"You Only Get One Chance..."

by S. Mata

Texas has long been a hotbed for women's pro wrestling, going back to the Golden Age with the likes of Nell Stewart, Babs Wingo and Penny Banner and more recent stars such as Susan Tex Green.

In more recent years, there has been an impressive bumper crop of new talents growing across the Lone Star State. And not far from the Gulf of Mexico is one young lady in particular who's starting to make her mark on the sport.

Claudia Del Solis may only be 21 years old, but she's no kid wet behind the years. She first got her start back in 2003, undergoing training with Al Hayes and Tugboat Taylor, whom she impressed not only with her athletic ability, but also her bluntness. She was inspired to get into the sport by her father, who competed as an arm wrestler.

One of the things which impressed everyone is Claudia's willingness to train hard. When she hits the gym, she makes her demanding workout more enjoyable by maintaining a sense of playfulness. "I stretch, run, work on my chain wrestling... but most of all, I have fun. I like to stretch the most, because I like the fact that I don't have to be super-skinny to be flexible." Indeed, at 5'6" and 170 pounds, she has the sheer raw power to go toe-to-toe with just about any opponent, but she's also surprisingly nimble and agile in the ring, much to the surprise of her adversaries.

That training has paid off, not only in ring success, but also in avoiding serious injury. "With God's blessing, I haven't been hurt," the Brazilian says. And if one subscribes to the notion that God helps those who help themselves, then Claudia has spared herself a great deal of pain by keeping herself fit.

Hard work and determination has won her gold, following a grueling 3 Way Dance. And she doesn't shy away from challenges, readily admitting that her toughest opponent is Simply Luscious... well known as an often ferocious wrestler... and she says she'd love to take on April Hunter some day.

Of course, like any pro, she's had her share of loses. The ones that hurt the most are "any loss to a cheater."

Claudia takes great care to not only perform at her very best once the bell rings, but to uphold herself as a true professional from the moment she steps out from behind the curtain. "You only get one chance to make a first impression with the fans," she explains.

Naturally enough, she has her own fan base, a great many of whom are children. "Little kids want my pictures," she says, then adds with a laugh, "and middle aged guys want my phone number. The kids are so funny... I love them. I think they like me for the fact that I bring energy to the ring and I try to put smiles on their faces."

And she can't help but smile herself whenever she meets someone in her 'civilian guise' and tells them she's a wrestler. A frequent response, she says, is along the lines of, "DAAAAAAAAAMNNNNN!!! That's so awesome!"

As to the issue of the place of women in the sport, Claudia doesn't understand the commotion. "What is there to think about? We have equal rights... we're just one of the guys." Spoken like a true pro who has taken just as many bumps and bruises as any man.

But while she may not draw a distinction between males and females in the business, she does draw the line between professionals and wanna-be's. "This sounds corny, but... don't try this at home! Go to a school and get proper training."

For all of her apparent modesty, Claudia Del Solis does have a rather grandiose goal in mind for her career: "To go down in worldwide wrestling history!" A tough dream to achieve, maybe... but Claudia's career has already been a study in toughness and achievements.

pics courtesy of Ms del Solis

Claudia del Solis

Claudia del Solis

Claudia del Solis

Claudia del Solis

Claudia del Solis

Claudia del Solis