Hello, everyone! Believe it or not, I don’t exist exclusively on Twitter!
Fun fact: I started my Twitter to promote this blog, which was originally going to be centered on Raw recaps and the like. However, I soon figured out that my recaps weren’t reaching an audience big enough for the headache they caused me, so I decided to try and make my blog more opinionated. I THEN realized that posting my thoughts straight to Twitter was vastly more effective than what I was doing on this blog.
I’ve gotten to be a guest on a ton of podcasts since I’m too lazy to maintain my own.
I got to do some real work for a real wrestling event.
However, my real love has always been and always will be writing. I breathe it.
That’s why I’m going to try and move this blog in a new direction.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently a junior in college studying to become a journalist. I love writing. I love investigating. And I’d like to believe I’m pretty good at it. Now, I wouldn’t use the stuff I have here as ample evidence, but my point stands: writing is my dream. I’m going to school for it. My degree is my only concern right now; absolutely nothing else matters more to me than my education.
That means that this blog, for now, isn’t my priority. Neither is my Twitter. But perhaps I can make this into something more fun for all of us.
I’m a creative writer. I’m a foodie. I’m a wrestling fan.
I’m going to try and blend all of those things into this blog by posting recipes, funny wrestling stories, and maybe even interviews, if I ever get any done. I want to make this blog something that doesn’t feel like a chore for me to maintain and something that wrestling fans, wrestlers, or anyone, really, can enjoy.
So, long writey-crap aside, what does this mean for the blog?
I’ll try to write more in general.
I’ll be posting recipes and maybe little cooking videos here inspired by wrestling stuff.
I’ll actually do post-show write-ups when I go see stuff live. I promise.
I’ll share links to stuff I do outside of wrestling, including journalism and Star Wars stuff!
I’m not saying any names. If you’re reading this, you probably already know the events which have spurred me pulling out my laptop to write. My timeline has been a whirlwind of arguments about feminism, jokes at the victim’s expense and a bunch of other stuff I won’t even bother explaining.
But something I see missing from so much of the discourse about this sex scandal, and many others like it, is an acknowledgment of the very real people involved in these scandals. Yes, those people you watch on your phone or laptop, those people you have seen at their most vulnerable, are real. They have family and friends.
Imagine living your life as normal, engaged to the love of your life, when suddenly your social media is flooded with illicit photos and videos you never believed would leave your personal possession. You have to go about your day knowing that aside from your parents and coworkers, thousands of strangers have seen your naked body against your consent.
Doesn’t that sound awful?
I cannot imagine something like that happening to me.
She is only five years older than me. She is, or rather, we are, so young. You know what young people do? They mess up. They make mistakes. They put themselves in bad situations because in our youth, we feel invincible. We don’t dwell on the worst case scenario.
Should we? Yeah, of course. But do we? No!
“Well, then she shouldn’t have become a celebrity!” says some guy on Twitter who probably who probably watched the leaked footage all the way through.
Right. She shouldn’t have followed her dreams because of the possibility of being hacked. Should she have waited to wrestle until she was older, and her body was worn down? Perhaps she should have held off until she was in her mid thirties, and the internet suggested she retire because she looks to old to wrestle.
Say what you want about her being irresponsible making the video in the first place, but if we’re going to be “realists” here, I’ll give you some facts.
She can do what she wants in private.
Shaming her on the internet will not change her, but it could hurt her.
I’m angry, yes, but mostly, I’m just sad. Sad to see so many people making jokes at the expense of a young woman who is still growing as a person, whose body is now out there to be judged and god knows what else to.
So to my friends who are making jokes, I ask you this, though I really wish I didn’t have to:
If that was my body posted to the internet against MY will, would you still laugh? Your mother’s? Your sister’s or daughter’s? Would you make jokes about something that will haunt me whenever I have to look my parents or coworkers in the eye?
If your answer is yes, we were never friends to begin with.
These people we watch on television aren’t paper dolls. They aren’t just objects to be gawked and laughed at. They are human beings. They have feelings and fears and right now, their lives are being thrown quite suddenly into chaos.
I’m not trying to start any fights. I’ve seen friends of mine trying to make light of this. But at this point, I don’t find it funny anymore. I’m not laughing. I’m just…really, really sad.
It might be funny if they were just characters. Probably not even then.
I don’t think that highly of myself. I’m just a 19-year-old kid who loves to write, loves to talk to people and loves wrestling. But this year, I’ve been able to get a small but passionate audience of wrestling fans who love to discuss and analyze the product, and I’ve developed a small platform to promote talent I believe in.
So when I heard that Michael Elgin (you know, the guy who just put on a 5 star match in Japan) was starting a promotion only two hours from where I live for college, I knew I had to go, and I had tog et as many friends as possible to go with me.
First off, I wanted to see my friend Trina (@themarkysmark) in her ring announcing debut. Trina has been instrumental in helping me find my voice in the IWC and in making me believe in myself as a legitimate voice, someone whose opinions deserve to be heard. I also wanted to meet Damian (@Dare2BDamian) in person to sing to him.
Second, believe it or not, I had never been to an independent event live. I’ve relied on DVDs and Youtube to get my indie wrestling fix for years.
And third…I needed a nice little trip. My life is work and school. I don’t go to parties, I don’t know how to have fun. So I was determined to have fun here.
Now, let me walk you through my day.
I had to switch my work schedule up to make it to the show, so I woke up at 6 a.m. Sunday morning and made my way to work. I cleaned bathrooms and collected garbage for several hours and was picked up directly from work at 11 a.m. by Zach, Terry, and Ross, three of my awesome wrestling squad I managed to convince to take me to the show.
When we finally got to Alton, we were able to get pretty close to the front of the line (thus letting us get seats in the third row, muahahaha!). I met Alex from Pro Wrestling Iowa and because the weather was awesome, it was a pretty enjoyable wait.
I spent half of my time in line hiding from Damian, because I was determined to ambush him by singing Brian Kendrick’s theme song. The other half was spent feeling quite insecure about my height because all of my friends are taller than me, and the incline of the hill we were on did me absolutely no favors.
First row seats were let in first, then second row, and finally it was time for us to make our way inside the venue. As a Catholic girl, I was snickering at the crucifix right above the hard cam and the photo of Pope Francis at the entrance to the venue. I love making Catholic jokes, so it gave me a chance to do that a ton.
