As the financial crisis in the United States crushes wrestling promotions across the country, ACW has taken a novel approach. The promotion has begun inking talent sharing agreements with various Eastern Bloc promotions. One of the first beneficiaries from this arrangement is one Crystal Selane. Standing 5′ 1″ Selane doesn’t look like much of a wrestler, but there is certainly more to her than meets the eye.
Originally from Karelia, Russia, the pint size wrestler gained notoriety when she won an exhibition match against former European champion Lisa Nash and began making the rounds in numerous catfighting clubs in the former East Germany. The youngest of seven daughters in her family, Crystal and her sister Sylvie gained experience wrestling in high school, but really began learning their craft against veteran German competitors. Both girls found success in utilizing their small stature to their advantages.
“What they would do is simply outpace everybody,” said former ACW Champion and current trainer Diane Hunter. “It was really something to see. Crystal and her sister would just run rings around the competition and you would see these veterans would get so frustrated that they would make stupid mistake and those little girls would pin them or make them submit. It was funny at first, but then they kept doing it again and again.”
Crystal and Sylvie were quickly booked for a tour of Paris but Sylvie returned to Russia when she found out she was pregnant. Crystal, now on her own, struggled without her sister by her side and began losing match after match. It looked as though she might be returning to Russia as well when she was spotted by Von Helrind, a talent scout for ACW.
Crystal was flown to Chicago where she was given a tryout.” It’s like Diane said. She was running rings around some of the girls and she actually made Paulina (Persenko) tap out,” said Daniella Cartier, former ACW champion. “She’s really quick and she has a tight little muscular body so what she’ll do is get you off balance and then wrap herself around your leg and twist you into a knot before you even knew where she was.”
Selane has received rave reviews on her wrestling knowledge and her work ethic, but perhaps her best asset is her mind. Although she has a very limited English vocabulary, it is easy to determine that she has an approach to her matches and her career that sets her apart from more of the women in the business.
“I can barely understand anything she says,” said Cartier, “but I can see what she’s doing. She’s kind of setting up a new style of wrestling and making herself the centerpiece of it. But I think the main thing that she is doing is fooling a lot of people with her little girl act. I mean she looks like she’s 14 and cute as a button, but I have seen her get really brutal in matches. I think she is going to make a lot of people underestimate her.”
Like all newcomers to the promotion, Selane will have to continue to impress, but early reviews lead many to believe that she could help to innovate a struggling catfight industry.