I have always preferred tag team wrestling. When pressed, I point to CHIKARA’s stance that more colors make for a better painting, but though this appeal to authority has spared me from a lot of tired debate, my feelings are not so neat and concise.
If wrestling was a legitimate “sport”, then we would have standings, rulebooks. We would have regulatory committees. Or rather, we would insist on such things. But they’re aren’t, and we don’t. Wrestling is performance, wrestling it is art–strange, wondrous, athletic, violent, witty, and transformative in ways college drama professors pine for when they decry the digital age.
A good tag team match can embody the compelling joy of in-ring storytelling–The Blossom Twins, Lucy and Kelly (Hannah and Holly to the denizens of kayfabe) have a lot of good tag team matches.
To say they are positive for children is limiting and misleading–by having characters and a wrestling style accessible to little girls, The Blossom Twins are in turn “positive” to grown men, encouraging us as a community to let wrestling be a home for imagination and unironic, uncynical love for fiction-in-motion.
Femmezuigiri is, to unite our vernacular, “hella chuffed” to have gotten this chance to chat with the Blossom Twins.
Media, and perhaps society as a whole by extension, is quite hung the hell up on twins. On the screen, twins are portrayed as creepy, inhuman and overly sexualized. Wrestling often takes this a step further–many twin tag teams are booked as incompetent tricksters, relying on the cheap heat of “twin magic”. And sometimes they’re not even twins! It’s just two dudes who look alike that got the same haircut. Was it a struggle for you to maintain an identity, as individual performers and as a team? Did you ever feel pressure to “up the sex factor” of your twin status for wrestling audiences?
Lucy: Hmm, I never really thought about maintaining my identity. We are slightly naïve to a lot of things like that and pretty much just bounce along in our daily lives. Especially when we were wrestling, we didn’t think too much about what people thought about us. We’ve always been twins and don’t know any different and we absolutely love being twins, so people can take us or leave us, it makes no difference to us. Wrestling plus the sex factor…ugh!!!
Is it just us that gets irked by how everything these days needs to have some sort of sex factor? It’s funny though as the last two years or so we were wrestling, we got told numerous times that we needed to act less like 10 year olds and more like women. We used to get so mad because we just wanted to be us.
We wanted kids to be able to watch us and relate in some way to us. We thought if kids wanted to wear our ring gear or dress like us, they could without their parents worrying that their skirt is too short or the tops barely there.
We didn’t so much feel pressure, though, I remember doing different photo-shoots at the time to show that we could be more ‘diva’ esque. Looking back, even though we had fun stepping out of our comfort zones and being creative with the girls on those shoots (thank you Kayleigh and Abi) I wish we would have stuck to our guns a little more.The same goes for “bikini battle royals”–I wish I had the guts to have simply said no. They were always terribly awkward and we hated them with a passion. It’s not our thing. We just wanted to wrestle.
Kelly: Haha, “upping the sex factor” for wrestling audiences was never something me and Lucy were very good at, quite simply because we didn’t want to. We work with kids and have always had them in the back of our minds.
We wanted to be role models and show them we could wear pink and be girly, but go out and fight like superheroes. Any time we had to do things to be considered “sexy” was just awkward, especially if it involved trying to wrestle while doing so.
Now don’t get me wrong, we still enjoyed getting made up by the professionals at TNA and getting to feel a bit glamorous for TV, but at the end of the day, you can put as much make up on me as you want but I’m still going to act like the kid who wanted to grow up, wear spandex and be thrown around a ring for a living!
How did teaming with someone you’ve literally known your whole life make your in-ring communication different from other teams you’ve worked with, if at all? Do you ever something funny stuck in your head and have to try to not think about it or laugh during the match?
Lucy: We would have to say that we guess other teams don’t quite gel together as much as we do. We haven’t worked with another tag team who have always and primarily been a tag team before, so we would say we differ in that we click together 110% and are usually always on the same page. We get what each other wants from a story or match and know what’s best for the team and how we fit.
We think it was hard for a lot of people to hear us talk in wrestling because we talk 100 miles per hour anyway, but add that to us being incredibly passionate about wrestling and it’s rather difficult. We think our twin language definitely came out when it came to talking about a match or storyline.
Kelly: As far as in the ring goes, we were always very focused on what we had to do, so we rarely tried to make each other laugh, though if there was a time when we were feeling more laid back we would sing the “Wizard Rap” from Workaholics to each other to calm each other down! Little odd but we love that show!
If the 90’s taught me anything about wrestling, is that it doesn’t pay. We’ve had wrestling race car drivers, garbage collectors, clowns, dentists; but so few culinary gimmicks! Do you have any memories or stories of big, macho manly man wrestlers just going bugnuts over sugar baked goodness?
Lucy: Haha, we love this question because of course we have tons of memories and stories that involve wrestlers and cupcakes. In fact, we have actually spent the past two years writing a cookbook that combines these stories with the recipes. It is a dream of ours to get it published one day–so stay tuned!
Kelly: Funnily enough our love of cupcakes actually grew when we first came over to the states and that was exactly because “big, macho manly man wrestlers” went “bugnuts over sugar baked” goodies.