Michael Elgin was sitting at the table where we gave our tickets, and I was NOT prepared for that. I’m a huge fan of him. Zach in particular was a bit starstruck. He’s our resident NJPW mega mark. I stumbled on my words a bit when he told me to enjoy the show.
When we got to our seats, I made a beeline for the merchandise tables. What cracks me up is how not smooth I was with these guys I admire so much. I won’t lie, I think I can be pretty charismatic on Twitter. But in person, I am an absolute mess. I went to Ethan Page and Danny Adams first, because I had promised to buy their shirts on Twitter (I doubt they remembered). I then saw an opening for Matt Riddle’s merch.
Y’all. That Progress Atlas title is absolutely STUNNING in person. I was as starstruck by the belt as I was by Riddle himself.
I bought my Riddle shirt and shook his hand (and my face only got a LITTLE red) before going back to my friends. We sent Zach to get us sodas, and for some reason he went to where the alcohol was sold, but we found it funny anyways. Then, Big Mike came into the ring and announced we would be getting a pre-show match.
Aaron Dzinic & Matt Kenway vs. Barackus & Garrett Shanks
Thanks to Trina, I already knew who Matt Kenway was. I wasn’t too familiar with his ring work, but from what I’d seen I was curious to see him in person. Now this is what blows my mind: Kenway is 19 years old. He’s MY age, and he’s REALLY good already. He has a great energy in the ring and carries himself with confidence. He teamed with Aaron Dvinic, who also impressed me with the fun style he worked in. They won their match against Barackus & Garrett Shanks, and I enjoyed it a LOT more than I could have expected.
I was happy to be able to talk to Matt Kenway during the show’s intermission. I had gotten up to go buy more merch (because I am an impulse buyer, I guess) and when I was making my way back I noticed this tall guy in really good shape standing at my seat. I then realized WHO it was, and introduced myself, congratulating him on an incredible match. We talked and I introduced him to my friends, and we all bonded over, well, our youth? I don’t know. It was a fun conversation and he was super nice, and I am totally serious when I say that he has a bright future in the business. You heard it here first, friends.
I feel like I should also point out that I had to REALLY watch my mouth, because I can curse like a sailor when given the chance. Big Mike told us that it would be a family-friendly atmosphere. And while I’ve been to PG shows, at big WWE arenas you can curse all you want. But in Spaulding…well, I knew I couldn’t get away with it.
Paco Gonzalez vs. Kobe Durst
Our first match of the main card was Paco Gonzalez against Kobe Durst. I was unfamiliar with both of these men, but this match made me a fan of both. Paco has this unique quality about him. He is so easy to invest in and works such a thrilling style. And Durst has some of the BEST facial expressions I have ever seen in my entire damn life.
I’ll go ahead and state this now: Paco Gonzalez was one of the MVPs of Glory Pro. He is thrilling. He is amazing. He is the kind of guy you can build a promotion around. I’m so serious about this. Glory Pro is going to be his proving ground, the place where he makes himself a megastar.
Ethan Page vs. Danny Adams
This is a match I was VERY excited about. And I went into it with certain expectations. Namely, I was convinced that Danny Adams would be the babyface and Ethan Page would be the heel.
Boy, I’m an idiot.
Ethan Page and Danny Adams put on a super fun match. The crowd interaction throughout made it stand out to me. Adams was flat-out bullying a fan and Page’s defense of him was hilarious.
A highlight of the match for me from a storytelling standpoint was a comedy bit. Adams hit some sort of stunner (I THINK) from the ropes, and as he sailed through the air he just shouted out, “I’M THE BEST.”
That KILLED me, you guys.
Shigehiro Irie vs. Curt Stallion
I didn’t know WHO to root for in this match. On one hand, all of my friends were marking out for Irie, and I think that he is simultaneously the most adorable and terrifying man I have ever beheld. On the other hand, I am a HUGE fan of Curt Stallion and we once had a lovely Twitter interaction about Star Wars, so that has to be worth something, right?
So, I settled for cheering for them both. And boy, this match nearly made me lose my voice.
Curt Stallion has this wonderful intensity about him from the moment he makes his entrance to the moment he leaves. And him promising to TRY not to curse was beautiful. It’s difficult to convince a crowd you have a chance against someone like Irie, but he did it. I’m not surprised he’s being noticed by Ring of Honor. He moves smoothly and strikes crisply. God, he’s just FUN to watch. And to listen to out of the ring as well.
I consider myself lucky to have seen Shigehiro Irie live. He has one of the most unique energies I’ve ever experienced from a wrestler. It’s like having Godzilla as your best friend. Like, he would slam Stallion into the mat, and I would think he had just KILLED him, but then he would look up with such a delighted grin I would forget he could probably snap me in half if he wanted to.
The finish to this match blew me away. Irie throws Stallion up in the air and then catches him with this terrifying submission hold, and to my SHOCK, Stallion tapped instantly. I think it was the right choice. Stallion made Irie look like a damn beast and left the match looking strong for putting up a fight in the first place. And not just putting up a fight, taking him to WAR. Great, solid storytelling, and a fun and hard-hitting match.
Jason Kincaid vs. Everett Connors
When Everett Connors made his entrance, I laughed out loud. I’ll admit it. I then proceeded to dance, because why not? Bieber gimmicks are supposed to be fun, I suppose. I then decided to give this Connors person a lot of crap, because I’m an awful person.
Kincaid was someone I was not familiar with. I had heard of him, but had never watched any of his matches before. But the second he made his entrance, I knew I would enjoy him. He had the same kind of charisma I see in Bray Wyatt, like a cult leader without the creepy religious stuff.
That sounds bad.
I just LIKE him, okay?
The match was fun. It bled into the crowd, which was great for me because I got to touch Kincaid. That also sounds creepy. The match is on Youtube, go look it up. Huge kudos to Connors for doing this spot where he goes to hit Kincaid then catches the wall with his hand. That had me cringing watching it live and then cringing AGAIN seeing it on video.
