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Indie Highlight: Woke Queens’ Debbie Keitel

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On Monday’s edition of The Broken Skull Sessions hosted by Steve Austin, Bret Hart said that every great wrestler started by being a fan. It was that same wrestler who gave Ireland’s Kaydell Joyce the inspiration as a fan to enter the business at WrestleMania 8, when he won the Intercontinental Championship from “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In an interview with WrestlingJunkies, Keitel stated that “the first match I ever saw was Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Bret Hart. I think it was from WrestleMania 8. My father had a lot of old tapes that he brought back from the UK whenever he went away.” In the same interview, she cited Sean Waltman, Mankind and Ivory as just three of the inspirations for her to enter the business.

https://twitter.com/DebbieKeitel/status/1240263937855238144

Keitel entered the business in 2015, after years of being a standout athlete and having a love for the arts. As shown in the Tweet above, Pro Wrestling was a calling and everything she’s done has led her here to show that she’s not just another pretty face. Armed with The Debbie Downer, her finishing double knee gutbuster, “The Whole Shebang” was living in New York when her love for wrestling was reignited at Independent Wrestling shows, and naturally, the only option was for the Indie scene to get “woke.” A half a year after her love was sparked, she began training with LJ Clearly and Phil Boyd at Fight Factory Pro Wrestling.

Currently freelancing, Keitel has become my absolute favorite female outside of WWE. Seeing as she’s Irish and my favorite in WWE is Becky Lynch, maybe there’s something there? Keitel brings a unique brand of entertainment that often falls through the cracks in an era where Independent Wrestling is more focused on “work-rate” as opposed to character work: she is a character fresh off of Broadway that would fit into any one-act play. Keitel herself has cited that her character is a combination of Cruella de Vil meeting Quentin Tarantino, only she doesn’t need a bunch of puppies or Steve Buscemi threatening to not tip before Michael Madsen tortures Kirk Baltz to get my view. Keitel is an extremely animated performer, whether it be overexaggerating reactions in a highly entertaining way, blessing memers like me with new templates almost on the daily, drinking coffee while her adversaries try to talk her down or producing videos with Woke Queens co-star, NXT UKs Aoife Valkyrie. When she needs to be serious, Keitel is an excellent promo:

The Woke Queens, however, aren’t serious…in fact, the Woke Queens are probably the act in wrestling that makes me laugh the most right now. Whether it’s the former Eve Tag Team Champions looking for CT Flexor, AKA “Carl The Woke Bloke”, or really Keitel doing anything with Flexor. The Woke Queens have taken the Internet, Twitter to be more specific, by storm. She was even supposed to be on ScrapperMania this week, a card that featured AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, Pac, Toni Storm, among others of the business’ premiere stars, but obviously it isn’t happening due to unforeseen circumstances.

Debbie is our favorite conspiracy theorist, and that’s woke. That’s just part one of an hilarious series, my favorite:

Debbie’s facial expressions on the bus, Valkyrie with the Febreze, and them waking up at the sudden stop are all major memes and that’s just the first 45 seconds of the clip. I don’t know what makes me cackle more, Debbie falling in the bushes or asking Valk if she drank Corona amidst the COVID 19 outbreak. But, no corona for Valkyrie, no. It’s straight coffee and tea for the Woke Queens. I bought Keitel’s most recent “rumors” shirt (which there’ll be a link to at the end) and in it, she also sent me biscoff and coffee, and that right there is dedication to the gimmick.

“Carl, it’s Debbie!” “Haha, got ya! Leave a message.” Part 3 is also hilarious. The Woke Queens are doing something with social media that I haven’t seen since 2016 Marty Scurll, and that’s get a character over completely by Twitter videos. A lot of Independent Wrestlers are using social media in a unique way to put together a groundswell, wrestlers such as “Warhorse” Jake Parnell, Effy and Erick Stevens are specifically doing an outstanding job. But, none of them are doing as great as Debbie Keitel with it.

The name Debbie Keitel, although I’ve already referenced Reservoir Dogs, is not from Harvey Keitel. According to Debbie in an interview with Sportskeeda, ” the name and character stem from my love for Russ Meyer’s ’60s B movies, with a little Scorsese thrown into the mix.” This was an interview she did in mid-2019 after a tryout with WWE’s NXT UK Brand, where she wrestled current NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley in September, the same Rhea Ripley that will wrestle Charlotte Flair at this year’s WrestleMania event. She’s only 3 years into the business and already on WWE’s radar, and can you blame WWE? If Debbie Keitel is not on your radar, then you’re going to need to purchase a new radar. Solid in-ring work (still a little green but again, 3 years in and improving steadily every time) and an excellent character with great grip on the performance aspect of professional wrestling. NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray (who may ironically lose it to Valkyrie) and Piper Niven have praised Keitel. Debbie Keitel is a star. Whether it be training 4x a week and wrestling in a bar in Benthal, London, as laid out by Londonist, while also working a day job on top of it, or later on working for a number of promotions from Fierce Females (where she is their current Internet Champion, and per Cagematch, has been for the past 487 days), Over The Top Wrestling or EVE, she’s killing it everywhere. In the same Londonist excerpt on Keitel, she even explains the Woke Queens shtick, if it’s not already abundantly clear what their persona is: “They’re two bitches who think they’re enlightened, but really they’re just bitches with money.”

The Irish scene is flourishing, especially now considering WWE has more Irish representation than ever. Becky Lynch is the biggest full-time superstar in wrestling today, and there’s no really no argument. 4x World Champion Sheamus is still going strong, “The Irish Ace” Jordan Devlin is the NXT Cruiserweight Champion, Finn Balor was the first ever Universal Champion. Killian Dain, Aoife Valkyrie, among others are under NXT contracts. The Irish scene despite losing some of its premiere talent, is stronger than ever and Keitel is at the helm. The parting image I want to leave you with is an image that shows Keitel is one tough, dedicated cookie:

To support Debbie Keitel, you can follow her on social media platforms. Instagram, as shown directly above, is @the_debbie_keitel, her Twitter is embedded in the piece but is @DebbieKeitel. A link to her Big Cartel site can be followed here, where she sells merchandise, autographs and posters. You can also specially order ring worn gear. You can check out many of her matches on YouTube, such as the one below. To contact Keitel, you can DM her on Twitter or email her at debbiekeiteloffice@gmail.com.

First and foremost, I’d like to give a special thank you to Rob Brazier as I’m using his photo for the feature image. Photographers are also losing a lot of bookings and thus income due to the COVID-19 shutdown as well, so let’s give him a follow on Twitter @RobBrazierPhoto.

You can also support Over The Top Wrestling and Eve Wrestling by ordering their VOD service or following them on social media.

Writers/Editors note: As I was trying to figure out a way fill out some content, somebody dear to me suggested that I do an Independent Wrestling spotlight where I highlight different workers that I’ve gravitated towards more recently. While a lot of Independent Wrestlers are losing income, it’s essential that they get as much publicity as possible during a very trying time due to circumstances far beyond their realm of control. In this series, I’m going to select wrestlers that have done a variety of different things to set themselves apart. I will also take requests and give you ways to support each wrestler we cover at PSE. It’s not the ideal way and we can’t help everybody out, but it’s a way to use a platform for something bigger. If there’s a specific wrestler you, the reader, want covered, shoot me a DM request @TheJameus or email me at jameusmooney@gmail.com. The whole point of these is so that you, the reader, can help get these wrestlers a larger groundswell. Thank you. -JM

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