A huge can of worms has been opened by Gary Yap, [UPDATE: he’s a promoter, so this could all be one big work] who took to his BlogTalkRadio channel overnight to discuss the situation concerning women’s wrestling in California.

As part of his 30 minute broadcast/rant, Yap called most of the female grapplers in the area “clothed porn stars” and “stroke material”, claiming that their wrestling was no good and they were there for guys to ogle. Calling out Lucky O’Shea and even more pointedly, Terra Calaway, he described the SoCal area as being “inbred”:

I think a lot of women’s wrestling is inbred. There are no real quality workers to elevate the greener ladies in the area and because of that, the green ladies are now the ones with the power.

It’s the same five workers working each other over and over again. There’s no room for growth – the bar has been lowered so much that it’s criminal, and in my opinion I think the women’s scene should be killed.

He goes on to address what he feels is the wrestlers’ and promoters’ defence when it’s claimed that there is no quality wrestling in the area, which is the numbers generated on social media like Facebook and Twitter, as well as videos uploaded to YouTube. See what he has to say about that after the jump.

Terra can put a little channel on YouTube and get thousands and thousands of videos… and every single person in that locker room is looking at Terra like, ’what is she doing on this show again? Why is she on that show? What has she done to be in this championship match?’… I think it’s deceiving to look at followers on YouTube, followers on Twitter and think that because there are high numbers there, that equals quality.

While it’s a point that views on a wrestling match on YouTube does not mean that it is essentially good, he goes further to accuse wrestlers of only being there for titillation:

The reason women’s wrestling is watched on YouTube is not because it’s good wrestling. Wrestling fans do not watch women’s wrestling for wrestling’s sake. It is a fetish. It is clothed porn… the majority of it is nothing more than jerk material.

To tar everyone with the same brush like that is grossly unfair. Sure, there are wrestling “fans” who go to shows to just get a quick gawk at a female wrestler in tight, stretchy outfits showing off their curves, but for many others, they watch it just like when men step into the ring – for the wrestling itself. In support of his theory, I frequent a number of forums where posters don’t care about the quality of Divas or Knockout matches, but rate the girls on how they look, the cleavage they’re sporting and how many shots of Velvet Sky‘s backside the director can get in one match.

However, Yap redeems himself by putting out a plea to wrestlers in southern California to aspire to be more than just eye candy…

Ladies: it’s up to you to show you’re much more than just stroke material because at this moment in time, every single female wrestler in southern California with the exception of [Nikki the NY Knockout & Candice LaRae] are nothing more than eye candy. You’re stroke material. You’re clothed porn stars. You have followers not because you’re good wrestlers, but because they all want to fuck you.

To lump all the wrestlers in together like that is a bit dismissive. After all, California natives Davina Rose and Buggy both appeared at SHIMMER’s most recent events, with Rose gaining new fans through her strong work with the likes of Mercedes Martinez, Kellie Skater and Nicole Matthews, none of which aspire to be merely “stroke material” or “clothed porn stars”.

Thunderkitty took to her Twitter to say:

Although I don’t agree with everything you said, you did make some valid points. On the flip side….there are some of us that actually DO go to training and refuse to wrestle in bikinis. And not all of us have pictures of our snatch floating around on the internet.

Perhaps Yap has a point about how there is no real rudder or mother figure in the area – many of the talents in the California area are quite young, after all. However, Nikki has endeavoured to be the conscience of women’s wrestling by ridding the locker room of ring rats and hangers on, while Allison Danger (who resides in nearby Las Vegas) has spent the latter half of 2011 pioneering her Womanist Revolution to get female grapplers to demand more of themselves and each other in the wrestling business, as well as offering training to women each week. In addition, Serena Deeb has been making more visits to the state to help out, and take Davina under her wing as her pet project – one that seems to be paying dividends.

The west coast does suffer to a certain extent, as it is more isolated from hotbeds of women’s talent in places like the northeast and midwest of the United States, but that just means that women wrestlers in places like California and Nevada need to work that much more harder to be noticed and travel more often to face new opponents. After all, facing the same names over and over again doesn’t make you a better wrestler – it just makes you better at having the same match with the same person.