I’ll talk about Kincaid more when I get to the main event, so let me just say this: it can be hard to win over a crowd of (mostly) grown men with a Justin Bieber gimmick. But Connors did it. He worked very well and had great chemistry with Kincaid in the ring. And the promo he cut after about wanting to give everything he has for the fans after the match was excellent. It had everyone cheering for him. That’s skill.
Myron Reed vs. Davey Vega vs. Gary Jay vs. Jason Roberts vs. Mat Fitchett vs. Space Monkey
Oh man, you guys. I purposefully did not tell Terry, Ross and Zach about Space Monkey, and I am so glad I let them be surprised. Their reactions were PRICELESS.
“Only in my LSD induced fever dreams do men come out in monkey masks and space outfits,” Zach said. He had a lot of other amusing comments about Space Monkey, too, like: “If you’ve ever wanted Matt Riddle’s good looks to be upstaged by a man in a monkey costume then Glory Pro is for you!”
Oh, and right after this match, he went right to the merch tables and bought himself a Space Monkey shirt.
The banana spots throughout the match were hilarious. At one point, the banana hit the ceiling and then tripped someone up, and my sides hurt from laughing and cheering. It was the best, y’all.
I was familiar with Davey Vega, but not too familiar, so seeing him live was a joy. He’s a ton of fun to watch. Jay, Roberts and Fitchett were great as well. Multi-man matches can be a hot mess, but this match was fast-paced and easy to follow along with. It also included a crazy spot out of the ring that had me convinced I would die, and that’s always a plus for me.
Myron Reed, who entered to my JAM from middle school, was a great choice to win the match. The finish to the match was insanely cool, and he deserves a title shot with the performance he put on. He made all of us Dolphins fans that day.
Brandon Espinosa vs. Sean Orleans
Well, every show needs a good squash, right?
Just kidding, this was great.
Dad Bod himself, Sean Orleans, came out and cut a wonderful promo about the hard work he put into preparing for this match and said he wouldn’t let Elgin and us down. He then proceeded to be decimated by a very unamused Brandon Espinosa.
This was great, honestly. Orleans had a great determination about him, staring Espinosa down without fear. He had the crowd eating out of his hands by the time he was pinned. I honestly felt heartbroken, which is a good thing in this case. This sets up some really great story opportunities for down the road, so I will definitely be looking for more from both of these guys in the next two shows.
Jake Something vs. Shane Sabre
An intense guy who looks like Jesus versus another intense guy who looks like Jesus.
This match was GREAT.
I actually didn’t get any pictures during this match because I was having too much fun shooting down “SOMETHING” jokes and coming up with jokes of my own. Something was a ton of fun in the ring, and him yelling out “SOMETHING” was just delightful. He also has a sick tattoo, which my friends and I spent a lot of time analyzing. Shane Sabre deserves equal credit for the work he put into the match. I thought he sold like a champ, and he was good at storytelling, especially with his facial expressions.
I don’t remember too many specific moments from this one, just that I was sad when it ended because it was so enjoyable.
OH, Jake Something bellowed in a guy’s face after the match. That was great. He’s great.
Give me more of BOTH these guys, please!
Matt Riddle vs. Michael Elgin
Jesus effing Christ. This match. Where do I even begin?
Matt Riddle is a wrestler I am very familiar with. I was so thrilled to have the chance to see him live and freaking MEET him. He is everything I look for in a wrestler: hard-hitting, quick in the ring, and oozing with charisma and personality.
Michael Elgin is someone I have been a fan of for a long time as well. Zach, in particular, was super excited to see him live. My friends and I had just watched his match against Naito together (we have a NJPW watch party thing, it’s pretty great) so we knew we would be getting an amazing match.
My only concern was what kind of story they would be telling by pitting two faces against each other. But who was I to question anything about this match?
It blew me away.
This match was stiff as hell. I spent most of it screaming my head off and cringing as I watched these two stars beat the life out of each other. The strikes, the kicks, everything about it was beyond words for me.
It also still blows my mind how Elgin moves in the ring. His kicks are what Ryback always wanted to pull off. (Don’t get mad, guys, let me make my jokes.)
The moment that made this match for me came right in the middle, while Riddle and Elgin were ramping up the match’s pace. They just stormed in each other’s faces for a classic staredown, and it felt like I was watching a volcano erupt int he ring. There wasn’t any personal animosity, it was just the ferocity of competition, the level of passion in the match, that drove them to do it. It was, in my opinion, a perfect moment.
Riddle retained his title (of course), and I admire Elgin for booking himself to lose clean. It was the right choice and he looked strong in defeat, so I had no complaints. I can’t wait to watch that match again.
I also hope I get to see Riddle live again someday. He’s just great.
Jason Kincaid vs. Ethan Page vs. Paco Gonzalez vs. Shigehiro Irie
Introduced by Mischief (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), the gorgeous Crown of Glory title match was thrilling from start to finish.
First, I’d like to mention that I absolutely FREAKED when Mischief came out earlier int he night to promise women’s wrestling in future shows (Su Yung, anybody?). I think she’s one of the coolest ladies in the world.
This match was everything a main event should aspire to be. It was full of thrilling spots and a lot of stories mingling together to tell one glorious story.
I honestly don’t know what to write about this match. It was spectacular. Ethan Page reverted to his more heelish ways in this one, targeting Paco and calling him a kid (judge him by his size, do you?). Irie took punches as if they were sunlight and he was Superman. Paco was the ULTIMATE underdog, taking a crazy spot that had him wiped out right in front of me.
My friends were hooked. I think Zach offered him his limbs while he regained his breath at our feet after being clobbered onto the ground. And to think, I had been rooting for Page! I was convinced Paco was going to win the title in one of the purest moments imaginable, but then I realized something.
Kincaid was still around.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a wrestler live who has as many cool reversals as Kincaid. The dude worked his way out of ‘ranas and had all of us practically worshipping him during the match. So when he won, I was thrilled for him.
I stayed around for the press conference after the show, and I loved the cockiness he displayed. He speaks very well, and that will serve him well int he future. And man, does that belt look VERY fitting around his waist!
Also, how about the CERTAIN SOMEONE who showed interest after the victory? 😉
After the show, my friends and I made our rounds to get pictures with everyone. Sadly, I didn’t snatch pictures with Page, Kincaid or Adams, but there’s always the next show! As I got pictures, my friends got their tickets for the next shows. THAT’S how impressed they were.
