Winnipeg-born Allison Danger finally heading to Canada
JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling
Over its 14-year history SLAM! Wrestling has interviewed most of the Canadian women that have contributed to wrestling. One name missing from the list is the Winnipeg-born Allison Danger. In her decade-long career she has also never wrestled in her home country. Both of those situations are remedied this week with this story, and Danger debuting for NCW Femmes Fatales on Saturday in Montreal.
"I have never wrestled in Canada! First time ever on March 12th! I am so pissed," Danger vented to SLAM! Wrestling. "I said to (Femmes Fatales booker) Lufisto, 'Why is it taking so damn long for me to get to Canada?' We moved from Winnipeg as kids we grew up in the States but were Canadian citizens until 1988. Now we have dual citizenship, my passport is American but says Canada on the inside. That will make it so easy to work there. I am going to be like, 'I'm here to party! We're in Montreal! Tabernac!' That is the only curse word I know in French. I wasn't allowed to learn French. My grandmother was from Winnipeg and hated French Canadians and would not let me learn it. I always tease Kevin Steen. 'We can never be friends, my grandmother will roll in her grave she hates French people.'"
Danger is best known for her time in Ring of Honor and as co-founder of the SHIMMER women's wrestling promotion. What wasn't well known for a long time was her family roots. She is the younger sister of former ECW and NWA World champion Steve Corino.
A younger Allison Danger.
"I didn't want it known in the beginning because I didn't want people to hand me jobs just because I was Steve's sister. I wanted to prove to him that I was serious about wrestling and treating it with due respect. Allison is actually my middle name, and he gave me the last name Danger when I told him I didn't want to use Corino," said Cathy Allison Corino. "In doing that I chose to take a harder path in wrestling but it ended up being more rewarding because I knew people were booking me because they saw something in me not because, 'She's Steve's little sister that might get us in good with Corino.' It is like when guys' girlfriends can bump in the ring a little bit so they get put in the ring because they are their girlfriend. I didn't want to get that treatment. I'm the kind of person that needs to know I've earned it."
A few people took guesses, she said, as there is a family resemblance.
"A couple of people would try and figure it out and ask if I was his sister, I would go, 'Who? Never heard of him!' We very much look alike, act alike, talk alike, sometimes share a brain which is scary because that means it is spread kind of thin. My nephew Colby has that strong resemblance and my daughter is getting it. The Corino gene is running strong through us four."
It wasn't until 2003 when Ring of Honor worked it into an angle involving Christopher Daniels' "The Prophecy" and Corino's "The Group" that it was acknowledged.
"We kept it private, didn't even acknowledge we were brother and sister until that angle. That is what put Christopher Daniels and I together. Simply Lucious was with The Prophecy and left to join Steve so Christopher Daniels petitioned to have me with him. He said, 'This is my secret weapon, I have your baby sister and she knows everything about you.' That is where Chris Daniels and I were born as a tandem."
Danger and Daniels ... reunited and it feels so good! Photo by Christine Coons
The tandem reunited on the Ring of Honor show January 28th in Los Angeles Wrestlemania Weekend, the first time since April 2007.
"Chris was being pulled to TNA and at that point (then ROH booker) Gabe Sapolsky was running things still and didn't have anything for me right away. We had pitched a couple of ideas like putting me and BJ Whitmer together but then he left. I told him I had the opportunity to move to Europe and wrestle over there and he said to take it and they released me. I wasn't under contract but he wanted to give me a nice goodbye with Chris. I have always appreciated that with Gabe, we had a great working relationship. That's when I went over to Europe and worked in Germany, France, England. I liked it. I have always missed being with Chris these last four years. When he came back to Ring of Honor I was texting him going, 'What are you doing! I want to come home!' Ring of Honor was my home for five years and I loved it."
It was special getting to be back in his corner for the bout against Mark Briscoe, she said.
