Progress Women’s champ Gisele Shaw says ‘stop looking down on pro wrestling’

Progress Wrestling's Women's champion, and Impact Wrestling star Gisele Shaw has a simple message for those who ridicule professional wrestling.

The 33-year-old Philippines-native said: “Go to a show and give it a chance.

“People have this stigma when it comes to professional wrestling and call it a joke, or say that it's fake, but nobody looks at a Marvel film and goes 'oh, it's fake'.

“Do they really think that Ironman is flying around, or that Thor is out there somewhere? They don't get that same flack as wrestlers do.

“If you watch a film, you enjoy it and you know it's not real – I'm not saying wrestling is not real, as there is a lot of emotion to it and when you hit the canvas it hurts.

“There's a lot of broken bones and people break their necks.

“When people give it a chance and go to a show, they change their minds and realise that it's pretty incredible.”

Giselle has been wrestling for around eight years.

She was trained by the legendary former WWE, ECW and Impact Wrestling star Lance Storm, and spent the majority of her early career wrestling extensively in Canada.

She came to the UK in 2019, initially just for a few months, but ended up becoming a mainstay on the British wrestling scene, and even beat acclaimed female wrestler Zoe Lucas for the Revolution Pro Wrestling British Women's Championship in February 2020.

And then a year later, during the pandemic, she beat Mercedez Blaze and Alexxis Falcon to put up the then-vacant Progress World Women's Championship – a title she still holds.

The majority of her run was spent competing in front of no crowds due to pandemic protocols.

Progress Wrestling taped shows in advance and streamed them on the WWE Network – it was the only British wrestling company to run (in a Covid-safe manner) during the pandemic.

Gisele said: “It was really weird, you know, going from fans, and then to no fans, you really had to adapt to that kind of wrestling, because it's just so different.

“I had to make sure that I was still entertaining the people at home.

“Just because there's no fans here, I had to think this is for the people at home that can't see this.

“It was fun, it was weird and it was sad all at the same time

“And because all the wrestlers had to stay in the same hotel, and be in a bubble because of lockdown, we formed this bond and had a camaraderie and a friendship you don't normally get.

“I got to know my peers on a deeper level than just seeing people at shows every few weeks.”

Shaw describes her in-ring persona as a “super nasty person” who is evil and vindictive, which made it easier to perform in front of no fans

It also gave her the time she needed to define the Quintessential Diva nickname that she now holds.

“The pandemic really helped me kind of figure out who that is because obviously, when I first started, I just thought, 'oh, yeah, I'm going to be the quintessential diva', but it almost felt like it was just words that I said because that was my 'gimmick'.

“But during lockdown, it really made me kind of sit and think, and understand the words and what it really meant to me.

“This is who I am, and this is my moniker, and not only am I going to tell you, but I'm going to show you.”

And it was that refinement that saw her sign a contract with Impact Wrestling earlier this year.

Giselle admits that Impact actually came calling a while back, but she wasn't ready to leave British wrestling at that point – but she is now.

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However, she does have some unfinished business, and will face her ultimate nemesis Kanji during the Super Strong Style weekend, which starts on Saturday (June 4) in Camden.

The pair have gone back and forth numerous times in recent years, even competing in one of the most talked about best-of-three series last year.

Kanji won 2-1 to become champion before being forced to vacate it due to injury – but they pair never stopped their war of words.

And now they'll meet to finally settle the score – with Gisele's title on the line.

She said: “She and I have built this amazing story, you know, through the pandemic.

“We're taking everyone into this roller coaster ride, and for me, it's the coolest thing ever, because I want people to feel emotions when I'm wrestling and I love storytelling.

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“We're like The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, when they had their feud.

“I'm not comparing myself to them, but that's what you strive for, and you want people to invest and immerse themselves into the story.”

Despite signing for Impact Wrestling – and she could possibly appear on the company's biggest show of the year in Slammiversary later this month – she would not confirm or deny whether or not her battle with Kanji will be her last appearance for Progress Wrestling.

She did, however, tell fans to “just watch and enjoy the ride”.

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