Hello wrestling fans and welcome once again to The Trademark Rants. Christmas was very good to me this year. Not only did I get the new Bret Hart DVD from my friend Terry, but I also now own the entire WrestleMania Anthology. That’s right, I now own every single WrestleMania ever produced on DVD. Now, tell me, was Christmas good to me or what? So far, I’ve only been able to watch 2 of them, and I’m working on WM 3 now, so I have a ways to go. Actually, no… I’ve only watched the first WrestleMania. I got about halfway through WM 2 before I simply got fed up with the show and decided to put in 3. In case you didn’t already know, WrestleMania 2 absolutely SUCKED (Personal Opinion), so the fact that I even got through the 20-Man Battle Royal should say something. Perhaps it’s saying that I am seriously lacking in judgment these days, because chances are that the British Bulldogs vs. Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake Tag Title match probably would have made up for the whole crap card up to that point…
Anyway, for some reason, the one match that does stand out on the WrestleMania 2 card (that I actually watched) was the Velvet McIntyre/Fabulous Moolah Women’s Title Match. To me, it stood out for a few reasons – 1) because Moolah had to be in her 60’s at this point, and is not only still wrestling, but holding the WWF Women’s Title; 2) Velvet McIntyre’s kinda hot; and 3) Velvet ended up taking a pretty damn good front bump, missing a middle-rope splash and selling it like she got the wind knocked out of her (and considering how hard she actually landed, there’s a good chance she probably wasn’t selling at all) before Moolah went for the “smother pin” (for lack of a better term) to retain her belt. Moolah spent about three minutes kicking the crap out of Velvet before Velvet finally got in some offense, just to miss her big splash and end up losing the match. This, obviously, was simply a squash match to further establish Moolah after a controversial title change over Wendi Richter a few months earlier, when Wendi found herself on the receiving end of a Montreal Screwjob of her own. For those of you don’t know, in November 1985, Wendi, the reigning Women’s Champ who won her title from Lelani Kai at the first-ever WrestleMania with Cyndi Lauper in her corner, was in the midst of a contract dispute with the WWF. She was scheduled to face a masked opponent that I believe was billed as the Black Widow. As it turns out, the Widow was actually The Faboluous Moolah, who hooked Richter shooter-style and ended up winning the title, much to Richter’s surprise, as she was apparently told she was going over that night. After the match, Richter went nuts and ended up attacking Moolah with the title belt, only to have the fight broken up. Ever since, the WWE has pretty much ignored the incident (unlike the actual Montreal Screwjob, which the WWE and Shawn Michaels like to bring up at every convient possibility), while Wendi, who then left the WWF, supposedly went on with her career, although it wasn’t at nearly the levels it had been at the height of her career as the Women’s frontrunner of the WWF’s “Rock ‘N’ Wrestling” era.
Speaking of Wendi Richter… exactly who’s idea was it for her to wear all that makeup? Seriously, Wendi spent most of her career looking like a goddamn hooker for crying out loud! Actually, it isn’t just Wendi. Several female wrestlers of that era took on the “hooker” look: Sherri Martel, Moolah, Lelani Kai… Hell, even Miss Elziabeth caked on makeup like it was going out of style! Now, I can forgive the horrible, one-piece swimsuit singlets most female wrestlers wore back in the day, as well as the tendency towards Farrah Hair and even the concept of billing white girls with OBVIOUS southern accents as native Hawaiians (yes, Lelani Kai, I’m talking about you!), but did these women have to get painted up like hookers, too? But hey, at least most of them could wrestle. Nowadays, you have Candice Michelle, made up like a whore, pretending to be a stripper, doing that GoDaddy dance… is that supposed to be sexy? I’m just wondering, because Maria comes off a lot sexier just smiling than Candice does during 90% of her entrance. Not that I mind the 10% that Candice spends making out with Torrie or Victoria, because, honestly, that’s the best part. I mean, hey, if you can’t wrestle, that’s fine, but if you’re not going to wrestle, you might as well do something productive with your television time, other than promote your Playboy pictorial once you turn face in March, because we all know you’re going to… either that, or you’re just going to have a televised three-way with Torrie and Victoria, which hopefully the WWE will book on the next SmackDown PPV because God knows I don’t need to see another former WWE referee commit suicide!
