One of Ireland's best wrestlers will be competing in Japan's leading female promotion, as Session Moth Martina announced that she will be wrestling for Stardom this coming April, making her the first woman from this country to do so since WWE's Becky Lynch.
Is it bants to grind in Japan? In all seriousness, it's an actual dream come true to announce I'm off to Japan in April to wrestle with Stardom for a few months! time for me to go to the other side of the world to "ruin wrestling" #seshmothworldwide 🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵 https://t.co/olJf5pfjeC
— Session Moth Martina (@mothfromdaflats) February 21, 2018
Martina, whose real name is Karen Glennon, has seen her stock rise steadily over the past year, to the point where she isn't just a staple in the Irish scene, but across the UK and Europe too. She spoke to Balls about her brilliant rise just a couple of weeks ago, but now she's laid waste to yet another milestone. She says she didn't see the offer coming at all. "I was completely shocked," she tells us,
It's always been something I dreamed about since I started wrestling, long before Martina ever became a thing, and even with all my success, I am still in the stage where I find myself shocked to be working every weekend and with some of the biggest companies in Europe. That was my first goal of last year, to mark off all the top promotions, but even as I did that, I never expected it to travel as far as Japan, for the biggest women's promotion over there. I still think I'm in shock, even though I've known a while now, it doesn't feel real.
Before spending a few months wrestling in Japan she is also working shows in America, but she maintains that full-time wrestling abroad is not something she necessarily wants to do right now. Although you suspect it would be a dream of hers to make it to the very top, she's keeping her feet on the ground and taking every step as it comes.
I really love the independent scene right now, all my friends are a part of it, it's my life, I really enjoy what I do, but the chance to go to Japan doesn't come everyday. It's something I've wanted for years, so as much as I'll miss my regular shows while I'm gone, I know I'm doing something no other Irish girl has done.
This is possibly the biggest step I can take in my career. This was my personal biggest achievement and where I always wanted to end up. So I guess after it, I'm hoping to return and continue working for my favourite promotions and hope it can continue as it has.
The Japanese scene has been known for turning talented young athletes into well-rounded performers, such as Bray native Fergal Devitt, who performs under the pseudonym Finn Balór in WWE. Himself, Sheamus and Becky Lynch are the leading lights in terms of mainstream Irish wrestlers, but there's a growing pool of Irish talent bubbling under the surface.
Joey Cabray, Karen's trainer and the first person she told about the news, founded his own wrestling promotion in 2014 after being released by WWE. Over The Top Wrestling has catapulted the sport in this country to a new level, but it has also helped to cultivate the latest breed of skilled entertainers. Jordan Devlin, the OTT champion, for instance, took part in the WWE's tournament to crown a United Kingdom Champion last year and went on to appear in several live shows thereafter. We could very well be in the midst of a golden era of Irish wrestling.
Myself and Jordan Devlin have been extremely lucky this year and last, getting to travel so much to do what we love. It's a great time to be a part of wrestling, and with OTT bringing out the best talent with OTT Contenders (a series of shows that gives up-and-coming talent a platform to perform on), its a great time to be a part of it.
The way things are going, Session Moth Martina might have many more compatriots making waves abroad.
Updated: A previous version of this article claimed that Session Moth Martina was the first Irishwoman to wrestle in Japan.