Former NWA Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa was on the latest episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone. Rosa discussed her epic Lights Out match against Britt Baker on Dynamite, and she also explained the origins of her in-ring name and how part of it originates from her time working as a social worker.
“I worked with one of my friends. He used to be an announcer for a show that I used to go, and I used to drive with him and my husband all the time,” Rosa said. “So I was working at Thunder Road. I was a supervisor of two men units and one female unit. It was 45 kids between 13 and 18 that have mental health and alcohol and drug issues, severally abused, that came from juvi. It was hard place to work. So I started training there, and all the kids used to tell me I was crazy because we had sofas and I was doing flips on the sofas.
“It was ridiculous, and then we riding for a show. I was still a ring girl at that time, and we’re talking about a name that can be marketable. He said, ‘What about Thunder Rosa since Thunder is American, and Rosa sounds Latino.’ We kept Thunder for Thunder Road, and Rosa just to keep it Latino. I just wanted to make sure that we married both things at the same time. I’m here in America, but I’m still Latina. The whole sugar-face skull stuff happened afterwards in another promotion. They needed a representative of Latino culture. What better way than to do the sugar skull so we can draw more Mexicans here.
“They painted my face only on that promotion, and I didn’t like it. I just wanted to be considered a good wrestler by my own self not because I was Latina and not because I was a luchadora because I never trained lucha in my life until I went to Japan and then it didn’t work. So when I went to Japan, and my character wasn’t going over, and I had a concussion and I was out for a whole month, my husband brought it up again. He’s like, ‘You have to represent what just happened to you. You almost died and painting half of your face is that. You’re half dead, half alive and just do it.’ It just took off. It really took off.”
Rosa got her first exposure on TV through Lucha Underground. She has said on The Wrestling Inc. Daily that if she was Thunder Rosa in Lucha Underground, she would be in WWE. However, she was Cobra Moon in Lucha Underground, and she described her experience there on AEW Unrestricted.
“Oh man, that was awful,” Rosa expressed. “Wrestling with a mask was not fun. My first match, I was with a veteran. I’m not going to say his name. I had this mask that didn’t fit me. The shoes were two sizes too big. This gear was riding on my poor vajayjay because it was made for somebody else. I remember getting in the ring with this person. I’m trying to be respectful because I’m a greeny. The guy is yelling at me the whole entire time we’re putting the match together.
“He’s like, ‘You are going to do this! you’re going to do that!’ And I’m like, ‘Sir, ‘I don’t train lucha.’ I don’t know how to do. ‘Well, you’re going to learn how to do it now.’ So I literally had to pull all these stunts out of my a**, and I did this slingshot headscissors to the outside because it’s Lucha Underground, and I pulled it off, but then I messed up the finish. Never mess up the finish ever! I totally understand why he was so upset. He had to put this green girl with no experience on her first match on Lucha Underground. So I will never forget how poorly I was treated and how little I felt.
“I felt like I was nobody, and ever since then, I promised myself I will never ever treat another person like that in the ring if it’s their first match. I don’t care how un-experienced they are. I don’t care where we are. We’ll work on it. I don’t like when people are treated bad ever, and if I will lose my job because I stand up for that, I will do it because I have been treated like that so many times. And I’m so sick and tired of people doing that to other people just because they’re like, ‘I’m a veteran.’ I’m like, ‘Nah dude, I’m a human being. You should treat people with respect.'”
Rosa has been outspoken for her desire to empower women and has been a champion of women’s wrestling. She continued and talked about the help she got in Lucha Underground, but she noted that Lucha Underground was also her first experience with contracts.
“Things started getting better because I started asking questions,” Rosa stated. “I started learning from Rey Mysterio, the Guerrero’s [and] are all kinds of people, and I was like, oh this is how you do business. I picked up the right things from the right people because there’s a lot of things that I saw, and I was like, I don’t like this at all. I’m not gonna be like that, but I was smart enough to know that that’s not how you behave.
“I always say that if I was going to earn something, I was going to earn it because I worked really hard and people respected my work. Contract wise, we got screwed over with the contracts. A lot of us, after Lucha Underground went down, they didn’t let us go out or work on TV and do a bunch of stuff. So it was rough. That was my first experience with contracts because I wasn’t even one year in the business, and I didn’t have the money to pay a lawyer. So I was just so excited, and I signed that contract and then I was like, oh, I’m stuck.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.