I was lucky enough to finally get to meet the myth, the legend…Papa Hales! He’s a wrestling fan I have tremendous respect for. He’s such a wonderful voice in the industry and I guess my screeching throughout the event caught his attention, because I got a picture with him, featuring Trina and Damian!
I loved the atmosphere of Glory Pro. The fans were enthusiastic, even when they didn’t know the talent well. And they didn’t put up with anyone’s crap. At one point some wise guy decided to make a taco joke at Paco Gonzalez, and we booed him and called him out on it. There was great investment from the crowd and overall, a genuine love of wrestling that was echoed in the performers.
That might be my favorite thing about Glory Pro. From Michael Elgin to the wrestlers to the people helping manage the event, everyone was doing what they did because of a genuine love of pro wrestling. The desire to entertain, to put out the best product imaginable, was evident in every moment I was there.
That’s amazing. That’s what makes Glory Pro special. It’s a group of people who care about the industry and the people industry. It’s a roster of wrestlers with all the talent in the world who are also extremely approachable and nice. It’s people like Trina, who gives her everything to the business without any agenda except love of the industry and wanting to get people over.
It’s the car ride back to Columbia I took with my friends, where we just talked about how much fun we had and made plans to go back.
I’ll be back for the May and July shows. I can’t wait.
Congrats to everyone involved in Glory Pro. You started something special!
Hey guys. Did you know I’m a man? I know, I know, shocking.
Yes, I did start this post paraphrasing my friend and colleague, Gabby, who is very gracious to let me scratch my journalism itch on her wrestling blog. I started it the same way she started her post entitled Mick Foley’s RAW promo & benevolent sexism because it seems my friend has stirred up a little drama amongst some chatrooms (these still exist??) and I wanted to come to her aid and defend her h….. HAHAHAHAHAHA!! I can’t even finish writing that satiric sentence. I started this post the same way she started her’s because I’m a man and she’s a woman and we both share the same opinion about the Sasha/Charlotte/Mick promo Monday night.
per·cep·tion (pərˈsepSH(ə)n) noun:
A way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
As Gabby stated in her post, Mick Foley the man is a proponent of women’s wrestling. However, Foley’s promo Monday night came off as condescending toward Sasha and Charlotte. Do I think Foley meant it as condescending? I don’t. This is where perception comes to play. An over-emoting Foley (I could go on about this, but that’s another post for another time) interrupting, coddling and yelling at the two Superstars gave the perception that Hell in a Cell is no place for women.
We’ve been given the perception the past few weeks that the only place for Roman Reigns and Rusev, as well as Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens, to settle their feuds is inside the cell. But when is comes to Sasha and Charlotte’s feud (which has been built up way better than the Universal and United States Championships by the way), it’s been “Are you SURE you want to settle this inside the cell? It can get brutal.” Intentional or not, the WWE has been giving these three matches (you know, the TRIPLE TRIPLE TRIPLE main event) a double standard. It could have been an easy fix.
Instead of Foley playing over-protective dad to Sasha and Charlotte, he could have built up their feud to where these women’s hatred, yet respect for one another can only be settled in a way that no women have ever settled their feuds before… Hell in a Cell!! Instead of Foley talking about how the cell made him a “shell of a man,” he could have talked about how the 1998 King of the Ring defined his career and made him the superstar he is today, and it will do the same thing to the women. Or, if he wanted to talk about the dangers of Hell in a Cell, then bring all nine competitors out for a TRIPLE CONTRACT SIGNING (see what I did there??) and give his speech to all of them.
Foley’s speech was heartfelt, but Sasha and Charlotte were not the only two superstars who needed to hear it. That is where the sexism lies, and if Gabby and I perceived it as sexism, then I guarantee there are many more in the WWE Universe who perceived it the same way. They just aren’t in wrestling chatrooms. (Seriously, are you accessing these through AOL 3.0 or 4.0? Using dial-up to pull up these articles to trash them must take FOREVER. That must be why you aren’t actually reading them.)
All of that brings me to my point in which this post is titled: Sasha and Charlotte now face insurmountable pressure at Hell in a Cell to perform. If their match doesn’t end with bodies bloodied or carried out on a stretcher (a work or not), will it be seen as a great match in the eyes of the WWE Universe? Whenever we talk about great matches in the Women’s Revolution era, we always start with Sasha vs. Bayley at NXT Takeover: New York. We all agreed it was match (not women’s match) of the decade. Then when we think it couldn’t get better, we get Sasha vs. Bayley in a 30 minute Ironwoman match. Instantly, we had a new match (not women’s match) of the decade. Both these matches were hyped by using their talent, not “Are you SURE you want to use cool moves that most women don’t use and actually wrestle for a championship? Are you SURE you want to settle this in an Iron(wo)man match?” Now, it’s all about “making history, danger, and shells of former selves.” This match should be hyped… hell it should be THE SOLE MAIN EVENT and last match of the pay-per-view, but it should not be attached to the stigma of “you’re women, so if you don’t do something absolutely crazy and maybe draw blood, then it’s not going to be as historic as we billed it to be.”
If you’ve made it this far down, here is where I link Foley’s promo to the unrealistic expectations of this match.
With all due respect, Sasha, you have no idea what’s in store for you! Because once that cell descends, once that monstrosity descends upon you, it is not just steel. It’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s a living, breathing entity but it’s got no soul, no heart and no conscious. And it will haunt for days. It will keep you awake at night. Trust me, trust me. Just when you think you’re over it for good, it will sneak up behind you. It will stop you dead in your tracks. It will make you cry like a child. It’s an intimidating fact that when you’re in that cell, you face not one opponent but two. You face your opponent and that demonic construction itself.
– Mick Foley
We all know Foley’s history with Hell in a Cell matches. He’s jumped off them, been choked slammed through them, broke bones, lost teeth, lost ears, and probably lost years of his life because of them. We the WWE Universe love him for it. We adore him for it. We respect him for it. Someone who puts his body on the line for our entertainment and enjoyment deserves all of this and more. But since he hammered all of this stuff on Sasha and Charlotte during their contract signing, what do we expect of the women? We’ve seen cell matches where no one fell off the cell or went through it and we called them subpar. The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon match at Wrestlemania XXXI was really not that good, but we call it one of the best because Shane-O-Mac dove off the cell for our enjoyment.
