Angel Orsini Co-founder of the Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame
By James Walsh
Angel Orsini was the first woman ever put through a flaming table in ECW. Riptide the Prodigette herself joins the Wrestling Epicenter for the first time in 16 years to discuss her involvement with the Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame www.womenswrestlinghalloffame.com and documentary “Circle of Champions” (the history of women’s wrestling) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6065506/ she’s directing with international award winning filmmaker Christopher Annino https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0030399/
Also, Angel’s project, the Women’s Wrestling documentary, is looking for help with funding. If you can help out, check out their GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/womens-wrestling-documentary?utm_medium=email&utm_source=product&utm_campaign=p_email%2B3201-24hr-reminder-v5&fbclid=IwAR2BYiODp2nY5qeJhUYqm0epdOpnpgtUl4KNLsDiUFD_rtoHkelAwWugMqM and help make this project a reality!
Angel’s pro wrestling career has spanned almost three decades and she has captured a plethora of championships including Florida Championship wrestling’s women’s title. She was trained by Liz Chase and Dusty Rhodes.
For the first time ever in Angel Orsini’s career she has officially won three titles this year. She was the first ever Spartan Championship Wrestling’s women’s champion, the Funhouse championship wrestling women’s champion, and as a member of the ECW inspired the Pitbull’s mad dogs of war, she was the first ever six-person tag team champion. The tag team was formed by ECW original Gary Wolf aka Pitbull number 1. The pro wrestling faction consists of ECW originals Mustafa, Rodney Mack, AEW dark Christina Marie, Pitbull number 3 the intimidator, original GLOW girl Jeanne Hollywood Basone, the Amazon slayer Sonya Payne, Nadia Steele.
She won the NPC bodybuilding championship in Florida and competed in mixed martial arts. She has a master’s degree from Rutgers University, and is also the co-founder of the New England Music Hall of Fame www.nemhof.com Both her and her longtime friend Joy Nash have begun a business called Elevated Living and they will officially be launching within the next year.
The purpose of the organization is to preserve the historic integrity of women’s wrestling both professional and amateur. The women’s wrestling hall of fame inaugural class include first ever women’s champion, Cora Livingston who was crowned champion September 7, 1910, former NWA champion Mildred Burke, WWE Inductee Madusa, WWE hall of fame inductee Luna Vachon, former NWA tag team champions Toni Rose and Donna Christanello, NWA Hall of fame inductee Susan “Tex” Green, former WWE/ NWA champion Carlene “Jazz” Begnaud, Rita Marie Chatterton, the first woman referee in WWF/E. In addition, Iryna Merleni, who won a gold medal in freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and GLOW will be honored for being a groundbreaking all female TV show and promotion. The Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame only recognizes the following individuals to represent this induction: original GLOW girl Jeanne “Hollywood” Basone, writer Steve Balance, African American GLOW pioneer Norniece “Justice” Norment, Lori Weathers (Ninotchka), Beckie Mullen aka Sally the famers daughter and Ursula Hayden (Babe the Famers Daughter), creator David McLane and they are posthumously inducting Emily Dole aka “Mountain Fiji”.
Q: On where the idea for the Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame came from:
Angel: “Well, in all seriousness, I have been wrestling now for 26 years. I have met some truly amazing women over those years and I would not be the same woman that I am today if it wasn’t for those women and hearing their stories. It strengthened me and encouraged me. Their story is so important! I can’t stress how important their story is! I thought, in 2022 going into 2023, I thought we might be a little bit further in some ways when it comes to women’s place in society and how we’re valued and our level of equality. Unfortunately, in some ways, we’re not up to my expectations. But, in wrestling, women have come a long way! Women have contributed a lot of blood, a lot of sweat, and a lot of tears! There has been a lot of sacrifice… Pain! All to get women’s wrestling where it is. And I thought I want to make sure these women’s stories are preserved. That’s just it! It is a way to get society, maybe even mainstream society, to kind of take a closer look at women’s wrestling and women’s wrestling history because women’s wrestling history is a part of women’s history.”
