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Ringside seat to chaos is Stevie Jonak’s dream come true
SUQUAMISH — A hallway leading to the Suquamish Education Gymnasium is blocked off by a red curtain. The light illuminated by fluorescent bulbs in the gym is dulled by the curtain, where more than a dozen wrestlers in costumes, and some in masks, wait to be introduced into the ring.
Sitting among the crowd of wrestlers of the SWC/AIWF — who will soon be slammed, punched, clotheslined and beaten in general — is Stevie Jonak.
The 22-year-old sits patiently in a wheelchair for her debut into the world of independent wrestling, where she too will join the ranks of the SWC/AIWF outside under the fluorescent light.
“I’m just grateful I got a starting point,” she said.
The Snohomish County resident relies on a wheelchair for mobility. She applied to other wrestling circuits, but was denied an opportunity to participate.
“I’ve actually had people tell me no, because you have to physically train in order to be a manager,” she said.
It wasn’t until Ron Sullivan — formerly Sutherland — of Suquamish and a known independent wrestler, gave her the opportunity to become part of the act.
“Ron’s been the first one to say ‘we’re going to do this for you,” Jonak said.
Sullivan, who as of this week changed his last name to reflect that of his uncle’s name — Kevin Sullivan — gave Jonak the opportunity to become part of the act as a manager for the night. As a manager, she escorted wrestlers out to the ring and was there to cheer — and boo — them on.
The event Dec. 10 was the second independent wrestling show she has been to. Where she lives, the closest shows are in Marysville and bus access is limited.
Being backstage for the first time was chaotic.
“Chaotic and awesome,” she explained excitedly after a royal rumble match. “I’m just kind of observing and soaking it all in I guess.”
Sullivan and Jonak met on Facebook, where Jonak was asking promoters how to become involved in the world of wrestling entertainment. Sullivan said he felt like she was getting the run-around from promoters.
Before the event, Sullivan’s fiance, Terrie Ulmer, put together Jonak’s outfit and later styled her hair and did her makeup.
During the whole experience, Sullivan said Jonak stayed positive the entire time.
“My heart went out to her and I just decided to make this happen,” he said.
Though not everything has been revealed, Sullivan said on Jan. 28 Jonak will learn what her role in the independent wrestling circuit will be.