"Being back with Chris was phenomenal, I called it 'The Reunion at WrestleReunion.' Even though we hadn't been in a ring together in four years we didn't miss a beat, that magic was back. Chris can give me a look and I know what he is thinking, he never has to say anything we just mesh so well. He has helped me so much in my career and I am really grateful to Chris Daniels. When he saw me he was like, 'You've gotta!' and we went to the office and said, 'We've gotta!' and they said, 'You've gotta! Go ahead!' I went out first and they hit the old school music so hopefully people would put two and two together pretty quick. Chris told me, 'Go out there, get your pop, then I am going to come out and get my pop. If you don't get a pop... to the back!' So if people weren't excited about me being out they were going to send me to the locker room and make me sit back there. So I was really glad that people were into it when I walked out there."
Allison Danger pulls on the hair of Veronica Vice at the SHIMMER taping in September 2010. Photo by Buddy LaMantia
She doesn't expect the appearance to lead to a full-time return but does hope to work with ROH again.
"Unfortunately with my living on the West Coast now and having a family it is really hard for me to run a consistent Ring of Honor schedule even if I wanted to. It is a bit too much time away from home. It would be costly for them to have to fly me into every event. I let it be known if they wanted to do it again and were out near us or I happened to be near them I would love to make it happen on an occasional basis. As a full-time return I don't think it would be feasible at this point."
The 33-year-old Danger now focuses on balancing wrestling with a family. She married Swiss wrestler Ares (Marco Jaggi) in 2008 and gave birth to their daughter Kendall Grace in February 2009. Frequently when a wrestler has a child, that is the end of their career. Not so for Danger.
"She was a surprise. We weren't prepared but were excited she was coming. People think I took all this time off but I was still booking and training people through my whole pregnancy. I went to shows up to three weeks before I had my daughter -- I did commentary, booking, ran backstage stuff, helped at training seminars where I couldn't get in the ring but would stand outside and take notes, critique people, help them. I was involved that whole time and seven weeks after I had my daughter I was back in the ring bumping. It was really hard to sit on the sidelines but it's a child. It was an exciting time. I got to eat anything I wanted, I could have taken out stock in Big Macs. I am always like, 'Baby wants a Big Mac!' 'Are you sure you don't want it?' 'No! The baby wants a Big Mac! Will you already be denying your child something yummy to eat? How could you do that?' So I gained a little weight."
Allison Danger introduces Portia Perez to a chair during their street fight at the SHIMMER tapings in May 2009. Photo by Ricky Havlik, RickyHavlik.com
Two months after the baby was born, she was back in SHIMMER, lighting a fire under a simmering feud with Portia Perez
"I wasn't quite ready to be back, still had the baby weight on and numbness from surgery when I had my daughter. It wasn't my best matches but I had to come in and do stuff with Portia. We extended that feud for two years. Considering I wasn't an in-ring competitor for almost a year that is pretty impressive. It is all worth it in the end, it is a struggle and a balance. I think I am one of the few women in wrestling that is actually open about being a Mom. It just came out that Jillian Hall has a child, most fans didn't know that. There are a couple of moms in wrestling but usually that is the career killer. They want to stay home or it is harder to recover. I have found since I had my child injuries take a little longer to heal because the whole childbirth process was so traumatic on my body. I don't move as easily as I used to. I still try I just have to work different ways to entertain the fans."
Danger will always be part of SHIMMER, the all-women promotion she launched with Dave Prazak in 2005. There has been a long list of alumni who have gone on to big things.
"A lot of people don't realize Taylor Wilde versus Tiana Ringer was the first match on the first show ever for SHIMMER. That DVD got her picked up by WWE and sent to Deep South. I don't think people realized when she popped up that she wasn't out of obscurity she was in Canada for a few years then came down, did one weekend with SHIMMER and got signed. Krissy Vaine did a couple of weekends and got signed. Natalya came in. Katie Lea Burchill/Winter is a lovely girl, beautiful accent and girl, came in one weekend and was signed."
