With several big independent events coming up in the next couple of months, Diva Dirt has reached out to the head honcos in charge of various promotions for our first annual Promoters Season. Over the next couple of weeks, you will hear from the creative minds behind NCW Femmes Fatales, Pro-Wrestling: EVE, SHIMMER Women Athletes, WILD Wrestling and Women Superstars Uncensored.
We aim to pick their brains about their upcoming events, their rosters and on current events. Plus, we look for answers to the questions that fans have wondered about…
While SHIMMER and WSU have proven to be successful formulas in the US, in Canada, NCW Femmes Fatales is the promotion that every girl strives to be part of. A sister promotion of Montreal’s NCW promotion, Femmes Fatales promotes its own shows and flies in talent from across the world to compete on Canadian soil.
In October, Femmes Fatales presents its seventh live event — Femmes Fatales VII — with a card featuring LuFisto vs Kalamity for the championship, as well as the debuts of joshi stars Tomoka Nakagawa and Yumi Ohka.
Ahead of the big event, we talk to Femmes Fatales promoter Stéphane Bruyere…
Most fans know the history of SHIMMER or WSU, but perhaps don’t know the history of Femmes Fatales. How did the promotion come together and what is your history as a promoter?
Let’s start with my history as a promoter and it will finish with the history of Femmes Fatales. I have worked for several promotions in the province of Quebec since 2001, and I was only 17 years old when I started. I did work for probably some of the biggest promotions in the provinces, including the IWS, a promotion that fans around the world may have heard of. I started to book the ALF in 2008 when the booker left the promotion. Kim Leduc and LuFisto asked me if I wanted to help them, and I said yes, because it would be a great challenge and something totally different than I had ever done. The problem at the end of the ALF is that there were too many male wrestlers on the shows, major reason being we were running a show every month on Friday nights, and it was difficult to have everybody available. During a meeting in January of 2009, LuFisto and I decided that it was time to try something else and we offered the promotion to do a female show every three months and do a double taping the day of the show, a little like SHIMMER. After some problems with the people backing the ALF that did not want to try that, the promotion closed in February of 2009. I decided at that time that this was the end for me as I was starting my career in my everyday job at almost the same time. A month after the closure of the ALF, I received a phone call from LuFisto. She told me that she was approached by nCw and they wanted to open an all female wrestling promotion. They wanted her to help them run it, and she wanted me to book it. I sincerely asked her if she was kidding (and you can ask her, she will say it’s true!) as I told her a month before that I wanted to quit the business. After a couple of minutes, I told her to ask nCw to put the project on paper and I shall see if I wanted to help. A week after, I received an e-mail, read the whole thing twice and I said, “Okay, let’s do it.”
French-Canadian wrestling has a long storied history from the likes of Jacques Rougeau etc., but how has the reception been towards all-female wrestling cards?
Well, when the ALF started, I, myself, was not sure that a full time all-female promotion would work in the Montreal area since there was a limited amount of female wrestlers. The reception was good though and the ALF got their biggest crowd at their second anniversary show when Amazing Kong made her first trip to Montreal to face LuFisto. By the end of the ALF, I was not wrong and was not right since there was for sure not a big crop of female wrestlers, but an all-female promotion was possible, but not the way it was ran. In Quebec, female wrestling needs to be presented as a ‘happening’. If we run too often, it won’t work that well and it’s better to do less shows with more spectators, better wrestlers, bigger budget, so we don’t lose money with them.
One of your biggest collaborators is LuFisto, who is also one of the wrestlers. How would you describe the dynamic between yourself and LuFisto? Who handles what?
First, LuFisto has become one of my closest friend. I must be thankful for everything that has happened to put her on my road. We have really good communication and pretty much the same view on how Femmes Fatales should be run. In Femmes Fatales, we are a team and each of us has our role. LuFisto is in charge of the multimedia part, so pretty much all the videos you see, with some rare exceptions, has been done by her. She is also training the wrestlers. Yan O’Cain, nCw President, is in charge of the website and all the posters you see about us. He is the best in Quebec, by far. Anthony Tonin is helping me with the booking portion and he is my eyes during the show as I mostly stay backstage. And, on my part, I do all the texts about FF, contacting the wrestlers and staff, and of course, booking the show!
I guess a common misconception is that LuFisto books the shows with you… That’s not the case, right?
She is not booking with me no, but I don’t hesitate if I have any questions or doubts. Normally, I do the lineups and then we, LuFisto and I, have a meeting with Anthony to put the show on paper.
You’ve had six events already, with Femmes Fatales VII due to take place on October 8th. How would you critically evaluate the growth of Femmes Fatales over the past six shows?
I am really happy with where we are in the evolution right now and kudos to everybody that helped Femmes Fatales to grow that much in just two years. By watching the shows afterwards, from the first Femmes Fatales show to FF IV, which was the crowning of the first champion and the Kong/Anna match, the shows were always getting better. FF V, which was last March, was probably the best card on paper of all the shows we’ve done so far, but I had put the expectations so high on that show, maybe too high, and I was not 100% satisfied by the show we put on, although Hamada vs LuFisto is probably the best match from the promotion so far. Then, last show was one of my favorites with the rise of Kalamity to the main event level in a great street fight with her and Portia Perez against Cheerleader Melissa and Mercedes Martinez. Each show has been different so far and the evolution of the Quebec wrestlers has been a great ingredient to the success we have so far. There are so many people working on Femmes Fatales and it’s impossible to thank them enough for it.
Femmes Fatales VII will feature the main event of LuFisto vs Kalamity for the Femmes Fatales Championship. I would say Kalamity is a rising star in the world of women’s wrestling. How did Femmes Fatales management come to the decision to put her in the title match?
