This is a rant, but it’s also a plea of some kind. You see, I am a wrestling fan. More specifically, I love independent wrestling. Even more specific than that, I love women’s independent wrestling. I watch it all: SHIMMER, WSU, Shine, AIW, Anarchy Championship Wrestling, some Japanese action when I get the chance. I know that the true women wrestlers work very hard to get where they are today, and oftentimes they work even harder with more scrutiny.
Let me begin by stating how this rant began. I went to an independent wrestling show this weekend. The show had a special women’s match feature. It had a nationally-recognized name taking on an up-and-comer in what was a really anticipated match (at least for me). There were some idiot fans. We’ve all been to shows where these guys show up. It’s usually 4 guys. They look like they shower once a time change and shave every 9 days. They are the typical smarks that wrestlers picture in their head of the guys who sit on their hands saying, “Entertain me.” They won’t be happy until there’s a 990 splash. You know who I’m talking about.
I’m all right with a little heckling. It’s a paying fan’s right to do whatever they want with their experience. There was a guy who yelled, “What are they doing out of the kitchen?” It’s funny if it’s your type of humor. I can shrug it off. There comes a point where it crosses the line from funny to personal.
Maybe it’s the WWE’s fault for treating their Women’s/Diva’s Division like an afterthought, but wrestling fans can often treat women’s divisions like an afterthought because that’s what they were taught. We still expect the kind of matches that would make Joey Styles yell, “Cat fight.” I’ve watched plenty of women’s matches. The ones I watch don’t have hair pulling. They aren’t glorified catfights. Mia Yim vs. Allysin Kay matches are some of my favorite to watch. There is no hair-pulling in those matches. These women spend hours working in the ring to perfect their craft and for it not to be considered an afterthought.
What bothered me the most was that these fans went after one of the female wrestlers’ weight. Was this the skinniest wrestler in the world? She wasn’t Kellie Skater or Angel Dust. She wasn’t any worse than what you’d see in one of the big companies I mentioned above. The irony is that the fan who was making comments was about three times the wrestler. There’s a lot of things my mother told me to never say to a woman. Comments about her weight are in the top 3. If the fans were wanting to make fun of wrestlers’ weight, there were plenty of male wrestlers they could have made comments at who had legitimate guts. Why out of all the matches, did these fans think THIS was the match they needed to throw out weight comments? There is such a misogynistic, chauvinistic culture that pervades the wrestling industry. There are women who go out there and bust their tails. They deserve to be thought of as more than pieces of tails.
I say this as a women’s wrestling fan, but I also say this as a father of a little girl. She doesn’t know much about wrestling. She calls all wrestling SHIMMER, she likes it when I say, “Oh, what a rush” and knows who AJ Styles is because Daddy met him after a show once. Women wrestlers are somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, somebody’s girlfriend/wife and some are even somebody’s mother. They need to be treated as such.
I know I’m preaching to the choir on this one, so my apologies. The problem fans probably stopped reading after I mentioned that women’s wrestling is a serious thing. It just bothered me that two women gave everything to be paid back by a group of hecklers. I know the WWE has made their women to be afterthoughts. This is the indies. Our women are not afterthoughts. They matter.