When WOW Women of Wrestling premiered on AXS TV on Friday, January 18, at 9 p.m. Eastern, it showcased a roster of independent wrestling stars like Tessa Blanchard and Kiera Hogan (as Fire) mixed with veteran talent from the turn of the century WOW series and more recent homegrown stars that many wrestling fans hadn’t seen before. One such wrestler was The Beast, who first established herself as a force to be reckoned with in a match against Stephie Slays and then returned later in the show for a pull-apart brawl that promised she would play an important role in episodes to come.
Series creator David McLane has called The Beast “a phenom” who will change the face of wrestling and, when speaking to the press before the WOW tapings at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles in October 2018, “a true specimen of athleticism.” McLane said he and WOW trainer Selina Majors came up with the name “The Beast” for the performer previously known to followers of fitness competitions as Twana Barnett Ferguson because “she’s in beast mode all day.” He said that when they suggested this to her, she had coincidentally been thinking of calling herself the same thing.
But that night at the Belasco the imposing wrestler gave the media a glimpse of her human side when she sincerely told us, “I’m a mom of three. I have a husband. I grew up thinking I couldn’t do things because I was a girl and I couldn’t do things because I was small, and I was sickly, but I beat that. I never take no for an answer… and now I have three daughters to show that women can do anything, can be anything that they want to. So I show them with this thing I do. This is the first thing I’ve done – and I’m a pro bodybuilder, black belt, I’m an instructor in martial arts; I’ve done anything I wanted to do – this is the first thing I’ve done where my daughters say… ‘Mom, you’re so cool.'”
With Spandex spoke to the Beast later that month at L.A. Comic Con about her history with bodybuilding and martial arts, her goals for her wrestling career, and more. That conversation is below and has been edited for length and clarity.
How did you get into professional wrestling?
I’ve been a fan of wrestling my whole life. Growing up I would watch it and kind of do what I saw. So when I saw WOW come around I ran to David’s offices, said, “I will be your next champion,” and I refused to leave until I became part of the team.
And your background before this was in bodybuilding?
Yes, I’m a professional bodybuilder. I have a black belt in Krav Maga. I’m MMA-trained. I am Muay Thai-trained, boxing-trained, so yeah, I pretty much like to hit things and lift heavy things…
How long have you been fight-training? When did you start that?
I started my first fight training in… 2005. Yeah, 2005. I saw a demonstration, and a guy disarmed another man from a gun and kicked his butt into the ground. I decided that was me. I had to be a part of it. Here’s the thing, is I got seven older brothers. So when you’re the youngest sister in a family of boys, you learn how to fight pretty early on and how to defend yourself and how not to back down. And I think that’s all part of what makes The Beast The Beast is just being that tough, bad chick.
How did the Beast character develop? Between you and David McLane, how did that happen?
Here’s the thing, is The Beast is not a character. The Beast is me. Like, what you see of me in the ring, like, when I say “The Beast,” it’s not just these muscles. It’s a mindset. I don’t quit. I will never fail. I will never accept defeat, ever. So whether I’m in the gym or if I’m in the ring, you will always see me fight with everything I have. I will never, ever give up, and that’s why The Beast can’t be beaten, because you can’t beat someone who will never quit. And that’s me. So that’s not a character. That’s how I live my life every day.