A couple of things made it an easy decision actually… I thought that it was time for us to put on an all-Quebec main event, which we’ve not done yet. Also, Kalamity and LuFisto have already done two single matches so far this year, and both of those matches are on the list of possible Match of Year contenders in the province. Since none of those matches are on our Femmes Fatales DVDs, I think that putting one as a main event of a Femmes Fatales show will prove what exactly Kalamity is capable to do and just confirm how much LuFisto is an amazing wrestler. So, we did that storyline where Kalamity won a first contender match in May, then she had her face turn in June. In July, LuFisto made her return to the ring after her operation and saved Kalamity from an attack. They will now tag on September 24th before their match October 8th. Don’t want to spoil anything though, so I’ll stop here!
Tiana Ringer is coming out of retirement for this show too and will face Mercedes Martinez. How did her return to wrestling come about?
Tiana came to see the show in March to see some friends, so we got the contact from there. LuFisto spoke with her at the start of the summer to get some news and asked her if a return could be possible… her answer was not no, but was not yes either. A couple of weeks went by, and then LuFisto told me to contact Tiana, and that is where we confirmed everything. For her return, I think Mercedes is a perfect match since they know each other quite well in the ring. We all hope this will be the first of lot of matches for Tiana!
There’ll also be some joshi talent making their debuts including Tomoka Nakagawa and Yumi Ohka. What are they going to bring to the table for Femmes Fatales?
Nakagawa and Ohka will bring diversity to the event. One of my views on a wrestling show is each match must be different, with different storylines and different styles. And, for sure, there is no Femmes Fatales regular that has the exact same style as those two great joshis. I’ve been watching joshis on DVD before they came to SHIMMER and I really wanted to bring them in Montreal. It was a question of timing. This time, only two were able to make it and I am really happy that our crowd will be able to witness their talents live. Also, it will give the opportunity for a girl like Sweet Cherrie to face for the first time a joshi, a chance she would not have had if it wasn’t for Femmes Fatales. I know she is working hard to be ready for the match that will include also Portia Perez.
Femmes Fatales mixes talent that a lot of people will know from other places (Melissa, Mercedes) with home grown talent such as Sweet Cherrie, Kalamity, Mary Lee Rose etc. How do you find the balance between home grown and imported talent? I’m sure you want to highlight your own local talent, right?
The general idea behind Femmes Fatales is to showcase our talents from the province of Quebec and from Ontario by putting them in the same backstage area as some of the best in the business like Melissa, Martinez, Allison Danger, Del Rey, etc. Just being backstage with them is helping our wrestlers to learn quicker. Also, LuFisto started to give them some clinics to help them improve. When we think a wrestler is ready, we try to find them the best match-up possible with an indy star to see exactly at what level they are. The wrestlers are aware that it’s not every show that they will have the opportunity to face a guest, so they must be ready when the time arrives. I’m not sure that Mary Lee Rose thought one day she would be in the same ring as Daffney like she did in June of last year. Cherry Bomb also showed her full potential in her great match against Sara Del Rey in our first show. Courtney Rush proved she is a star by going stroke-for-stroke with Madison Eagles at the last show. Anna Minoushka did an awesome job againt Kong. Those are only small examples. By facing those bigger names, our wrestlers are getting known and when I see their name on Diva Dirt or any other wrestling related website, it makes me proud of them. Everybody has stepped up since the start of the promotion, and that is a great accomplishment. Kudos to all the guests we have had as many thanks must be made to them, to LuFisto who keeps pushing them to the max, and to all those wrestlers who put so much efforts just to try to be better in the ring.
Of the local talent that some people reading this interview may not be familiar with — Kalamity, Cherrie, Mary Lee Rose, Mistress Belmont etc. — who should fans look up and find matches of, and why?
As far of wrestlers that are starting to be known on the indy circuit, Kalamity is proving show after show that she deserves to be in the main event position. She is really powerful, her technique is getting better and she has lots of charisma. When she did her match against LuFisto in JAPW last December, the crowd started the match by asking her who she was, and ended up giving her an ovation. Also, Mistress Belmont was so over the first time she was in Montreal that the fans turned her face! I think that match against Cherry Bomb was really entertaining. For sure, wrestlers you point out, Sweet Cherrie, Anna Minoushka and Mary Lee Rose, deserve the recognition, but I can’t pass over the young Sherbrooke Connexion. When they came with their new outfit as a tag team last March, they proved to us they wanted to succeed. Allison Danger gave me lots of positive reactions about them and I’m quite sure we will see them getting better and better in the next few months. Xandra Bale is also someone that has stepped up lately and she might be a big part of Femmes Fatales for the upcoming volumes.
You crowned the first Femmes Fatales Champion at Femmes Fatales IV, which was LuFisto. How do you respond to criticism from people that say she was awarded the belt because she’s one of the ‘bookers’? As we said, that’s a common misconception…
I think that people that said that were quickly answered by others about it. Whether LuFisto is a part of the administration of Femmes Fatales or not, all the real fans of women’s wrestling know there was no other person than LuFisto that could have been the champion that night. If it wasn’t of her, there would not be any Femmes Fatales shows, there would not be that amount of great female workers in Quebec and I would not be in the business. I don’t want to reduce the impact that the ALF had, but Femmes Fatales did finally open the eyes of our Quebec wrestlers, and this would not have been possible if it was not of LuFisto. And if I can add, when we told LuFisto our decision that she would be the first champion, she didn’t want to and we argued a lot during the months leading up to the show, but we needed to go that direction and we made her understand it. The decision was made by nCw administration and myself and the case is closed. I don’t want anybody to talk about it ever!
NEXT: Stéphane talks Femmes Fatales’ production values, doing more shows, Canadian talent.
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