Back in the UK in 2008, Skarlett, Chrissy V and Faith Lehaine had the same issue. They all worked for the same promotion, wrestling each other and seldom facing anyone else. When they were booked to appear at ChickFight, they realised that they needed to expand their horizons. All left the promotion they were working for and branched off in different directions. Maybe some of the wrestlers in California would benefit from relocating for a while or seeking bookings in other parts of the country.

Yap is promising to continue the discussion during his next broadcast on Friday night, and has invited Calaway, or any other female wrestler who wants to talk things over to give him a call. It could be an explosive chat.

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment. Are wrestlers in California of a lesser standard? Are they being treated harshly? If there is a problem, how could it be resolved? Are female wrestlers just “clothed porn stars”? We want to know your thoughts.

– Lee Burton

This evening, WILD Promoter Travis Leland responded to Gary Yap. Read his comments here… http://t.co/L9DsSVVK

Steve says:

I think a storyline involving a SoCal lady wrestler jealous of Terra because of her Interweb popularity could be interesting. I’m sure her popularity has a bit to do with her look, but the girl promotes herself like crazy online with the Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, radio show appearances, columns on 411mania.com, and she’s earned everything she’s gotten so far. But, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of her colleagues didn’t get that, and were jealous of her because she’s prettier and more popular than they are, and has more upside. She gets a match with Winter and they don’t. There’s potential for a story there.

I’m not sure that having the promoter being the one bashing the talent is a smart way to promote the show. Nobody’s going to buy a ticket to see this guy that I’ve only heard of because New Jack bashed him in a shoot interview, but they might be interested if some chick was talking smack about Terra.

Vladamire Dracos says:

Ah Epic is still running then? Fair play, I wasn’t aware. I’m not from SoCal. Last I heard from him (before this bit of nonsense) he was pretty much slagging the entire scene down there (along with the PNW scene) except the Suburban Commandos.

@TheRealSmoothG Right on the button, Russo style booking is what this guy does (though honestly, Russo did it better. Yap is more like XPW style booking).

Booo and hiss!
So according to this guy, in order to improve the quality of women’s matches, the “female wrestling scene should be killed?” Way to go fixing things.

Maynerd says:

Are you telling me there’s women wrestling other then the WWE. Awesome.*

*(Said with sarcastic intent. WWE “Divas” suck except for 2 of them. No need to explain who they are.)

Side note – In my opinion the only woman wrestler in socal i enjoy watching is Thunderkitty. Her work is average(in my eyes thats a compliment by the way), her look perfect and her persona is great. The world needs more like her.**

**(I’m not a freind of hers i swear, just a mark who would like to put her over because she deserves it.)

Benjamin Tomas says:

In response to what Maynerd wrote, I agree that Thunderkitty is awesome. When I wrote my response I felt it was a given that the women trained at Santinos were better than most other SoCal women, I should have made that clear.

Benjamin Tomas says:

This article was obviously written by someone who has no idea of Gary’s history of SoCal. Gary creates controversy to sell tickets to his shows. He isn’t a former promoter, as the story alleges, he’s a promoter who has a show on December 10 which features Tera Calloway in a match against TNA’s Winter. The match is on the show, but booked and paid for by another promoter who can’t put on a show of his own. Not to say Gary doesn’t have valid points about the ladies matches in Socal not featuring Nikki and Larae not being a good as they could be, but this is about selling tickets, plain and simple.

I’m planning on going to Gary’s show, not because of this article, but because he’s booked New Jack. That’s reason enough to go.

What the hell, I’ll even plug the show, because it’s for a very good cause.

EPIC Pro Wrestling
Weingart-Lakewood Family YMCA
5835 E. Carson Street, Lakewood, CA 90713
$10 for adults
$5 for kids
The show is a benefit for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign

So he’s from the Russo school of promoting? Alright…

The promotion is called WILD and Terra is the North American Champion and Winter is the World Champion of Wild.

I don’t agree with this kind of promoting, it’s a lot more productive to build up the talent not to cut it down.

