Over the years, the number of taboos in wrestling seem to have evaporated. After all, few bat an eyelid about wrestlers who have barely reached their teens stepping into the ring in Japan. Wrestlers with disabilities are given the same opportunities as anyone else, and nobody tells anyone that they are too old to lace up the boots, even though some really should be. However, the prospect of a man facing a woman in a wrestling match still seems to be something which makes some fans squirm in their seats.
I can see some of you imagining it right now.
For a long while, mixed matches seemed to be a no-no, but then it hit the mainstream with the late comic Andy Kaufman wrestling women and calling himself the Intergender Champion of the World, before Jerry Lawler piledrove him onto his head. From there, we saw the odd mixed tag team match on special occasions – WrestleMania VI with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire against Randy Savage and Sherri Martel being a prime example – but very seldom did the women interact with the men… but times changed.
While Sherri saw no problem in hitting wrestlers with cheap shots, she never faced one in a match, but that changed with the introduction of Chyna to the WWF, where she would beat up men all over the place, especially Mick Foley, who would happily bump all over the place for her. For the first time, women weren’t just getting the odd shot in on a guy – they were beating them up. This continued with Chyna wrestling actual matches against guys and beating them, which was fine at the start, but it looked less credible when she lost muscle mass and it became more clear that essentially her opponents were feeding her much of her offence, which is one reason why she was directed towards wrestling women. During that time, Lita started delivering moonsaults, DDTs and ranas to men to big reactions, and she and Trish Stratus would participate in matches which moved from mixed matches where each gender would not stray, to intergender matches where everyone was fair game. From there, you saw Test and Eddie Guerrero powerbombing Lita, and the gender divide became even more blurred.
Outside of the WWF, other promotions were presenting intergender competition – for example, with ARSION’s P-Mix tournament in 2000, which was won by father and daughter team Gran Hamada and Ayako Hamada. These days, intergender wrestling is another style on offer, with promotions like Beyond Wrestling, Women Superstars Uncensored, CHIKARA and nCw in Canada offering male v female encounters, be they in regular competition or special tournaments. Over in Texas, Anarchy Championship Wrestling has no problem offering no gender boundaries – Rachel Summerlyn being the ACW Heavyweight Champion right now is a prime example, though others such as Portia Perez and Jessica James have also feuded with men there – while CHIKARA also makes no big deal of intergender matches, and also pushes wrestlers based on ability rather than whether they walk into the gents or ladies bathroom. Sara Del Rey almost made it to the final of the Grand Championship tournament last year, and defeated the likes of Claudio Castagnoli en route to doing so.
South of the border, AAA has its World Mixed Tag Team Championship which has been active for close to a decade, and in the UK, Rad Pro Wrestling is promising to crown Mixed Tag Team Champions this weekend as part of an 8-team tournament involving the likes of Rhia O’Reilly, Freya Frenzy, Viper, Alpha Female, April Davids, Amazon Ayesha Ray and more.
Some female wrestlers say they wrestle men out of necessity – in that where they train or are booked to wrestle, there are only men, who if you don’t wrestle men, you don’t wrestle. However, in some cases, that can skew a woman’s mindset – for example, Courtney Rush explained that she changed her style when she started wrestling women more regularly because she was bigger than them, so started using more suplexes – whereas she was less able to do that with guys. Mickie Knuckles competed in an IWA Mid South King of the Death Matches tournament before an all-female variant was created, and was treated – and hit – like she was one of the guys.
Indeed, to promoters – and many fans – intergender wrestling is no big deal, but for others it makes them uncomfortable.
Some say it’s down to the discrepancy of size – that more often then not, the woman is smaller than the man, and it affects the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. How can they buy into the fact that the man is hurt or in trouble if the offence being delivered doesn’t appear credible? Also, what does it say for a man’s chutzpah if he is beaten by a woman – does it come across as demasculating?
These are not questions I can answer, but someone who can stepped in to offer her opinions.
