Last we heard from 22 year old Janice Colibaba from Coronach, her and childhood friend Kristen Gent were heading for Calgary for Janice to take wrestling training - a big step towards making her childhood dream of being a professional wrestler come true. Gent went along with Colibaba as they always shared a love for wrestling and it seemed natural for Gent to go along.
Colibaba grew up watching wrestling with her Dad, Mervin and remembers being very interested in wrestling was she was just three, but by the time she was 10, she wanted to be a wrestler. “It’s been my life dream!” said Janice.
Kristen and Janice spent three months in Calgary, staying with Gent’s family friends, while Janice learned the basics of professional wrestling. Gent went to work in a candy store.
Once Janice finished her training, she and Gent moved back to Coronach where she continued to train. Janice got her first wrestling gig on March 18 in Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan. This was a three-town tour including La Loche and Pinehouse.
She has performed in nine shows so far with bookings in Calgary on June 10 and Edmonton on June 25.
Janice explains how the world of professional wrestling works. “It’s called the independent wrestlers. You wrestle for little companies in shows, then send your (video of your performances) to the bigger companies.” The hope is that the bigger companies like your work and ask you to perform in bigger shows, and much like the music industry, you work your way up to bigger and bigger events.
She is currently in Coronach, training, watching tapes and working on her character.
Many people close to Janice knew of her obsession with wrestling, but they were also familiar with her shy, quiet, introverted personality and many wonder how she is able to get into a ring in front of strangers and wrestle. “Backstage, I am still little quiet Janice and I don’t know. . . as soon as I walk through the curtains, I become a different person, I am completely different.” explained Janice.
Janice’s talked about her character, Jordyn Brooks, “I don’t want to be a ballet girl who walks out to the ring in a short skirt. I am there to get in the ring and wrestle, I am more of a Tom Boy type.”
Janice’s hero in the wrestling world is female wrestler, Lita. “I looked up to her right away because she was different that any other female wrestler. She did things that no female wrestler has tried, she got in there with the guys.” Janice is working hard to be like her idol and has already been in one girl/guy mixed tag match. “(Lita) has changed the face of female wrestling, showing that girls are more than just a pretty face, they could get in the ring too.” added Janice.
When Janice headed for Calgary for training she said, “My ultimate goal is to make it to the WWE!” and that hasn’t changed.
Janice is considering going back to Calgary for another session this fall and then her next step is to apply to the Florida Championship Wrestling camp, which is much like a farm camp for the WWE. “It is a four-day tryout. “ explained Janice. While there, Colibaba would be judged on ring skills, have a match and cut a promo, as well as have an interview. Out of the group, one person will get a contract with the WWE Development organization, the Florida Championship Wrestling FCW.
According to Janice, once you are in the program, you would move to Florida where you would train and be a part of a weekly television program that is aired in Florida. From there, wrestlers hope to get a call to join the roster of approximately 80 wrestlers that travel the world with the WWE. Janice admits that many wrestlers never advance past the FCW level.
If Janice was to make the WWE, she could make anywhere from $60,000 to $4 million a year, but for now she is relying on her massage therapy to pay the bills. “Independent wrestling is basically promoting yourself and getting more experience so you become more comfortable in the ring. You learn new things at every show because you are meeting new people and getting their perspective. You definitely have to have the heart to be in this business. . . last week I travelled 16 hours for 10 minutes of experience and $50.” Payment she has received at the gigs so far ($20-60), hasn’t even paid the travel expenses. But, Janice is willing to pay her dues. “This is what I always wanted to do with my life and I can’t imagine doing anything else so I am willing to put my body and checking account though that!”
As far as what her body has endured so far. . . “I have always had back issues and (wrestling) is definitely taking its toll on my back and my knees really bother me.” said Janice, then added that her nose was broken during training in Calgary.
Janice has mostly performed for strangers, but did have a couple of show near Edmonton, Alberta where a number of her cousins were able to come to the show. “In Edmonton, all the families came out and it was very nerve-wracking,” said Janice, “Way more nerve-wracking when there is no-one there you know.” Her parents are hoping to attend the June 25 show in Edmonton.