Shania Sierra: Model/Wrestler

Before wrestling there was modeling, which I did professionally and still do sometimes when I have the time to do so. Growing up I struggled really badly with self-confidence and who I actually was, so telling me that I would be a full time professional model by the age of 18 would have just been a joke to me. It was something I did more to stick the finger up at everyone who bullied me growing up for being ‘ugly’ or ‘goth’.

When I was younger I wasn’t into wrestling. I had no brothers to show me it and with my Dad being an MMA fighter I was always told that wrestling was fake and just a put on show. I actually remember sitting with my parents when they flicked the channel to the Insane Championship Wrestling documentary, only for them to laugh and joke about how daft it was. This kinda disheartened me even more. I felt bad for them, the same way I felt for modeling cause my parents didn’t think I was any good at that either. I ‘didn’t have the typical look’ but me being me I kept at it, just to spite them. And again wrestling was lost to me, I didn’t think anything of it.

It wasn’t until I came across one of CZW’s dog collar matches, by mistake, that I ever gave wrestling at chance. I remember seeing the blood spattered across the ring, the crowd shouting and a wrestler with something I hadn’t seen before. Jon Moxley. To me, what I thought wrestling was Giant Haystacks stumbling about and not really doing anything that appealed to me. But here there were collars, blood and Mox shouting for more. I was hooked.

It wasn’t that long before I had watched all of Moxley’s matches and found a new love in Sami Callihan. I swear I’ve seen as much CZW that is on the internet. I was a little sad to find out that they didn’t wrestle together anymore and was about to leave it alone. All while finding out the joys of wrestling I was still modeling full time, and with that job comes a lot of partying and it was here where everything changed for me I believe. I met some of the Insane Championship Wrestling guy’s just by chance. I had no idea that wrestling was over here, I thought it was just an American thing.

One thing lead to another and I ended up at an ICW event. I was amazed. I wanted to cry when I was there, I felt like I was home. I knew what I wanted to do. Watching them in the ring and I just wanted to be up there to. There’s a moment that I still have screenshotted on my phone where the action is beside me at ringside and at that moment I knew I wanted to train. I wanted to be a wrestler too.

It wasn’t for another couple of months, about six, before I started training. I had a load of shoots and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take on as much work when I started. I checked around loads of different schools and finally settled on PBW Academy because of the amount of talent that has come from there.

One of the people I really look up to in this business is my trainer and what I call my ‘wrestling Dad’, Kid Fite. He doesn’t let you get away with excuses and just tells you to get on with it. He also managed to get PBW from nothing to what it is today while still balancing a full time wrestling career. I know for a fact that he does what he can for his trainees and to anyone reading this who’s thinking of training, I’d highly recommend coming to join this family. PBW gives you so many chances and, for not even being here a year yet, I owe a lot of experience that I’ve gained to Kid Fite.

Starting was really scary, I’m not going to lie about that. Everyone seems so close knit and you feel like an outsider but I was soon welcomed by everyone and put to ease. What people have to remember about wrestling training is that it’s not just turning up on the training day. There’s loads of other work that goes into it to. I really don’t think you should start training if you don’t want wrestling to become your whole life. There’s going to the gym to make sure you are in top shape, watching as much wrestling as you can to get a feel for what you want to do, helping out at as many shows as possible and that does mean getting up at 8am to go flyering in the rain. You’ve got to remember you will have to make sacrifices to get what you want. I’ve turned down nights out, jobs and a whole lot more just because I put wrestling first. I’ve heard a lot of guys saying that they put it before their relationships and I understand that. If you aren’t that bothered you have to remember that there are other people chasing the same spot as you to whom it’s their whole life.

If you want it, you can get it. That’s what I always believe. Training was the best choice I’ve made in my life. It’s gave me a second family, something to work towards. Yes, it’s hard. You get people talking you down a lot. You’ll find out that someone you thought was your friend has been bitching behind your back. But at the same time you’ll get what you give into it. Don’t start if your heart and soul isn’t fully behind the journey. I’ve knocked back so many shoots to be where I am today and I haven’t even been here a year yet. There’s been so many ups and downs but if you really know you belong in the ring don’t wait any longer to get there.

Shannon Crawford aka Shania Sierra
Model and Trainee Wrestler
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