For years now, I have been one of the biggest fans and advocates for women’s professional wrestling. I have watched it grow form a small non-existent addition in an over dominated male professional wrestling universe, to a main event headlining match on a global television broadcast, and then all the way back down to non-existent. The up and down rollercoaster of female professional wrestling has been a long road with almost nothing being accomplished, nothing but a brief moment of history. A glory that has since past. But it’s not over. Most would say that the future of women’s professional wrestling looks grim at best, I would have to disagree. Although we may not see the quantity or quality of matches we have been used to in past years, there is a change in the air and I am sincerely optimistic about its future.
What would never be even conceived as a plausible idea, besides the very comical attempt called GLOW, which had a small impact on women’s professional wrestling, has become a reality with the start of a few all-female professional wrestling promotions like Shimmer and its sister promotion Shine. Although we only get to witness the live action from these great talented rosters on a national stage when they participate at a Ring Of Honor event or hold an internet PPV, the experiences they give us leave us wanting for more. The changes don’t stop there. WWE has been producing a television show for the E! Network, called Total Divas, the show has become a success for both the E! Network and the WWE. Living the life of a WWE Diva is the premise of the show and the focus follows several Divas living their everyday lives as rising stars. If you ask me, it’s about time someone took some notice.
The professional wrestling world is littered with a plethora of women looking for their big break. Some good, some bad, few extraordinary individuals, but all are working hard to try and achieve their dreams. In past years, women professional wrestling was an addition or a sideshow to the main event, which always included their male counterparts. To be seen was a rarity, since most promotions only placed one or at the very most two matches with female participants on each card, if any matches at all. So unless you were one of the most talented wrestlers out there, or you just happen to be in the right place at the right time, the general public most likely has never heard of you. In the early 80s, an all-female wrestling “promotion”, and I use that word lightly, began under the name GLOW! Although a very comical version of a campy wrestling promotion, GLOW did more good for women’s wrestling than bad. The girls all had over the top gimmicks and pun filled names to match, the storylines vague and useless, and there were random cut scenes that were inserted only for comical relief. If you liked the sport, it was horrible, but it gave a platform for so many females to be seen. Women like, Lisa Moretti (Ivory for you WWE fans) and Sara Del Ray both wrestled in the rings of GLOW, it was a platform, it was a start.
In the past decade or so, women’s professional wrestling has moved towards steps of improvement, it’s true, it’s damn true. TNA began to offer the public a new female wrestling experience, an actual match! I don’t want to take anything away from the WWE’s Diva’s Division, which at one time produced some high quality matches, but in recent years, they too have shied away from promoting a top performing female competitor. TNA revived the women’s wrestling match, plain and simple. When TNA first arrived onto the scene, their women competitors were just as important to the card as any male wrestler. They introduced the world to the Knockouts, their appropriated name for their own female wrestling division. Immediately the success of these women rose quickly and people began to talk about the skill and fun each individual performer brought to the division. Names like Awesome Kong, Sarita, Daffney, ODB and so many more, was impressing us each and every week and we, as fans, were eating it up. It has been so long since we witness anything but a blonde in a bikini when referring to women wrestling matches that we were screaming for more. The success of the Knockouts even sparked TNA to do something unheard of, allow women to headline a global television event. It was an exciting time for a fan of pro wrestling. But then something happened. TNA began to pull away from the division and began focusing on other projects and storylines. The Knockouts took a backseat so to speak. The matches began to become a little less entertaining and the storylines a little more confusing. Talent began to fall off the roster, and it seemed that the brand as a whole had been seriously compromised and was no longer entertaining.
With the eventual breakdown of the once glorious Knockouts Division and the Divas trying to entertain the thought of a match that didn’t involve a rollup for the win, it left the wrestling fans looking for alternatives. Then like the sounds of trumpets being hailed from the skies, along comes Shimmer and then Shine. These two federations open the doors for a SERIOUS attempt for an all-female wrestling promotion and gave so many a chance that otherwise might not have gotten. Women like Rain, Amazing Kong (Kharma in WWE), Angelina Love, Mercedes Martinez just to name a few, are performing and entertaining crowds each and every night and the fans love it. The popularity of these federations is growing and we are only set to see more from these talented rosters and I can’t wait. I really can’t wait for so many talented wrestlers to get their opportunity that they have worked so long for, that they deserve.
Like I said before, it’s true that the face of women’s professional wrestling is changing, and it’s only up from here. The evident promotional efforts that the WWE has been putting into their Divas is clear now that they have a hit reality series, which is in return a new avenue for revenue for this mega universe and every McMahon likes the sound of that. The Knockouts Division is far from dead and now that TNA has started introducing new talents to the ring like Lei’D Tapa, who is making a quick impact within the company ranks, it’s only a matter of time before a rebirth, no not rebirth, but a resurgence of a talented brand. The work that both Shimmer and Shine are doing right now is incredible. They may not have the money to produce top quality television programming and the storylines could use a little touch up, but their talent is phenomenal and their matches are thrilling and entertaining. So, hats off ladies! Although we may not be seeing what we want right now, it’s getting better all the time, but then again, that’s just My Chaotic Theory…..