This is a semi-regular column focused on introducing the lesser known or not as well represented stars of professional wrestling to the people of the Cedar Rapids corridor.
Some wrestling fans have probably never heard the name Sara Del Rey and that may be one of the biggest shames in women’s wrestling. She brings a hard-hitting, no nonsense style to the ring; a style you won’t see currently on cable television.
She started training in the early 2000s both in California and in Japan. Her Japanese training would have the most influence on her; she quickly developed a style based on hard kicks and heavy technical holds.
She worked indie shows across the country for several years, but it wasn’t until 2005 and appearances in Shimmer that she started to rise to national attention for indie fans. Her victory as the first Shimmer champion brought her to the attention of Ring of Honor where she would be one of only a few “Women of Honor” over the next few years.
In ROH, she aligned with Larry Sweeney, Sweet and Sour Inc., and the Kings of Wrestling. It is her relationship with the latter that earned her the name “Queen of Wrestling”. Unfortunately without a significant women’s division her four years in ROH were mostly defined by the success of her allies.
She debuted in Chikara in 2006 as well. Working both with and against Daizee Haze, she mostly served as a special attraction taking on various female wrestling stars from around the world. But for all her appearances in three years, she never developed any kind of story. That would change in 2009 when she and Haze joined the Bruderschaft Des Kreuzes (BDK). As members of the BDK they became vicious, dangerous and victorious. They beat multiple male teams over the course of the year, often serving as spoilers for Ares and Claudio Castagnoli, BDK’s leaders and the Campeones De Parejas.
In 2011, she broke away from the BDK and became the breakout star of Chikara. With impressive wins against Icarus and Claudio (in one of his last appearances before signing with WWE), she would cement her place as one of the promotion’s top stars despite a late in the year loss to Mike Quackenbush that kept her from the Grand Champion match. She would end the year with not only a victory over former BDK stable mate Jakob Hammermeier but by winning the 8th annual Cibernetico tournament, last eliminating another ex-stable mate Tim Donst.
She ended 2011 in Chikara with two big victories over Japanese stars at Joshimania: Ayako Hamada and the woman she considers her biggest influence: Aja Kong.
On record with WWE as her next goal in her career, Sara Del Rey seems to finally be in a place where major promotions must take notice. The future of Sara Del Rey is nothing but bright.
Iowa wrestling fans can check out Sara’s work from Chikara DVDs (on sale at ChikaraPro.com) or Shimmer (on sale at the Ring of Honor Store).