The sport of pro wrestling has had many talents that have hailed from Ireland and found a great deal of success in the sport. Velvet McIntyre, Becky Lynch, Sheamus, Jordan Devlin, Finn Balor, Fit Finlay and more names that went unmentioned, and another talent who is looking to cement herself as one of the top wrestlers to come out of Ireland is former two-time OTT Women’s Champion Session Moth Martina.
Martina hails from Dublin and has competed all over the United Kingdom throughout her time in the business. This past September, after a successful WrestleMania week in April of 2019, Ring of Honor signed Session Moth Martina and she made her in-ring debut for the company at ‘Free Enterprise’ in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to the event, I had the opportunity to speak with Martina and she reflected on her OTT and ICW Women’s Title reigns. She only held the ICW Women’s Title for one day before losing it to current NXT U.K. star Piper Niven. Although her reign was for one day, Martina still looks back on it fondly and also talked about how OTT will always be her home although she is not currently involved in their women’s division because of her busy schedule that she has recently taken on.
“Oh, 100 percent. OTT is my home promotion. It’s what made me what I am. It’s what got me everywhere in the world. Winning that first women’s belt because I was the first woman in OTT and for such a long time, the only woman in OTT. It was such a great… like it’ll always be there for me, even though I’ve moved on and I’m not really in the women’s division there anymore because I’ve just gone on to other things and there’s just loads of girls coming up and doing it. It’s great for them. It’s just nice that I have that little bit of cemented history because I have been there since the start, but OTT is my home, my heart is there completely, and obviously ICW, I had a great little reign there as well so hopefully I get back there someday.”
Martina has spent a great deal of time in Japan as a part of STARDOM. She debuted with the company in 2018 and joined the Oedo Tai stable. In October, it was announced that New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s parent company, Bushiroad was acquiring STARDOM and just three months later, STARDOM was represented on night one of Wrestle Kingdom 14 in a dark match as Mayu Iwatani and Arisa Hoshiki defeated Hana Kimura and Giulia.
Martina shared her thoughts about Bushiroad acquiring STARDOM and the possibilities that exist because of that. She also expressed that STARDOM had something great going prior to the Bushiroad deal so she doesn’t think STARDOM needs New Japan, but she’s interested in the possibility of getting to share the ring with Toru Yano and/or Minoru Suzuki.
“100 percent. I think it was such a great — at the end of the day, the way I see it is, even though it was dark, it was still 40,000 people from Japan seeing STARDOM so now, more eyes are on STARDOM and that’s the goal at the end of the day because these girls are insanely talented. They’re the best in the world. So, at the end of the day, that’s what I think. Like baby steps. One day we might get on the pay-per-view, one day there might be a STARDOM match but at the end of the day, STARDOM, it does have its own company, so it doesn’t need New Japan either. I think they’re both independent of each other. It’s great that they’re working together but if New Japan could help STARDOM, STARDOM could help New Japan, they should just work together with that. I was there to see it and it was surreal. It was just amazing seeing a promotion I work for on such a big stage, on Wrestle Kingdom. It was amazing, and obviously, the idea [that] there’s speculation that there might be crossovers and obviously, the dream match is me and [Toru] Yano. Me and Yano, that is my dream match. I need to either tag with Yano or face Yano. One or the other, or me against [Minoru] Suzuki. One of them has to happen, so we’ll just keep nagging New Japan until they provide.”
In the Summer of 2019, Session Moth Martina was a part of the first all-female tryout for the NXT U.K. brand. Martina was invited back but ultimately decided not to sign with WWE. She explained that the experience went well and several of her friends are in NXT UK so she felt comfortable. The reason she didn’t join is because she was not ready to give up the freedom that she has – traveling on her own time, continuing to take her character in the direction that she sees fit among other benefits that may not exist if she decided to join WWE’s UK brand.
“The NXT UK tryout was really fun. It was the first-ever all-female tryout. So yeah, that was great, and I really enjoyed the experience, I felt like it went really well. Yeah, it was quite great getting to train [at] the U.K. P.C. and I got asked to stay on and do an extra week of training just to see the current signees and stuff, and a lot of my friends work there so I felt very comfortable straight away. I just felt like, at that time I guess, it just wasn’t the right direction for me. I mean, it would’ve been a great opportunity to start something new, but I felt like just for me right now, [I] just didn’t really want to give up the amount of travel that I get to do at the moment and I have a lot of freedom as it is right now. I’ve been to Australia this year, America, Japan. I’m just not really ready to [give that up]. I’ve put a lot into my character over the last five years and I just felt like Ring of Honor was a better fit for my character and what I wanted to do with my character, and I just felt like it was gonna be a bit safer here. It just felt like a better fit.”
There have been varying opinions about the state of the independent scene in the United Kingdom since the arrival of NXT UK. Multiple promotions have closed their doors because some of the top stars on the scene have joined WWE or went elsewhere and are only permitted to work certain shows outside of the company they’re contracted to.
