On Saturday, Ring of Honor veteran Mandy Leon will team up with Jenny Rose to take on Sumie Sakai and Faye Jackson in a tag team match at Supercard of Honor. The stacked card, available on PPV or live in Lakeland, Florida at the Lakeland Center – Jenkins Arena, features bouts between some of the best wrestlers in the world, including a Tag Team Championship ladder match between The Hardys and The Young Bucks, Christopher Daniels defending his Ring of Honor championship against Dalton Castle, Marty Scurll vs. Adam Cole for the Television Championship, Cody Rhodes vs. Jay Lethal in a Texas Bullrope match, an appearance by the Motor City Machine Guns, and more (see the full card here). Leon’s match is one of three Women of Honor matches — Ring of Honor’s brand of women’s wrestling that’s been taking the internet by storm — on the card.
Bleeding Cool spoke with Mandy Leon about her match, her career, the Women of Honor brand, Supercard of Honor, and, of course, what superhero or villain she’d like to play in a comic book movie. Order Supercard of Honor for $29.99 on PPV, on the Ring of Honor website, or on the Fite TV app, and then check out the interview below. The show kicks off on Saturday, April 1 at 6PM Eastern.
ROH’s Women of Honor matches are some of the most popular across the ROH product when it comes to YouTube views. In fact, four of the top five videos ever on ROH’s YouTube channel are women’s matches. What do you think that says about the popularity of women’s wrestling and the popularity of women’s competition in combat sports in general, and is the wrestling industry capitalizing on that popularity as effectively as it could be?
With the amazing history behind Ring Of Honor Wrestling and the amount of outstanding talent that has been showcased within in the company and on Ring Of Honor’s YouTube channel, it is a beautiful thing to see that the Women Of Honor matches and content on the ROH YouTube channel receive the amount of views that they do. Fan’s around the world continue to show their support for the Women’s Division and by doing this it proves that we are doing something right. People want to see the WOH in action and featured on the regular ROH program. Ring Of Honor is known for being a company that focuses on recruiting top athletes from around the world and showcasing elite talent from around the world, and now the Women Of Honor is doing just that! We are the an elite women’s division showcasing the top women’s athletes from around the world! Due to the amount of support we have received, we now have exclusive Women Of Honor episodes featured on the ROH TV program every few weeks.
The popularity of women’s competition in combat sports overall is outstanding! Seeing a strong, beautiful, inspirational woman with passion and drive to succeed in a competitive sport career such as professional wrestling is eye catching, attractive, intriguing and inspiring. There is a vision of power knowing that women can do anything they set their minds to. Women are no longer doubting themselves when it comes to male dominated sports and other careers, they are no longer intimidated or feel powerless. In todays era in the career of professional sports, women are fearless and embracing their inner Wonder Woman while following their dreams!
Ring Of Honor is 100% capitalizing on the popularity of the Women Of Honor division and Women’s Wrestling in general and I could not be more proud of what we as a Women’s Division and family have accomplished in such a short amount of time.
Last year, there were a lot of rumors about how ROH was planning to focus heavily on Women of Honor in 2017. Currently the brand is promoted heavily on YouTube and social media to great success. Any plans in the future for an episodic Women of Honor show, or anything else you can share about the future of the brand?
The Women Of Honor brand is going to continue to grow throughout 2017. In just a little over one year, we have accomplished so many great things and have made an enormous amount of history within the women’s division and within Ring Of Honor in general. In 2016 Ring Of Honor featured two exclusive Women Of Honor TV episodes on ROH TV featuring multiple WOH matches throughout the television episodes as well. On April 8th in Baltimore, Maryland we will be taping another Women of Honor TV episode! Hopefully in 2017 Ring Of Honor will be able to add more time to their television programming to where we can see the WOH in action every week on the regular program outside of the exclusive matches that are aired every few weeks. WOH is now partnered with Stardom in Japan and CMLL in Mexico, so you will be seeing the WOH in action with competitors from around the world! Fans can expect to see a lot of new faces added to the division and more outstanding matches from the Women Of Honor. You never what can happen so you just have to keep watching =)
You made your Ring of Honor debut in April 2014. Are you happy with what you’ve accomplished over the past three years? What are some of your goals for the future?
I am extremely happy and proud of everything that I have accomplished over the past few years in my professional wrestling career and the history that I have made…but I am not done yet!! I have a lot of goals and things I still want to accomplish in my career. I always want more! haha. Right now my goal for 2017 is just to travel more and soak up all of the knowledge that I can by continuing to work with people from around the world and expand my brand. I want to be the best athlete that I can possibly be. I plan on going to Japan later on this summer and hopefully England before then. As far as Women Of Honor goes, I will keep working hard and fighting for the WOH division as that is where my heart is and something that I am passionate about. My main goal when I began my training at the ROH Dojo was to introduce a women’s division within the company and to be the first ever Ring Of Honor / Women Of Honor Champion and represent the company like a Woman Of Honor should as a product of the system and someone who never gave up on their dreams. I have a lot of goals outside of wrestling as well but my main goal is to be happy…and I am! I love what I do. I am extremely honored, blessed and thankful for the amount of oppurtunities I have received over the past few years in my career and the amazing people I worked with and had the pleasure of meeting. I am extremely excited for the future.
Ring of Honor held its first Women of Honor tryout camp this month, and you were there. Did you see any wrestlers that stood out and who you’d like to see get contracts with the company?
