Wrestler Kc Spinelli Rejects Elite Training Offer Over Unequal Prize Split Controversy


Natalie Cicoria, a Guelph-based wrestler popularly known as Kc Spinelli, rejected the chance to train at Nightmare Factory wrestling academy with elite wrestling talent, standing firm on her position regarding an unequal prize split.

In the final match at the Quebec-based Wrestling Academy 2023, aired for audiences to watch and enjoy, Spinelli faced off in the finale, which included men’s tag team, men’s singles and women’s singles events. The victor from each category would pocket $10,000 and an invitation to undergo three months of training at the prestigious Atlanta, GA-based Nightmare Factory wrestling academy.

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In a unique twist, the winner of each match is pre-determined by a coin toss, but the allocation of the monetary reward and training opportunity depends solely on the contenders’ performance.

The unexpected drama unfolded after the women’s match, deviating from the pre-planned narrative. Jacques Rougeau, a retired professional wrestler responsible for organizing the pan-Canadian contest, suggested Spinelli and her rival Kat Von Heez consider dividing the prize money.

Unflinching, Spinelli rebuffed the proposal, telling Rougeau, “You’re already picking two men. Now this proposition to divide our earnings implies we don’t measure up.”

Subsequently, the decision-making moment turned tense when QT Marshall, a professional wrestler, co-owner of Nightmare Factory, and the appointed judge, declared both Spinelli and Von Heez as winners. “Are you willing to split the $10,000?” he asked, to which Spinelli forthrightly declined.

To her, the matter ran deeper than wrestling, touching on crucial issues concerning gender-based fair compensation. She argued that it was insinuating a victory with a caveat, a compromise not demanded of the men, and deemed it unfair for women to face such a proposition.

Asserting her belief in equal distribution, Spinelli voiced, “four individuals receiving $7,500 each, with an even distribution amongst the genders, that’s a suggestion I wouldn’t contest.”

Responding to criticisms, Rougeau explained that the division of the prize fund was related to the ratio of male to female competitors. He maintained that even though it appeared unequal at first, his intent was to ensure both women would eventually receive the same amount.

The Lucy like rejection by Spinelli required swift repositioning in the real-time show, compelling him to hastily announce Von Heez as the sole winner for the benefit of the audience.

The drama, usually reserved for the wrestling plotlines, leaked into reality, sparking a debate around ‘equal pay, equal play’. It cemented the fact that regardless of their wrestling alignments, both Spinelli and Rougeau are in unanimous agreement about the importance of equality in remuneration.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.