friends were messaging me, telling me that my family had been snooping around. I knew I was going to get in a lot of trouble going home and I was just constantly wiping my tears in the tricycle, mentally preparing myself to die. I physically wasn’t going to die. But it was my spirit and my career that I knew I was saying goodbye to.
I don’t want to say too much, but my family put their hands on me. There were a lot of swear words yelled at me that I couldn’t even process what was actually said anymore. Every essential I had was taken away from me. I was being forced to drop out of school. No internet. No money. House arrest. Bye, career. Bye, life. Bye, happiness.
There are no right words to describe how depressed I’ve been feeling lately. The Nina in me wanted to fight back, throw my middle fingers up in the air, and just leave and be on my own. At that point, living on someone’s couch sounded so much better than the hell I call “home.” This isn’t home. The ring is my home. But I try to be rational about things despite all the negative emotions that are very capable of driving me out of this place. Out of this country, even.

I’ve come to accept—no, not really, I haven’t—that this is how things are going to be for me right now. So as you’ve guessed, it is with the heaviest and saddest heart that I confirm that you guys won’t see me at PWR Live: Resbak or at any PWR show, for that matter, in the near future.


You can have everything you desire in life if you work for it, even through the times you feel like a truck just crashed through all the efforts you’ve already made. But you must find the strength to stand back up, and keep chasing your dreams no matter the cost—because if it’s what you really wanted, you’d gladly pay for it all over again.
I most likely won’t have the opportunity to write a real article like this ever again, so I’m going to take advantage and try my best for you guys to hopefully pull out some sort of positive message from all this. This piece is for those who are close to giving up their dreams, for those who’ve been told you can’t make it, for those who are struggling to do something they’re passionate about because there are things holding them back.

Please, don’t give up. I’m sure as hell not giving up. There will be hardships, and it could be slow and painful, but ultimately, your life is going to go your way if you stick to what you want to happen and continue to believe. If all these people can make it, why can’t you, right? You can have everything you desire in life if you work for it, even through the times you feel like a truck just crashed through all the efforts you’ve already made—kinda like how I feel right now. But you must find the strength to stand back up, and keep chasing your dreams no matter the cost because if it’s what you really wanted, you’d gladly pay for it all over again.

Most famous people who attempt to say something inspirational will usually tell you that “the only thing holding you back is you,” and while this is somewhat very true if you take it literally, I never believed in it. A lot of people, especially at my age, really have no smarter choice than to weather the storm and patiently wait to gain control of their lives. Unfortunately, it’s just how it is. So even though I love wrestling with all my heart and soul, right now, I have to obey. I have to go through this hindrance.

I do, however, definitely consider this as another obstacle in my way that I can get through eventually, because nobody can take away my love for wrestling no matter how hard they try. I will always, always come back to it one way or another. This whole thing feels like a big collection of fuel for the wildfire I’m going to ignite the second I am able to get back. I admittedly mope sometimes, and I feel like somebody just ripped my heart off my chest and threw it far in the ocean, but I can’t do anything else now but to keep swimming to find it back. And I will get it back.




So gather every bit of strength, courage, and patience that you have in you to keep fighting fearlessly. And even if so many things are preventing you from your dreams, just keep digging and keep trying anyway. Break down those doors even if it isn’t in the pace you’re hoping for. It’s fine, it’s not a race. Strategize your plans in life and make sure you end up doing what you love.

Of course, I’d like to shout the loudest “Fuck you!” to those who meddle with other people’s happiness. Just don’t be that dick. Don’t be like my family. But I’ll just have to show them the hard way that the more they throw bullshit at me, the more I will ultimately become unstoppable.
So it’ll take a while, but I’ll be back. Badder than ever, too. I promise this isn’t the last you’ve seen of Nina. Thank you to everyone who’s had my back ever since. To the coaches, mentors, friends, fans, to Smark Henry for asking me to share my story, everyone—thank you for all your support. See ya later.

Banner photo by Kane Aoki. Photos by Zarah Hernaez-de Joya and Kate Naval

Comments

  1. You are probably more like Nina than you realize, because like her you refuse to give up. We saw your amazing debut and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed seeing you beat up that weab. I'll be waiting for the day Nina makes a comeback!

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