One of her favorites was the future "Glamazon" Beth Phoenix.
Allison Danger has Kellie Skater by the hair at the SHIMMER taping in November 2009. Photo by Ricky Havlik, RickyHavlik.com
"We had a feeling when Beth came in that was the only time we would see her. She came in, bam, gone. I had so much fun wrestling Beth Phoenix. People don't realize I think that she is so nice and such a team player. Our situation with our match, we were squeezed between Cheerleader Melissa
and Sara Del Rey
and Mercedes Martinez
. Melissa and MsChif was something that we threw against a wall to see if it would stick, and it became a foundation. We knew Sara and Mercedes were going to blow the roof off the place. So I looked at Beth and said, 'Gaga?' and she replied, 'Gaga' I said, 'See ya in the ring honey!' We just went out there and had fun, we looked at our matches as a pallet cleaner between those two strong aggressive matches. If we had gone out and done the same thing as those girls it wasn't going to happen."
Another SHIMMER alumni who recently returned to the promotion is Serena Deeb, who made a surprise appearance September 11, 2010, only a few weeks after being released from WWE.
"We always knew from the day we hired Serena that her goal was to go to WWE; she never hid that from us. I think her coming in gave her the skills to get signed. The potential was there and she has really blossomed since she went to WWE and came back to us. It just gave her enough polish to show WWE that this girl's got something. We knew from day one that we were going to lose her, it was no surprise when she got signed. It was a surprise when she was released and I was really disapointed because I thought she played her role really well. I don't know the circumstances of her release, I don't ask her; it's none of my business. As soon as I heard I shot her a message saying, 'We're waiting here at home for you with open arms. Come home.' She is back with us and a whole new Serena but it is refreshing and good."
Even in SHIMMER chants of "You sold out" can be heard when one of them signs with WWE or TNA. Danger tries to discourage that as they truly want their talent to succeed.
"The thing I try to explain ... fans get mad and call people a sellout. No. Why are you selling out, because you want to go to a bigger platform? Go get that money and exposure, do it and come back a better, stronger person. When those girls leave, they leave holes in the roster and those need to be filled if the roster is going to stay afloat. It gives every other female an opportunity to step ahead. When Shantelle (Taylor Wilde) got signed people said she and Tiana were so good together, Tiana was every bit as good as her and had as much potential. I told her it was her time to shine and break out of Shantelle's shadow. Every time someone leaves they get replaced. Look at Madison Eagles, she has exploded in the past year. I don't think it is a bad thing when girls get signed and I wish the fans wouldn't see it as that because we wish them the best."
Sassie Stephy, Allison Danger, Amber O'Neal and Shelly Martinez at WrestleReunion in January. Photo by Christine Coons
Much like Danger herself, SHIMMER is about the talent behind the looks, and being able to bring your best to the table.
"I had known for awhile that Dave Prazak was itching to run a women's promotion his way. He genuinely feels strongly about women's wrestling. He feels that women are athletic and it doesn't have to be about having a big chest or the flattest stomach, being able to do a bronco buster so they can be a champion. He was just determined to get it off the ground so when he came to me I said, 'Absolutely! I am in, I am your right-hand man.' To this day I am his right-hand man. I am very proud of how it has evolved. We didn't know if we would survive the first year, we don't know if we will survive this year. Each time we get through it and see the finished product and how fans are really embracing it. It has set the tone for women's wrestling right now, away from what you see on TV. There are some similar style companies that have popped up in the U.S. and Europe. We are trying to set the bar high and inspire people and wrestling, be a place where women can come and work and know they are appreciated. We have never booked someone based on their looks or sent them away saying they were too fat or ugly. If you are good in the ring and have a good attitude in the locker room you have a chance with SHIMMER."
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Order Dangerous Divas - Allison Danger DVD-R
Jason Clevett has interviewed both Corinos. Read his 2004 interview with Steve here. Look for some more interviews from him soon.