(DISCLAIMER: This entire article is written in a kayfabe narrative combining storylines from three different promotions, SHIMMER, Smash Wrestling and Impact Wrestling, to explain the evolution of Courtney Rush into Rosemary.)
She’s arguably one of Impact Wrestling‘s most popular characters of all time – the Demon Assassin, the Queen of the Hivelings, from the Valley of the Shadows, former Knockouts Champion Rosemary. But the twisted soul we see today on Impact television and at indie shows around the world didn’t always look/act this way. She used to be known as Courtney Rush, an athletic women’s wrestler for such companies as SHIMMER and Smash Wrestling amongst others. But what happened to turn Courtney Rush into the demonic Rosemary? A short history of the transformation of Courtney Rush into the Demon Assassin Rosemary.
THE STORY OF ROSEMARY: THE KIMBER BOMBS
Wrestling since 2008, she debuted on the main roster of SHIMMER in 2011. Trained by Impact Wrestling’s Scott D’Amore at Border City Wrestling (BCW) in Windsor, Ontario, Rush became an emerging star in the women’s indie circuit in the early 2010s. In 2015, she partnered up with another Canadian star on the rise, Xandra Bale, in the tag team Ontario’s Top Team (OTT). After defeating Made In Sin (the team of Allysin Kay – aka Impact’s Sienna – and Taylor Made) at SHIMMER 72, they moved on to challenge SHIMMER Tag Team Champions The Kimber Bombs, which featured Cherry Bomb (now Knockouts Champion Allie) and Kimber Lee (recently released NXT Superstar Abbey Laith) at SHIMMER 73. Unfortunately, OTT failed to capture the titles. They tried to get back in the hunt, but lost again, this time to Team Slap Happy (featuring Heidi Lovelace – WWE’s Ruby Riott – and Evie – NXT Superstar Dakota Kai) at SHIMMER 74. The loss hit Rush extremely hard and she began to get frustrated with her partner’s efforts. The crack in Rush’s psyche began to show. At SHIMMER 75, Courtney defeated her partner Bale, returning to singles action.
But the loss to the Kimber Bombs continued to haunt Courtney Rush beyond SHIMMER. She was also a regular with Toronto’s Smash Wrestling in her home country of Canada and had faced Cherry Bomb before they went for SHIMMER’s tag team titles. She’d defeated Cherry and Vanessa Kraven in a Triple Threat at Smash Battle Lines that February, before entering into a feud with Kraven. But the Kimber Bombs followed Rush to Smash Wrestling to avenge Cherry’s earlier loss, and Rush reluctantly teamed up with her rival Vanessa Kraven to take on the Kimber Bombs in a grudge match at Smash Super Showdown III that August, four months after OTT’s loss in the title match in SHIMMER. And while the team of Rush and Kraven got the victory, the Kimber Bombs got the last laugh. Following the match, they attacked Rush, cutting her long locks into the shorter cut she still wears today. Over the next few weeks, Rush began to release bizarre promos, that seemed to show Rush’s psyche starting to splinter, amidst a tense “buzzing”, with another, seemingly more violent persona, trying to emerge from within Rush’s breaking mind.
That September, Courtney Rush would take on a woman with a violent past, in current AAW Women’s Champion Jessicka Havok, but the Rush that came out was startlingly different than the Courtney Rush people knew before. She seemed more distant, unsure in her own body, and more immune to the pain than ever before. Even her entrance attire had changed – gone were the more traditional wrestling singlets and attire of the past. She wore a red and black outfit that would soon come to be a staple for a more evil side of her. When the match started, she welcomed the abuse from the bigger Havok, almost relishing in the assaults, as if the pain and agony were only fuelling the rage inside her.
But despite taking out Jessicka Havok that night, Courtney Rush still couldn’t escape the humiliation of the Kimber Bombs. The had become her obsession, her torture and her rage. And though Courtney Rush was losing her battle with whomever else resided inside her increasingly slipping psyche, she still maintained control – unless a certain name was ever brought up.
In early 2016, Rush made it her mission to take out the two of them. First, in January at Smash vs. CZW, she took out Kimber Lee in under ten minutes. But Cherry Bomb would be a different story. She finally got to face Cherry Bomb at Smash Any Given Sunday 4 in March, but while she got the victory, it was via disqualification of Cherry Bomb.
At the same time, Courtney Rush’s other personality had finally emerged. While she remained to control herself in Smash Wrestling, her alter ego unleashed itself into Impact Wrestling in January, teaming up with Crazzy Steve and The Monster Abyss in The Decay.
While Rosemary would go on a mission of violence in Impact Wrestling, defeating the likes of Gail Kim, Jade (aka Mia Yim), and Veda Scott, in Smash Wrestling, Courtney Rush struggled to remain in control. She would face Cherry Bomb in a Triple Threat at Smash Forest City Rampage (that also involved Leah Von Dutch), but the animosity between the two would allow Von Dutch to score the win. It almost seemed like Courtney Rush just didn’t have the strength to vanquish her nemesis. It wasn’t until Rush was completely consumed by Rosemary and the calling of “The Hive”, that she finally defeated her arch-enemy at Smash Super Showdown IV in August in a No Disqualification match. She would finally finish her off completely at Smash CANUSA Classic that October, inside a steel cage. The defeat of her longtime torment also opened up Rosemary’s full potential, as she would finally win the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Championship against her Impact rival Jade in a steel cage match – coincidentally vanquishing her rivals in both Impact and Smash Wrestling inside the confines of a cage (although she would face Jade two more times, in a Monster’s Ball and Last Knockout Standing Match). The Demon Assassin indeed thrived when the chances of violence were maximized.
The defeat of Cherry Bomb by Rosemary also caused a change in Cherry Bomb herself. She seemed to have developed an amnesia and ended up in Impact Wrestling herself as a fragile childlike woman named Allie. When Allie was finally turned on by her associates Sienna and Laurel Van Ness in spring of 2017, Rosemary came out to the ring to join the fray. While many assumed that the Demon Assassin would join the other evil women in destroying Allie – and in Rosemary’s case, the final destruction of her archenemy Cherry Bomb – Rosemary instead went to Allie’s aid in fighting off the other two.
Now that Rosemary had seemingly vanquished Cherry Bomb from Allie’s personality in Smash Wrestling, she took a liking to this new Allie personality, calling her her “bunny” as if she was a pet.
And thus began the most bizarre friendship of the past year – the Demon Assassin and her new pet Bunny. Two seemingly mortal foes who both had personality breaks and now found themselves strangely compelled to be best friends. Collectively known as DemonBunny, they even went to Disney World together.
Allie won the Impact Knockouts Championship last Thursday night on Impact Wrestling, putting the title around her waist for the second time. But this one feels sweeter. Her first time was a fluke victory in a Fatal 4-Way and she lost it as fast as she won it to Maria Kanellis. But this time, she earned it in a war with Laurel Van Ness. And while Allie was chasing Knockout gold, Rosemary has become the target of new Knockouts to arrive at Impact, in the Lucha Royalty of Taya Valkyrie, and the primal savagery of Hania The Huntress. But once Rosemary returns her sights to the Knockouts belt that she previously held for 266 days, will she be content to see it around her Bunny’s waist? Or will the Demon Assassin’s fangs once more come out, this time to envelop the neck of the Bunny and take the gold for her own twisted self.
You can watch most of the narrative of the origins of Rosemary in the DVD collection “Rosemary vs. Allie: Demon vs. The Slayer” from Smash Wrestling