Where does baking fall into your personal identity as feminine women? To prove this isn’t a loaded question: baking is important to me, as an adult, because I didn’t get to live that “baking pies with Mama” American girlhood. It’s very healing, and empowering for me, that sort of maternal “provider” space you get in when you give a friend a slice of home-baked pound cake. Is baking, for you, reclaiming this idea of where a woman’s place is–since you used to make a living kicking other girls in the chest–or is it sort of following suit with your ideas of what femininity looks like?
Lucy: I never really thought about it like that. We grew up cooking with our Grandparents and always loved being in the kitchen, so we kind of laugh at the stereotypes or when people say “women belong in the kitchen” to me it’s not really offensive. I love being in the kitchen and I do love the feeling of making something fresh and passing it on to family and friends, it’s the best!
Furthermore, in our family it’s our Grandad who absolutely adores being in the kitchen, he would spend every minute in there if he could, so I don’t necessarily see it as being a feminine thing.
We love being in the kitchen and baking or cooking to make people happy so that’s why we do it. With Italian grandparents, food is everything.
Kelly: Like Lucy said, it’s our Grandad who will sit and talk to us about cooking and what he wants to make next in the kitchen 24/7, so we don’t really think of it as a feminine thing to do. Like a lot of things in life, I think its one of those things people say or try to put a label on to be controversial.
Wrestling is reaping a rapid expansion in the UK and Europe. It’s always been popular there, really–I remember living in Germany and watching WWF pay per views through a pirated Sky card. A lot of American wrestling is grounded in nationalism, even today. How does UK wrestling culture differ from American wrestling culture, in your experience?
Both: We feel like we have been away from British wrestling for so long now, it’s crazy. So we find it hard to compare cultures. Especially now that we have been away from even the American culture of wrestling for a little while–it’s hard to make comparisons. We think wrestling fans do like to support their own, but these days it seems people get excited to see wrestlers from other countries too.
And it’s all just eggs, flour, fruit, sugar, some spices, really; agricultural practices have, for better or worse, rendered the notion of “in season, out of season” to the periphery. And still: we have very set ideas of what’s appropriate to bake in the fall, and in the winter, and in the spring. Do you think this is just tradition, or do we sort of invest emotions and ideas into baking that give us these ideas of appropriateness?
Both: We absolutely think that people invest emotions and memories into baking! We think it kind of starts with tradition but then you become invested into how it makes you feel.
For instance, we immediately think of all things Gingerbread when Christmas rolls around. It makes us happy and excited and adds another element of joy to the holidays.
We are big believers in food bringing people together and creating the best memories.
I feel we have demonstrated an acute sensitivity and appreciation for each other’s cultures so far in this interview. That said: do you miss biscuits and tea and pub food when you travel in North America? Have you ever walked into a pub here in the States and felt “Jesus, this is an affronting caricature”?
Lucy: Since we have been in America longer now and don’t get to go home as often as we used to. We of course miss EVERYTHING British. However, we happen to have the best Mum in the world and often get sent tons of goodies. I think I have enough Tetley’s tea bags to last till Christmas. And as far as British themed pubs in the USA, we have tried the odd one and had fish and chips here and there, but nothing comes close to our local chippy or the pubs back home.
Kelly: Ditto! To put it simply nothing beats a good cup of tea and fish and chips from our local chippy back home!
Do you get less satisfaction out of singles wrestling? Not trying to drive a wedge between you. As a bass player, I’d say Jesse F. Keeler or Tina Weymouth are my inspirations–music doesn’t offer much in the way of “versus” competition, and so I guess for me my ideal scenario of emulation, aside from stealing their spots in their respective bands, would be to play with them. You were inspired by the Hardy Boyz; do you want to fight them? How do role models work in wrestling? Who are the “Edge & Christian” of your careers?
Lucy: Singles wrestling was always fun. It was cool to be able to show a different side of us and what we were capable of. We both have slightly different wrestling styles so I did enjoy getting to do that. However, we dreamed of being a tag team since we were 12 and studied and studied tag team wrestling, its truly what we are passionate about. Our trainer Rip Rogers would make us so excited when he used to teach us tag stuff. He just gets it, and understands like no other–it was so awesome to learn that stuff from him.
As far as the Hardys go, we always wanted to team up with them. We loved their style, we loved how they kicked butt and we just wanted to emulate them. I think we loved so much that they were brothers living there dreams together that we wanted to be sisters living our dreams together!
Kelly: I always enjoyed being a Tag Team more, just because I felt more confident when we were in the ring together. I didn’t mind the occasional singles match but I hated having to make an entrance on my own.
As far as the Hardyz go, we always wanted to team up with them, but then with the women we admired I guess it’s more of a career highlight to actually wrestle them. We were lucky enough to get to wrestle Mickie James in our career and absolutely love her. We always thought it would be awesome to wrestle the team of Trish Stratus and Beth Phoenix. They could be our “dream” Edge and Christian.