If Sasha isn’t thrown through the cell or Charlotte doesn’t flip herself off the top of the cell on to the announce table, will the match be any good? Can the women have a technical wrestling match inside the cell and it be good enough, or does Sasha have to rub Charlotte’s face against the cell and open her up a la 80s and 90s Ric Flair? According to the hype, the pressure seems to be all on to perform to Foley-esc expectations. We have excepted that Foley-esc expectations are unfair to Roman, Rusev, Seth and Kevin. Let’s also ignore the hype and realize it’s also unfair for Sasha and Charlotte.
Hey, guys. Did you know I’m a woman? I know, I know, shocking. Well, as a woman, I have a plethora of life experiences that have shaped the person I am today. I have been groped by a stranger in public. I have been patronized and looked down on because of my gender. Why am I saying this? Well, because sexism is a reality in my life that I am aware of with every breath I take. And that reality has spurred me to write about what I saw on RAW tonight.
I’ll cut to the chase: when Mick Foley began to passionately beg Sasha and Charlotte to reconsider their historic Hell in a Cell match on Monday Night RAW, I was horrified.
Mick Foley has long been a supporter of the women’s divisions on both shows. He has voiced support for the women of WWE for years. He is an ally for women in the company in so many countless ways. Outside of the ring, he’s even more of an ally, supporting organizations such as RAINN tirelessly.
AGAIN, LET ME BE CLEAR: I LOVE MICK FOLEY. So that’s why I was so saddened by what transpired on the final RAW leading into Hell in a Cell.
DISCLAIMER: I am aware that Mick Foley the man is probably thrilled with the women going into Hell in a Cell. I am aware he does not write his promos. But here’s the truth of it all: his championing of women’s wrestling has been woven into the character he plays on TV. And so far, his character on TV has been disappointing for fans of women’s wrestling.
Yes, we got a RAW Women’s Championship match as the main event of RAW that had the crowd on its feet. But merely one week later the only women’s segments on the flagship show are an arm wrestling match and a contract signing. A contract signing which was hijacked by Mr. Foley’s character.
Now, Foley’s delivery was fantastic. He has a real passion for the business and it shows whenever he has a mic in hand. But his words, on the other hand, were the textbook definition of benevolent sexism.
You see, sexism isn’t just slaps on the sass or catcalls. It’s not just calling someone a nasty woman. It’s the subtle things too.
Benevolent sexism may seem harmless, noble, or even “romantic,” but its effects can be devastating. Benevolent sexism, like hostile sexism, is an ideology that supports gender inequality, and in some ways benevolent sexism can be even more insidious.
Things like saying women should be cherished and protected, as if we all fit neatly into traditional gender roles and stereotypes. It’s the paradox of toxic masculinity that tells boys they need to protect women but also be dominant sexually.
So how does this all factor into Foley’s promo? Well first, let’s examine how the other two Hell in a Cell matches (in a triple main event, which could get its own blog) were built on the very same RAW.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev & Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
The build to this feud has its own problems (Fighting for your wife’s honor? Really?) but the buildup tot he Hell in a Cell match has been focused on each competitor being willing to put their opponent through intense physical punishment.
Not once is it ever brought into question whether or not the men know what’s in store for them. Admittedly, Reigns does know what it’s like to be inside Hell in a Cell…in a match with no bloodshed. But regardless, his ability to put his body on the line is never brought into question. Instead, the focus is on the men themselves.
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins’ rivalry is a bit more complex. Not only is the Universal Championship involved, but also ingrained in their plot is the Triple H angle and the rising personal animosity between Rollins and Owens.
The buildup to their Hell in a Cell match has been an exchange of threats. Rollins passionately promised to render Owens unable to move by their match’s end. That anger and animosity is the centerpiece of their feud. Well, that and Chris Jericho.
So, in short, the men hyped their matches by promising to take their opponents to hell and back. The usual.
And now, the women…
Sasha Banks and Charlotte are under an enormous amount of pressure. They are in a first of its kind match (for WWE), and if their match is subpar, there will be fans saying that women should never be allowed to be in these matches.
Never mind the plethora of disappointing men’s Hell in a Cell matches over the years.
The last impression on RAW before a PPV is important. It sets the tone for their impending match. So WWE, in their boundless wisdom, decided to have Mick Foley tearfully beg them to reconsider their match.
This wasn’t the same Foley who warned Ambrose and Rollins that they weren’t ready for life after Hell in a Cell.
Foley then was determined, almost daring Ambrose and Rollins to live up to his legacy. There is a difference between warning and coddling, after all. And Ambrose and Rollins both emerged from the segment unfazed.
On paper, his promo with Sasha and Charlotte seems similar. But contextualized, it’s a completely different animal.
For starters, his interruptions were yelled right in their faces, which is just unsettling. Additionally, they took away from what little screentime the women had at all. Remember, in this episode the only women’s segments weren’t even matches. So to inject Mick Foley so completely into the contract signing was just another nail in the coffin.
But most importantly: his words were patronizing.
Foley begged the women to not go into their Hell in a Cell match unless they were ready to sign away years of their life. He emotionally recounted meeting Charlotte as a little girl and Sasha’s love of Eddie Guerrero. He didn’t even want to give the women their contract.
Oh, and earlier in the preshow Jerry Lawler suggested that the girls should be scared. YUP.
What’s so bad about that?
It’s patronizing. You think that, in storyline, Sasha and Charlotte are not absolutely aware of what they’re getting into? You think that these two women needed to be told in the final segment before their HISTORIC match that they weren’t ready? How many times has this happened to women in male-dominated professions? Answer: all too much. It’s not the same as when he warns the men because undercutting women with ambition is a systemic and societal problem.
It enforces gender stereotypes. The women NEED to be protected. They NEED to be warned. They’re getting too ambitious and need to be reined back in by a man of authority.
It made the women’s segment about a man. Guys, Charlotte and Sasha are going to tear each other apart but MICK FOLEY DOESN’T HAVE A HIP SOCKET.
Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t interrupted them multiple times. Maybe then it wouldn’t have felt like mansplaining. But the truth of the matter is that Mick wouldn’t have been scripted to be so concerned for Roman or Seth. Foreboding, yes, but not concerned.