Vladamire Dracos says:

It should be noted that Gary Yap is a former SoCo promoter, not just a fan as stated in the article, which is why is words probably caused as much controversy as they did (which is something he thrives on anyway, and is likely the reason he said what he said in the first place). Now, as I’m prone to do, I’m going to paraphrase something a person who knows a lot more than I do about the business said: There are two types of wrestlers, those who are for show, and those who can go (Jake “The Snake” Roberts, to the mother of Lex Luger). Guys like the Ultimate Warrior, TA Magnum, Rick Rude, Lex Luger, Shawn Micheals, and many more made a name fore themselves based off their good looks, should they be considered “clothed porn stars” too? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?
Moreover, is it necessarily a bad thing that these ladies are GETTING OVER because of their looks rather than their in-ring ability? Personally, I think it’s fine. If the fans are coming to the show to swoon over the pretty lady wrestler, that’s great! That’s cash in the drawer and butts in seats, what every promoter should be aspiring to have! You could be holding the second coming of Flair vs. Steamboat as your main event every show, if it’s not bringing in a crowd to buy a ticket it’s not helping the show.

I’ll leave you with this thought, the vast majority of the most popular talent in this business in the past twenty years was average at best in the ring (either due to injury or just lack of ability). They became popular through a combination of look and charisma. While a few made it to the top based on their wrestling ability, just as many made it there based on their looks. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how the business works now, and has worked since around the time a guy named George Wagner grew out and bleached his hair, started wearing robes, and called himself “Gorgeous George”.

Stormie Woods says:

Sure some women aren’t good at wrestling but calling it clothed porn is harsh. I watch women’s wrestling on youtube and it’s not to jerk something. First of all I’m a girl that’s not possible to jerk anything. Second of all I love watching women who retired that I enjoyed as a teen. I like reliving Lita,Trish,Victoria and Molly stuff because that’s when I cared.

I would encourage you to support the women now, there’s some workers out there who aren’t on TV that are beyond incredible and deserve your support.

Only so much knowledge can be gained from watching WWE and TNA.

Paul says:

I’m not familiar with many of the wrestlers named here, but there’s some weird reasoning going on here. Do some fans watch women’s matches just because the women are “hot”? Sure. So what. Those matches, and the wrestlers in them, are not defined by what’s in some fans’ minds. Have you heard the gals on Diva Dirt’s Post Raw Show? A lot of male wrestlers are being leered at, too. If we apply Yap’s critique to men as well as women, we’d have to conclude that many of the dudes on Raw are also clothed porn stars who only exist to be objects of lust.

I think it’s much more useful to encourage the good, to highlight the positive, than to hark on the negative. Don’t tear down the SoCal wrestlers if you think they’re not up to snuff, find a way to encourage them to improve.

Wow,

You have to go no further than say those who watch women’s wrestling on youtube only do so for “Stroke Material.”

…Really?

…Seriously Bro.

Lets get “real” for a moment, if a male wrestling fan wanted “Stroke Material” he’s not going to jump on youtube and watch a match. Tobe frank, he’s going go find actual porn and watch that. That’s what he’s going to do.

I really don’t know what matches Yap is watching, I’ve personally watched both Tera and Lucky’s matches and how do they not have talent? Who is he to say Terra doesn’t deserve her spots on a show?

Yes, I will agree that some male wrestling fans are morons that only watch women’s matches because they think the girls are hot. But, I’ve heard some females say they only cheer for Cena because they think he’s “hot.”

But, that goes to being marketable. I won’t hold back I feel girls like:

Madison Eagles
Amber O’Neal
Athena
Velvet Sky
Nikki Roxx
Angel Orsini
Kellie Skater
Angelina Love
Nicole Matthews
Portia Perez

and here’s two kickers

Terra Calaway
Lucky O’Shea

Are all attractive…all of them. Perhaps I have a thing for women who can wrestle? But, you don’t see Kelly Kelly or Eve on that list..Why they are attractive, I’m not fans of their work.

So, yes I will agree with him Lucky and Terra are both attractive, but how dare some “mark” refer to them as inbred and performers of clothed porn?

I have half a mind to call into his “show” myself and give a lesson in women’s wrestling from an actual fan.