Randi West Interview (January 2016)

Twitter: @RanWestWrestlin
Facebook: Randi West
Gear by Randi West: Facebook Page

Particle Don: In IWA Mid-South this Friday, you're doing a No Rope Barbed Wire match against Kathy "the Butcher" Owens. This is the first time that a No Rope Barbed Wire match has been done with females in almost 10 years. What are your thoughts on this upcoming encounter?

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Randi West: I'm looking forward to it because it hasn't been done in so long. I'm always one to step outside of the box when it comes to these types of matches. Kathy has challenged me in all the different stipulation matches that Ian Rotten has thrown at us. I honestly think it's gonna be a really good fight. I don't think there is going to be much actual wrestling.

Kathy "The Butcher" Owens vs. Randi West in IWA Mid-South

Particle Don: You're going to be appearing with Kongo Kong on Friday, January 8th at the Colgate Gym as well, is that correct?

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Randi West: Yeah, I've been Kong's handler in IWA for a few years. To be able to walk out with him as a champion again, it blows my mind sometimes that I have such cool associates.

Particle Don: I see Kongo Kong everywhere. I was at a JCW show in Cleveland not too long ago, and he was there.

Randi West: He's the Juggalo champion!

Particle Don: Oh yeah, you're right!

Randi West: Kongo travels everywhere. He gets around.

Particle Don: Isn't Billy Gunn doing some sort of training seminar at the upcoming IWA show?

Randi West: He's doing one on Friday and another one on Saturday. Friday is from 5 to 6 and Saturday is from 4 to 5, I believe. I plan on participating in the seminars, so I'm really stoked. You never stop learning. When you do stop learning, that's when you have to question your love and dedication to something.

Particle Don: You defeated Ludark Shaitan in the finals of Queen of the Deathmatches 2014. What made you decide to dedicate your performance to Drake Younger in the 2015 tournament?

Randi West: Drake Younger has affected a lot of people in wrestling. Since he is such a humble, amazing guy, I don't think he realizes how much he's truly done for people. I just wanted to kind of step out of the box and do something for him. Even though he wouldn't be there, I knew he'd still see it. He's always got a smile on his face, so I can't say I wanted to put a smile on his face, but I wanted to recognize him. Even though I wasn't his student, he has still affected me tremendously. Drake, this is how I thank you for it!

Drake is now a referee for the WWE! The law of attraction is real.

Particle Don: Thanks for including me in the tribute, too! I truly appreciate it, because Drake is such a huge inspiration for myself as well. Also, I have to thank Eric Montgomery, the IWA sound guy, because my participation was really his idea.

Randi West: That made it so much better that you were there to perform the entrance! It was amazing. I had goosebumps walking to the ring the whole time, ya know?

Particle Don: Yeah, it was incredible! Moments like that are what both wrestling and music are about - having fun. This is why they gel together in such a formidable fashion.

You started training in 2002. Have you always done hardcore wrestling, or is it something you've gravitated towards as your career has progressed?

Randi West: At first, I wanted to wrestle. I wanted to be the go-getter; the flippity-doo-da chick. I wanted to do everything and go everywhere. As I started to wrestle and things hurt, I would think: "Do I really need to do that flippity-doo? It's gonna hurt tomorrow."

I'm more of a brawler. I've always fought my entire life. I boxed for four years. I had two older brothers who used to kick the shit out of me. In high school, I played volleyball, basketball and softball. I was always a tomboy. In wrestling, I just kind of went with who I was, rather than trying to perform all these flips that I didn't even like doing.

It ended up going from this big dream of doing flippity-doo-das, yaaay! Like lucha. To being a sort of Memphis-style brawler, to the hardcore, and mixing the hardcore with the brawling style. It kind of defines who I am. I'm just a fighter. I'll do anything to prove that I'm the better fighter or the better wrestler.

Particle Don: How did you meet Ian Rotten?

Randi West: In 2006 he called me up and asked me to do Queen of the Deathmatches. I told him no. I was only three years in, and I hadn't decided what I wanted to do yet. At the time, I didn't want to do the deathmatch stuff. We didn't talk for a couple of years. He hit me up again around 2011 and said he wanted to book me on a show in Bellevue. I wrestled Thunderkitty for the first time ever thanks to him.

