Chelsea Green’s about-face into the world of professional wrestling surprised even her.
The 23-year-old Claremont Secondary School graduate was studying at the University of Calgary, pondering a degree in kinesiology and a career as a personal trainer, when wrestling began to emerge as an option.
“I didn’t even really know I was interested in this,” Green said from Calgary, where she is preparing for a paid, three-day tryout this month with World Wrestling Entertainment in Orlando, Florida.
“I just kind of started doing a little bit of research a couple of years ago about wrestling and about how people became WWE divas.”
Last January, she signed up at Calgary’s Storm Wrestling Academy, a well-established facility where many wrestlers get their start.
“I decided to give it a shot,” Green said.
“I just had a little bit of free time and I thought ‘Why not?’ ”
It was the first time Green, who has an extensive sports background, stepped in a wrestling ring.
“I played soccer and I ran track in high school, and I’ve danced my whole life. I was on the volleyball team and basketball team, too, but never in my life had I tried this sort of thing.”
Green said the co-ordination she gained from dance was especially helpful during her time at the academy, where she worked with professional wrestler and instructor Lance Storm.
“We trained for three months, five days a week, and then he kind of sits you down and tells you whether he thinks you can make it or not. He gave me the green light, obviously, and he kind of has been giving me a little bit of a push since then,” she said.
“If he thinks that you can make it, he’ll put your name out there to the WWE or some [independent] wrestling leagues.”
That’s just what happened for Green, who was contacted by the WWE after gaining attention on the Canadian circuit in Alberta, Manitoba and B.C.
She has already had a handful of minor appearances with the WWE, including a non-wrestling cameo in August as physiotherapist Megan Miller — a love interest of WWE star Daniel Bryan — at a major event in Oregon.
“There was something like five million people just in the States watching it,” Green said.
The show marked the birthday of WWE legend Hulk Hogan, who was in attendance.
“I was a bit starstruck, obviously,” she said. “He’s very huge.”
Green goes by Jaida on the Canadian wrestling circuit, something that will likely change if she makes the WWE.
“You just come up with a character and you have to put that character on. It grows as you get into the ring each time.”
But Green said she is nothing like the person she portrays in the ring.
“My character Jaida is really stuck up and … [as her] I’m always flinging my hair around, telling everybody that they’re not as good-looking as me.
“I’d like to think I don’t do that in person,” she said with a laugh.
While some detractors say professional wrestling is too staged and choreographed, Green said there is plenty of spontaneity in each match.
“We do have general storylines so that we can link each show. Each show is fluid and goes with the last show that we had.”
Wrestlers also have to be prepared and know what they’re doing when they land on their back or their head, she said.
“It’s terrifying until you start doing it.”