Sasha and Charlotte are in a difficult spot as it is. They’re in a ridiculous triple main event when they should be the main event: period. They have to craft a gimmick match for skeptical marks. And now, their match has to overcome incredible pressure not just from fans, but from an overly protective authority figure.
I have no doubt they will put on an incredible match. I have faith in them. And that is what their GM should have said. He should be building them up (as the real Foley would do) instead of insinuating their ignorance.
But hey, why am I even upset? We ARE in a women’s revolution, aren’t we?
A few weeks ago, I attended Monday Night RAW in Kansas City. I had an amazing time. I had single seats, so I was surrounded by strangers, with only my love of wrestling and ability to make friends with just about anyone to keep me afloat.
I was dressed in full Bayley gear, and was so excited to be seeing my favorite wrestler live for the first time. I, of course, was completely hyped for Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. It was going to be a great time. I knew it would be.
And then…I began listening to the men sitting around me.
When Bayley and Charlotte entered, I cheered, but then I saw a man in my row get up to grab a beer. Minutes into the match, all the men around me began making these comments.
“Wow, Charlotte is hot as all hell.”
“I love Bayley’s leggings. They’re tight in all the right places.”
There were more. I won’t get into it.
Here’s the thing: sexism is alive and well in the wrestling community. It may not be as overt as it once was, but it’s out there.
I won’t get into RAW’s lack of female storylines beyond the Women’s Championship or the still low percentage of screentime they get. That’s covered in many other places. I want to talk about how we as fans treat women.
Have you ever gone into the comments section of any Youtube videos involving the Women’s Division? Here’s what you’ll find.
We see Nikki Bella being called a slut for dating John Cena by the same fans who will never utter a word of complaint about her body. We see the Rock blatantly slut-shaming Lana because management was upset about her engagement to Rusev being leaked. This is all in 2016. It’s not ancient history, folks. It’s the present.
Everything female wrestlers do is put under the microscope. Alfred Konuwa once wrote an op-ed claiming women needed to stop crying after their matches in order to move forward. Wrestler Naomi is criticized for twerking and dancing, when the real issue is the overt objectification of her dancing. I mean, I don’t see people telling the New Day to stop their twerking. Nikki Bella’s breast implants have long been subject to ridicule, but we forget the environment she was recruited into. Socially-labeled “Feminine” actions are put down; women are expected to act more masculine to succeed.
Independent wrestling has had its fair share of bumps in this regard as well regarding equal pay and presentation of its female talent. Before being signed by WWE, Nikki Storm discussed her treatment in the indies at length. Luckily, promotions such as SHIMMER, SHINE, WOW and RISE are giving female wrestlers the chance to hone their abilities in a healthy environment.
This cavalier attitude is not just directed at female talent. In both indie and in WWE fandoms, female fans are called ring rats and face constant scrutiny. Apparently, we’re only fans because we like to see attractive male wrestlers.
I recently posted a live reaction to AJ Styles’ victory at Backlash. A charming user decided to immediately reply with a screenshot of my crotch, commenting “puss slip.” Lucky for me, I was wearing Nike shorts so my “puss slip” wasn’t even puss slip. But still…that happened. I reported the user, but Twitter said he didn’t violate any of their terms of service. Hilarious, right?
I’m not alone in this. There is nothing wrong with complimenting female fans. It’s flattering and all, but let’s be real: it can be downright uncomfortable sometimes to be called “fucking sexy” by a complete stranger who is twenty years older than you or by someone who has just been belittling you.
The charming side of the wrestling community. Mocks a woman for liking who she likes, then objectifies her right after. pic.twitter.com/XAMuwcoVyH
Female fans are expected to conform to a very specific form on fandom or else the IWC casts them aside as “casual fans.”
But here’s the thing: there is no single type of “female fan.” Anyone who listens to my podcast knows that I am not a fan of Roman Reigns. I support Seth Rollins and AJ Styles. But that doesn’t mean I’m “not like other girls.” I hate that terminology anyways. I am no better at being a wrestling fan than someone who does support Roman Reigns.
So how can we combat this?
Talking is a good start. And when I say talking, I mean true discussion. Do NOT invalidate or discount women’s experiences. Don’t just say, “not ALL men” or “MEN FACE IT TOO.” Don’t try and sway the discussion to something else. Look at the sexism. Think and consider the feelings and experiences of female fans.
And, if you’re so inclined, ACT.
“If you’re neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu
The Women’s Revolution is not just in the hands of the Four Horsewomen, the Women’s Division, or WWE Creative. It’s in the hands of the fans to combat it, like the ones who booed the disrespectful fans who began to yell, “THIS IS FILLER!” at NXT tapings during a women’s match. Don’t be silent. Don’t drown out the voices of female fans. Don’t pit female wrestlers against each other to try and support one.
Listen. Discuss. Learn. And maybe we can help propel the Women’s Revolution to where it needs to be.
After SummerSlam, I was so mad at the outcome that I almost wrote this column right after. However, cooler heads prevailed and I decided to wait a couple of days, watch Raw and SmackDown Live, and then check my opinion on this topic.
My opinion has not changed: the WWE Universe needs to ignore Brock Lesnar.
Let me first start off my saying that I was (and still to an extent) a Lesnar fan. When he burst on the scene in 2002, he was “The Next Big Thing.”
He annihilated his opponents. He had actual wrestling moves. He became the youngest WWE Champion at that time at age 25 by defeating The Rock at SummerSlam. And who can forget the legendary match with Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania XIX where he attempted the shooting star press? (Even though he botched it, he has hit it successfully many times in the past.)
Soon after, Lesnar’s career started becoming stale. His two year on-air WWE career came to an end with a very lackluster match against Goldberg at Wrestlemania XX. It seemed Brock wanted out, and fans were not upset to see him leave.
Of course we all know the story after that. He tried out for the NFL and then went to New Japan before jumping into the Octagon where he became the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
I was still a fan of Lesnar’s when he was in the UFC. His mixed martial arts skills along with his extensive amateur wresting and WWE wrestling skills made him a dominate Heavyweight Champion. I felt awful for him when he had sit out and eventually retire from UFC due to severe diverticulitis.