LuFisto was so determined to prove her mettle by wrestling men, she managed to get a law in Ontario changed to allow it. Under her previous guise as Precious Lucy, she became the first female in Quebec to win a male championship at Inter-Championship Wrestling, and has continued that trend throughout her eventful career, becoming the only woman to hold the Combat Zone Wrestling Iron Man Championship, and was never defeated for the belt, and became Stranglehold Wrestling King of the Death Matches. That’s right. King. Right now, the former nCw Femmes Fatales International Champion is waiting for a title show at the North Shore Pro Wrestling Champion Simon Martel after rising up the ranks and earning a title shot there.
LuFisto broke down barriers for women being taken seriously when she was wrestling men, and bear in mind that we’re not talking about women like Hailey Hatred or Jessicka Havok who stand eye-to-eye with most guys, – she’s a 5’3”, tough as nails stick of dynamite with immeasurable determination. So how did she make it believable when she was wrestling guys like Necro Butcher in rings filled with chairs and light tubes?
It’s always tough but if you do it right, it can work. You have to work with a man the same way you would do fighting a much bigger woman. It has to be believable using the right combination of moves, quickness and strikes, just as Rey Mysterio would do facing a much larger opponent such as somebody like Wade Barrett, Sheamus…
Also, it’s REALLY important that the woman must hit hard and get hit hard as ANY OTHER competitor would be against that male opponent. Otherwise, the man looks weak and the woman clearly shows that she doesn’t belong in there. The idea is to make forget to the audience that you are a woman. I think it is the key to success.
I’ve always took all the strikes, all the moves and I think that why it works out for me. I’m also a very hard hitter so I make sure my opponent never looks like he’s fighting a woman, only a smaller size WRESTLER.
The Mysterio comparison is an interesting one. After all, he also suffered from credibility issues when he started wrestling heavyweights in WWE, but these days, does anyone even notice that he’s so much smaller? These days, he’s recognised for his ability, and his stature is seen as a boon, not a problem. However, despite this, LuFisto is also keen to point out that in order for it to be taken seriously, the participants have to make it serious too, otherwise that lack of credibility can be an issue.
Some women really don’t belong in there with the boys.
For those who do belong in the ring against male opponents though, wrestling men can be a very good thing to [gain] experience. It gives you a wider range of opponents, sizes and styles to work with and to learn from. It gives you the opportunity to become a better well-rounded worker.
It could be argued that if you strip down the genders and just see it as a wrestler against a wrestler, there is no more shame in being beaten by a woman than there is a guy. At the WSU v Beyond matches which took place in October, the women won all the matches, and it hasn’t hurt the credibility of the men involved. As mentioned, it gives more opportunity for learning, but there would still be some fans who don’t like the idea of a woman being hit, slammed and thrown about. In real life, men are raised to respect women, never hit them and to be courteous to them, and then they pay to go to a wrestling card and see those rules thrown out of the window, which can be uncomfortable for someone who has been taught that when it comes down to it, what is presented in an intergender match is fundamentally wrong and can even offer justification for hitting women. However, LuFisto doesn’t agree:
A lot of people say it shows violence against women. I say this is bullshit. To me, it shows that women can go in there as equal competitors. I believe it gives a very strong and powerful image of women who can fight for what they believe in and can be showcased as what they truly are: athletes. They are beautiful models of strength and self-confidence for the young girls out there watching.
So if the gender lines can be blurred – or even eradicated – and women can win men’s championships, why do we not see men taking advantage of the equality thing and challenging for women’s championships? Would that not be fair game, if the playing field was going to be made level?
Very good question. I guess it is. Would it have the same impact? Dunno. Depends on who they defeat and what belt. A lot of women belts are secondary belts, therefore less important… However, what if a man would win the SHIMMER belt? People would be talking everywhere! But then, would female wrestling fans accept that? I think that’s where there would be a problem. Female wrestling fans are very protective of their athletes and I don’t think they would want such an important belt worn by a man in an all-female environment world.