Q: On how different women’s wrestling is today versus when she started in 1996:
Angel: “I mean, it is a lot different. Back then, it was like, “You wanna what? (laughs) You really want to wrestle?” I was like, (slap, slap, slap) “Yeah, I wanna wrestle!” So, I was an MMA fighter. I had already been wrestling for years. But, shoot wrestling, if you’d like. But now, 2022, the door is wide open! If you want it, if you’re willing to put in the work, there is a pot for women!”
Q: On if it is maybe too easy for women to get in today:
Angel: “Unfortunately, it might be a little too open to where there might be a spot and not someone there that can fill it. There has to be a balance achieved. I’m old school. I’m of the mindset that if a spot opens up and you’re not up to the level to fill that spot at the level that is expected… Well, don’t fill that spot because you disrespect everyone else. ANd, if you open the ropes too easily for girls who are not fully trained and have not put in the work to be good wrestlers, then you devalue all of the work that the people put in to be an equal and earn the spot. So, yeah. If you want it and you’re willing to work for it, the door should be open. But, the door should not be open just because you say you want it and you look halfway decent. You’ve got to earn it!”
Q: Were the stories of ECW being crazy in its final days true?
Angel: “ECW was a place where you definitely had to earn it! (laughs) ECW was crazy! Some of the wrestlers were crazy! Some of the fans were crazy! (laughs) But, I was a readymade wrestler. I had worked and already traveled the world a bit before I got to ECW. So, I wasn’t intimidated by anyone nor did anyone try to do that to me. I think that was maybe more the guy’s experience? Because you had so many indy dudes and so many trainee dudes who were students under some of the other guys and they were maybe going a little buck wild. But, I didn’t experience anything too crazy.”
Q: What happened on a WEW PPV in 2006 that changed your career?
Anggel: “So, I shattered both my feet coming off the ladder. I would have been fine if our referee had just held the ladder. And, it is the job of the referee to hold the ladder! I didn’t know she wasn’t holding the ladder! We all told her that her only job was to hold the ladder! But, she was too busy shaking her ass because, of course, it was WEW and we had to have a stripper guest-referee for such a match – Yay! Lucky me! But, no, I don’t regret it. I found out who I really am! And, I also found out who my friends really were. That stuff matters! So, I broke both my feet and I finished the match on two broken feet. That shows a lot about who you really are.”
Q: On the documentary she’s working on and how it resulted in the Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame:
Angel: “So, I want to be clear. I founded the Hall of Fame because I think it is worthy of putting my time and name behind. I would do anything for my sisters! I truly believe we are all sisters of the ring. I really mean that. (Sounds to be getting emotional) My peers have reacted well to the Hall of Fame so far. They should because it is for them! And, I think the brothers recognize that too because they have a woman in their life – Their mother, their sister, their daughter, their niece, their wife! This is important because I want to show that these women are great human beings and not just very talented wrestlers but amazing human beings! There is so much bad news all around us. Let’s encourage one another! Let’s inspire one another! Iron sharpens iron! So, the Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame was birthed out of the documentary – The Circle of Champions, the Story of Women’s Professional Wrestling. The documentary doesn’t even feature everyone’s story. We realized that. We can’t have it go for many hours and we have to have an ending! So, because there is so much content that will probably not make the final cut, we’re likely going to make this a series and feature more of these amazing stories we’ve had told to us through our journey and into the Women’s Wrestling Hall of Fame.”
Q: On the decision-making process of who to ad to the Hall of Fame:
Angel: ” I’m a huge fan of Mildred Burke. I went to Rutgers. We learned about the suffragettes. One of the things that Douglas, New Jersey had was a woman’s college before women had the right to vote. Things go together! You can’t just say that Mildred Burke is the queen – It is extraordinary what she did because of her era! Look at Babs Wingo, Ethel Johnson, and Marva Scott! Three African American women wrestling in the 1950’s when there was still a black water fountain and a white-water fountain. If you watch their matches, they were amazingly talented! They were putting in the work! But if you add in the fact that they were black women in the 1950’s and 1960’s…!”
Q: Your thoughts on adding in the original GLOW girls to the inaugural women’s wrestling hall of fame?
“They not only helped women’s wrestling. But they helped wrestling become more mainstream at that time, dude! They had a great platform! People can say what they want about their wrestling. Listen, if there is an opinion to be had about wrestling, people are going to have them all over the place. But they can be very proud of what they did back then.”