The likes of Pete Dunne, Jimmy Havoc, Trent Seven, Justin Sysum and a plethora of other U.K. staples have weighed in on the conversation. Session Moth Martina gave her thoughts on the discussion and feels that NXT U.K. has left a bit of hole in the independent scene, but from that, there arises an opportunity for other talents to step up and take those spots and further establish themselves. In regard to NXT UK, Martina stated that if people are making money, happy with their decision and are able to turn their dream into a full-time job, then she has no issue with it.
“Well, obviously at the end of the day, I think it’s great that… I mean, people making money. At the end of the day, I think people start this wrestling with the hopeful goal of making it a job, which they have delivered to these people so I think when they started — when they start, they want to be secure, so at the end of the day, it’s a dream job for a lot of these people, so I think the people should be happy for them, and I do think maybe there’s not enough room. There’s only so much airtime that they do so it is a bit over-crowded and stuff like that but at the end of the day, if this is what these people want, if this is what these people work towards, I’m really happy for them. As long as they’re happy with their exposure and everything like that, that’s all that matters and at the end of the day, time goes on and there’s always new people coming up to fill these gaps and after they go on to get signed, there will be more people coming up to fill those gaps and it’ll just keep going as it is and I think it’s a wheel and it won’t stop turning so I think it’s great for everybody.”
Martina is also a former OTT Gender Neutral Champion. Much like the NXT U.K. conversations, there are varying thoughts and opinions about it [inter-gender wrestling]. Martina is a huge advocate for inter-gender wrestling and shared that-that match type is the one that she has competed in the most. Her latest inter-gender match took place earlier this month for OTT against fellow Ring of Honor star Mark Haskins. Martina made it clear that she’ll always go to bat for inter-gender wrestling and she wants to do it in ROH as well.
“I’m a huge advocate for inter-gender wrestling. It’s kind of the majority of wrestling that I do-do. At home in OTT, I do a lot of it. I feel like it’s a contact sport where equal wrestling is wrestling. I go into a match expecting to be hit as hard as a man would be hit. I don’t feel like wrestling needs a gender. I don’t see why we can’t work together and put on a match and there’s so much story there. I’m 100 percent behind it. I’ll fight it to the ground. I’ll fight it to death. Hopefully one day, my dream for Ring of Honor is to do more of it as well. That would be my dream for everything. I love inter-gender wrestling.”
Several years ago, a fellow Ireland native, RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch reached out to Session Moth Martina to show support. Becky Lynch climbed to the top of the mountain in WWE in 2019 when she along with Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey main-evented WrestleMania 35 and Lynch closed the night by capturing the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Championships.
Session Moth Martina is very proud of Becky Lynch and how far Lynch has come. She shared that Becky asked her if there was anything she could do, such as getting Martina looked at by WWE. Martina knows that Lynch did not have to go the extra mile for her and she appreciates her for it.
“It was amazing. I remember years ago, a few years ago, she reached out and she was like, ‘It’s great what you’re doing. Is there anyway I can help you maybe get looked at by WWE?’ And I was like, the fact that she doesn’t need to go out of her way to do that for me and she just really liked everything that I was doing which was so sweet, and even having her now say, ‘Oh, I think she’s doing great’ and she’s genuinely the biggest thing in wrestling right now which is amazing that this girl from Ballyfermot, or like Dublin City Centre is like the top star in Ireland or in the world, it’s amazing. So yeah, she’s so sweet and anytime I see her, I just get goosebumps. I’m so proud of what she’s doing. It’s amazing.”
To wrap up our interview, Martina talked about how busy WrestleMania week is for an independent wrestler. Last year in New York, Martina worked a STARDOM show, Destiny World Wrestling and Fight Club: PRO’s joint event, WrestleCon and a Game Changer Wrestling show. This year, Martina will be a part of Ring of Honor’s Supercard Of Honor show in Lakeland, Florida during WrestleMania 36 weekend but with that, she is also looking forward to attending shows that her friends will be on and having a few beverages while at those shows.
“That’s my favorite part about WrestleMania week. Literally everybody I’ve met over the last year is all in one place and if you’re on one show with one person, you’ll see another person… obviously you don’t get much time to chill, because I remember I was running to this show, running to this show, running to this show, and I was on my own as well so I was like, ‘Oh yeah, see you guys at this show.’ I remember I was at a party for like half an hour and I was like, ‘No, I gotta go. Gotta go to Spring Break.’ It was great though. It was such a good experience and it really helped get my name out there which was the best part about it, and I’ll miss it like this year but I’m excited to just kind of go and chill, and enjoy the vibe. I’ll go see my friends at shows now. Like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna get drunk at your show,’ so a lot more alcohol this time so it’ll be better.”
Session Moth Martina scored the win in her first match in Ring of Honor over the first-ever Women Of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai. Also during the interview, Martina talked about her 2017 OTT WrestleRama entrance and the documentary that Thinkhouse did about her. To check out the full interview, head over to the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel and Martina can be found on Twitter @mothfromdaflats and on Instagram @session_moth_martina.