Lieve has put a sticker of her favorite wrestler on the rear window of her car.

Lieve has put a sticker of her favorite wrestler on the rear window of her car. © Marc Peeters

Herentals, Geel

‘The girl behind the ring’ is the title of the very first book by Lieve Van Hemelen (47) from Herentals. She takes the reader into the world of show wrestlers. “An environment in which close friendships are built, although it sometimes looks completely different,” says Lieve. “Without my health problems I might have been in the ring myself, but now I try to do my part.”

Marc Peeters

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Lieve Van Hemelen is the mother of three adult children. She suffers from a rare and incurable lung disease of which shortness of breath is one of the symptoms. “Nevertheless, despite this limitation, I want to remain fully alive. That’s why I decided to go to the gym for a few years, albeit at a pace that I can handle. That’s how I ended up in the FeelGood fitness room in Geel,” she says.

“Rob Eeckhout was not only one of the coaches there, he is also a wrestler and as Rob Raw active in the environment, which also brings shows that combine sport and demonstration. One time Rob asked if I didn’t even want to come and watch a show. At first I didn’t like it, but I did it anyway.”

Lieve together with Rob Raw and Légion Von Creed.

Lieve together with Rob Raw and Légion Von Creed. © MPH

The event has stuck to Lieve. “Since then, I have been traveling with my boyfriend to all the shows where Rob has to compete. In the meantime, we also dare to cheat once in a while, to encourage other show wrestlers. You build up friendships very quickly in this world. There is also a clear difference between inside and outside the ring. During the camps, the opponents can drink each other’s blood, but outside of that they are the best buddies.”

Lieve does not make any statements about whether or not agreements exist before the contestants start. The crown may not be bare, “but the word ‘show’ in the name show wrestling does point in a certain direction. The kicks, blows and throws are in any case real and you have to come into the ring trained and hardened or injuries will follow.”

The show quality remains important. “Take now Legion of Creed. When the kamper in the ring stapt he wears a medieval executioner outfit and he has a giant sledgehammer with him. In the meantime, I’m also a little bit now and then part of the act. Although that is mainly outside the ring to occasionally stir up the public. That is also part of the experience.”

In ‘The girl behind the ring’ Lieve describes her experiences in the environment. “Rob Raw and Légion Von Creed are wrestlers who get a lot of exposure. The nice thing is that both contestants also signed a series of my books together. This makes them fun collectibles in the environment. I also hope that the book can get people excited to come and see the show wrestling.”

There are also many photos in the book.

There are also many photos in the book. © Marc Peeters

An English version of the book is currently being worked on because English is widely spoken in the international wrestling environment. “It is by no means the intention to make money from it. My book costs 19.95 euros. For every copy sold, I donate 5 euros to a good cause. I have a list ready for that. I mainly want to support patients directly, not so much the large organisations. We are of course not talking about large amounts, but I think it is important to do something.”

If you want a book, you can email to Lievevan [email protected]

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