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The woman nicknamed the Daily Star's Favourite Wrestler has finally won one of the top women's championships in British women's wrestling.
Mancunian Lana Austin has spent the last 18 months reinventing herself in a bid to climb to the top of the women's wrestling mountain and pick up the PROGRESS Wrestling Women's Championship – a title previously held by former WWE and current AEW star Toni Storm, and Impact Wrestling's Jordynne Grace and Gisele Shaw.
And now, having beaten former champion Kanji on Sunday (November 27) during the They Think It's All Over show in Camden, London, she has finally done it.
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The leader of the all-female faction called the Lana Austin Experience, who has previously wrestled for WWE on its now-defunct NXT UK brand, exclusively told the Daily Star: “It means so much to me – I’ve put in so much hard work this year specially with PROGRESS.
“Working on my character, doing promos, going to the gym four times a week, just putting my all into everything I do and hoping the hard work would pay off, which it has and I’m truly grateful.
“It’s been an amazing journey with a lot of ups, but unfortunately some downs with my health, when I found out that I had a brain injury a few years ago.
“Everyone at PROGRESS looked out for me with constant phone calls weekly checking up on me, always asking if there’s anything I need while at home recovering, and when I got another injury I thought 'that’s it, they are never gonna use me again'.”
But little did Lana know, she would spend most of the last 12 months as one of the top stars in the company – despite spending most of her time feuding with fans and co-owner Lee McAteer.
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She formed the Lana Austin Experience, with LA Taylor and Skye Smitson, earlier this year, which kicked off her rise to the top.
She added: “I’m an over thinker and my silly brain would panic thinking they are gonna replace me because of the injuries, but that wasn’t the case at all.
“They still used me and still gave me work in a non-wrestling role which lead to me becoming more confident on the microphone and with my character and also helped me have so much fun with the fans.
“Now I'm champion, fans can expect more fun, more meanness but also lots more hard work from me – I want to be having the best matches.
“I want to work with the best.
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“The Lana Austin Experience is now stronger than ever and future plans are that we are taking over.”
Lana's next stop is to defend the championship during the company's historic and somewhat controversial show in Dubai next month (December 10).
The company has teamed with local brand WrestleFest DXB to put on a show at Warehouse Four.
Despite anger from some parts of the fanbase, because of the country's stance on the LGBTQ+ community, the company's co-owners – Mr McAteer and Martyn Best – addressed it in a lengthy statement.
But Lana is grateful for the chance to make history out there, while paying tribute to the two female wrestlers who wrestled the first ever women's match out there earlier this year.
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She said: “I’m very excited to be defending the title in Dubai, I’m also very grateful that because of Charlie Morgan and Alex Windsor being the first females to wrestle and to main event there and absolutely smashing while also representing the LGBTQ+ community.
“They showed that us women are amazing and strong.
“They have opened the door for more females to go over.
“They are both amazing wrestlers so I know going over there we have big shoes to fill.”
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