I've been waiting 25 minutes in the dirt outside, being shot angry and accusing looks by large, bearded men who head into the bar. When I finally hear the growl of a motorcycle engine in the distance, it is with some relief that the lady I'm meeting has arrived.
As the biker cuts the engine off, the only sound for a few moments is whatever bugs and insects inhabit the nearby fields. Summer is in full swing here and the night is hot and sticky. The sweat beads on my head as I patiently wait for the biker to dismount her machine. She is a striking vision in tight, black leather pants and leather jacket. Her dress code suggests she is a woman not to be messed with, but it is only when she removes her motorcycle helmet and shakes down her long hair, that you get to see the huge smile on her face. It is the smile of a woman who knows exactly who she is.
Dismounting her motorcycle she steps forward and gives a welcoming hug. I thank her for coming and she apologizes for being late. Bike trouble, she says. I ask if she got someone to fix it for her and she laughs.
"I do all my own work," she replies. "C'mon, let's get a drink."
In the confines of The Strip, it's hard to hear. A Southern rock band plays loudly at a corner stage and dozens of burly men, and some burly women too, shout and holler over the music. Rebel takes us to a table at the back and orders two shots and two beers.
"So what do you want to know?" she asks.
I tell her I want to know who she is and have we seen the real Rebel yet in TNA?
"The real Rebel is a mixture," she says. "Rebel is a country girl, a model, a burlesque performer, a biker and a wrestler."
What about a carnival worker?
She laughs and says no, but she was happy to pretend to be, at least for awhile.
So why choose wrestling?
"It seemed like a natural fit," she explains. "The Rebel name isn't just a name; it's a lifestyle and I live that lifestyle, and throwing myself around a six-sided ring seemed like it would be fun, just like riding bikes and doing burlesque is fun."
So you're a thrill-seeker? I ask.
"Honey," she says, knocking back a shot, "you have no idea. TNA fans have seen a little bit of Rebel but not the real me and I want that to change. I want everyone, especially the Knockouts division, to meet the real Rebel because when they do, they'll be blown away."
I push her to explain why we haven't got the complete Rebel experience yet and she is quick to point out that she isn't ready yet. Like everything else in her life, if Rebel does something she does it right.
She unzips her leather jacket to show an array of bruises on her arms and shoulders. These bruises are the results of countless hours of training at Ohio Valley Wrestling here in Kentucky. These are the badges earned by a beautiful young woman determined to get by on talent and not just looks, and she is hoping this talent will take her all the way to the TNA Knockouts Championship.
Rebel talks for an hour and in that time she says a lot, but she is always humble. She is quick with a smile and is complimentary of most of the women in TNA. She is clear on her goals and the work she will need to put in to reach those goals.
When I ask if we will see this bad ass, biker babe version of Rebel in TNA sometime, she says that it's only a matter of time. In a land of Dolls, Monsters and Beautiful People, standing out can be hard to do but trust me, if the leather clad rebel rides her motorcycle down to the ring on a future episode of Impact, people will take notice.
When the interview is over, Rebel bids me goodbye outside. She throws a long, athletic leg over her bike and pulls on her helmet. Kick-starting the engine, she revs the machine between her legs and pulls off into the night.
I find myself thinking that in a business built on crazy personalities, sometimes your true self is your best self and if she has her way, soon enough, Tanea Brooks will introduce TNA to the Rebel within and in the process, the Knockouts Title may find itself draped over the handlebars of a bike speeding through the hot, Kentucky night.