Would women’s wrestling fans be OK with a guy challenging for a women’s championship, or holding the belt in what is primarily an all-women’s promotion? Clearly, you can’t have your cake and eat it, so if women can go for men’s belts, it should also be applicable the other way, right? Or is it not as simple as that?
Have we come to a point where intergender action has come too far and needs to be reined in, or should we go the whole hog and just say that in wrestling, gender is irrelevant these days? If you do rein it in, does that undo a lot of the work that women like LuFisto have done over the last decade to show that women can compete on the same plane as men?
It’s an interesting scruple, and one that there is not necessarily an easy answer to. However, I would love to know your thoughts – feel free to leave your comments below, and we may use them in a further discussion on the subject.
With Leather produced a list of WWE’s most beautiful people, and polled a number of wrestlers like Rachel Summerlyn and Veda Scott, as well as wrestling staff like CHIKARA photographer Zia Hiltey. The winner of the poll was Lita, who appeared on 15 of the 27 lists produced for the survey. Honestly, I would say she is more sexy than beautiful, but that’s a personal preference.
The women on the list were as follows: The Bella Twins (50), Serena Deeb (46), Rosa Mendes (45), Sable (39), Sherri Martel (35), Daffney (34), Christy Hemme (31), Beth Phoenix (30), Stephanie McMahon (28), Alicia Fox (27), Eve Torres (24), Gail Kim (18), Mickie James (17), Kaitlyn (16), Maryse (15), Molly Holly (14), Torrie Wilson (13), Maria Kanellis (9), Sunny (8), AJ Lee (7), Trish Stratus (6), Miss Elizabeth (4), Stacy Keibler (3) and Layla (2).
I’d also say AJ is probably too high, as she is cute rather than beautiful. Also, I don’t know if Daffney technically qualifies as she never made it to WWE TV even though she was in developmental. Still, you’re never going to please everyone with a poll…
Also, if you haven’t had the chance to listen to the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast with Amazing Kong, please do so. It is a frank and open discussion on everything to do with signing with WWE, who was backing her, her pregnancy, and possibly returning to WWE in the future. Click here to jump to the podcast.
Elsewhere, Cat Power joins us for a Fight Like A Girl where she offers a bunch of thank-yous as she moves onto the new chapter in her life – LuFisto and Danyah have publicly admitted that it made them cry, so give it a listen to find out why…
Got any news, results or upcoming events that you want to tell everyone about? Are you a female wrestler looking to tell us about upcoming bookings? Are you a fan who went to a show and saw a match, and would like to tell others about it – what you liked, what you didn’t and would like to encourage others to check it out for themselves? Send us an email!
Meanwhile, if you want one of our t-shirts, click here and pick which shop is best for you. We have stores for the US/Canada (which also ships to Australia) and one for the UK and mainland Europe. Check out the latest Wrestling Yay, SHIMMER Like A Girl and No Limits 2.0 designs, as well as the new Evielution shirt, which we are selling at cost price.
The best of the rest
The former Bella Twins went to their 10-year high school reunion, and Nikki’s date was John Cena. Apparently the pair are an item now… Paige was on the WWE house show circuit over the weekend. She teamed with Layla to beat Aksana and Natalya on SmackDown house shows… Speaking of Natalya, she’s told the Great Khali about how she feels about him. This poor woman… The Chickbusters (AJ Lee & Kaitlyn) reunited at a house show at the weekend, beating Eve Torres & Rosa Mendes… AJ was featured in an article in the New York Times talking about spending part of her childhood eating at food banks and living in cars and motel rooms. She also said being a janitor at her local supermarket was better than being a cashier as people “look right through you”… Tamina Snuka’s heel run’s already been derailed – she was beaten by AJ on Raw last night with a roll up (what else would it have been?).
PWInsider reports that TNA has quietly resigned Velvet Sky. She left in the summer after failing to agree to terms on a contract extension… ODB and Tara have been working the house shows in the last week, despite the next big PPV Knockouts match being between Tara and Mickie James.
