With fishnets on, a strange sense of humor, and trunks that proudly proclaim “Daddy” in classic Barbie font, Florida-based wrestler EFFY has been taking the world by storm with his punk rock attitude and refusal to blend into heteronormativity.
I first encountered EFFY in the summer of 2018 while he was in the middle of his reign as the Fest Wrestling champion. He was admittedly a wrestler whose reputation had proceeded him as a very out and loud queer wrestler who had dubbed himself a “feminist icon.” I was definitely intrigued from the reputation, but from the moment I saw him walk through the curtain to face Ashton Starr at Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment, I was totally enraptured by this proudly queer wrestler clad in fishnets and pink glitter walking out to ‘Yellow Brick Road’ by Elton John.
Since that night, EFFY has only continued to take the wrestling community by storm, with a small portion of it being due to his controversial match with Bayley superfan Izzy last summer. Savvy, sexual and downright hilarious, EFFY has his fingers on the pulse of what makes wrestling fun in the modern age. Though, he might also have his fingers elsewhere, too, if some of his matches are anything to go on.
Recently, I sent EFFY some questions about being a queer wrestler in the south, his match with Izzy, his video content game, the future of punk and wrestling, and his pick to win Rupaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 4.
Ashley Leckwold: Tell us about yourself. Who and what is EFFY?
EFFY: EFFY is every part of pro-wrestling taken to an extreme. Wrestling is kinda gay. EFFY is way gayer. Wrestling is showy and over the top. EFFY is more showy and over the top. Wrestling is full of insane dumb ideas and drama. EFFY has dumber ideas with more drama. To me, EFFY can be the extremes of wrestling in a lot of ways in an attempt to expand all those extremes into more of the mainstream.
AL: What got you into wrestling? What made you want to become a wrestler?
EFFY: I took 8 hits of acid and tripped for 4 days and came to the conclusion that John Cena was a hologram and then became a wrestler to prove my brain wrong. Maybe John was a real man. Maybe this schedule is possible for a human. Plus, I got sober after that trip and getting punched is my new high.
AL: How would you describe your wrestling style to people who are not already acquainted with the EFFY brand?
EFFY: On the surface, I’m very wild and gay and an over-the-top showman. In the ring, I am a vicious animal ready to kill and one of the best brawlers around. I love the dichotomy that presents to the audience.
AL: On top of being a prolific openly queer wrestler, you’re a prolific openly queer wrestler from the South who still wrestles there. How has that factored into your experiences as a wrestler?
EFFY: I initially started as a heel all the time. I knew I was going into the fire of homophobia and figured I’d at least make money off the hate. It was so empowering to be in a big public space and having these rednecks hurl slurs at me so often that it didn’t hurt. I knew standing in the ring that I wasn’t the heel anymore. Wonderful weird queer people are everywhere and more and more of them started showing up at the shows to support me and I knew I needed to be that figure that could take the abuse and show these other weirdos that “Hey look they said the worst thing and I’m still a big sexy badass. They can’t hurt us with this petty stuff anymore.” Plus a lot of these homophobes ended up buying my merch after I verbally annihilated them for they hatred. Maybe we’re changing some minds down here in the south?
AL: Your video content game is on point, especially with the series “EFFY and the Agent.” How did that idea for that series come about?
EFFY: When I think about wrestling, it’s 10-15 minutes in the ring for the match but there’s always hours and hours and hours that go into getting to that moment. 10 minutes for a full days work isn’t much content so I just started making my own in my free time. And people liked it!
“EFFY and the AGENT” was supposed to be a new Kayfabe for me. Not the public persona that’s so cool and together but the real me that’s always concerned and overthinking and kind of a buffoon. The more people can see you the more likely they are to pay to come SEE you in the ring. I will continue to make so much content.
AL: How is your dog Cranberry enjoying her newfound fame after season 2?
EFFY: She was a diva. Now she’s a diva who tells me about it. She also forced me to upgrade her food.
AL: There was actually an episode of “EFFY and the Agent” this season where you directly appealed to people who are not wrestling fans to go to a wrestling show. What inspired you to do that and what was the response like?
EFFY: Response is great! I’ve always preached that wrestling on the independent and honestly on the WWE level has turned into a bit of a circlejerk. Wrestling fans will show up to your show to see wrestling. You may get a few extra if you book a name but in reality, no matter the card, they will show up. But what about the other 90% of the world? That’s the money we’re missing. How do we get them in the door when they don’t care about the 4 month confusing booking story or if someone is a hot shot on the indie scene and this is their only appearance in the state? We sell them on all of it! The fans are weird and for some people that’s a draw. The show is wild and for some people that’s a draw. Sometimes wrestling is really bad and that can be a draw. What are we not looking at that’s keeping people from seeing wrestling on the weekend versus going to see another superhero movie? It’s something that really is going to make a difference going forward for shows that want more people paying attention.
AL: I’ve seen you in fairly straightforward matches. I’ve also seen you in a ridiculous match at Southern Underground Pro that I can only describe as you and Nick Iggy from The Carnies sexually harassing each other until Nick distracted you with a dick pic, and you recently wrestled in something called a “Yes Daddy” match with Eddie McQueen at Matter of Pride Wrestling. Do you have a preference for the types of matches you like to wrestle or is it all just part of the big Effy package?
EFFY: When you book EFFY, you should know that EFFY takes pride in filling every role in your show. Need a blood feud? Need commentary? Need a goofy match? Need a scramble or a weird tag team? I can fill any role. Lately though, I’ve made it a point to say to promotions, “If you can give me something different I will make you a priority.” I watch and am a part of so much wrestling. The last thing I want is for this to ever feel monotonous or just another part of the job. I want to be creatively and physically challenged into making new situations and booking ideas work. Come with something wild to me and I’ll tell you “We can make this good and we can get this over.”
AL: You were just announced for the Clusterf**k match at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 after allegedly kidnapping Janela to get the spot. What else do you got planned for 2019?
EFFY: Joey makes it too easy to kidnap him. That match is great because it’s a lot of people having fun without any real expectation or rules. For me, I want to see wrestling have that same looseness all over.
The real goal this year is to get 13 30-minute shows greenlit by FX or Adult Swim and then get mainstream popular and pull all those people back into wrestling. I’m best experienced live and without a script.
AL: How do you see the future of queer/punk spaces in wrestling?
EFFY: With tons of new participation. Punk music and drag and wrestling all sort of fall into the same family for me. I want them combined even more often. The real goal of EFFY pushing so many buttons or making people mad or killing the business is to make sure those buttons won’t exist in the future. Hopefully the EDGY part of EFFY kills itself and makes wrestling more accessible for everyone in the process.
AL: I was going to refrain from asking this, but I asked Candy Lee and because I see you liking nearly every drag queen post that comes across my Instagram feed: who is your pick to win RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 4?
EFFY: TRINITY THE TUCK – fills every role and does allllll types of drag.
AL: Finally, how hard did the “business” die after you wrestled Izzy?
EFFY: People kept asking me if I had “HEAT” after that match. I mean, it was literally reported globally as news that I had abused and beaten this child. My only response was “Is HEAT when you’re booking email is too full to answer everyone, because yes I’ve got a lot of that HEAT.”
The only part of the business that died that day was anyone taking these old timers’ complaints seriously.
This interview has been edited for clarity.