On September 12th at Ring of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor show, the finals of the ROH Women’s World Championship tournament will take place. Rok-C is scheduled to take on Miranda Alize and the winner will become the fifth women’s champion in Ring of Honor’s history.
Rok-C picked up wins over Sumie Sakai, Quinn McKay and Angelina Love to make it to the finals. Ahead of the marquee match, I had the chance to chat with Rok-C and she expressed how cool it was for her to share the ring with Sumie Sakai in the opening round. She said there were a lot of nerves on her part because of the name Sumie has built for herself.
It was honestly really cool [to be in the ring with Sumie Sakai]. I feel like every match that I’m in, I kind of learn a little bit from every person and I definitely learned so, so much from Sumie Sakai. It was pretty nerve racking just because, you know, she’s been in Ring of Honor for so long, she’s done so much. She’s wrestled in Japan which is like a dream destination of mine. She was the first Women of Honor Champion, so I’m trying to become the first Ring of Honor Women’s Champion so it was kind of like a little bit — probably a lot of bit of nerves, just because she is who she is.
The 19-year-old Rok-C trained at the Reality of Wrestling school which is run by Booker T and Sharmell Huffman. Talents such as Ember Moon, Kylie Rae, Hyan, Miranda Alize and Zayda Ramier (AQA) have trained at the school and honed their skills within the promotion that is Reality of Wrestling.
Rok-C feels strongly that Reality of Wrestling is the best school in Texas and trainees and talents learn far more than how to maneuver around the ring.
Yeah, 100 percent. Honestly, I strongly feel that Reality of Wrestling is the best school in Texas and I actually wanted to train there since I was like ten years old. I knew I was going to train there. I told my parents that once I turn 18, I would move out and go to train at Reality of Wrestling but it ended up happening earlier than expected and I started taking greyhounds over there when I was 16. But the thing is, their training will level you up in so many aspects just because it’s — at Reality of Wrestling, obviously you have Booker [T] there. So it’s not just about wrestling-wrestling but it’s about the cameras and being on TV and all these things that you wouldn’t necessarily learn on the indies if that makes sense. So I feel like if I hadn’t learned everything I did learn from Reality of Wrestling and from Booker before going to Ring of Honor, I probably would’ve been a little lost.
It has been six months or so that Rok-C has been working with Ring of Honor. She shared that the reception to her backstage has been positive. She feels that she does not have to walk on eggshells and credited Maria Kanellis-Bennett for comforting her and making her feel welcomed.
The atmosphere is so great there. It never feels like you’re walking on eggshells and the first time that I went to Ring of Honor, that’s pretty scary. You’re going into a major company not really knowing what to expect, not really knowing anyone. The first time I went and I met Maria [Kanellis-Bennett], she was, oh my God, she’s amazing. I remember the first thing she told me was like, ‘Don’t be nervous. Treat this like this is your home. Everybody’s very welcoming here’ and that made me feel so much better, especially because it was like all those things combined and then also like, just being so nervous just by being at Ring of Honor. So yeah, she made it so welcoming and so did everybody else and I love being there. Every time I’ve gone there, same thing I said about Reality of Wrestling, everybody’s just so supportive and everybody’s so awesome and it’s just great there.
Ring of Honor announced this week that both Rok-C and Miranda Alize signed deals with the company ahead of their title match.
I asked Rok-C what some of the deciding factors were that led to her making the decision to sign a deal with ROH. She explained that she wants to do a bit of everything in wrestling and feels happy in Ring of Honor. She added that she wants to do so much more in ROH before she does anything else career decision-wise.
So honestly, when I first realized I wanted to be a wrestler, I didn’t think that I would do as much as I did before. How do I say it? WWE was kind of like my dream, you know? I mean it kind of still — I feel like everybody that’s wrestling was like, ‘Oh! WWE,’ but then I kind of, as I was going, I fell in love with the craft and I saw Ring of Honor and I saw Japan, I saw STARDOM. I saw all these different places and I was like, ‘I wanna do everything…’ I can do that, and Ring of Honor, like I said, they were so welcoming and just being there, I just knew that I was happy there and I knew that I’d be happy in the long run as well and I feel like right now, I just — I wanna do so much in Ring of Honor before I do anything else and so, yeah. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.
During the Summer of 2020, Rok-C was one of many women in wrestling who shared their stories of harassment and/or abuse in wrestling. She admitted that it was difficult to share her story, but she thought about her younger sisters and how there are also wrestlers who are younger than her that she inspires and Rok-C felt it was not right to stay silent.
She went on to speak about the NWA EmPowerrr event and advocated for there to be more women of color and women in general in high-ranking positions in wrestling.
It was definitely hard [to speak out] but I kind of had to just think about it like, okay, I have younger sisters and I’ve met so many younger people in this business that are kind of like starting up but are younger than me and that are kind of inspired by me and I just felt that I wouldn’t be doing the right thing if I just kind of like stayed quiet knowing that these younger girls were coming in and could possibly deal with something like that. So yeah, but I’ve definitely seen a change. You know, we see with the Ring of Honor women’s division has started back up and Maria [Kanellis-Bennett] is in charge of that and that’s so amazing just because you never really see women in power in wrestling, and I think it’s so important for the women to have that because the [man’s] brain doesn’t work the way the woman’s brain works, you know? To kind of have that insight from a woman’s perspective is so different and I don’t think that many people kind of realize that but, we even have Mickie James and she just did NWA EmPowerrr which was amazing and it’s just so crazy to see all these things happen because like I said, for so many years, you just saw a load of male wrestlers and like three women’s wrestlers and then you saw all these [men] in power and you never saw a woman in power and I just think that wrestling, especially women’s wrestling is at the forefront right now and it’s on fire and so that just makes me so happy for the younger generations to come in and just do their thing.
On top of the ROH Women’s World Championship tournament final, in several weeks, Rok-C is defending her New Texas Pro Women’s Title against Killer Kelly.
Rok-C can be found on Twitter @TheRokC_ and on Instagram @_rokc. Our chat can be watched via the player at the top of this article or by heading over to the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.