Alexxis Nevaeh defends the World Women’s Wrestling Championship this Friday at a New England Championship Wrestling show in Blackstone, MA. She takes on Adrianna in a Taped Fist Match… Cheerleader Melissa makes her debut for Crossfire Entertainment on their TV tapings on January 5 when she takes on Mia Yim… Maria Kanellis announced her engagement to Mike Bennett on Wednesday evening… Christina Von Eerie’s been removed from the Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling show on Thursday and will be replaced in her match with Annie Social by Katarina Leigh. Elsewhere, Alicia will issue an open challenge. This title tournament has lost credibility with changes to the lineup along the way… Taeler Hendrix’s plan worked – she beat Taryn Terrell on Saturday to recapture the OVW Women’s Title but after the match, was thrown into a paddling pool of dog poop that she had brought to ringside… Melanie Cruise regained the Resistance Pro Women’s Championship on Saturday by beating Nikki St. John. On the same show, Amazing Kong defeated D’Arcy Dixon… The WSU Full Steam Ahead DVD is now available from Beyond Wrestling’s website… WSU is also taking part in National Pro Wrestling Day – a coming together of a number of different wrestling promotions in Philadelphia on February 2… Courtney Rush makes her first defence of the TCW Women’s Championship on Friday against Allysin Kay… On Saturday, Daizee Haze made her first appearance at a wrestling show since SHIMMER Volume 41 on October 1 last year, accompanying MsChif to the ring in her win over Sean Vincent at Dynamo Pro Wrestling in Glen Carbon, IL.
Kana was in tears when she announced that she was quitting Wrestling New Classic following her defeat to Nagisa Nozaki in the Women’s Championship tournament on Tuesday. She said she was doing so because she hasn’t been paid by the promotion for four months. Elsewhere on the card, Syuri beat Jessica Love, meaning Nozaki and Syuri will wrestle for the belt on December 27… Hailey Hatred and Hamuko Hoshi won the unified Ice Ribbon International Ribbon Tag Team and REINA x World Tag Team Championship on Wednesday by beating Tsukasa Fujimoto and Hikaru Shida. It marks the first time in 2012 that Shida has been without a title of some description… Two departures in joshi – KURO, who was most recently competing in Diana, has retired, and Sayaka Obihiro announced that she was leaving Ice Ribbon on last Friday’s 19 Pro show. Obihiro will depart on a special 19 Pro show on December 28… NOZOMI has quit Tokyo Women’s Wrestling before the company has even launched.
Alpha Female is booked for Dubai Wrestling Entertainment on December 14, where she will team with Niki Nitro against Kasey & Leah Owens. Shanna will be the special referee… Kay Lee Ray will travel to Japan for a Gatoh Move show on December 20 where she will team with Riho against Hailey Hatred & Kaori Yoneyama, as well as for JWP on Christmas Eve… Meanwhile, the Pro Wrestling: EVE title will be defended by Emi Sakura against Hiroyo Matsumoto in the near future… Alpha Female beat Penelope in a psuedo-EVE v WAWW match at Southside Wrestling Entertainment on Saturday… Carmel Jacob won the German Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship on Saturday in Berlin by beating Blue Nikita… IPW:UK rarely holds women’s matches, but they have a female trainee now in Sakura Lily. She beat Amazon Ayesha Ray at the weekend… The Irish Wrestling Awards were held over the weekend – Danger Dawn won Most Improved Wrestler, while Breakout Star of the Year was Katey Harvey, who’s been working more shows in the UK recently.
One of women’s wrestling’s longest title reigns came to an end last Tuesday when Estrellita defeated Princesa Blanca for the CMLL Mexican National Women’s Championship. Blanca had held the title since January 30, 2009. It means that the promotion’s technicas rule the roost when it comes to championships for the first time this decade… Dark Angel won the CMLL bodybuilding title for the seventh straight year on Thursday.