But see, it’s not just the models and the strippers that the WWE hires these days that produce softcore porn moments. Now, Mickie James, who only three years ago was probably the top Indy Women’s wrestler out there, is trying to make out with Trish Stratus under the mistletoe. The former Alexis Laree is now in love with Trish Stratus, and while the story actually does make sense (for once), it’s sad, because this used to be Alexis Laree for crying out loud! Mickie, before the boob-job and the WWE makeover, was probably one of the hottest and most talented women in wrestling. Mickie, after the “enhancement” and the makeover, is still one of the most talented women in wrestling, but she’s also now… God I hate to say this… but she’s become a WWE Slut. Like it wasn’t bad enough that she was considered a “Ho” when she was the only good reason to watch Women’s Extreme Wrestling, but now, she’s… this. Why? Does no one in the WWE actually watch her wrestle? I haven’t seen a woman in the WWE fly so willingly since Lita (before the injuries), and yet, unlike Lita, Mickie’s work isn’t nearly as sloppy. Mickie doesn’t have to be a slut to get heat. She doesn’t have to make out with Trish to further an angle. Now, like I said earlier, for this angle, having Mickie kiss Trish actually does make sense. This isn’t a gratuitous “Lesbian” angle the way the Sable/Torrie angle or the Dawn Marie/Torrie angles were. My problem with it is simply that it involves Mickie James, who really doesn’t have to do this crap because she’s better than this. She can actually go in the ring. It’s not like she’s Candice Michelle and has to resort to stripping and girl-on-girl action to justify her television time. She actually knows what she’s doing in the ring!
The unfortunate thing is that Mickie, instead of being the rule, is the exception for women wrestlers these days. Now, part of this is simply because promoters, believing that women’s wrestling doesn’t draw, don’t bother training women to work properly in the ring. Most of the time, the girls will learn to take a few simple bumps, and the rest of the time, they’re just told to roll around on the floor, pull some hair, and maybe pull off some clothes (depending on who you’re working for). Beyond that, women are left to fend for themselves in the ring with minimal training. This is why you see many women’s matches where the girls seem hesitant to take bumps, or unable to string spots together, or even tell a story in the ring. It’s not because of women’s “inability” to wrestle. It’s simply because no one is taking the time to actually teach them how to work in the ring.
The other problem with women’s wrestling is, even if the women are being trained how to work in the ring, they’re not being trained to overcome the mental blocks of bumping the way men are. For those who’ve never bumped, the thing is, when you fall, you have a natural tendency to try and catch yourself either by extending arms or curling up into a ball, among other things. The problem is, you’re only going to hurt yourself landing that way. Front bumps are especially hard, because your natural tendency is to catch yourself falling by extending your arms, but if you do, you could break an arm, or worse. For women, front bumps are literal murder because of the sensitivity of breasts. In fact, women have to front bump differently because of it. Men use one arm lined parallel to their chest to protect themselves, while women use two, and even then, it’s rare to see a woman take a good front bump. That’s the reason why the Velvet McIntyre bump stood out in my mind, because seeing a woman take a front bump like that is rare. This is also one of the reasons why I believe Christy Hemme has a lot of potential as a wrestler – she takes a good front bump, especially for having little to no experience.
Breaking mental blocks are among the hardest things a wrestler does during his or her training, and this is the one area that most people will ignore when it comes to women. Basically, if the woman can take a few simple bumps and she looks good enough, she’ll get a role whether she’s any good or not. This is why the supposed “unattractive” women tend to be better workers – because promoters aren’t chomping at the bit to get them on their show. That’s it. The more attractive girls end up being pushed out of the gate before they’re ready to really go, while the girls the promoters don’t think are as attractive are stuck in training until their ringwork gets the attention their bodies don’t. And this, unfortunately, is why Jazz and Nora Greenwald are as good as they are, while Gail Kim and Jackie Gayda are, well… not. It’s the same thing that determines who gets hired at bars and strip clubs and any other establishment where looks matter. It might not be a popular idea, but it’s the truth. Skinny, pretty girls with big breasts are more likely to get a role than someone who doesn’t fit that criteria, whether they can work or not, because most of the time, the women aren’t hired to wrestle, they’re hired to look good.
