Welcome Sharp Shooter Press readers, this is my first article here at the website. As you might have guessed, I am a life long wrestling fan. I have been ever since I accidentally turned to a channel with wrestling when I was about five years old.
My taste in wrestling has changed as dramatically in some instances as much as it has stayed the same. I will be going into greater detail with my wrestling preferences during my upcoming radio show under my "Smooth Gentleman" tag in the near future.
Enough with my brief introduction, my first three posts will be of a three part series where I speak on the state of women's wrestling around the world. I would like to begin by addressing WWE fans who have not been exposed to any other women's wrestling outside of the "Diva's" Division.
Shame On You.
I will not make it a habit to bash the WWE (eh..perhaps) but their display of women's wrestling is rather disrespectful and can be regarded as being slightly sexist. During last weeks Raw (Air Date: October 31, 2011), the Muppets received more air time on one airing of Raw than the WWE will allocate to "Diva's" matches for about a month and of half of Raw programming.
It seems like every women's match in the WWE are right around 3-4 minutes, when you include the entrances of the competitors. Not only is that a bit "sad" the WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis feels that models are better than many of the actual female wrestlers who have spent years working their craft on the indies.
In my opinion, the WWE has done more to damage women's wrestling than any other wrestling outlet in existence. That is why I am going to focus on the bright spots of women's wrestling around the world. In the first picture above you see Amber O'Neal wrestling Mercedes Martinez (which features a hold that neither of the Bella sisters could name). I chose the picture for the following reasons:
1. It's an actual display of wrestling: Unlike the WWE, there are many promotions out there who will give women the opportunity to tell a story within the ring. Something that I feel just can not be accomplished in three minutes. Promotions like SHIMMER, Women Superstars Uncensored, OZ Academy, Ice Ribbon, Smash, Arena Chicks, Anarchy Championship Wrestling, and Impact Wrestling all allow women to have "real" matches. If Impact Wrestling (or TNA if you prefer) has shown anything, it's that women wrestling does sell. As their "Knockout" matches are often the highest rated part of the show.
2. They are talented: Those reading who have seen Amber O'Neal or Mercedes Martinez compete will know this statement is absolutely accurate. I'm not just speaking of their actual in-ring ability, they also display great ability in creating a character that can connect with a crowd. I dare you to watch some of Mercedes' promos from SHIMMER and to watch a Amber O'Neal match. Amber does a great job at playing the classic cowardly heel that will take any shortcut available to get the victory.
3. They are still sexy: Granted this reason should not have to exist (and would not if I were running a promotion), but in the wrestling environment in the United States, it does have merit. I assume the reason behind John Laurinaitis hiring the stick thin models is that he feels that beauty will sell to a WWE audience. I am hard pressed to believe that I am the only one that finds Amber O'Neal, Cheerleader Melissa, Madison Eagles, Angel Orsini, Daizee Haze, Mia Yim, Athena, Kana...etc..etc..attractive. The best part is? All the women I just mentioned can also work and it wouldn't take years of training to help them put together a watchable match. There has to be some hope he (Laurinaitis) did hire Beth Phoenix and Nattie Neidhart who are both incredible talents.
The next picture is of two famous Joshi (Female wrestler in Japan) competitors named Kyoko Inoue (applying the Half Crab) and Manami Toyota. Any match where the two of them were competing against one another were simply golden. They actually had my favorite match of all time on May 7, 1995 in Tokyo, Japan at the Korakuen Hall. In what was a match full of passion, determination, drama, and excitement (the arena atmosphere was also extraordinary). This match is currently on youtube, I may post it at the end of the series as I feel it is a match that everyone should watch to see what women can truly do in the ring.
Joshi wrestling was my first taste of women's wrestling which spawned into me finding more women's wrestling in the United States. In Part II I will further examine Joshi wrestling in Japan.