As a woman and new found wrestling fan I have decided to write this article about my thoughts and opinions of the wrestling community today and the misconceptions that society seem to have on what wrestling actually is.
Who am I?
So a little bit about myself, I am in my early 30's, I have grown up as a middle child of two brothers who both loved wrestling and as many people did watched it on the television, I wouldn't say I was particularly interested and would rather play with my dollies. I met my husband, let’s just say along time ago, he has always loved wrestling since the age of 5 and continued to follow it ever since. We came across the indie scene of wrestling when attending a show in York. We absolutely loved it and have continued to attend different shows by different promotions around Yorkshire and Britain ever since.
My feelings and opinions
That moment when somebody asks you 'What are you doing at the weekend?" My reply is "well I am actually going to a wrestling show". That's when the eyes roll and the reply "wrestling, that's not real is it, it just people pretending to hit other, like that WWE stuff and Hulk Hogen, Stone Cold Steve Austin, I remember watching them on tv, do you actually like it?" If I had a pound for every time I heard the same answer I would be rich! Well actually my answer is "yes I like it, in fact I love the community feel, I love seeing the children's smiling faces at children friendly shows, I love the fact that we have made so many new friends both fans and wrestlers, I love that the 18+ fans are treated like a family and I respect the hard work and dedication that the wrestlers put in themselves. I could go on. But what really gets me is that they look at you like your just going to watch a group of men (yes men in good shape and tight attire), obviously women to, just I suppose cat fight in the ring? How wrong can someone be, it’s a sport, a stunt show, a performance. They have to create a character, inject humour, perform to the crowd, keep the crowd involved, keep themselves and others safe when carrying out moves, perform highly skilled moves, sounds a little like Broadway, but you wouldn't get judged for going to a Broadway show would you?
I have also been asked "Why do you watch the indie shows, why not just go to WWE shows?" Hmm well my first answer is 'have you been to one? If the answers NO then don't knock it till you try it! If its 'yes' and you didn't like it, maybe it wasn't the right show to go to, if its yes and you liked it then why you asking? The sad thing is a couple of years ago I probably would have asked the exact same question, but the reason is, why not support your local wrestlers who are actually just as good as those WWE wrestlers? I have been to many different ones and yes some have been full of children screaming, wrestlers been beaten up with inflatables which to some people would have been their idea of hell, but for this promotion it was perfect for what they see their promotion as being, family friendly. All the way to hard-core over 18+ matches where wrestlers are being hit over the head with light strips, not exactly what I would have said I enjoyed watching. However don't ask me how but this promotion RISE Underground Pro Wrestling - The UKs Maddest Wrestling Show seems to hypnotise you into wanting more. This promotion is definitely one that you go to once and then find yourself never wanting to miss another. The first show I went to I was so scared, I had heard stories about how brutal they get, but after a brief pre show chat with Danny O'Doherty and him reassuring me it would be bad I somehow decided that I was in control of my own eyes and could always close them. Well let’s just say I didn't, I don't know if it was due to the consumption of alcohol or what but that night was one of my best nights out. Let’s just say ever since then I have attended shows and not drank and still managed to watch the hard-core matches, don't ask me how or why but I have and have always kept my eyes open, however I haven't always followed the action outside.
Woman for themselves
It was great to see the Woman of wrestling were the main event at the WWE Royal Rumble. Not just two opponents but 30. Who said that women couldn't do it just as well as the men? Well lets just say the women on the night reinforced and displayed that woman have just as much talent and skill as the men. I would also recommend watching the series 'Glow' which is a hilarious comedy based on the fictionalization of the characters and gimmicks of the actual Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling from the 1980s.
Love the first series, then guess what there is a series two expected to be coming in June.
Then why not watch the actual documentary of the real ladies themselves on Netflix, just search for GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
So my view on the matter is wrestling is NOT just for BOYs. There are many female wrestling fans and I must admit the numbers do seem to be rising when attending shows which is great to see. I would highly recommend attending a show even if it’s just once, it will definitely be a great, action packed and fun night out. As they say don’t judge until you've tried it yourself!
Here are some quotes from some female wrestlers and fans on what inspired the to be a wrestler/fan and why they would say "It's NOT just for BOYS!".
Wrestler; Lexi Olivia said “For me wrestling is for more than just men despite what people think. When I wrestle guys the main thing I usually get is "oh she's weaker because she's a woman and the boys shouldn't hit her as hard as they hit other guys". It’s so frustrating because I can hit and take hits just as hard as them regardless of the fact I'm a woman. Wrestling takes a lot more than physical strength all though it can be quite helpful, you need to be able to commit to training so you know how to do moves safely, the gym to build strength and agility, travelling long distances to get to shows etc., to emotionally connect with an audience to get them to love or hate you and react to moves as well as communicate with your opponent to make sure they're ok. Quite a lot of the time girls can do that as good as or even a lot better than what guys can. Another is that female wrestlers are there to be eye candy or sleep around. Nah, we're there purely because we love wrestling. Granted we may find partners through wrestling but what happens happens, the guys do the same, we're all human and have needs for love etc.. I was inspired to get into actually wrestling through watching Eddie Gurerro, Lita, Trish Stratus, Paige, AJ Lee, Dean Ambrose etc. on TV and going to WWE live events from being 3 years old right through to now, but up until 2015 I couldn't find a training school and generally started to give up on the dream but then I found Elite British Wrestling who were running their annual free show for the tramlines festival in Sheffield. They did a safety announcement at the start at the show and mentioned that they have a training school. The spark came back and I went to one of the guys on the show and got information about training, however as they only train students from 16 years old I had to wait a year before I could start. In that year, I still went to shows and became good friends with other wrestlers, one particular wrestler became very close and pushed me more than anyone to train as soon as I turned 16 to the point it became a promise. Then April 2016, I turned 16, had my first session, which left me extremely achy, I'll admit haha. It took my trainers Mark Sanders, Mikey Van Riot and Andy Hogg as well as some of the others there including Dirtbag Dave Stewart and my now arch nemesis, Ivy to get me to keep at it because I struggled with my confidence for months but I stuck at it and it went from there. Looking back, I honestly couldn't be more grateful for their help to get me where I am now."
Follow Lexi on; Instagram; https://www.instagram.com/lexiolivia74/ Twitter; https://twitter.com/lexiolivia74 Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/lexiolivia74/
See her in action at the Great British Promotion; EBW-Elite British Wrestling