On the best of days, wrestling can come easy for many. The business can have an incredibly grueling schedule to maintain, but the world’s best persevere through the challenges and come out better than ever. This is the case for ‘Legit’ Leyla Hirsch. Born in Moscow, Russia, the current member of the All Elite Wrestling’s women’s division has shown that height doesn’t measure heart.
Once she immigrated to the United States, Hirsch was adopted by a couple from the U.S. She initially called the Hillsborough Township in New Jersey home. Leyla Hirsch began training in between the ages of 14 and 15, and she carried on amateur wrestling from high school to college. It was early on when she knew she wanted to be a professional wrestler.
“I decided to be a professional wrestler the night I discovered WWE. After that night, being a professional wrestler was my ultimate goal. When I discovered professional wrestling, I thought in order to get to that stage you had to do amateur wrestling and that’s what I did. I did amateur wrestling for five years throughout high school. My senior year I received a scholarship to wrestle for a university in Atlanta, Georgia. “
– Leyla Hirsch on aspirations of Wrestling (h/t Bell To Belles)
Her rise has been nothing short of meteoric, considering that many professionals compete on the independent circuit for years without being signed to a major professional contract. This 4-foot 11-inch dynamo was able to move quicker than most from the independent circuit to catching the eye of Tony Khan.
Her early training and development began in CZW Dojo back in 2016 and 2017, under the tutelage of Joe Gacy. Her early growth in the industry was not being relegated to competing only against other females; she very quickly was thrust into competition with male competitors in CZW. Her growth in the business can be attributed to her ability to move around and compete for different promotions, and whether it has been in the US, Japan, or elsewhere, Leyla Hirsch has faced some of the best in the world.
During her time in Westside Xtreme Wrestling, she faced WWE NXT UK’s Aoife Valkyrie as part of wXw Road To World Tag Team Festival: Neumünster. She eventually made it to the wXw Femme Fatale 2019 tournament finals, where she lost to independent wrestling women’s legend, LuFisto. Despite not winning the wXw Women’s Championship there, the experience was invaluable. In fact, Hirsch lists LuFisto as her favorite opponent to date. And with each win or loss, Hirsch walked away with a new experience and something to build upon.
‘Legit’ Leyla Hirsch – World -Traveled
Hirsch also gained notoriety competing in Japan. In the Stardom promotion, she was part of the Tokyo Cyber Squad, and upon her arrival, she faced the likes of Itsuki Hoshino and Saya Lida. As part of Stardom’s New Year’s Stars 2020, she faced Starlight Kid as part of the High-Speed Grand Prix. This was her first tour of Japan, and one of the keys for anyone that travels there is to have a solid showing and impress she did. Hirsch made Starlight Kid tap out, winning the match and advancing in the tournament in the process. While her time with TCS wasn’t long, it was memorable and helped to lay the foundation for her future.
While Hirsch’s success is primarily as a singles wrestler, she has been part of various tag teams as well. Alongside independent talent Wheeler Yuta, Hirsch formed The Legit Yoots, a play on their respective nicknames. During her time in CZW, she was part of The Office, a faction that has seen the likes of Brandon Kirk and Kasey Catal go on to achieve success elsewhere.
While her time in Japan lent itself to learning opportunities, competing for promotions such as Beyond Wrestling helped her as well.
Love Is Love
One of the most beautiful stories that can be told about Hirsch is her life outside the ring. Hirsch finds love outside the ring through a near three-year relationship with current independent wrestling star Ashley Vox. On the second anniversary of their time together, Hirsch shared that life (in particular the pandemic) has made things difficult for them. Despite that, their love for one another continues to grow. Love is love, and their willingness to share that with the world should be celebrated.
The measure of a person is determined by how they overcome adversity. In the case of Hirsch, it feels that regardless of the obstacles that have come her way, she has overcome them all. Her size and stature could be considered something that would hold her back, but her legit nature helped her rise above that. Her achievements have been recognized by wrestling publications as well. Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked Hirsch in the top 500 wrestlers in the world in 2020 and among the top 100 female wrestlers for that year.
As a member of AEW, Leyla Hirsch has several new challenges ahead of her. One of those challenges will be to prove her worth by wrestling for the AEW Women’s Championship. She has a bright future and so much ahead of her, and it is impossible not to be excited about this budding star. Hirsch has proven that she is legit in everything she does. She is proving not to be someone to mess with.