This is not the first time I’ve ever written this. I’ve said this about MMA, too. You can read my open letter to Dana White here. I have about 90,000 things that are wrong with wrestling, and most of them would be admittedly negative. I’ve been a wrestling fan since ’96. I used to buy every pay-per-view until they made them more than $30. I used to enjoy the WWE product and buy everything they put out. I have lots of t-shirts from their wrestlers and lots of DVD’s and even an inflatable Booker T hand. Yes, I just said that.
During last night’s Raw, the broadcast came back from a commercial break and, lo and behold, there were some divas in the ring having a match. Apparently, there was some kind of battle royal and the winner won something. It seems the Divas matches are always afterthoughts. I know that the women can be made to be important. And I’m not talking about Jackie Moore, Chyna or Beth Phoenix where they wrestle men (which I have a major problem with and is a whole different blog topic). I’m talking about the early 2000’s. Those were glory days of women’s wrestling. You had Trish Stratus, Victoria, Jazz, Stacy Kiebler, Ivory, Lita, etc. Now granted there were still some problems and it was far from perfect, but the Women’s Division meant something. You tuned in to see it.
Now it’s just an afterthought. When I look at the WWE Women’s Division, every woman looks alike. (I speak of the WWE alone because I refuse to watch the tasteless TNA product. I do like AAA’s women’s division. However, I can only spend so much time listening to Spanish-language television.) Nobody has any character to them. Women can talk. If you don’t believe me, listen to a crowd during Vicki Guerrero. The crowd feeds off every word she says. Trish was also great on the mic, as were Lita & Ivory. I believe you can draw with a Women’s Division. Remember at one point, the Divas Search segment was one of the highest-rated.
This weekend I watched something that was refreshing-Ring of Honor. I had the opportunity to see Sara del Ray wrestle. She was great. She didn’t look like a WWE diva. She was different. She looked like an athlete and didn’t look like the same diva we see on WWE or TNA. Her hair didn’t look obviously fake, her boobs didn’t enter the room three days before she did and she was dressed well-enough that I didn’t think I was watching 13-year-old boy’s paradise (like old “Bra and Panties” matches).
I also think of wrestling as a father. I like Mickie James being in wrestling. I like Nattie Neidhart. I like Awesome Kong. I liked Molly Holly. What I liked most about them is that they didn’t look like they materialized out of the pages of a fitness magazine. They look like real women. As much as I enjoyed the sight of Trish, let’s be honest. Women don’t look like that. Not in real life. I don’t want my daughter to idolize the Knockouts or Divas of the world. Not because of their character; I’m sure some of them are breath-taking on the inside. I just don’t want my daughter holding them up as symbols of beauty. I don’t look like Randy Orton or Ted DiBiase, Jr., nor will I ever. If I hold them up as a symbol of what I should look like, I’ll never be happy. I don’t want my daughter to fall into the same trap.
I want my daughter to idolize real women, like my wife or her three aunts or her grandmothers or her great-grandmother, her babysitter. But she will no doubt look to celebrities and nationally-known figures for who to emulate. I’m hoping she finds Miranda Cosgrove, Condoleezza Rice, Kerri Walsh & Misty May-Treanor, Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, Sarah Kaufman or Miesha Tate. But if I take my little girl to go see wrestling when she’s old enough, I’d like to know she has a figure she can look up to there.
Wrestling promoters out there, this is my request to you. If you’re going to do a Women’s Division, do it right. There is a lot of money being left on the table. Plus, you can do so much by giving us some positive role models to give our kids.