If you ask this writer, there’s little doubt that Nicole Matthews will go down as one of Canada’s greatest professional wrestlers. When looking at the pantheon of all-time greats to come from above the 49th parallel, there are few names on that list that have impacted the countries wrestling scene as much as The Shimmertaker. Nearly every professional wrestler in the Pacific Northwest has recognized her as a fundamental influence on their careers, including some of the biggest names in Canadian wrestling today.
As part of our upcoming interview, I asked Nicole about being recognized as such a major influence on Canadian professional wrestling.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Matthews began. “It’s cool, like I am flattered. [It] makes you feel a little old sometimes. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. It’s really cool. Especially, you know, with Spinelli, I was really young still when she was training, so like I don’t think – I know she’s very complimentary towards me when I get brought up, but like I don’t think I really trained her. I was just kind of there when she was training full out, and same with Chelsea. Like, Chelsea’s Chelsea. She did her own bit. The hustler to the extreme, right? She had great training with Storm, obviously. But I’m glad that she thinks that I helped her out in the beginning. That’s really nice to hear. Voros, yeah, I was there since the beginning for them, and I’m really proud of them and how good they are. Yeah, it’s really flattering. It’s weird, because yesterday I was just training with Voros and Travis. And it was – Travis Williams. Sorry, I shouldn’t just say one name. Travis Williams. And it was just weird because I was like, ‘what else?’ Like, I don’t know, they’re just so good at this point. I don’t know what else we can do, but they still all come to training all the time and still want to learn. Yeah, it’s pretty flattering to hear that though, for sure.”
While Canadians are well-versed in just how good Nicole Matthews is, many regard her as one of pro wrestling’s most underrated or under-appreciated talents. While many have advocated for the former ECCW Champion to sign with a major promotion, she says she’s more than satisfied with her wrestling career in the Pacific Northwest.
“I am very flattered by it,” Matthews comments. “Maybe when I was younger I would have been not upset at that but like – no, I don’t know. I always say that your happiness and your mental health and all that you have to put before perceived success. For me, the success I’ve had in wrestling [is] being able to stay in Vancouver, have a full-time job with a pension and all that jazz, all that nice, good, grown-up shit, go to school, meet the love of my life, like have great friends and be able to train like as much as I do and like run a training facility. I wouldn’t have been able to do that part of it if I was in WWE or AEW or whatever if I was like, a working wrestler in the States or, not that there’s many in Canada, but sure, let’s say Canada as well. So it’s just about balance, right? Because like when I’m done wrestling, I can probably still train people, and I’ll still have everything else I just mentioned in my life there. Right? But, if you dedicate everything to wrestling, which is admirable when people do for sure, then that’s all they kind of have at the end of the day, right, and it’s like, where do you go from there?”
As she continued, Matthews highlighted a point that, frankly, isn’t made enough in professional wrestling: it’s fine to have different goals in the business!
“For me, wrestling has always been a passion. I don’t want to become bitter towards wrestling, and I fear that if I were, if I had pursued it as a career, and put all my eggs in that basket, and ended up in a position I wasn’t happy in, I would have been really bitter towards it,” she laughs. “And like, I love it too much! Like, I would hate to be bitter towards it! I just think everyone comes into wrestling with different goals, and I think everyone should not listen to what other people’s goals are and like figure out what you want to do in wrestling and then go from there. Go to WWE? That’s awesome. And there’s like so many! AEW, you know, the big time, like working full time in a company. There are so many people’s examples to follow. Chelsea Green is a great example of how you kind of hustle toward that goal, and she did great at that. I just wouldn’t have been able to deal with – I don’t know, I wouldn’t have been happy dealing with that, or dealing with bullshit to get to the success point.”
“I’m very happy in life right now,” she finishes, “so I don’t know. I’m flattered when people say that, but I’m also totally okay being the wrestler I am and having the life I do because I have a very good life and I’m very blessed.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.