EXCLUSIVE: Savannah Evans discusses Speaking Out movement, WWE acquiring EVOLVE, Big Swole

Savannah Evans spoke with Andrew Thompson about teaming with Big Swole early in her career, the possibility of appearing on AEW Dark, Thunder Rosa's 'Mission Pro Wrestling' promotion, the #SpeakingOut movement and much more.

 

Over the past five-to-six years, Savannah Evans has established herself on the independent scene and is looking to continue solidifying her spot in the pro wrestling business for years to come. She was one of many wrestlers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but Savannah was able to remain active in the ring by way of a ring that was setup near her place of residency.

Recently, Savannah was able to wrestle in front of a crowd again for a benefit show for a Boys & Girls Club fund. She explained that the event was invite-only and it was not 100 percent open as far as seating goes but it did feel good to be back in front of a crowd and doing what she loves to do.

“It was good. So I’ve been able to kind of — I have a ring close by where I stay so I’ve been able to get in the ring a few times since the pandemic broke out, but it was the first show that I had done since then. So, it was outside obviously because we wanna try to be as cautious as possible. It was almost, I wanna say invite-only. It wasn’t 100 percent open to everybody, but it was outdoors. We did it to raise money for a Boys & Girls fund that was local. So we ended up donating money to that. So, at the end of the day, it was a good cause, but it was outdoors and it was hot. It was the middle of Summer and we felt everything. Every bit of that heat. It was so hot.”

Dating back to the early days of Savannah’s career, we discussed her friendship/partnership with Big Swole. After she and Swole developed their friendship and in-ring chemistry, they were joined by Devyn Nicole and the three of them formed a trio known as the “Sexy Young Caramels”. Being a part of the all-black female trio was something that remains near and dear to Evans. She detailed how the group formed and shared some of the highlights from their time together that she can recall.

“So I wish that group would’ve lasted longer. Like, first of all, it was just the three of us having fun. We didn’t really have much else going on. So, the group started in Queens of Combat which is a local all-women’s promotion in Charlotte and we didn’t really have a bunch going on. It was originally me and Aerial [Big Swole] and then we added Devyn Nicole who had just got to the company and we just had fun. It was just our group to go out there, have our fun, just kind of be what we wanted to be and have fun with it so we were out there just having a good time so I really enjoyed that and it was an all-black female group so you hit both of those marks and it was just… it was fun. We went out there and had fun. We had a segment one time. I wanna say it was The Fella Twins and Jamie Senegal.

It was Eddy McQueen and Rick Cataldo and then Jamie Senegal was with them, and we just had so much fun because we were all just taking shots back and forth at each other and the crowd was really into it. That’s what I just remember being one of the highlights of being in that group is just really having fun with the crowd, having fun with each other. It was hilarious.”

As mentioned, prior to Devyn Nicole joining the group, it was just Big Swole, formerly known as “Aerial Monroe” and Savannah Evans. Evans and Swole worked together in Queens of Combat, the Alternative Wrestling Show and many more promotions over the years.

That pairing with Swole occurred early on in Savannah’s career and she explained that it was good to have someone there alongside her to kick off the journey that is her wrestling career.

“Yeah, to have a friend there with you because I had done Queens of Combat one time early on, and then I wasn’t back for a while and then when I did come back, we were both on the shows together from that point on and both featured so, at that point it was like, we might as well team up. You know what I mean? But we definitely knew each other and it was like you said, having a friend there that you could kind of play off of.”

There have been more opportunities in the wrestling business for women over the past several years but while specifically speaking about black women, Savannah isn’t quite sure how to describe how the business has changed for black women in wrestling. She feels that the opportunities are there and are available but it’s only a matter of everyone embracing those opportunities and that goes for wrestlers, promoters and fans alike.

“I’m not sure. There’s opportunities for black women out there and maybe it’s becoming more prominent now. I know Thunder Rosa just opened an all-women’s wrestling company in Texas so you would like to think that’s more opportunities for not just women, but for black women to go and showcase their talents and their skills and show everyone what they can do. So I would say, opportunities [are] there and it’s open. I think it’s just time everyone has to embrace that opportunity now. Fans, promoters, the workers etcetera.”

Recently by way of social media, there has been a shift in the wrestling business called the #SpeakingOut movement. Many women in wrestling shared their respective stories of abuse and harassment that they’ve had to deal with and endure in wrestling. Whether it was a fan who had an encounter that started at a show or an in-ring performer dealing with backstage antics, there were a countless number of women who came forward about their experiences.

I asked Savannah Evans for her thoughts about the movement and she is glad that it happened. She added that she is a big advocate for mental health and knowing that people don’t have or didn’t have an outlet to confide in doesn’t sit well with her. Savannah also understands the other aspect of the situation at hand which is people not being aware that those who they were close with could be capable of such things. Nonetheless, Savannah is glad that the #SpeakingOut movement began and is hopeful that more people continue to get called out for their inappropriate behavior.

