Exclusive Interview: Masha Slamovich Talks About Japan, PWG and IMPACT

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Impact Wrestling

If you talk about “Who is the best female Wrestler based in the United States?” you need to mention Masha Slamovich. The 24-year-old, now currently signed to IMPACT Wrestling, proved herself as a top woman all over the world against some of the very best that the World has to offer.

I got the chance to talk with her about her time in Japan, PWG debut and her current run in IMPACT before the biggest match of her career vs Jordynne Grace for the IMPACT Knockout Title at Bound For Glory on Friday.

Masha made her in-ring debut in REINA, a small promotion in Japan, in 2016 after training under Johnny Rodz. She wrestled under the name “Skinripper” back then. My first question was how did her debut in Reina come about and when did she decide that you want to wrestle in Japan?

“When I was training at the World of Unpredictable Wrestling I was fortunate enough to be there during a time when the company/school had strong connections with CMLL in Mexico, and ZERO1 & REINA in Japan. During 2015 scouts were coming over to train with the students as well as perform on the company shows among other indies. It was during that time that I was the one selected to go over to Japan and debut there as soon as I graduated high school in the spring of 2016. I always knew I wanted to wrestle in Japan, and never imagined I would get a chance to have my debut there. It was an amazing experience that played a huge role in forming me into the wrestler I am today.”

– Masha Slamovich

Masha went to Japan for a second excursion in February 2020 shortly before the pandemic hit to train in the Marvelous Dojo. She had the decision between staying in Japan to continue training and going back to the United States. I asked her how hard was that decision for her to stay in Japan and would decide to stay in Japan again if she was in the same position today.

“The decision to stay was a no-brainer. There was no chance I wanted to go back home in the state that wrestling was in, gyms being closed, and everything else going on. I knew if I went back I was bound for trouble, and staying in the dojo, taking all the time I could to work on my craft and powerlifting, learning from the legends of Japan was the only option for me. The way I saw it I was living out my dreams of following the footsteps of the likes of Chris Benoit who lived in the NJPW dojo training and performing, I was doing the same thing in Marvelous from dawn until the depths of night. If I was in the position again I’d 1000% choose the same again. It was the best choice I ever made for myself.”

– Masha Slamovich

The Russian Dynamite lived in Japan for a whole year. She told me that there is a big difference between living and wrestling in Japan compared to the United States.

“It’s just a totally different world. The culture, people, food, wrestling, social life, transit. It’s a country that is logical and efficient. Not to mention delicious! Of course, it all depends on who you are and where you live as well, but my perspective as a wrestler in Tokyo, it was my favorite place to live.”

– Masha Slamovich

During her time in Japan, Masha trained in the Marvelous Dojo under one of the most prominent female Wrestlers of all time in Chigusa Nagayo. She told me what she learned under Nagayo’s wing and how has that been set up for her success since her return from Japan.

“I learned so much from Chigusa Nagayo. It’s really impossible to put into words. Watching her old tapes, sitting around and listening to her stories about wrestlers of the past, GAEA, and more. And of course the style she taught in the ring. I owe Nagayo-San so much, she transformed me into who Masha Slamovich is now. Coming back from Japan was like coming back with a Master’s Degree in wrestling. I perfected my craft and my style and learned to understand wrestling in a different and clear light. It was some of the most important times of my career in the Marvelous dojo and my favorite times as well. Living in Japan I found myself very happy even in the midst of a pandemic.”

– Masha Slamovich
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Masha Slamovich (in the Middle) with the Marvelous Roster

The IMPACT Wrestler is interested in coming back to Japan one day again but she isn’t sure yet if she would sign full-time to a Promotion in Japan

“I definitely intend to return to Japan when it is possible, and for as long as possible. I don’t know if I will be able to be there on a full-time basis there in the near future, but who knows what the road holds as time goes on! All I can say is I will certainly return to Japan one day.”

– Masha Slamovich

Marvelous is starting to send their Roster to the United States & The UK, with Iroha appearing in EVE and Mio Momono in West Coast Pro. I asked Masha if she would be interested to face her former Marvelous Mates again but this time in the United States

“I 100% would love to wrestle both Takumi and Mio again. I was originally scheduled to face Mio at West Coast Pro, however with IMPACT running on the same day that was impossible. I hope Mio will come back to the United States along with Takumi, Maria, and everyone else from Marvelous soon so they can be seen by the US fans and so that we can wrestle once again!”

