There is an old Swedish proverb...
Allvar och gamman trives gärna samman...Seriousness and pleasure should thrive together.
If there is a living embodiment of that adage, it is Jenny Sjödin. Fiercely serious, and not
merely about wrestling, she also clearly takes great pleasure in her successes. It's LadySports Online's pleasure
to introduce this rising Swedish ring star, who craves challenges and who likewise knows her wrestling history,
to fans worldwide!
Weight: 158 lbs
Hometown: Hudiksvall, Sweden
LADYSPORTS: Jenny, welcome to LadySports Online!
JENNY SJODIN: Thank you for having me, it's good to be here!
LS: When did you first get into the sport?
JS: About one and a half years ago, February of 2007. I attained a wrestling camp in Ashford arranged by NWA Hammerlock UK. At the time I had already thought a lot about making it to the pro ranks, and after a couple of days of active training I knew for certain that this was what I wanted to do. Just two months later I moved to Ireland to be able to train regularly with NWA Ireland.
LS: Who trained you?
JS: In England my main trainer was Paul Tracey, and besides him I was trained by Psycho Steve, John Ryan and Zack Sabre, Jr. In Ireland I've mainly been trained by Paul Tracey, Phil Boyd, Peter Farrell and Fergal Devitt.
LS: What was your biggest influence to become a wrestler?
JS: I've always been into sports and athletics but in my late teens I felt that I had to concentrate on something specific. I had already thought somewhat of fighting. One evening I watched Kim Longinottos documentary "Gaea Girls" on TV. I was totally amazed and instantly felt that if it was at all possible, I wanted to become a pro wrestler.
LS: What is the women's wrestling scene in Sweden like? Do you expect you'll often have to travel elsewhere in Europe for matches?
JS: Sadly, it has always been and still is absolutely nonexistent! As I said before, just to be able to train I had to move somewhere else. I assume that unless something changes drastically in that respect I will have to travel a lot. Already at this point a large portion of my matches have taken place in Spain…which is indeed quite far from Sweden.
LS: What other sports and forms of fighting do you have an interest in?
JS: I still love amateur wrestling, which I did off and on for a few years before I turned pro. I would love to go back and compete, but there just isn't time. More recently I have also started doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA training regularly. In BJJ I have already done some competition; as far as MMA goes, it is my ambition to do so in the near future.
LS: How would you describe yourself in terms of attitude personality and strengths?
JS: As far as wrestling and training in general is concerned I see myself as very focused, serious and sometimes quite stubborn. In my daily life I am pretty relaxed and laid back. I like to spend my time off socialising with friends and going to cafes and pubs. With that said I still value serious discussion very much.
LS: Describe a typical day of training for you. What is most important in your workout?
JS: I train about six days a week so there's nothing like a typical day, really. I mix a lot of cardio, weight and grappling training. I love bodyweight exercises, and my favourite one is Hindu squats…sometimes I will do them for hours, adding up to several thousands. Another activity that I appreciate which I've kept from the amateur wrestling is doing bridges. I do hundreds of them in a lot of variations, sometimes with weights or with a person sitting on top of me. More wrestlers should think about their necks, my neck has become so well developed that I've occasionally been dropped on my head without injury.
LS: How would you best describe your ring style?
JS: Stiff, hard and extremely old school. I have a technical mat based style which people tend to associate with British wrestling. Although I love that style, in actuality it has as much to do with my amateur background and the MMA influences. I use a lot of takedowns, throws and submissions. You will probably not be seeing me do a lot of high flying, except for an occasional dropkick or when crushing someone with a Senton Bomb.
LS: Did you base your ring style or even your persona on any one particular wrestler?
JS: Not really.
LS: What specific signature moves are you best known for?
JS: Lots of different suplexes, but my favourite ones are the German Suplex and Tiger Suplex. Besides throwing people around, I am always going for various kinds of submissions. I'm in love with neck cranks, armbars and leg locks!
LS: Have you ever been injured in the ring?
JS: Yes, but nothing really serious. I've had my nose broken a couple of times, and both my ankles have been sprained. In November last year I also had my sternum bone fractured. The doctors warned me not to lift anything. Unfortunately, this was just prior to my match with Portia Perez.
LS: Since you've begun have you ever had a "Why am I still doing this" moment?
JS: No, not at all, and that is probably because I am still so focused on improving myself and becoming better. When it comes to wrestling there's no limit really for how much you can learn and improve, and as long as that remains your goal you should never have to get bored.
LS: Who have been your toughest opponents?
JS: Phil Boyd and Sean Maxer Brennan…they are both my friends and trainers, so they know my weaknesses, and it's hard to beat them.
LS: What has been your most memorable win?
JS: The most important one for me personally must be the one against German wrestler Alpha Female in front of 1600 people in Killarney, Ireland in March 2008. I remember calling one of my best friends in Sweden afterwards and almost screaming, “I won, I won!”
LS: What was your worst loss?
JS: Probably against Portia Perez in December 2007 when I had a chest injury, and I found it impossible to do my best. Such things always feel so bad, and at the time it was also the biggest match of my career.
