by Dillon Avery
On January 29th, 2009 President Obama signed his first bill, a gender pay equity law called The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for workers to sue companies for pay discrimination over gender. Named after Alabama resident Lilly Ledbetter, she hadn’t become aware of pay discrepancies with male workers until late in her nearly 20-year career at a Goodyear Tire factory.
So is TNA breaking the law by paying their female wrestlers, routinely the ratings grabbers, far less than their male counterparts? Through legalities and loopholes, probably not. You’d think the WWE, who signs everyone you see on-screen to contracts, would provide them with health insurance but instead lists them as independent contractors and gets away with it through similar loopholes and legalities.
It was recently stated by a former male TNA employee (non-wrestler) that the Knockouts get about $250 per TV/PPV appearance. Another rumor stated that Ken Anderson maybe makes $2,500 per appearance. Those not signed to contracts, which are most of them like former Knockout Taylor Wilde, have been used sparingly as of late. It was even reported that Taylor works at a sunglasses shop in Canada to keep a steady income. TNA has lost 3 of it’s biggest names to pay issues in Gail Kim, Awesome Kong and now Tara. While at the same time big money is going to certain older male stars who just aren’t warranting their paychecks. Not only do the women get paid less for drawing the highest ratings, but it makes it that much more deplorable since TNA is run by a woman.
ODB, who is definitely one of the most popular Knockouts, has been barely used since Bishogan took over. Of course her facebook comments about the division’s decline did her no favors. Then there’s Hamada, another talented and seasoned wrestler who has pretty much disappeared since her tag partner Awesome Kong departed from TNA. How many times has Roxxi been hired & fired by TNA now? Are they trying to beat the WWE-Goldust record?
But no worries, who needs to be entertained by Hamada doing moonsaults from the top onto someone through a table on the floor when we have Lacey Von Erich botching a simple kick. Or Awesome Kong destroying people when we have Rosie Lottalove making out with JB? Why keep Gail Kim, the woman you created a Women’s title for and created a division around, if she’s asking for a modest raise? And the balls on Tara, easily the “Kurt Angle catch” for the Knockouts division from WWE, to ask for a small raise after busting her ass for the company for a year. I was implying sarcasm in case it was lost in translation there.
Simply put, when someone does a good job, you reward them. The Knockouts routinely do just that yet get paid far less than ratings under achievers. And honestly it’s not about ratings. It’s about being fair and giving credit where credit is due. Your women are equal as far as skill with most of your men. The word “Union” in wrestling is a sin. Maybe every woman in TNA & some of the men should sin a little for equality.
by Dillon Avery