Now, I hear a lot of people say some stupid things about female wrestlers. Most of the time, its from fans who’ve never been in the ring, who’ve never taken a bump, who have no idea what all goes into learning how to work in the ring, and just how the business in general works. The truth is, there are some women who aren’t 300 pound tubs or built like mini-Schwarzeneggers out there who probably can work, and work well. We see an example in Mickie James and, whether you care to admit it or not, Trish Stratus. Trish has probably put more work into becoming a wrestler than anyone would have ever required her to and has become the top women’s wrestling star in the world for her trouble. I have no idea how any fan, even those who hate women’s wrestling, can dump on Trish for all the work she’s put into becoming who she is now. What I don’t understand is why we don’t see more of them.
Occasionally, I’m surfing through channels, and I catch some women’s sports. For instance, cheerleading, which is more of a sport than poker is, and yet, it ends up on ESPN, too… Anyway, I see these girls being thrown around and doing all kinds of flips and twirls and cartwheels and whatnot. So, how come we don’t see women doing swanton bombs and corkscrew planchas and those other cool lucha libre moves you see guys like Rey Mysterio and the X Division guys do? I saw Kerri Strugg win her team the Olympic Gold Medal with a broken ankle, yet, I’ve seen women wrestlers freak out on simple bumps where the worst that could happen is maybe a bruise the next day. I’ve seen women run marathons and swim for miles, and yet, we have wrestling fans who say women can’t endure long matches. What about all the accomplishments of the various Women’s Soccer Teams over the last decade? Soccer’s the hardest damn sport on the planet! And if you want to look around on the internet, there’s many an athletic hottie out there, from the dominant beach volleyball team of Misty May and Kerri Walsh to Lauren Jackson of the WNBA to tennis star Maria Sharpova. But yet, there’s this idea that an athletic women’s wrestler either has to be fat, built like a man, or Bull Nakano. And not to take away from the talents of someone like Bull, Jazz, Riptide (formerly ECW’s Prodigette), the late Bertha Faye, or Nora Greenwald, but none of them are helping the common wrestling fan’s misconceptions about female athletes. And God knows the current crop of WWE Divas aren’t necessarily helping matters, whether it’s Stacy Kiebler dancing with the stars, Candice Michelle dressing like a whore making out with every girl in sight, Torrie Wilson and her dog Chloe doing their best Paris Hilton and Tinkerbell impressions, or having Mickie James, a woman who can actually wrestle, auction off her used panties on the internet and then, make out with Trish Stratus for reasons I can’t even begin to understand!
I guess what I’m saying is that, 20 years ago, when you had a Women’s Title Match, you had a woman in her 60’s literally kicking the crap out of a girl half her age in an actual FIGHT. Nowadays, you have the Women’s Champion and the #1 contender making out under the mistletoe. And all the while, poor little Maria, who probably came into the business about 15 years too late, will end up getting more attention for the skin she shows than for the persona which, I have to admit, has totally grown on me. She may be dumber than a brick, but dammit, she’s cute, and she’s not acting like a complete slut, which is nice. I mean, she wouldn’t even look at Candice’s bare chest when Miss Michelle flashed John Cena a few weeks ago. A little innocence now and then is always nice, even if she is a dumb as a brick…
Okay, well, that’s all I have for this week. Feel free to send your thoughts to me at TheMaverickMJ@yahoo.com and don’t forget to check out my page at www.myspace.com/MikeJohnsUSAW for information and updates about Northeast Ohio’s Newest Independent Wrestling Promotion – ULTIMATE SHOCK & AWE WRESTLING!!! Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day!