When Lesnar returned to the WWE the night after Wrestlemania XXVIII, I, like most of you, was ecstatic to see The Beast return to the ring. Setting him up as a Paul Heyman guy again and having Heyman, who could have you hoarding OxyClean in your house if he was the spokesperson, promoting him. It was set up to be a great comeback, except Lesnar never really came back. He was just there to collect the paycheck. The one-time NCAA Division I National Champion wrestler has seemed to have forgotten how to wrestle.
Does Lesnar have to attempt shooting star presses and submission holds for me to be a fan? Absolutely not. All he has to do is seem to actually care about what he is doing. If you have seen one Lesnar match in the past four years, you have seen them all: random punches, german suplexes, and an F-5 for the win. These subpar matches ended the streak that should have never been ended, dominated top superstars who should not be dominated, and gave Lesnar a WWE Championship that disappeared off television with him for months.
Then comes the comments on the Stone Cold Podcast where Dean Ambrose told Steve Austin that Lesnar is lazy and would not work with him to make their Wrestlemania match a hit. Critics and fans both agreed that the Ambrose-Lesnar match should have stolen the show, but way under-delivered. Then it came out that Chris Jericho was not pleased with with ending of the Lesnar-Orton match at SummerSlam and there was an altercation between the two in the Gorilla Position after the show.
The Lesnar-Orton match should have never been the main event of SummerSlam. After seeing Sasha Banks and Charlotte put on a clinic despite Banks’ back issues, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins showing everyone that they can put on a hell of a match for an ugly title, and AJ Styles and John Cena giving us another match-of-the-year candidate, we had to endure 15 minutes (if that) of punches, german suplexes, and Orton getting dominated in his return match. As much as I dislike Orton, he deserved a match with a clean finish, even if he lost. He did not deserve whatever you want to call that.
I do not even think he should have been allowed to wrestle at SummerSlam given his two failed drug tests from UFC. Roman Reigns (a Vince McMahon guy), Alberto Del Rio (a not really sure who actually likes him guy), and Eva Marie (a Vince McMahon girl) all have, or are currently serving 30-day suspensions for violating the WWE wellness policy, and Lesnar got to wrestle after failing two tests from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Surely WWE’s policy is not as strict as the NGC and the estrogen blocker Lesnar took that got him suspended from UFC is allowed in the WWE. If it is, then one of the two entities needs to reexamine their drug policy.
It’s after SummerSlam and Lesnar is now absent from the WWE yet again. He will show up sometime before another pay-per-view to fight Shane McMahon (what did we do to deserve this, God?), dominate him with punches and German suplexes, collect his paycheck and head back to the house until the Royal Rumble where lackluster Lesnar will start up again.
If Lesnar wants to go back to the UFC, then he needs to go. I’ll be glad to cheer him on as he fights to regain the UFC Heavyweight Championship. When he fought at UFC 200, the passion that we saw in his 2002 WWE-TV debut was there. That passion is definitely not in the WWE.
So to bring this full circle, we, the WWE Universe can put a stop the the poison of the company that is Brock Lesnar. How do we do that? By being silent. Don’t give him cheers. Don’t give him heat. Give Lesnar nothing. Do not wear a Lesnar t-shirt, do not make a Lesnar sign. Pretend Brock Lesnar does not exist. We all know Brock is going to Brock, and Vince is going to Vince, but we all know that Vince does react to two things, money and superstars not moving the needle in either direction. If we take these away, we force their hand. We had better do it quickly, because Lesnar’s contract is up after Wrestlemania XXXIII and Vince is eager to re-sign him. Let’s force their hand: either be passionate and give fans the courtesy of acting like you care, or go and do something you actually care about.
Gabby’s perspective: I love Brock. I really do. But at this point, he’s not doing anyone any favors but himself in WWE. His opponents emerge looking either weak (Orton) or stupid (Dean Ambrose) and he gets his money and leaves. It’s a toxic cycle that really and truly needs to end.
It’s happened, folks. After six agonizing months without the evil laugh or knowing smirk, SETH FREAKING ROLLINS IS FREAKING BACK! That’s right, you guys, our favorite trash king is back and is picking up right where he left off: feuding with Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
I was very excited about his return.
Fun fact: my very first RAW recap on this blog was of Seth’s final RAW episode before his injury. Back in October, I said:
“So, Roman and Seth fighting for the title? I definitely can dig it. Reigns has performed like a true star in his feud with Wyatt, and has won over the WWE Universe. My only beef? That Ambrose isn’t in the running. But who knows, there’s still time to fix that.”
Guess not much has changed, huh? Except for the fact that Roman’s popularity has plummeted. Poor, poor Roman.
Rollins’ much-anticipated return carried a lot of questions with it. We wondered if he would take advantage of the fans’ obvious good will towards him and turn face.
We wondered if he would go right into the main event scene.
YES. And thank goodness, too!
I’m a little disappointed that Seth seems to be falling back right into his old heel persona, but if booked right, I can see him slowly morphing into an anti-hero with an edge. A Stone Cold-esque hero who doesn’t care about what anyone else wants or expects. So, without further ado, here’s how I would make that dream a reality.
So, as Money in the Bank draws closer and closer, Seth Rollins grows more and more aggressive. Stephanie, to his utter bewilderment, books him in increasingly difficult matches against the likes of Kevin Owens, Karl Anderson and Chris Jericho. Rollins wins them all (Sami Zayn interferes, costing Owens his match). Finally, a frustrated Rollins approaches a sympathetic Shane McMahon.
Shane tells Seth that he can’t do anything to help him, and that he’s going to have to stand on his own two feet for the first time in his WWE career. Seth storms away, furious, presumably to throw a tantrum.
Cameras follow Rollins, and to everyone’s surprise, he runs right into a waiting Dean Ambrose. Rollins, tense, prepares for a fight, but Dean assures him he’s not looking for one…yet. In fact, he has some advice for his former Shield brother.
“The only person you can ever truly rely on is yourself,” Dean tells Seth. Seth scoffs.
“Yeah? Well, look where it got you, huh?” he fires back. Dean shrugs, unaffected.
“I’m still standing, aren’t I?” he asks, turning and walking away. The camera focuses in on Rollins, deep in thought and unsure.
