By JIM VARSALLONE
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 5, 2001
Christina Tomaziesski Colby graduated in 1995 with a degree in fine arts/theatre from the University of Florida. She also minored in mass communication.
Colby, 28, is putting her major and minor togood use as Hammerin Heather Steele, competing for WOW (Women Of Wrestling), a nationally syndicated, all-female pro-wrestling TV show.
"Hammerin Heather Steele is a construction gal, a tough girl -- sassy, sexy, strong," she said. "She is someone fans like."
The brainchild of executive producer David McLean, WOW features more than 30 female wrestlers. The characters, including Terri Gold, Slam Dunk, Thug, Lana Star and Roxy Powers, combine athleticism, acting, humor, beauty and brawn.
"It's an unbelievable experience," Colby said. "It has taught me to be a strong person. It has taught me to be proud to be a strong, athletic person, and it's great working for an organization that's all women. We don't need any men in there to help us or tell us how to do things in the ring."
How did Christina Tomaziesski Colby transform into Hammerin Heather Steele? "They (the WOW creative team) asked me, 'You're not handy, are you?' " Colby said. "Am I handy? I remodeled all my rental homes -- tile, paneling, grout, everything. I love doing that, and I was just meant to be this character. It is so me. That is why I am so comfortable doing it."
After college graduation, Colby spent two years modeling, acting and doing some fitness work in Orlando. Colby has appeared on three magazine covers (Iron Man, Muscle Mag, Pump). Her first published photo shoot, which took place on South Beach, appeared in a swimsuit issue of Muscle Mag.
"I have long-term goals," Colby said, "but working for WOW has really changed everything. I love doing the wrestling show so much. I'm committing myself to it 100 percent and let fate take over."
In a Los Angeles newspaper Colby read a WOW ad searching for women 5 feet 8 and taller. "I'm only 5-3, but I thought, 'I'm going to go for it,' " she said. "I went into it thinking I'd probably be too short to be a wrestler. Maybe I can be a manager. After I tried out, they wanted me to be a wrestler. That taught me not to be intimidated by things."
The next NWA Florida card at the Armory in Tampa is Feb. 20 with Steve Corino vs. Colorado Kid Mike Rapada for the NWA World Title, and Horace Hogan and Dan the Beast Severn vs. B. Brian Blair and Cyborg for the NWA Florida tag team titles. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100.
-- Pro wrestling columnist Jim Varsallone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.