Home ARTICLES Nicole Matthews on Becoming ECCW Heavyweight Champion

Nicole Matthews on Becoming ECCW Heavyweight Champion

by Spencer Love

Just over a year ago, Tessa Blanchard became the first woman to carry the Heavyweight title of a major promotion in winning the IMPACT World Championship. However, while the win was certainly monumental by any standard, Blanchard wasn’t the first woman to carry a heavyweight championship by any means. In 2014, Nicole Matthews won her first of three ECCW Heavyweight Championships, defeating Bishop at that year’s edition of the All or Nothing event. Since then, Matthews has gone on to carry the title for a full calendar year between her three reigns.

As one of the first notable women to hold a traditionally male championship, I had to ask Matthews about her experience carrying ECCW’s top title.

“You know, for me, the whole thing with Bishop I was just trying to figure out something interesting to do,” Matthews began. “I pitched it because in my head, what it was going to be and what the intention was was for me to win it with no one predicting I’d win it and then lose it a month later and then go back to doing what I was doing. I was with The Riott at the time doing the tag team stuff for the most part or whatnot, right? So I really didn’t have any – like, I had an intention on carrying it, I had no intention on being like a main eventer for a long time, which ended up happening. I ended up being in the main, like, main-eventing quite a bit. I wanted people to be like ‘whoa, what the fuck! What just happened here?’ I just thought it’d be cool kinda like media pop.”

“Pop a crowd for lack of a better way to put it?” I interjected.

“Exactly, exactly right,” she affirmed. “It was a challenge for me because, at that point, I was babyface. Which is not, like I said, it’s like not necessarily my comfort zone. I really like being a babyface on some levels. But at the time, I never been a main event babyface or like – I’d been a main event heel for Shimmer at that point, but not a main event babyface. So it was like a really good challenge for me as a performer, because it’s just a different type of pace and a different type of feel than like the midcard stuff I’m used to. So yeah, I just saw it as a challenge. Like, I don’t know, it’s fake fighting at the end of the day, right? I don’t like to be like ‘oh, I’m a champion, blah blah blah,’ like, someone let me have a title. And like, not to take it – I just like, I like looking at it as a performer for my own selfish reasons. And it was a really good challenge for me, I had a ton the fun doing it, and Bishop is an amazing person to do that with. Because he’s, like – we always talk about the different types of pacing. And like when I say midcard stuff, I like the midcard-paced matches. That’s my comfort zone is – main event you have to be a little more epic, you have to be a little more dramatic, right? And that’s like, not my specialty. But Bishop is like, amazing at that, so I’d just follow his lead.”

“It was a really good opportunity for me to do that, and [Bishop is] a great person to do it with,” she concludes. “So, yeah. It was – I was happy that the company was cool with me doing it, and they took on that idea and they were awesome about it. So I guess it was complimentary in that way. But like you know, by then I had – I was starting to train people by them. I was kind of like one of the people who had been wrestling the longest in the locker room at that point. So it wasn’t – I don’t know. I’ve always been very lucky in the Vancouver area to not have to fight for everything as a woman. It was just like I was a respected wrestler at that point getting an opportunity, though, which was great. I always kind of feel bad, though, because I know like other women have to fight tooth and nail for those opportunities and I was just like, ‘oh, put me in coach,’ and they did!”

Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.

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