Our next selection for our “good half year” series isn’t someone who has won a major title this year, nor is she someone who is particularly well known in the wider wrestling world (yet) – but looking objectively about who has come really far in the first half of 2013, you really can’t deny that Heidi Lovelace has had a cracking six months. When we talked to her for a Fight Like A Girl show back in April, our first question was to ask her how excited she was about her wrestling life in 2013 on a scale of 1-10. Her reply? “Probably about a 15!”. Quite so – and things have gotten even more interesting since then. Let’s take a look at 2013 for Heidi Lovelace.
Heidi started 2013 already working regularly in Ohio Valley Wrestling and had already racked up a short run with the OVW Women’s Championship in the latter half of 2012. She’d even had her first couple of trips to Florida to appear for SHINE Wrestling and had a shot on the SHIMMER pre-show – so the pieces were there, they just needed to fit together – and that’s exactly what happened this year. In her own words, “Since 2013 started I’ve had all these incredible opportunities, and a lot of people take an interest in me and my career and what I’m all about. It’s very exciting.”
As far as “incredible opportunities” go this year, I’ve watched Heidi Lovelace go into two of the biggest matches of her career this year, and each time turn polite applause into genuinely appreciative ovations by the end of the match – once for Chikara in the Tag World Grand Prix (of which we’ll talk more in a moment), and once at National Pro-Wrestling Day in February. At NPWD she teamed with Devin Bliss against “The League” of Tripp Cassidy and Reed Bentley in a match presented by Wrestling Is Heart (the newly renamed School of Roc). It was the first match of the Evening Show, her partner was a last minute replacement in one of his first pro matches, it was in front of a crowd that didn’t know her – but Heidi made herself a star that night. She took an absolute beating from The League, wrestling the vast majority of the match herself and hitting a few hope spots here and there. Given the “Wrestling Is Heart” moniker, this match was *all* heart – and by the end, the fans were standing in appreciation. People cared. At Chikara in May, she and her partner Saturyne found themselves in an intergender match with Arik Cannon & Darin Corbin in the first round of the Tag World Grand Prix. Initially reticent to strike the women, the guys tried chain wrestling – and even slow motion wrestling (Lovelace worked a great sequence with Corbin) – before it broke down into a fantastic finishing sequence full of believable near falls from both sides. After the match, Corbin & Cannon showed respect for the women, as did the crowd. Mission accomplished. Hearts and minds won.
Opportunities have also been forthcoming for Heidi this year for St Louis Anarchy (where she actually teamed with one half of The League, Reed Bentley), Absolute Intense Wrestling (where she continues to play a heel role as part of “The Social Network”) and AAW in particular, which Heidi describes as “one of my favourite places to be” – and has given her the chance to get in the ring this year with the likes of MsChif, Miss Natural and more. SHINE too has offered more dates, giving her a chance to work in SHINE 7 and SHINE 10 this year so far – and she graduated from the SHIMMER pre-show to the main card on Vol 55, teaming with Santana Garrett against Jessicka Havok & Sassy Stephie.
Not bad right? We haven’t even talked yet about Heidi’s role in OVW this year yet. Heidi’s been part of one of the most interesting long term angles in OVW’s women’s division in years (we’ve talked about it on a number of Roundups, here, here, here and here) – and more to the point, she’s been the heart and soul of the angle, giving her (as a performer) a chance to do something different – to show more personality, to cut promos and to make people care without even having to take a bump. While Heidi has professed her love for fellow competitor Taeler Hendrix, after some will they/won’t they, it’s now clear that the heel Taeler is using Heidi’s declaration of love as a way to control her, playing along – to some degree – to her face, but sniggering (along with her buddy Nikki St John) behind her back. The week to week episodic television-based storytelling is something that so few women really get to experience these days (WWE/TNA go through phases of caring and phases of not, and the big female indy promotions run 2/3 times a year rather than every week in the same venue), and it’s allowing Heidi to add another string to her bow. The good news is that it’s working too – Hendrix & St John make great “mean girls”, to the point where you can’t help but feel sympathy for the deluded/blinded by love Heidi. When she eventually gets her heart broken and sees through Taeler’s games, the shit, as they say, will be ON! And that’s Wrestling 101 really. Find a sympathetic babyface, have a heel do something nasty to them, ramp up those feelings to eleven, then pay your money to see the babyface get their righteous vengeance. We know it’s coming, and we just can’t wait.
I’ve always felt one of the unwritten jobs of a website like this is not only to cover the big stars and stories, whether that be WWE, TNA, Japan or the top line indy talent – but also to pick out and shine a spotlight on the next generation of promising stars, and it was with that in mind that I approached Heidi for that Fight Like A Girl interview a few months back, and why, when considering our picks for this “good half year” series, we realised that she ticks all the boxes we could possibly ask for. The in-ring side of things has clicked for her this year especially, giving her standout performances at two of the most high profile matches of her career, she’s actively expanding her horizons working more places than ever, and she’s learning a whole different side to the job being the emotional core of the most newsworthy women’s angle of the year in OVW. Congratulations on an amazingly productive six months. Keep it up!
— Stew Allen
— Photography by 911 Wrestling, Wrestlin Wally, Pamela Barnett & Liam O’Donnell