Born in Southern California, Cheryl Rusa was a tomboy growing up. She was always good at sports, often outperforming boys her own age. In her youth, she spent 2 years in a body-cast. Between the ages of 7 and 9, it looked like she would be completely crippled by the time she hit her late teens. These problems stirred anger in her, and after she got out of the cast, instead of just becoming "normal", she began pushing her physical boundaries to the extreme.
Catch Queen: how'd you get into wrestling like that? I mean it is not exactly easy on the body/bones...
Cheryl Rusa: It was kind of funny. I was watching the very first episodes of GLOW on TV with a boyfriend and he told me to check this show out. I started watching it and thought: this is stupid. He laughed at me and I said what? Then he said: you're just jealous they're on TV and you're not. We went back and forth like that, arguing and he made me so mad, a week later the show came on again and I said to myself: okay I'm going to try and watch this stupid show.
Her wrestling career got a lift in the LPWA though. There, she wrestled as herself and as Little Mo, teaming up with Reggie Bennett forming the tag team Locomotion. She also teamed with Sindy Paradise in the tag team "The Mighty Mites". Though fans loved her in the LPWA, for her, it was a sort of step back, as the organization forced her into the role of a jobber.
Again, back to the interview:
Catch Queen: Honestly, I liked your GLOW character too, but in the LPWA you were the BOMB. With Sindy Paradise, you were hands-down my favorite tag team...
Cheryl Rusa: As far as the LPWA is concerned, when I went on the audition, they knew I was only trained for TV. We talked about it in length, and they were going to send me to one of the top wrestling schools before they started shooting.
Catch Queen: awesome...go on.
Cheryl Rusa: All of the sudden, they pulled us into shoot with no notice really and all these girls there were fully trained Pros. Many of them hated GLOW and therefore didn't like me, so they took advantage of my lack of training. The people running the show, who promised me all the training, didn't deliver, so basically I was learning the ropes, training on camera.
Catch Queen: Well, I loved your jobbing in the LPWA...I agree though...you should've won more. Also loved Susan Sexton. Awesome champ. You two had chemistry.
Cheryl Rusa: Yes, I totally loved Susan. There was a handful of girls from the LPWA that treated me with great respect and was trying to train me off to the side to help me catch up.
Results-wise, Cheryl's time in the LPWA wasn’t particularly rewarding. Due to her size (she was 5’1 and weighed in at 100 lbs) most of the other women were able to physically dominate her in the ring. The fact that she was a stuntwoman meant that she could take tremendous amounts of punishment too, and all that contributed to her being turned into a jobber. She would finish almost every one of her singles matches on her back or submitting, and she was the weak link in Locomotion too, where opponents would routinely trap her in the ring, to go to town on her and eventually pin her or force her to submit while Big Mo could only watch from the sidelines.
Back to the interview:
Cheryl Rusa: When I got back from a couple of tours of Japan, I was fully trained, fast and really strong. I became the AIWA champion and the PCCW Champion. I even ran into some of the girls from LPWA after it was defunct on Indy promotions and ran circles around them, because of my time in Japan. I finally gained some respect.
Catch Queen: Great! I saw some of your matches in Japan. I could tell you had evolved from your LPWA days.
Cheryl Rusa: Yes. Well, it takes a good 3 years to make a decent wrestler. Including my experience with GLOW, I was finally fully trained. You know, when I was at GLOW, I'd never been in front of a camera before and I was afraid of talking on camera. That always made me nervous. When I went to the LPWA, I wanted as much camera-time as possible. I was afraid of the ring though...because of those girls... I had never been afraid of the ring in GLOW. I loved to fly there. But the experience from both and going to Japan and all the Indy matches, was great.
Catch Queen: I remember an LPWA match, when BB&B really seemed to beat you up. Did you actually get hurt there?
Cheryl Rusa: No, I wasn't hurt. I pulled out all my acting skills and did what I was supposed to do like in GLOW. They tell you to do something you do it...
Catch Queen: Good. You seemed hurt and I was like "stop it already!". Also, your Locomotion team with Reggie Bennett was cool. I liked Reggie too. How was your relationship with her?
Cheryl Rusa: Reggie was the best tag partner I ever had. As a human being, such a great person, such a nice girl...
Catch Queen: Cool! She seemed to take care of you in the ring as well.
Cheryl Rusa: I still wrestle but I'm a professional stunt woman now. I work for multiple Productions. I do fights, falls, high falls, fire car work and all my wrestling training comes into play.
Catch Queen: I know you wrestled for Steelkittens too...how did that come about?
Cheryl Rusa:After I left LPWA, Steelkittens got a hold of me through I think Jan Flame... After that, all the small companies were asking me to wrestle. I wrestled video matches and live shows touring around the world.
Catch Queen: Loved your SK work too. You really glammed it up there!
Cheryl Rusa:Thank you. Yes, well that's something else I knew nothing about. Also, when I joined GLOW, I had never put makeup on my face or done my hair LOL. I had no idea what to do with myself...all the girls we're taking turns, doing my hair and makeup for each show and that's why I look like rock and roll one week and something soft and pretty the next.
Catch Queen: Hahahaha.
Cheryl Rusa:Nothing like a good hair and makeup job to Glam up! Wow, speaking of world traveling: I've been to Germany and England I was in France for a day I think that's it for me for Europe...oh unless you count Russia.
Catch Queen: What about Russia? Did u wrestle there too?
Cheryl Rusa:Yes, I did wrestling Russia.
Catch Queen: One last question: you've mentioned Reggie and Susan Sexton...what was your relationship with your fellow Mighty Mite, Sindy (Paradise)?
Cheryl Rusa:With Sindy, we really didn't have a great relationship. We couldn't agree on anything LOL. I don't think either of us didn't like each other, she just wanted a different look than I did. She had really long legs and wanted low cut fifties look one piece suits and I liked the high-cut to the waist. She wanted orange and black and I wanted blue and purple LOL...and so on. We never talked after LPWA. We weren't enemies we just weren't friends. She was a letdown after Reggie LOL.
Catch Queen: Well, it was an honor and privilege to talk to you like this.
Cheryl Rusa:I was happy to speak with you. Thank you so much for being a wrestling fan. I love wrestling, love to fly in the ring! I never talk too much about my childhood problems. I always figured the glass to be half full and not half empty...never wanted to whine about my leg and never told any of the girls really about it in the ring. I wanted to be treated like an equal.
Cheryl Rusa was trained by Gene Lebell, Mando Guerrero, Alex Knight and Sue Sexton. She wrestled Sexton numerous times outside the LPWA, for private video companies like Steelkittens and others too.