– Masha Slamovich

In Summer, it was announced that two of the biggest Promotions in Japan right now STARDOM & NJPW are introducing the IWGP Women’s Title, which will be defended internationally in the United States. Masha was one of the names that got dropped when the fans thought about who from the US Women should challenge for the belt. She named her dream opponent from the STARDOM Roster which she wants to face for the newly introduced title.

“If there is anyone I could choose to face for the women’s IWGP title it would have to be Giulia. All of the wrestlers on their roster are incredible athletes, but if there is a chance to only have one match, it’s straight for the ACE.”

– Masha Slamovich

Slamovich wrestled many wrestlers all over the world, from the United States to Europe to Japan. She wrestled some of the best Wrestlers on this planet and out of all the different Wrestlers she faced, a few of her opponents stood out to her and are her favorite opponents. She told me that her favorite opponents would have to include Josh Alexander, Chihiro Hashimoto, Speedball Mike Bailey, Mio Momono but the world of professional wrestling is big and Masha still has a lot of challenges and wrestlers in front of her that she never faced. Furthermore, she said that some of her dream opponents would be Meiko Satomura, Giulia and Starlight Kid.

In an interview in 2021, Masha stated that one of her dream opponents that she wanted to face was the “Pink Striker” Miyu Yamashita and one year later this Match happened during Prestige’s Roseland 3 Show. She told us how it was to step foot in the ring with someone like the former Princess Of Princess Champion Miyu Yamashita.

“The match with Miya Yamashita was definitely one of my favorites! I loved wrestling her and the crowd that day at the Roseland theater was wild. The energy was incredible. Miyu is an excellent opponent and I think we had some great chemistry, and I’d love for us to run it back again one day.”

– Masha Slamovich
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The Miyu Yamashita Match was only one of her personal favorite matches. When I specifically asked what her favorite matches are from Japan & in the United States, she gave me the following response:

“In Japan, it would have to be myself & Mei Hoshizuki vs Takumi Iroha & Chigusa Nagayo. That match was not what was originally scheduled, but after a last-minute injury in training, Nagayo-San stepped in for my opponent. When I found out I was astounded, I never imagined id have a chance to wrestle her. The match was a dream come true.
In the US it would be the match between myself and Yuka Sakazaki at PWG NINETEEN.”

– Masha Slamovich

As she mentioned, Masha was part of the first PWG Women’s Match in over ten years against Yuka Sakazaki and she was one of the two women to step foot in a PWG ring since 2016. The Match happened at PWG NINETEEN. It was a history-making moment for Masha to face the Magical Girl in front of a hot PWG crowd. She may lost the match but that didn’t matter for a second. She made history that night and that is way bigger than a win or loss. A dream came true for her.

“Wrestling for PWG was a huge goal of mine that I had wanted to achieve for years. I was told countless times that it was impossible, it could never be done, and why would I be the one to do it? When I walked through that curtain, the feeling in that room was beyond words. Wrestling Yuka Sakazaki was a joy, and I was so honored to have been chosen alongside her to make history at PWG NINETEEN. It is hands down one of my favorite moments of my career.”

– Masha Slamovich

Another big Joshi Name that she faced was Jungle Kyona. The Jungle Princess came back from a two-year-long Knee injury a few weeks ago and starts her excursion in America. Her first opponent since coming back full-time was Masha. The Match happened in JCW a few weeks ago which was the first real match that Kyona had in over two years and she didn’t miss a single step. Masha had praising words for the returning Kyona when she talked about the match.

“If someone had told me Jungle Kyona had wrestled the week before I would have believed them. She impressed me with her strength, for example on the deadlift suplex she pulled off on me. I very much enjoyed the match, and it was a match I had looked forward to since it was announced. I love wrestling all of the Joshi girls who come to the states, and she was no exception.”

– Masha Slamovich

Masha also started to tour in Europe. She was booked for multiple shows for wXw in Germany last week and faced some of the best talents wXw can offer for example Bobby Gunns and even qualified herself for the 16 Carat Gold 2023 in March which is the biggest tournament in Europe where a ton of big names were part of. The likes of Malakai Black, Zack Sabre Jr and GUNTHER all won the tournament in the past. Masha qualified herself for the tournament after defeating Killer Kelly. wXw holds most of their bigger shows in the Turbinenhalle. The venue in Oberhausen is known for its hot crowd and some legendary moments in German Wrestling history. I asked Masha how different the German Crowd is from the Japanese & US crowds.