Australia & New Zealand
Evie will face Megan-Kate at IPWNZ’s Nightmare B4 Xmas show this weekend in a Bat on a Pole Match… Michelle K Hasluck’s been invited to a local school to talk to children about how important it is to have a dream… Kellie Skater will be returning to Japan at some point – though no date has been set.
November 27: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Estrellita b Princesa Blanca to win the Mexican National Women’s Championship
November 27: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Goya Kong & Silueta b Amapola, Princesa Sugheit & Zeuxis
November 27: Diana (Tokyo, Japan) – Sareee b Jenny Rose; Mima Shimoda b Piyota Mask; Jaguar Yakota & Kyoko Inoue b Keiko Aono & Mask de Sun; Keiko Aono b Kaoru Ito
November 28: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Syuri b Jessica Love; Nagisa Nozaki b Kana
November 28: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Meari Naito & Sayaka Obihiro b Aoi Kizuki & Shoko Hotta; Maki Narumiya b Miyako Matsumoto; Hamuko Hoshi & Hailey Hatred b Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto to win the REINA x World Tag Team and Ice Ribbon International Ribbon Tag Team Championships; Mio Shirai b Neko Nitta
November 29: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Mickie James b Gail Kim
November 30: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Sayaka Obihiro b Risa Sera
November 30: TNA (Bemidji, MN) – Tara b ODB
November 30: WWE (Asheville, NC) – Eve Torres b AJ Lee & Kaitlyn in a 3-way
November 30: United States Wrestling Organisation (Nashville, TN) – Crazy Mary Dobson b Amazing Maria
November 30: Resistance Pro (Chicago, IL) – Melanie Cruise b Nikki St John to win the Resistance Pro Women’s Championship; Amazing Kong b D’Arcy Dixon
November 30: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Port Alberni, BC, Canada) – Nicole Matthews b Riea
December 1: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Duncan, BC, Canada) – Sid Sylum & Nicole Matthews b Hellion & Riea
December 1: German Wrestling Federation (Berlin, Germany) – Carmel Jacob b Blue Nikita to win the GWF Women’s Championship
December 1: Dynamo Pro Wrestling (Glen Carbon, IL) – MsChif b Sean Vincent
December 1: Millennium Pro Wrestling (Simi Valley, CA) – Hed b NY Knockout Nikki
December 1: Prairie Wrestling Alliance (Calgary, AL, Canada) – Maria Kanellis b Hollywood Dusty Adonis
December 1: TNA (Fargo, ND) – ODB b Tara
December 1: WWE (Roanoake, VA) – AJ Lee & Kaitlyn b Eve Torres & Rosa Mendes
December 1: WWE (Columbia, SC) – Layla & Paige b Aksana & Natalya
December 1: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Taeler Hendrix b Taryn Terrell to win the OVW Women’s Championship
December 1: International Pro Wrestling: UK (Swanley, England) – Sakura Lily b Amazon Ayesha Ray
December 1: Southside Wrestling Entertainment (Huntingdon, England) – Alpha Female b Penelope
December 1: Trans-South Wrestling (Union, SC) – Fantasia b D’Arcy Dixon
December 1: World League Wrestling (Eldon, MO) – Stacey O’Brien b Miss Natural
December 1: World Association of Wrestling (Lowestoft, England) – Destiny & Sweet Saraya b Busty Keegan & Chanelle
December 1: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hiroshiko Terada v Jiang Wakamatsu went to a time limit draw; Cherry b Kuzira Oshima; Tsukushi b Akiko Hotta; Kurumi & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Sayako Obihiro & Risa Sera; Hikaru Shida & Maki Narumiya b Aki Shizuku & Hailey Hatred
December 2: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Manami Katsu & Nana Kawase b Rabbit Mito & Aki Shizuku; Sachie Abe & KAZUKI b Rydeen Hagane & Hiroyo Matsumoto; Tsubasa Kuragaki b Ran Yu-Yu; Kaori Yoneyama, Hanako Nakamori, Emi Sakura & Morley b Arisa Nakajima, Command Bolshoi, Kayoko Haruyama & Leon
