Perth-based professional wrestler Michelle Hasluck admits she used to take some “stupid risks” when she started out as a teenager.
“I’d tell people just to hit me as hard as they wanted and stuff like that,” she told Mamamia. “Or I’d jump off the top turnbuckle onto guard rails. You can’t calculate the risk very well when you’re relying on a piece of furniture. It might break, it might not break, it might break in a really bad way.”
Hasluck believes she’s been lucky not to have had too many serious injuries in her 13-year career. She’s had concussion, a broken wrist, fractured vertebrae and bleeding on the brain.
But since becoming a mum to four-year-old Lara and 18-month-old Aria, she thinks more about her own wellbeing.
“I’ve got them when I finish the wrestling show,” she says. “I can’t be in a position where I’ve got a concussion or broken a bone. It’s just being a bit smarter about what you do.”
Hasluck has wanted to be a professional wrestler since she was seven years old, when she used to watch wrestling with her mum and grandfather.
“I saw these women on TV and they were strong and they had awesome characters and they came out to fireworks,” she remembers.
Hasluck trained with men and now wrestles men and women. Credit: Pix Photography
At the end of Year 12, she started training with Explosive Pro Wrestling in Perth. Because she was their only female wrestler, she trained with the men. Training was tough.
"I'm not naturally athletic or sporty and I was in a class of really talented guys," she says. "They push everyone when you first start, to see if they can break you. Heaps of bumps, rolls, cardio. And, like a lot of male-dominated areas, you get smartass comments about being a woman. But it never shook me, because this was all I wanted from being a little girl and I wanted to prove that a girl could hang with the boys."
Hasluck has wrestled all around Australia, against both women and men. Last year, she took part in Australia's first Lego Deathmatch. There was Lego scattered around the ring, and she and her male opponent hit each other with a steel chair and a piece of wood covered with Lego.
She insists that wrestling in a ring full of Lego isn't as painful as stepping on one piece.
"The more Lego there is, actually, the less painful it is," she explains. “Also, you’ve got a really high amount of adrenaline when you’re wrestling, so you actually feel really, really good, and really, really euphoric after a wrestling show.