Less than three years deep into her squared-circle career, National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) athlete Ruthie Jay plans to set a historical benchmark in St. Louis this weekend.
Jay, a member of the NWA women’s division, will compete at “NWA 75,” a two-day showcase being held at the Khorassan Ballroom within Sonesta Chase Park Plaza.
The Port-Au-Prince, Haiti-native will be a part of the multi-entrant Burke Invitational Gauntlet on Saturday night, where the winner receives an NWA World Women’s Championship title shot the next evening.
For the 23-year-old grappler, just to be involved in a high-profile event is rewarding enough at this stage of her game.
“it’s actually a great honor to be a part of this company,” Jay said. “Just to be a part of something so historic and meaningful in wrestling really means a lot to me.”
But what brings significant intrigue to her journey to the Gateway City is that if she records back-to-back victories on consecutive nights.
If Jay outlasts the other nine entrants in Saturday’s invitational and is victorious, and then proceeds to capture the NWA Women’s title the following night, she will be recognized as the first Haitian-born women’s professional wrestling champion for a major North American promotion.
“That would put me on a whole other level,” Jay enthusiastically said. “I’m gonna call my momma, my daddy, my brothers! I’m gonna call everybody I know and tell them what I just did.”
Her personal trek into the sport is unique compared to most. After her family moved to the United States when she was four, Jay’s involvement with organized sports during her teen years was almost non-existent compared to others.
In fact, Jay readily admits that her closest involvement with athletics was performing as a drum majorette at her local high school.
But that was then, and this is now. Her current cache now easily supersedes her former classmates.
Jay entered the sport in 2020 as a student of Florida-based Coastal Championship Wrestling, whose head trainer is David Heath, a 35-year veteran of the trade that is best known as Gangrel, who was a fixture of the WWE in the mid-1990’s.
“He told me that the journey is the jewel,” lovingly said Jay of her mentor. “Always enjoy where you are now and to always stay professional.”
Which is reasonably tough to do when one is so young as a fan of the sport but is eager to soak up the excitement around others with experience.
“He also said to act like I’ve been there and don’t mark out,” Jay jokes.
Gangrel’s sage advice has served her well. Jay made her inaugural NWA appearance this past February and has been steadily gaining significant reps that has led to perpetual improvement.
“When everyone first starts, they lack awareness and confidence,” she said. “Over the last year, I can look back at my first match and look at everything I did and see more growth.”
Jay’s quest for championship gold this weekend will present numerous challenges. Entered in Saturday’s invitational gauntlet will be former NWA Women’s World Champion Alysin Kay, Samantha Starr, CJ, Heather Monroe, Taylor Rising, MJ Perkins, Sierra, The WOAD and one other yet-to-be named participant.
Those competing within the scramble for a future title shot easily recognizes that Jay can make an immediate impact.
“She is an outstanding athlete,” said NWA athlete Samantha Starr, a ten-year pro. “She’s small but fierce and she’s all muscle. Whenever she and I step into the ring, we push each other to our limits every single time.”
Jay humbly admits the overall strength of the NWA women’s division and her placement within it.
“It is very competitive, and everyone tries to prove that they are the best,” she assessed. “I’m here for it. To see it, I must tell myself that I have to step it up.”
And if all aligns right for her this weekend, Jay will immediately proclaim that the NWA women’s title complexion, which has 75 years of lineage, now has global flavor.
“I’m going to announce to the world that I am the first Haitian NWA World Women’s Champion,” she beamed.
Tickets for each night of “NWA 75” at the Khorassan Ballroom are scarce but one can watch online via fite.tv, either in a separate night order or a two-night bundle.
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.