“I’d say the German crowd is very much comparable to the Japanese crowd. They can be quiet at times because they are simply watching, but once they have a reason to react, they get hot and they get loud & invested. Much like in Japan where the crowds almost always start off rather silent and then very quickly begin to applaud, cheer, etc. Both crowds are very loving id also say. Every single match on this last tour in Germany was exciting and the crowds showed it! From the Inner Circle match against Fuminore Abe, which has a very personal feel with the crowd comparable to Beyond Wrestling in the US, to the final match against Killer Kelley for the 16 Carat qualifier, where the crowd was on their feet through the entire match and filled my heart with joy at the end. The love and support were felt every time, and I can’t wait to come back in March!”

– Masha Slamovich

Since late 2021, Masha is signed to IMPACT Wrestling and appears there regularly on their shows. A bit over a year ago, Slamovich faced Deonna Purrazzo at Knockouts Knockdown. She came short in that match but with her outstanding performance, she earned an IMPACT Wrestling contract with it. Now a year later, she defeated Deonna to earn your first Knockouts Title Shot at Bound For Glory! She talked about how she felt about her two matches with The Virtuosa.

“Deonna is an excellent wrestler without a doubt. Every match I’ve had with her I have enjoyed, and I still look back upon the match from Knockouts Knockdown as one of my favorites. Even if it hadn’t led to a contract, I was so happy with the match itself I was already over the moon. In my opinion, it came close to perfection. And the contract was the perfect cherry on top. Fast forward to about a year later for me to face Deonna for the No.1 contender match it was a great full-circle moment. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me smile. It seems being at IMPACT is all one big full circle because it all connects, even back to my first time at the company in 2019.”

– Masha Slamovich

Masha is undefeated in IMPACT since she earned the contract and with her win over Deonna, she will challenge Jordynne Grace for her Knockouts Title at Bound For Glory in a few weeks. It will be their second Match against each other after their first one happened in 2019 on an episode of Impact Wrestling Xplosion. Now three years later, she faces Grace on PPV which you can watch this Friday on FITE.tv. She told me what the match against Grace means to her and what can the fans expect from that match.

“Facing Jordynne Grace at Bound For Glory 2022 is another full circle moment. She was my first full-length match at IMPACT back when I wore the blue pinstripe gear, and even in those 8 minutes we had a great bout. In the last 3 years we both have grown so much, and become totally different wrestlers. I am very much looking forward to the match, as it will surely be one for the ages. It means more to me not only because it is for the IMPACT KO Title, but also because in my opinion we are two of the best around, and fans are nowhere near prepared for what they are about to witness.”

– Masha Slamovich
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Impact Wrestling

For the last year, Masha has achieved a lot of goals in wrestling that she dreamed of but her biggest goal in Wrestling is to make history.

“My biggest goal is to be so good at what I do I am remembered beyond my lifetime. I want to go down as one of the greats, a legend who is known for great wrestling across the world, across all styles. I want to continue to make history and do things people tell me I can’t. To leave my mark on this business and this world, and live my life doing what I love. Wrestling is all I ever wanted to do, it brings me joy, and I want to keep that and enjoy the road it takes me on.”

– Masha Slamovich

The last 12 months were incredible for Masha from signing with IMPACT, making her PWG debut and wrestling all over the world against some of the best in the world. Obviously, the question is now what can we expect from Masha Slamovich in the next 12 months after all the great things she has done?

“I’d love to tell you what is in store during the next 12 months, but truly, I can’t even imagine what will come. If you’d asked me 12 months ago where id be and what id be doing, none of what has happened would have been my answer. You simply can’t predict the future, and all I know is I’m not done by any stretch, and it’s only up up up from here. I am very excited for my first wXw 16 Carat in March of 2023, and I am hoping & planning for more international trips! Places like England, Italy, Australia, my return to Canada in a few weeks, are things I’ve had my eyes on for a long time. I hope to return to Japan as well! And of course, the IMPACT belt shall not escape my grasp. Who knows what else is to come, but one thing I can promise is violence, and the chase of perfection and victory in every match.”

– Masha Slamovich

If you would like to follow and support Masha Slamovich, here is where you can find her:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mashaslamovich/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mashaslamovich
Linktr.ee: https://linktr.ee/Mashaslamovich

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