Rok-C may not be able to buy a drink or rent a car but the 19-year-old is more than capable of leading Ring of Honor’s women’s division into a new era. The “Prodigy” proved that by defeating Miranda Alize in the final of a grueling Quest for Gold tournament at Death Before Dishonor in Philadelphia. Rok-C, real name Carla Gonzalez, also scored impressive victories against Sumie Sakai, Quinn McKay, and Angelina Love leading up to the pay-per-view. A few weeks later and the champ is still finding it hard to put the historic win into words.
“These things don’t happen very often,” she said. “It was a really special moment because my family was there. They were actually brought to the ring when I won. My mom and dad were such a big part of my journey. They’ve been super supportive since I started wanting to become a professional wrestler…My mom has always been super supportive since the beginning. She helped me come up with my wrestling name and wrestling outfits. It’s really crazy to see everything come to life now and have her be such a big part of it and share that moment with me.”
Rok-C remembers keeping a journal where she would come up with signatures and entrance songs. When it came to a wrestling name, the youngster was inspired by one of her favorites in The Rock.
“I kind of switched up the wording a little bit. I honestly didn’t expect that to become my wrestling name,” she said. “I remember before one of my first matches, my trainers were like you have to come up with an entrance song and ring name. I didn’t have a lot of time. Then it just stuck until now.”
The ROH star is learning to appreciate every accomplishment and milestone. Whether it’s seeing her name with the gold or on a t-shirt. All are reminders of how hard work is paying off. Rok-C is also grateful for sharing the ring with veterans and who she deems pioneers of women’s wrestling. The Reality of Wrestling alum also speaks highly of fellow emerging talent like Quinn McKay.
“She is a backstage interviewer, but not just a backstage interviewer. I know she came into professional wrestling wanting to be a wrestler. It was really cool to get in the ring with her. I think that was one of the most competitive matches I’ve ever had in my career. I learned so much from Sumi and Angelina as well and kind of come into my matches with that mindset all the time. I’m going to learn something from every single match that I have.
“I think even prior to the matches with Sumi and Angelina on the independent scene, I was thrown into these matches with these super experienced women’s wrestlers. I got thrown into the ring with Jazz when I was 17. I think moments like that helped me with these new experiences. It was nerve-wracking but a little less nerve-wracking.”
For Rok-C, board member Maria Kanellis also helped make the transition into ROH that much smoother. A passion for the business, specifically women’s wrestling, shines through.
“I got so much good advice. Mainly, Maria, she was so helpful from the moment I walked into Ring of Honor,” Rok-C said. “She is a huge mom figure. Even just aside from the actual wrestling part. She is so helpful and amazing. I’m excited to continue learning from Maria and everyone else at Ring of Honor.”
Rok-C continues to build a connection with the audience as the triumphant underdog. She takes pride in proving doubters wrong.
“It definitely is a little bit of pressure, especially because of my age,” she said. “I feel like even when I first started training I have always had this, ‘‘Whatever. We’re not going to take her as seriously.’ I kind of use that as fuel throughout my career.’
“I know I can accomplish so much and know regardless of my age that I have just the same amount of heart, if not more, than some of the other professional wrestlers out there. I think now I’m starting to get recognition where I’m not going to be underestimated anymore. Paige started out really young. I think she started out at age 13. She accomplished so much. That was a really big inspiration to me because if she can do it, I can do it too.”
Don’t let Rok-C’s stature, happy personality, and youthful exuberance fool you. The teen is tough as nails who has paid her dues, sacrificing so much to have a dream realized.
“I actually started taking Greyhounds when I was 16 or 17,” she said. “I started taking them to Booker T’s [Reality of Wrestling] to train there. I would take Greyhounds to a lot of my wrestling shows. Some of the wrestlers were really helpful because sometimes there wasn’t a Greyhound. For example Abilene Texas, there wasn’t a greyhound station there. So I would take a Greyhound to Houston and then get picked up by one of the wrestlers and drive with them.
“Then they would drop me off at the Greyhound. I would get back home at 4 in the morning and wake up at 7 a.m. I would be on the bus and doing all my college and high school work. People would joke around because after my match I would go to the back and do my college essays and my college test. I was so dedicated.”
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