I've never had somebody have so much faith in me that had only seen me work a couple of times. No matter what, I'm always there for him. He's my brother. I know a lot of people throw that word around, but Ian is truly family to me.

Particle Don: That's definitely the type of vibe I get when I make it out to a Mid-South show. It's a family atmosphere.

Do you have a favorite deathmatch weapon?

Randi West: There's been a lot of crazy ones made for matches that I've been in. Mark Harvey made me a pair of thumbtack gloves. They have RW spelled out in thumbtacks on each palm, but it's backwards. That way, the scar that's left behind spells my initials.

Thumbtacks are a good one, because they hurt going in and also again when they come out. Toothpicks get stuck in you, it's a mess. With thumbtacks, you can find them and pull them out. Toothpicks, though? Good luck.

Particle Don: Would you say toothpicks are your least favorite gimmick?

Randi West: Oh, toothpicks are terrible. Who would ever do that? Who ever came up with that is just silly.

Particle Don: After seeing first hand how deeply the toothpicks were embedded into Matt Tremont's skull during the King of the Deathmatches 2011 aftermath, I agree that toothpicks are a nasty gimmick.

Tremont's skull the night of King of the Deathmatches 2011. Click for hi-rez. Photo by Particle Don.

Where is a good place for fans to buy your merch online?

Randi West: Hit me up through Facebook! I never know what exactly I'll have on hand because I make all of my own T-shirts and 8x10's. A lot of it is made to order, so if you want a certain picture, hit me up online. I use PayPal. If you want a certain T-shirt, it takes a couple of weeks, but I can do that also.

If you're a wrestler and need some in-ring gear, hit me up with an idea and I'll get you a quote and bring it to life. I've been doing gear for a couple of years now. I order the material individually for each project. It takes between three to four weeks to finish an order.

Gear by Randi West on Facebook

Particle Don: Did you make the Drake shorts you wore at Queen of the Deathmatches 2015?

Randi West: I did! I performed a few internet searches and found some pictures of his shorts a couple of weeks before Queen of the Deathmatches.

Photo by Ichiban Drunk

Particle Don: What else are you up to these days?

Randi West: I will soon be entering a seven week training course with Truth Martini. Like I said before, you never stop learning. You can always learn something. The business is always evolving. Everything is changing all of the time, so you have to stay on your toes. You have to keep going back and learning whatever you can, and that's what I'm trying to do.

Particle Don: What is your finishing move, and why did you choose it?

Randi West: I call it the Trapper Keeper. It's a Bear Trap Driver. I chose it because you can catch it from anywhere and hit it quickly. I was watching Sami Callihan one day, I can't lie. I thought the move was really cool. It was easy to get into, easy to execute, and it was effective. I love when I hit it and hear Nick Maniwa yell at the commentary booth, "Trapper Keeper!" He screams above everybody that's cheering, it's awesome.

Particle Don: Was wrestling something you watched growing up, or did you become interested later on in life?

Randi West: I used to watch it with my Grandma when I was five years old. She was a big fan of Lex Luger. We'd sit there and watch wrestling together, and it just stuck with me. I really wanted to do it. Like I said, I was always a tomboy. People would open their mouth and I'd punch them for it. I was a punch first, ask questions later type of chick, so it just kind of seemed natural for me to start wrestling.

Randi and her Grandma were big Lex Luger fans!

I did amateur boxing for about four years. I stopped because I didn't really like my face being swollen and bruised and hurt like that. I figured that in wrestling they were going to hit more in the body. I've had pretty good luck with not having too many blows to the face. I've broke my nose a few times and have had a few black eyes. I lost a part of my tooth, but overall it has been way less than if I was in boxing or MMA. Wrestling was like a safe bet to not get too hurt, but to still be able to participate in a contact sport and be athletic. It was also something I could to to represent my grandmother and the times we shared watching wrestling on TV.

Particle Don: Did she ever get to see you wrestle?

Randi West: She got to see me wrestle one time before she passed. It was in 2003 against Alex Shelly, and I was under a mask. He wrestled as "Super Meatsy" that night. I had been training with him for about a year and a half at that point. He came out to the ring and dropped down into the splits! I stood there, like "I didn't know you could do that! What the hell!?"

