By Jerry Del Priore
Christina Sarni was born with a hearing-impairment caused by nerve damage that she says has resulted in complete deafness on high pitch sounds, and makes it difficult when she’s having a conversation in a setting with background noises.
But it pales in comparison to the hearing challenges she faces when in the squared circle.
“Not hearing the spots (moves) being called or when we call an audible,” Sarni said of some of the in-ring challenges she encounters. “It has to be a lot on body language. Also, I rarely ever hear that bell ring. I do wear my hearings aids, but they fallout during matches. So, I’m going to have to do without them.”
Sarni always loved professional wrestling as a youngster. It was one of the things that helped her cope when kids tormented her because of her hearing struggles.
However, the 31-year-old Brooklyn native used her performance ability as a hip-hop dancer (and now as a professional wrestler known as C-Bunny) to bust out of her introverted shell.
“I dealt with bullying and extreme isolations at times,” Sarnie said of being a hard of hearing kid. “I felt like I was invisible. As soon as I started performing, people started seeing me as something more than the hearing-impaired girl. That’s who C-bunny is—my alter ego, and eventually I was outgoing all the time.”
Moved by Michael Jackson’s trademark moonwalk dance stride at five years old, Sarni took up the art of dancing. As a former drummer, Sarni was able to transfer that skill to help her connect to the beat when she was a dancer, and now as she boogies her way into the ring during her entrance music.
She said the highlights of her dancing career include landing a gig as one of T-Pain’s back up dancers and being a contestant on Live To Dance with Paula Abdul.
“When I was five, as soon as I saw Michael Jackson do the moonwalk, that was my biggest inspiration,” Sarni recalled.
When her hip-hop dancing days dwindled, Sarni decided to pursue pro wrestling. She trained with Create A Pro and Warriors of Wrestling, where she attends instructional sessions and wrestles at live shows.
Sarni, who works as a personal trainer, decided to go with her childhood nickname her mother gave her for her foray into the world of pro wrestling.
“My mom named me Christina Bunny when I was a kid,” she remembered. “I was friends with Bugs Bunny at Six Flags for my job, which became my name in sign language because there was another Christina in class. So, I had to come up with something different.”
Sarni, a former fitness bikini competitor, knew her transition into pro wrestling would present some challenges. But she has learned to adjust in the ring, with cues such as hand squeezes to change the momentum, in her year-and-a-half into her grappling story.
But, she said, the bumps and bruises, as well as relying on opponents to execute proper movements without getting hurt, are other aspects of sports entertainment that are arduous.
“The physicality of it all is tough,” Sarni said. “Hitting the mat and taking moves, and trusting each other as well.”
Fortunately for Sarni, when asked if she ever feels bullied due to her hearing issue, she replied: “In the wrestling business? Never. Thankfully, because this business has so many diverse people.”
Admittedly green and learning all the time, Sarni is committed to being the best she can be as a pro wrestler. And she relishes every shining moment she gets to showcase her dynamic in-ring skills.
“The best thing about pro wrestling is the adrenaline rush when your music hits or you hit a great move,” the Point Pleasant, New Jersey, resident emphasized.
Follow Sarni @https://www.facebook.com/cbunnyfeelthebeat