WCW Newz: You Know Who...March 28, 2000: by Chad Damiani

Due to her Luchador aerials and tremendous dedication, Mona has become the most promising female wrestler in America. But WCW's friendly femme fatal might have never earned her impressive reputation, if not for a chance meeting with The Artist, Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea.

In the spring of 1997, the teenage Minnesota-native decided that selling magazines over the phone was fun, but left her unfulfilled. An accomplished gymnast and power lifter, Mona began training at an independent school outside Tampa, Florida.

"The owner had a ring in his backyard," said Mona. "He had spent some time training with Jim Neidhart, and was training -- or, at least, trying to train -- a bunch of young guys from the area." For three months, Mona believed that she was learning all the nuances of her in-ring craft.

In reality, Mona had learned nothing -- until The Artist made a surprise appearance.

"I was home due to my leg injury, and I'd heard about this backyard school in my parent's hometown," said The Artist. "I had nothing to do, so I drove until I saw a bunch of cars parked in this vacant lot. When I walked up, I saw the ring. The guy who was running the place said he wouldn't reveal my identity, but as soon as I walked through the door, he announced who I was and started acting like we were best friends.

"The students I first saw were your basic backyard wrestling types. Heavier guys, under six foot tall, with no cardiovascular conditioning. No offense to anyone involved, but no one was learning anything there. They were applying holds from the wrong side, falling incorrectly and the students -- who were probably paying a good deal of money -- had no chance of taking themselves to another level. The only thing these people had a chance of accomplishing was a serious injury."

The Artist decided to stay and give a little proper instruction. While the Cruiserweight Champion ran a few basic drills in the ring, Mona watched from inside the instructor's home.

"The first thing he (The Artist) did was take six of the loudest bumps I've ever seen. I knew right then that I wasn't going to learn about wrestling with these people," said Mona.

When Mona decided to get a closer look at the former TV Champion, The Artist found himself equally impressed by Mona's looks and enthusiasm. The Artist agreed to come around and instruct Mona when he had time -- a relationship that prompted the female grappler to eventually seek instruction from other established professionals like Malia Hosaka. A 10-year veteran of female wrestling, Hosaka's influence helped Mona book a match on WCW's Saturday night program and an invitation to train at Dean Malenko's wrestling facility in Florida.

After participating in several major WCW storylines, Mona continues to wrestle on Saturday nights while offering her vast skills to the WCW Power Plant. Not only does she continue to strengthen her own impressive skills, the female grappler has started giving back to the business by training females like Daffney, Miss Hancock and various Nitro Girls.

"I look back at how I started in professional wrestling," said Mona, "If he (The Artist) didn't happen to stop by, who knows how much time and money I would have wasted trying to chase my dream.

"The Power Plant gives me a chance to give back. And maybe help women become more than just eye candy in WCW."