Women wrestlers get so few opportunities for violent gimmick matches (I mean, aside from the gendered violence of “Bra and Panties”-type striptease contests). Tag team wrestling has a storied past of TLCs, cage matches, “put guys in a box” type contests–do you think women’s tag wrestling needs to rise to that level of risk to be taken seriously? Is it enough of a struggle to be booked as a legitimate grappler, as a woman, without setting yourself on fire wrapped in barbed wire?
Lucy: I’m going to be honest, I don’t look at it like there’s “women’s wrestling” and “men’s wrestling”. I was 12 and dreamed of wrestling Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania, to put in perspective how my brain works!
I understand that yes there is “women’s” wrestling and yes, theres ‘men’s wrestling, but technically “wrestling” itself is just one sport. There’s not a separate school for women’s wrestling and men’s’ wrestling. Math is math, wrestling is wrestling. It’s all the same psychology, we should all be aiming to make art and tell great stories.
My biggest pet peeve in wrestling was when we would travel on the indys and do all girls shows–I hated hearing “we’re going to wrestle like guys” or “we’re going to show the guys that we are just as tough”, then I would see girls beating the crap out of each other or i’d actually have girls pull my hair legitimately.
Wrestling is an art, the best of the best “guy” wrestlers do not go out their and beat the crap out of each other. I want to be like Macho Man Randy Savage, not because I want to prove girls are tough or that girls can wrestle, but because he was simply the best wrestler, entertainer, most awesome person ever. Does that make sense?So as far as girls needing to be in or getting the opportunity to be a part of gimmick matches, I don’t believe anyone needs to prove themselves through barbed wire matches.
We took part in a ladder match which made sense to a storyline and was a lot of fun. I loved it, but I’m not about to go through a table just to prove I’m tough. And women’s tag teams in general, they need to first just learn what tag team wrestling is, the rules, how to do them right and actually have proper tag team matches like The Rockers and The Hart foundation, that would be a good start! (That goes for guys too.)
Kelly: Personally, I don’t think violent gimmick matches prove anyone is a “wrestler”, regardless of gender. I understand that they can be used to help a storyline go further etc but I don’t think having one proves anything other than you are a tough person who has a high pain threshold. I enjoyed having our ladder match in OVW because it helped a story progress and, growing up huge Hardy Boyz fans, it was obviously very cool to tick off the list.
With that being said, I wouldn’t want to have a ladder thrown at me every time I wrestled in order to supposedly prove something. I think the best way women can be accepted is by watching old tapes, learning from the best people and telling the best stories.
How do you handle holiday gift exchanges? Is it hard to keep a secret from one another?
Lucy: There’s always at least one present that I get for her that she ends up knowing before the holiday. We’re not very good at keeping secrets from each other.
Kelly: We are terrible at keeping secrets from each other. I’m trying to think of a time where we haven’t actually spilt the beans on a gift.
Our husbands are very good with how close we are. I recently moved back to Kentucky after me and my husband spent 8 months in Florida– he soon found out that life wasn’t going to be much fun with me being so far away from Lucy.
Cupcakes: can they be stopped
Lucy: Nope! We love them and they are constantly evolving and people are forever coming up with new and improved creative recipes!
Kelly: Haha I hope not! They are fun and make people smile, what’s not to love!?
Do you think you’ll see regular intergender competition, and on the multi-national media level, in your lifetime? I guess I should have prefaced this with “Do you think intergender wrestling is good?” Wrestling promotions as a whole have trouble (or disinterest in) maintaining a separate women’s tag division. Should tag teams be open to intergender competition by default to compensate this?
Lucy: This might sound harsh, but I think the reason tag team wrestling suffers these days is because, in a way, no one dreams of sharing the spotlight–I think that is more apparent in women’s’ tag teams. If we are talking women, I feel that most women want to take center stage and find it hard or just don’t want to be in competition with a partner.
I’m going to be bold and say that Kelly and I are a little different. We cared about our tag team, we cared about each other, we weren’t in competition with each other. We wanted success for the both of us.
Even when it came down to how we were going to split up, we got very stubborn and didn’t want to do it anyway but how we dreamed it and we wanted to do it in a way that we both loved, not where one was going to be left in the dust.
We weren’t, and still aren’t, about outshining each other. That’s why our tag team worked. Wrestling promotions struggle with tag team divisions because there just isn’t that many tag teams out there. We would love to see more intergender stuff out there as our favourite opponents have been some of the guys we’ve trained with. Those matches are tricky and do have to be done right though.
Kelly: Lucy covered a lot of how I feel in her answer but I will say, I think promoters struggle with women tag teams because there aren’t that many out there, or because they think it’s easier to just book 2 women and have a singles match than it is to book 4 women.
It is a shame, as I would love to see more people out there devoted to tag team wrestling–its something we are very passionate about. I absolutely love watching The Usos at the moment because they are everything a tag team should be. Maybe their twin connection helps them too, because like Lucy mentioned before tag teams are about being a team not about outshining one another.
Describe to me your ideal “You got in the ring and all you got was beat up by The Blossom Twins” consolation cake. What kind of frosting/icing would you spell that with?
Both: We would have to go with the most colourful , bright, cute cream cheese frosting (our favorite), covered in sprinkles of every kind and colour, to show that we just kicked your butt and had the most fun doing it!