“Yeah, I think it definitely — people that are out there, are in things for the wrong business, they do need to be outed. We don’t need to keep people like that around so, it took a Speaking Out movement for a lot of girls to come forward and if that’s what it took, then I’m glad it happened. People feel — they need to feel like they are heard and that their experiences matter because they do. So, it’s just really big for me. I’m a huge mental health advocate so, I always feel just — when people feel like they can’t come to someone or they have no one to come to with experiences like that, negative experiences like that, it rips at me. Everyone should feel like they’re comfortable, they can go to someone. Whether it’s a friend, a best friend, co-worker, a therapist. ‘Hey, this is what happened. I feel comfortable sharing it with you’ and when people don’t have that outlet, it’s hard so I’m definitely glad that people were able to get these experiences out there and maybe some people obviously weren’t aware that they were friends or close friends with someone who was literally just evil, just bad and so, I think that’s a good step in taking the steps to kind of clear up professional wrestling because there’s a lot of people that don’t stand for that kind of thing and I think that needs to be more often where people are being called out on it [for] inappropriate behavior.”

Over the course of her career, Evans has competed for EVOLVE and SHINE which were/are under the WWN banner. It was reported several weeks ago by PWInsider that WWE acquired EVOLVE. The SHINE and SHIMMER organizations will remain under the WWN banner but Savannah is excited about the possibility of being able to work with WWE while working for SHINE and/or SHIMMER. She offered several outcomes of what could spawn from WWE acquiring EVOLVE such as other promotions under the WWN banner airing on the WWE Network, those promotions being house shows of sorts for WWE or continuing on as their own independent promotion[s].

“Yeah definitely. It opens up an amazing amount of doors because first of all, you bring up the point that now SHINE and then the other WWN companies under the umbrella could also be featured on the [WWE] Network, besides the fact that EVOLVE got bought by them. But it opens up doors for so many people. Like all the EVOLVE guys, all the girls in SHINE and so, I’m definitely looking forward to any of these opportunities if they come my way. I’m definitely always waiting, watching for what’s coming next so, I’m looking forward to it. It definitely — it’s exciting because it’s a little bit of an unknown. Like, well what are they doing with these promotions that were under that WWN umbrella? Or are they just gonna let them go out? Are they gonna continue to run as indies? Are they gonna be mini house shows for WWE? Or like what comes of that, you know? I guess we can all keep our fingers crossed.”

Throughout her career, Savannah Evans has competed in a handful of intergender matches. The topic of conversation has come up recently about if the term “intergender wrestling” should be done away with and simply referring to a male versus female contest as “wrestling”. Savannah doesn’t mind the label and she believes a male versus female match is an attraction and further elaborated on her point:

“And I get that, but I’m a person that intergender wrestling should be an attraction. It should be a guy versus a girl and I think that you’re okay to label it that because it peaks people’s interests. ‘Oh I wanna check this out. They have an intergender wrestling match.’ Much like midget wrestling. I’m not saying it’s the same but it’s like they advertise it as midget wrestling because they knew people were gonna like, ‘Oh, I wanna come check this out.’ It’s something to add to the show and I don’t particularly believe that every match on the show should be intergender unless the show is deemed so. I think intergender wrestling is a special attraction. It has to be done in a special way. That’s what I strongly feel about intergender wrestling. I know a lot of people have their issues with it or they don’t like it but I think if it’s done correctly, it’s great and I personally like working with the guys doing intergender matches and I’ve said this like a million times: J.D. Drake is one of my favorite people to wrestle, legit.”

To wrap up our conversation, with the number of independent wrestlers that have either been spotlighted on AEW Dark or appeared on AEW Dynamite in some form, I asked Savannah would she like the opportunity to appear on AEW programming. She is completely open to the opportunity if it ever presented itself and spoke highly of Sugar Dunkerton, also known as “Pineapple Pete” who was able to gain a great deal of notoriety from his appearance on Dynamite and his feud with former AEW World Champion Chris Jericho.

“I mean I would absolutely love to appear on AEW. Like you said, you see so many people you’ve worked with and so many friends on Dark. Suge [D] was the first person. I was like, ‘Oh my God, Suge, get it. Do your thing.’ You know what I mean? It was an opportunity for more people to see what he does, what he brings to the table. That Suge D flavor.

He took full advantage of all that and he ran with it. He made that a huge deal and again, that’s just part of who he is. He’s gonna take an opportunity and run with it which you absolutely should. He was a good example of that. I would definitely, if they offered me something, I’m there. I don’t have any qualms about working for AEW. That would be great.”

Savannah Evans will be in action again in August for the Generation Championship Wrestling promotion and more information about their forthcoming shows can be found at this link.

The video version of Savannah and I’s interview can be viewed at the top of this article or on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel. Evans can be found on Instagram @savannahevs and on Twitter @SavannahEvansNV.

About Andrew Thompson 459 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.