The next week, Roman Reigns opens RAW, reminding the jeering crowd that he wasn’t the one who turned on his brothers for the sake of getting ahead. He wasn’t the one who hid behind the likes of The Authority and J & J Security. He says that Seth Rollins is a weasel who doesn’t have the courage or ability to fight his own battles.
Cue Rollins himself, who charges down the ramp, mic in hand. Furious, he tells Roman that he didn’t have The Authority OR J & J by his side when he pinned HIM to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. No, he did it all by himself.
“And at Money in the Bank,” he proclaims brashly, “I’m going to do it all over again. You might be the guy, Roman, but I am the MAN. I always have been, and I always will be. And you can believe that.”
Money in the Bank arrives, and Rollins looks poised to reclaim the title that he never lost. He puts on an instant classic with Reigns, a match which looks pretty even throughout. The two former brothers dish out everything they have, with Rollins returning to his more babyface-esque flying style.
At the match’s conclusion, Rollins hits a stunning Phoenix Splash on Reigns, following it with a Pedigree for good measure. The crowd goes absolutely mental as Rollins covers Reigns for the 1, 2-
Then, the lights go out. Seconds later, they come back on, and Triple H is standing there, in the center of the ring. Rollins looks frozen with shock, and Triple H takes advantage, immediately attacking the Architect. Reigns rises, dazed, and sees what’s happening. Triple H stops, and looks at him, and everyone wonders if he will help his helpless foe or join in on the carnage.
He joins in.
(I should note that Ambrose wins the Money in the Bank briefcase.)
Triple H opens RAW the next week, announcing that he plans on having the Authority control both RAW and SmackDown. WWE builds on the real-life tension between Shane and Triple H, with Triple H looking to exert total control over WWE television. Then, Seth Rollins storms the ring, attacking Triple H, flinging curses all the while. Even after, Roman Reigns emerges, pulling Seth off of Triple H, to everyone’s shock.
Later that night, Reigns cuts a promo, saying he would never support Triple H, but he won’t stand for Seth running rampant around RAW. He says that as long as he’s champion, people are going to do things the right way. His way. The crowd, of course, boos him to infinity, and Seth Rollins emerges.
Seth Rollins, mic in hand, slams Reigns for interfering in HIS business. He tells him to mind his own or suffer the consequences.
The WWE Draft rolls along, and Rollins is drafted to SmackDown. He is granted his rematch against Reigns at Battleground. In the buildup to Battleground, Triple H begins to interfere in Shane McMahon’s running of the blue brand. He exerts his authority (pun very much intended) over both RAW and SmackDown, booking matches without Shane’s consent.
However, curiously, whenever he books a match against Shane’s wishes, Seth Rollins appears to mix things up. He interferes in matches, goes on commentary, and causes general mayhem for Triple H’s favorites like Kevin Owens and the returning Randy Orton, who is serving as an enforcer of sorts for Triple H, having secretly reconciled while he was injured.
Rollins makes life such a living hell for Triple H that he injects Randy Orton into Rollins’ Battleground rematch. Shane asks him to stop, saying he’s only making things worse, but Rollins doesn’t care. At this point, he’s just pissed and out for vengeance. Rogue Rollins is in full force.
Come Battleground, Reigns wins by pinning Orton, who costs Rollins the match when he breaks a pin from Seth hitting the Pedigree on Reigns. He refuses to give Seth another chance at his precious title.
On SmackDown, Rollins goes right after Triple H, decimating him backstage. Randy Orton comes to Triple H’s rescue, and the two begin to team up on Rollins, but in a shocking turn of events, the Lunatic Fringe himself, Dean Ambrose, comes to Rollins’ rescue. Rollins is wary of Ambrose’s intentions, but Ambrose merely tells Seth he owes him a favor.
The next week, an infuriated Triple H brings Rollins out to the ring and fires him, but Shane McMahon comes out. He tells Triple H that if he fires Rollins, he’s missing out on a golden opportunity. He then books a blockbuster match for SummerSlam: Triple H vs. Seth Rollins. The loser leaves SmackDown for good.
In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, Rollins and Ambrose become uneasy allies, arguing constantly but watching each other’s backs nonetheless. Like the Shield of old, they become unstoppable together, teaming up to further both Rollins’ feud with Triple H and Ambrose’s feud with Randy Orton.
Triple H taunts Rollins throughout, telling him that without the Authority, without him, he’d be nothing. He tells Seth that he was always his second choice, and that he would always be one step behind Roman Reigns.
This finally comes to an explosive conclusion at SummerSlam. Rollins and Triple H take each other to hell and back, and Rollins finally works like he did in his babyface days, flying around the ring like a superhero. He beats Triple H with a whopping two finishers: first, the Pedigree, then a Phoenix Splash. The crowd goes wild, and Rollins revels in it, finally the babyface rogue he is meant to be.
This feud allows Rollins to step away from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene for a while and teases a Shield reunion just slightly. He doesn’t return to stake a claim for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship until the Royal Rumble, facing Reigns and reclaiming the title that he never lost at long last.
Reigns gets his rematch at Fastlane and Rollins comes out on top. However, Rollins only wins when Reigns’ fury finally drives him over the edge into a full heel turn, and he attacks Rollins with a steel chair. That night, Stephanie and Shane announce that the two will face each other one more time: at WrestleMania.
The next week on SmackDown, Ambrose opens the show, and tells Rollins that he still owes him a favor. He says that he wants to cash that in, and tells Seth that he will be cashing in his briefcase at WrestleMania, thus turning it into a Shield Triple Threat. The crowd, naturally goes nuts. Rollins comes out, entering the ring wordlessly, and merely holds out his hand. Ambrose shakes it. The match is on.
The conclusion of THAT bout…well. Let’s just say that Ambrose will FINALLY get his WrestleMania moment. Seth got 31, Reigns got 32, and Ambrose will get 33. This will allow Rollins and Ambrose to feud for the title over the summer, with Rollins finally taking it back at oh, SummerSlam?
This booking allows Seth Rollins to not only cement himself as one of the faces of WWE and capitalize on the crowd’s good will towards him, it also lets Roman Reigns have a long run on top of the company. That’s not ideal for me, but it’s realistic as I can get.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments and be sure to share this on Facebook and Twitter!