Shea Summers might only be 19 years old, but the wrestler who bears the nickname of The Thunder Blonde is making a huge impact on the independent wrestling scene. Her black leather jacket and her edgy attitude is reminiscent from her days as a punk rocker, but they are serving her well as Shea leaves an impression on wrestling fans in the south-east region of the United States.
“Showmanship has always been a part of me and I think that’s why I like wrestling. It gives me a stage where I can perform and there’s so much that goes into it,” Shea Summers said. “What I used to do in theater or what I did in my band didn’t feel like it was enough. The showmanship that I have within myself really connects with everything I do in wrestling.”
Shea grew up near Atlanta, Georgia, where all of her family lived. By the time she was in the 6th Grade, she moved to Pensacola, Florida. She was given many different reasons for why they moved, but for Shea, it didn’t really add up, and she had trouble accepting the change. Shea had her good days and her bad days, but the in-ring sport of wrestling was always there for her.
“I’ve watched wrestling since I was a little kid and I really can’t tell you what draws me to it. I think watching wrestling took me away from things and as I got older, I felt like I had to do it,” Summers said. “You have to admit it’s kind of a weird thing to like. It seems to be an outcast sport that not everybody is in to.”
There were many wrestlers that Shea enjoyed watching back in the day. One of the women wrestlers that left an impression on her was Jazz. Some might know Jazz from her stint in ECW where she competed against men. Others will remember her as being WWE’s and NWA’s Women’s Champion, but many can’t forget the epic battles that she had with Trish Stratus in the early 2000’s.
“I really liked Jazz because she was a powerhouse and she was so cool,” Summers said. “A lot of women back then didn’t get a lot of chances, but she was one of the ones that actually did.”
Shea started training in June of last year and broke out on the independent scene in October. Since then, Shea has been taking to the road and wrestling on as many shows that she can get herself booked on. She has been working with promotions in Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana.
“What I’ve found out, is that you really don’t stop learning, especially when you haven’t been wrestling long,” Summers said. “Right now, I’m wrestling as much as I can, I’m training, and I’m going to seminars. I’m willing to wrestle anywhere because I want to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can.”
Shea had the opportunity to attend a wrestling seminar this past December at the Power Factory in Atlanta. Several wrestlers from the Monster Factory in New Jersey were there, along with other well-established wrestlers in the business. Some of the pros that participated in training sessions at the seminar were Christopher Daniels, Punishment Martinez, Glacier, QT Marshall, and Daffney.
“It felt like everybody at the seminar had a new way of thinking. I was trained with the influences of a traditional old-school style,” Summers said. “I took notes and I was writing down everything that they were saying.”
One of the trainers that Shea connected with at the seminar was Daffney. Daffney made her debut in 1999 with WCW and gained the attention of wrestling fans around the world with the help of television exposure. Throughout her nearly 20 year career in wrestling, Daffney has wrestled, acted as a manager, and has even served as referee, allowing her to gain a wealth of knowledge that makes her an asset for anyone who wants to break into the sport.
“It was really cool to talk to and be trained by someone who was on T.V.. She opened my eyes to a lot of things and put an emphasis on details,” Summers said. “She stressed that when you are in the ring, showmanship is everything. It was an honor to be taught by her.”
Shea has not been in professional wrestling long, and to most veterans, she is considered green. The main components that this girl from Georgia has, is heart, determination, and a brain for the business. Her open mind and willingness to put in all the necessary work to be successful is endless. Talk to her for a few minutes and you can tell she has had some good training and that she is ahead of the game in so many ways.
“I have learned that wrestling is about paying your dues and earning your spot,” Summers said. “It is also important to respect the veterans in the business. To some, that isn’t very important, but it should be for everyone coming up in wrestling.”
Shea loves wrestling and she wants to do it as much as possible. This year she is hoping to make her presence known more in the southern region of the United States, especially in Florida. She also wants to make her wrestling debut in Texas. For Shea, wrestling goes beyond the ring. It’s her passion and it’s in her blood.
“I really appreciate this business and it is something I have always wanted to do,” Summers said. “I want to share my stories in the ring and I want people to enjoy my matches.”
The one thing that Shea guarantees to the fans and her opponents across from her in the squared circle is that they will both know what it’s like to roll with the Thunder.