Candice LeRae talks Mae Young Classic, possibly signing with WWE, intergender wrestling, her hubby, more
SOURCE: RING RUST RADIO
Ring Rust Radio: You have worked for independent wrestling companies all over the world. How does WrestleCircus stack up against them, both behind the scenes and in the ring?
Candice LeRae: I think they just do such a good job of bringing in all different kinds and varieties of talents which is important. I think when you go to some promotions they are in a mindset that this is a style that fits our promotion, or this is a style this promotion runs, or sometimes some promotions are more serious and they don’t want to bring in people like Colt Cabana because they’re thinking he’s going to be funny and we want just strong style wrestling matches. Even though I am pretty sure Colt Cabana can do some pretty awesome strong style wrestling. They just think that they aren’t going to bring him in, but then you have Wrestle Circus saying let’s bring in some fun characters. I have seen some ridiculous stuff on the shows. Leva Bates is always got some kind of crazy who knows what cosplay that she is doing and finds her way into the most obscure circumstances, but then you have your guys like Brian Cage who is just a monster. I got to wrestle Ethan Page and that doesn’t exactly get to happen everywhere and I don’t think that’s a match everybody would be willing to book but Wrestling Circus said let’s throw these two people in the mix and you get so much variety in a Wrestle Circus show and they are so much fun. The crowd is into everything. They’re rowdy, rambunctious and they add to the fun which makes it a lot easier for us wrestlers. It is just so much fun, a big party.
Ring Rust Radio: You were one of the standout performers in the Mae Young Classic and a big part of what made the tournament such a major success. Where does competing in the Mae Young Classic rank among your career accomplishments, and what kind of adjustments did competing on such a huge stage require you to make?
Candice LeRae: It’s still really insane to me that it even happened. I kind of feel like I did after I got married where I was seeing my name, like this new last name and I realize that I’m married and thinking did this really happen and even though I had all the pictures and stuff. Same thing with the Mae Young Classic. I got all the WWE.com accounts tweeting at me and all this stuff and I just don’t even believe this is actually happening. My husband came home from work the one day and said, “Alright, you ready to watch it? It’s airing tonight.” I said no way this is actually all real. Still to this day it’s insane to me because it is something that I’ve wanted since I was a six-year-old little kid. It’s super cool and I felt like I’ve been preparing my entire career for that. That’s what everything was for so I could have that opportunity. I used to think I got into wrestling at the wrong time and it was never going to happen for me because I was a little different than some of the other girls that I was around when I first started wrestling. I’m starting to realize everything happened as it was supposed to and I got into it at exactly the right time so I am very thankful.
Ring Rust Radio: Any time someone competes under the WWE umbrella there’s bound to be questions about potentially signing a contract. What’s your level of interest in signing with WWE and how likely do you believe it is that you’ll end up there on a full-time basis eventually?
Candice LeRae: I would love to end up there. I’ve turned down other opportunities just in hopes of the opportunity to come to the WWE someday. Obviously, my dream has always been to wrestle for WWE and have a full-time contract there so I kind of felt if I was going to go anywhere else or do anything else I was cheating myself out of my lifelong dream. It is still to this day my ultimate goal so I’m being very hopeful and taking it day by day and crossing my fingers.
Ring Rust Radio: A hot topic recently on social media has been misogynist fans and chants, with many top performers speaking out against fans who participate in such degrading acts. Have you ever experienced this during a match and how do you feel promotions or promoters should try to regulate against it?
Candice LeRae: I kind of have a different mindset I think than some people do because my own tag-team partner is one of the people that is first in line to speak out against such actions. I tend to try to ignore people because I feel like I’d rather focus on the positives than the negatives. I feel as though if we shed light on that individual or those individuals they’re getting what they want. People just want some kind of reaction or they want some kind a spotlight on them and I just don’t care to give that to them. I do think that it’s ridiculous that it still exists. It’s kind of what I tell Joey all the time because he gets really revved up over it and it really bothers him. I just tell him, “You know what? At one point in life people thought man was never going to be able to fly and that the world was flat so let them just keep believing what they want and let’s just keep doing what we’re doing and focus on the good not the bad.” People are so stubborn that you telling them to change their perspective is not going to fix anything. They’re going to keep on believing what they want and no matter what we say or do it’s not going to change their opinion. They may see it as fact, but it’s an opinion and let them have it. I don’t need them to tell me that I’m wrong. I won’t tell them they’re wrong and they won’t tell me I’m wrong.
Ring Rust Radio: While you have fought some of the best performers in the world, there are several big names left for you to fight. Wrestling fans love to talk dream matches, but who are some of the wrestlers you’ve never faced that you’d like to square against?
Candice LeRae: I would love to wrestle Kenny Omega and I didn’t realize it before, but recently I want to wrestle Cody Rhodes and part of that is because I feel like I’m converting him into liking intergender wrestling a little more than he originally thought he did. Fingers crossed. He did tweet and say I was a dream match and fans were shocked because they thought no way. Obviously, I would love to wrestle Bayley so much. She and I are both California natives and we tagged together and wrestled against each other before she was signed so would love to be able to wrestle her again. I also wish I could wrestle Asuka, that would be super cool too. I have so many people, but those four probably my top of the list with Kenny Omega be on the top of my list.
Ring Rust Radio: In recent years you’ve become the poster child for intergender wrestling and enjoyed more success in that area than any other woman. Do you see intergender wrestling continuing to grow and popularize over time, and do you think we could eventually see it in a company like WWE?
Candice LeRae: I do understand why WWE being a family-friendly company might shy away from it because there’s that gray area where people are thinking it promotes domestic abuse and this and that. While I understand that, I’ve had a lot of women come up to me like shaking and practically in tears and some men that will come up and say that my intergender wrestling has been very empowering for them in their lives. I don’t think there’s ever a time where other than when I very first started doing it, where I was being put in the situation it wasn’t me going after the match. I feel like there’s ways to have it done tastefully. It’s 2017 and little girls want to play sports in high school with the boys so I feel as though they should. To be fair, a punch in wrestling is not a thing. It’s illegal; you can’t throw a closed fist so guys shouldn’t be punching women in general. I don’t at all support domestic abuse or domestic violence in any way shape or form. However, if I want to compete with men and wrestle against men and I’m okay with that, then I know what I’m getting myself into. I think it’s slowly but surely becoming more and more accepted by just people in general and society in general. We are in a time of women empowerment so I have faith, someday.
Ring Rust Radio: WWE recently announced that women represent 40 percent of its audience, but it’s still a rarity overall in wrestling to see women wresters featured in main-event storylines. What do you think you have to do in the promotions you work for, or women in general have to do, in order to receive more main-event opportunities?
Candice LeRae: I kind of feel like it’s match quality and honestly, I will say this: I’m a very competitive person and when I started training I always told myself that I have to be just as good if not better than the man to be treated as an equal. So, if women are going out there and saying they’re going to start wrestling and competing harder than these guys are on the show, then eventually people are going to take note. It’s going to get to the point where some of the men aren’t going to be able to keep up with the women and in those scenarios, that’s when the promoters have to think maybe we need to change things up and put the women on last because there are going to steal the show. Honestly, with some of the quality of women out there anymore, I feel like it’s going to happen more and more. It’s just a matter of promoters and promotions being more open minded to it.