December 2: I Believe In Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Lince Dorado & Santana Garrett b Aaron Epic & Justine Silver
December 2: WWE (Florence, SC) – AJ Lee & Kaitlyn b Eve Torres & Rosa Mendes
December 2: WWE (Anderson, SC) – Layla & Paige b Aksana & Natalya
December 2: TNA (Grand Forks, ND) – Tara b ODB
December 2: AAA (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Cuervo, Fabi Apache, Mascarita Dorada & Pimpinela Escarlata b Halloween, Mari Apache, Mini Charly Manson & Yuriko
December 3: WWE Raw (Greensboro, SC) – AJ Lee b Tamina Snuka
December 6: Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling (Metuchen, NJ) – Katarina Leigh v Annie Social; Veda Scott v Sumie Sakai; Becky Bayless v Sienna DuVall; Marti Belle v Missy Sampson; Shelly Martinez v Amber O’Neal; Miss Adiva v La Rosa Negra; Kimber Lee v Silvie Silver
December 7: St Louis Anarchy (Alton, IL) – Angelus Layne v Rachel Summerlyn
December 7: New England Championship Wrestling (Blackstone, MA) – Alexxis Nevaeh v Adrianna
December 7: Tri-City Wrestling (Hamilton, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush v Allysin Kay
December 7: British Championship Wrestling (Kilmarnock, Scotland) – Red Lightning & Sara-Marie Taylor v Liam Thomson & Carmel Jacob
December 8: Rad Pro Wrestling (South Shields, England) – James Centurion & Kay Lee Ray v Vulture & Viper; Jonny Storm & Freya Frenzy v Sam Adonis & Rhia O’Reilly; Rabbit & Alpha Female v April Davids & Rubix Roach; Frankie Sloan & Nikki Storm v Scott Renwick & Amazon Ayesha Ray
December 8: Impact Pro Wrestling (Auckland, NZ) – Evie v Megan-Kate
December 8: Combat Zone Wrestling (Voorhees, NJ) – Kimber Lee & Drew Gulak v Greg Excellent & Momma Excellent
December 8: Wrestling Is Awesome (Enosburg Falls, NY) – Saturyne v Portia Perez
December 9: TNA Final Resolution (Orlando, FL) – Tara v Mickie James
December 12: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Veda Scott & Gregory Iron v Josh Piscura & Matt Cross
December 14: Dubai Wrestling Entertainment (Dubai, UAE) – Alpha Female & Niki Nitro v Kasey & Leah Owens
December 16: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Jessicka Havok v Jaykus Plisken; Rachel Summerlyn v Jessica James v Christina Von Eerie v Athena v Angel Blue v Portia Perez
December 20: Gatoh Move (Itabashi, Japan) – Kaori Yoneyama & Hailey Hatred v Kay Lee Ray & Riho; Emi Sakura v Hiroyo Matsumoto
December 27: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Syuri v Nagisa Nozaki
December 28: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi v Sayaka Obihiro
December 28: Italian Championship Wrestling (Lugano, Switzerland) – Laura Wellings v Lady Lory
January 5: Crossfire Entertainment (Nashville, TN) – Cheerleader Melissa v Mia Yim
January 11: SHINE 6 (Ybor City, FL)
January 26: Zero 1 USA (Mattoon, IL) – Serenity v Angelus Layne
February 2: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Preston, England)
February 16: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Brooklyn, NY) – Maria Kanellis v Angelina Love; Gail Kim v Katerina Leigh; Ivelisse Velez v Reby Sky
March 30: nCw Femmes Fatales XI (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
April 6: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Secaucus, NJ) – Sweet Saraya v Cheerleader Melissa; Athena v Ayako Hamada
April 13-14: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
May 4: ICW: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
June 23: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Austin, TX)
July 6: nCw Femmes Fatales XII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
– Lee Burton