We went through this whole very Japanese-style match. There was a lot of catching each other, holds, reverses and more holds. He caught me in this move where he hooked my arms behind me, flipped me upside-down, dropped my shoulder onto his knee and held me there. It was like a whole, complex, "you're stuck" pretzel.

After the match, my Grandma was freaking out. She thought I was hurt from that stupid Japanese pretzel move. When she saw me, she gave me this big hug and said "I know that you've trained and you know how to do it...but I'm going to break his neck!" She was very happy that I was wrestling, but at the same time, she didn't want to watch it. It was still her baby getting hurt.

Particle Don: But you were boxing before wrestling, right?

Randi West: Yeah, that's something I didn't tell her about.

Particle Don: Did you have a favorite wrestler growing up?

Randi West: Macho Man and Wendi Richter. Those were my two favorites. As I got older and started watching more of the women's wrestling, and female promotions, Reggie Bennett became one of my favorites. She's not very well known, big company-wise, but she's been to Japan, Europe, and everywhere. She actually moved to Japan and lived there for a while. She was a big deal over in Japan; that's where she ended up retiring. If I had a dream match, it would be against her.

Particle Don: Are there any current-day competitors you have yet to square off against? If you could choose a few to wrestle, who would they be?

Randi West: LuFusto, Saraya Knight, and Kimber Lee. Is that weird my top three are girls that also wrestle dudes?


Saraya Knight

Kimber Lee

Particle Don: Hahaha. I think it just means that you prefer to wrestle tough chicks.

I also remember you making an appearance as Randi Blonde in Marion Fontane's league, Old Wrestling, in 2014.

Randi West: Yes! That was fun. I don't think they use the Blonde Family too much anymore.

Particle Don: Is there anything else you'd like to say before we wrap things up?

Randi West: All I want to say is, support independent artists! No matter what art form they do, whether it be music, wrestling, painting, bicycling, whatever. Support them! Let them know that you're there. Let them know you're happy with what they're doing. Give them constructive criticism. Let them know! Don't just sit behind your screens. Tell them what you think!

Particle Don: That reminds me. What are a few of your favorite Particle Don songs?

Randi West: Obviously, the Drake Younger song is one of my favorites. I like the Cactus Jack one. I'm a fan of Cactus Jack, he's my favorite. I also like the New Age Outlaws song. We should play that at the IWA show when Billy Gunn is there.

Particle Don: Hahaha! Yes. I'm Sure Eric Montgomery would be glad to do that!

Where did you first hear about Particle Don?

Randi West: It was through the Drake Younger song. I had listened to it multiple times online, I liked it! I knew it was an original track. I asked a couple people, "Who does this song?" Eric Montgomery, God bless him, was like "I know who does it! I'm gonna get a hold of him." I told him "Thank you so much!" After that, everything just kind of fell into place.

Particle Don: What are a few of your favorite bands?

Randi West: One of my favorites right now is Wu-Tang Clan. I use "Protect Ya Neck" as my entrance theme at the moment. Also, I was always into 80's hair rock. I like a lot of the girly-girl stuff. I'm a Sam Smith nerd. That man's voice is like harps. When I look at him, he kind of reminds me of Nick Maniwa, which is actually kind of creepy. His voice reminds me of harps and his face reminds me of Maniwa.

You be the judge. Does Sam Smith look like Nick Maniwa?

Particle Don: Do you have a favorite movie?

Randi West: I'm such a girl. Dirty Dancing. I'm also a big Doctor Who fan. I like Doctor Who a lot. I'm glued to the TV every Saturday when that show is on. I also like Trailer Park Boys and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Particle Don: What are your thoughts on Baby Maniwa?

Randi West: He stole my heart. He's more over than Jess and Nick. He's got big adorable blue eyes. I couldn't be happier for their family.

Click here to hear Particle Don's Baby Maniwa theme song

Particle Don: Hahaha, I wish I could make it out to more IWA Mid-South shows. They're so much fun. Thanks for the interview, and I'm looking forward to seeing you compete in King of the Deathmatches on August 6th!

Randi West: Thank you! I'll see you there!


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