Riley Shepard Interview
Ring name: Riley Shepard
Date of birth: May 16, 1988
Weight: 145 lbs
Birth place: Howell, NJ, USA
Debut: December 2016
Trained by: My initial first 2 years of training was at The Monster Factory by NXT's Damian Priest and Danny Cage. I'm currently training at Team Adams Pro Wrestling Training Camp & Organizational Development by Damian Adams as well as Worldwide Dojo by Ring of Honor's Cheeseburger.
Finishers/ Signature Moves: My finisher is "Game over", a fireman's neckbreaker. My signature moves include fallaway slams, T-bone suplexes, round house kicks, and missile dropkicks.
- Thank you so much for your time, we are always delighted to be able to introduce
talents for the "Pro Wrestling Interview Series Tour 2020".
- When and how did you get into Pro wrestling?
I actually discovered pro wrestling very late in my life, when I was 25 years old. It was all because my boyfriend and his brother went to Wrestlemania 29 and didn't get me a ticket because they thought I wouldn't enjoy it. So I, almost spitefully, started watching NXT. This happened to be during the time that the 4 Horsewomen (Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and Bayley) were coming up through NXT. The moment when the crowd started chanting Becky's entrance music back to her when she lost her Takeover match against Sasha in 2015, I realized I needed to be a part of pro wrestling as more than just a fan. I reached out to Danny Cage to have a tryout at Monster Factory, and the rest is history.
- Did your family and friends support your decision or were they rather skeptical?
The boyfriend that I spoke about (who didn't invite me to Wrestlemania) is now my husband. Less than a year after we got married, I left my full time job as a police officer to train at The Monster Factory. And he has been absolutely nothing but supportive of my decision. I actually jokingly say to him that me becoming a pro wrestler is his fault, so he can't ever get mad at me about it (not that he ever does!) He makes all my graphics, videos, and my website rileyshepard.com.
I'm insanely lucky to have someone who is so encouraging my corner. My parents and the rest of my family took a bit longer to convince. Which is understandable considering pro wrestling was never in my household growing up so it was a foreign world to them and I had literally spent the last 10 years of my life working towards becoming a police officer. It was a bit of a swerve to them. My mom was also concerned that I would get badly injured when I first started training. But all of my immediate family and my in-laws have come to a few of my local matches since then, and have been very accepting of my choice.
- Can you still recall your first training sessions?
I recall my very first training session, my tryout at The Monster Factory. I watched them all train for most of the night, but got to get into the ring for the first time at the end of the night to take my first bumps. Danny Cage had a trainee demonstrate how to do a back bump, a front bump, a handstand bump, and a flip bump. When the trainee got to the flip bump, she reassured me that this one may be difficult, and to not worry about it if I didn't get it right away. After she did the front flip, I just went "Oh i can do that!" They didn't realize use to be a gymnast for 11 years. The moment I landed on my back from the flip bump (which knocked the wind completely out of me), I laid there for a second and a sense of being right where I needed to be filled me.
- And what was it like to wrestle in front of an live crowd for the first time? Were you nervous?
Of course I was nervous! haha
My first match was actually a 2-ring royal rumble called "Turkey Slam" at The MFPW. I remember I wore thrown together gear that I had bought off of Amazon and Victoria's Secret, and had no idea I was even going to be competing until a couple hours before the show began. My first singles match was a month later in December 2016 at The MFPW against Gabby Ortiz. This time I actually had gear that was made for me, though I looked a bit like Link from Zelda in it! Both times (and still to this day) I definitely had butterflies in my stomach. But I took a few deep breaths before walking through the curtain, and when I stepped through them the adrenaline took over. Hearing people cheer my name for the first time was exhilarating.
- Do you have a ‚dream opponent‘ you want to fight above all others?
I don't have a dream opponent above all others. I have quite a few bucket list people though, including Kimber Lee, Nyla Rose, Lufisto, Kris Statlander, Asuka, and Becky Lynch.
- Do you have Pro Wrestling idols, maybe people who have influenced your in-ring style? Or Childhood heroes?
I think I take some of my style from Becky Lynch and Bayley. But other than that, I try to just learn as many styles as I can from a ton of different people.
- On Facebook i see you with an championship belt, which one is it?
I am currently the Rogue Women Warriors World Champion (for Atomic Championship Wrestling in Pennsylvania, USA). The only other championship I have held was as the first ever New York Championship Wrestling Women's Champion which I unfortunately had to vacate due to my ACL and MCL injury. But I'm coming for that shiney again, as well as all the other ones!!
- Wrestling Fans loves funny or thrilling road stories. Do you have one for us you can share?
A few months ago, I was driving from upstate NY to NJ with the Stepdads (a tag team in the tri-state area) coming back from New York Championship Wrestling and we got hit with a blizzard. It was precarious and ended up doubling our travel time, but we got to share childhood stories and wrestling stories in the wee hours of the morning because of it.
- When a booker or company from your Country or around the world will book you where can they contact you?
The best way to reach out to me for bookings is via email, email@example.com. All of my contact information can be found on rileyshepard.com as well.
- Thank you very much for your time, do you have some words for your fans?
I'm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @TheRileyShepard. And if you ever see me at an event, please come say hi! I'm always happy to chat or take pictures. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy everyone!