LS: Who is the one wrestler you would most like to face in the ring but haven't yet?
JS: It's hard to pick just one, but if I have to it would be the Dark Angel, Sara Stock…she is amazing.
LS: What type of match do you enjoy the most?
JS: To be in myself? I prefer to do long mat based technical singles matches, but at this point I also feel I can adapt pretty well to just about anything and enjoy it at the same time. Sometimes tag team matches are fun just because it's something different from what you're used to. But basically anything that you can put your heart, lots of thought and power into.
LS: What sort of reactions do you get from people when they learn you are a wrestler?
JS: ‘Wow, that's not a very common sport for girls, is it?' Another reaction that's becoming more usual nowadays, when disciplines like MMA are becoming so popular, is that fewer people automatically assume that it's amateur wrestling you do. So the questions often comes up, ‘What sort of wrestling it is? Is it submission, free style or the kind you see on television?' For me it is impossible to give an easy answer, or even to do that distinction, since I do all of those things. I don't really view them as separate entities, either…just as different styles of fighting that mesh into each other.
LS: What is so special about this sport to you?
JS: This is a sport which constantly stimulates your intellect, and at the same time one of the most physical things that you can do. There are always thousands of different reversals and counter attacks to any hold, and I love the challenge in trying to find one that my opponent doesn't know about!
LS: What are your fans like?
JS: They are amazing. I was really surprised in the beginning for the immediate support they showed me. I was warned by many people who felt that the crowds would never get behind a hard-hitting female chainwrestler all dressed in black. When I see some of the reaction to my entrances on tape, it's amazing how wrong they were. It means so much in terms of inspiration, and in many ways I owe whatever success I have had as of yet to them.
LS: If you had the power, what one thing would you do to improve the sport?
JS: Too often I meet upcoming wrestlers who don't seem aware of the traditions and historical significance of the sport. Many view it as something thoroughly American that Vince McMahon dreamt up in the Nineties, and many tend to base their styles upon a few popular characters. I wish they could look more at the athletes of yesteryear and don't be so afraid to do something else than copy each other. Another thing that has got more or less lost nowadays is yesterday's stricter views on conditioning and health. Sure, some wrestlers out there are very serious, but when you compare the overall wrestlers of today with the old ones like Lou Thesz, Karl Gotch and Mildred Burke, you realise that there is indeed a big and rather sad difference.
LS: Where have you wrestled and what titles if any have you held?
JS: I have done most of my matches in Ireland and Spain and I am yet to win my first title.
LS: What do you say to those who don't feel there's a place for women in the sport other than as a novelty?
JS: That they have obviously been watching the wrong thing. Something you could argue is that there shouldn't be a place for Divas. But if you look at women's wrestling of today in general that isn't what you see either. Anyone with any wrestling knowledge can see that there actually are a bigger percentage of really talented athletes involved in women's wrestling than in the men's division. This is not just a current state of things…the best promotion in the history of wrestling as far as I am concerned would not be any of the male-dominated organisations, but the classic Japanese women's league AJW in the Eighties…and that by far.
LS: What was your most unforgettable moment in the ring?
JS: My debut match in Segovia, Spain against the Irish Heavyweight Champion, Phil Boyd. I was so nervous I almost fainted, but when I look at it today it's nothing but a very good memory…even though I lost and was badly beaten.
LS: If you could have only one more final match, who would you most want to have as your opponent and why?
JS: It will no doubt stay a dream, but I'd definitely say my favourite wrestler and biggest inspiration ever…the great Chigusa Nagayo.
LS: Any regrets?
JS: Yeah…maybe that I didn't get involved in wrestling at an earlier stage in life.
LS: What do you suppose you would be doing if you couldn't be in wrestling?
JS: A couple of years ago I was elected as a member of the city council in my hometown, so I would almost certainly be in politics or working as an editorial writer. I am already a political columnist and might very well do that full time if I wasn't wrestling. The two real passions of my life are wrestling and politics, and you could say that even though I am quite conservative when it comes to wrestling, I am politically liberal.
LS: Outside of the ring, in addition to your council seat, you're a journalist. Can you tell us a bit about that?
JS: I have been writing in different political forums for a big part of my life and in the summer of 2005 I met the editor in chief for a local newspaper at a Liberal Party convent. He asked me to start writing columns on a regular basis. That's how it all started, and it rolled on from there. At the moment I do all the main editorials for the paper. Even though wrestling comes first, I plan to continue my writing and try to combine the two careers as well as I can.
LS: What is your personal motto?
JS: It's good to be able to laugh at yourself…but never let others see you as joke.
LS: What would make you most happy in life?
JS: Career-wise it would without a doubt be to get to wrestle in Japan. In my personal life there are also a few things, like seeing my mom getting well from her illness and being able to be closer to my friends and family.
LS: Anything else you'd like to add?
JS: Yeah, if you want to find out more about me please visit my website at jennysjodin.com! Lots of new stuff will be added in the upcoming months.
LS: Thanks for making the time to speak with us!
JS: Thanks a lot, it was all my pleasure and take care
pics courtesy of Ms Sjödin