Ring Of Honor held its first Women Of Honor / Stardom tryouts camp this month and it was extremely successful! I was blown away by the amount of talented women that attended the camp. It was emotional for me because as a product of the ROH Dojo when I first started training, I was the only female student at that time. Every ROH seminar and camp I attended during those few years, I always had to work with the guys which was great but I never had a female to work with and showcase a match with. There also wasn’t a lot of opportunities at that time for women within the company because there wasn’t a women’s division at the time so women wouldn’t sign up for the camps. Now for me to see the amount of female athletes that traveled from around the world to attend the first WOH camp was such a beautiful and special moment for me. The camp consisted of 24 participants and I would gladly work with any of those 24 women within a ROH ring any day! I was extremely happy and impressed with everyone! You can expect to see a lot of new faces from that camp debut in WOH in 2017! As far as contracts go, The WOH do not have contracts and are not signed to any exclusive deals but hopefully one day when the division is featured on the ROH program regularly, then maybe we can see some of the women as contracted talent.
When will Women of Honor get a championship belt?
I honestly have no idea when or if Ring Of Honor will introduce a Women Of Honor championship belt, but all of the Women within the WOH division work extremely hard and are so passionate I can only hope with the amount of support from the fans and our continued success that ROH does decide to introduce a WOH Championship Belt soon! The Women deserve it.
As an entertainment journalist, it’s my professional obligation to ask every wrestler this question: if given the opportunity, which comic book superhero or villain would you like to play in a movie or TV show, and why?
That is a tough question!!! I have so many favorites…hmm… I would have to say Wonder Woman, Storm, Or Catwoman. They are all strong, sexy, powerful women! Those have always been my favorites. I would love to play any of those ladies in a movie!
At Supercard of Honor, you’re teaming up with Jenny Rose to take on Sumie Sakai and Faye Jackson. What’s your mindset heading into the match, and what should fans expect?
I am extremely excited to team up with my dojo sister Jenny Rose to take on Sumie Sakai and Faye Jackson at Supercard Of Honor. My first match in Ring Of Honor under Future Of Honor was against Jenny Rose and we have worked together quite often in and our of ROH! We know each other very well so teaming up for this match will be great. Sumie Sakai is someone ROH / WOH fans have seen me team up with before and as someone who has worked with Sumie often, I am prepared to take her on on this match up. Faye Jackson recently debuted and is someone who is still very new as a product of the ROH Dojo as well, I have not worked with her one on one so it will be interesting for me to see what she can bring to the table. Experience is everything, so I am very confident my partner Jenny Rose and I will be victorious in Lakeland, Florida!
Any other matches on the card you’re particularly excited for?
Supercard Of Honor April 1st in Lakeland, Florida is a stacked show!!! I am looking forward to every single match on the card. One of the matches I am looking forward to seeing is The Young Bucks vs The Hardy’s in a Ladder Match! Another match I am excited for the Jay Lethal vs Cody in a Texas Bullrope Match! Fans around the world come to Lakeland, Florida for a fantastic show!!
Supercard of Honor is competing directly with WWE’s NXT Takeover Orlando, as both events are taking place on the same night. What does Supercard of Honor offer that fans can’t get from NXT Takeover, and why should they watch Supercard of Honor instead?
An ROH event is an experience like no other… The vibe and energy in the atmosphere at a Ring Of Honor show is one of a kind. Ring Of Honor is time tested and has a reputation for being the BEST wrestling on the planet so no matter what Ring Of Honor event it is, you are guaranteed to get more than your moneys worth. You can expect Ring Of Honor to go above an beyond at Supercard Of Honor since it is the biggest wrestling weekend of the year.
The last time I checked, I think there were more than 50 wrestling events or wrestling-related events taking place in Florida this week, capitalizing on the fact that there will be a lot of people coming into town for Wrestlemania. I see that you’ll be at Wrestlecon the night before Supercard of Honor. What’s that all about?
I will be signing and taking photos at Wrestlecon in Orlando, Florida March 31st. Wrestlecon is a HUGE wrestling convention where fans can go and meet over 300 wrestlers from around the world, past and current from every promotion you can think of. You can compare it as the wrestling version of comic con. I will be there March 31st only as I have to be at Ring Of Honor in Lakeland the next day for Supercard Of Honor. I have my own table where I will be signing and taking photos and also selling exclusive Mandy Leon merchandise. Be sure to come and meet me! =)
Are you planning to attend any other events while you’re in the area?
There are so many events that weekend! Right now Wrestlecon and Ring Of Honor are my priorities, but I do plan on exploring and having a bit of an adventure while I am out there so I might make a surprise appearance at a few events possibly Walemania.
Any words for your opponents on Saturday?
Woman Up ;)
For some of Bleeding Cool’s readers who don’t consider themselves wrestling fans yet (I’m working on converting them all), why should they check it out, and what makes Supercard of Honor, or ROH in general, a good entry point?
Wrestling combines talent, passion, athleticism and skill all in one. Whoever pays for a ticket to watch pro wrestling can be assured that the wrestlers are giving it their all in every match. Wrestling is a lifestyle and every night a wrestler gets in the ring they put their life on the line. The BEST pro wrestlers in the world have come from Ring Of Honor and are currently competing in Ring Of Honor so when you come to a Ring Of Honor show or watch Ring Of Honor on TV you can expect to see the BEST pro wrestling has to offer. Ring Of Honor is known for creating excellence and for being the BEST pro wrestling in the world!