â<80><9c>Letâ<80><99>s Hear It For the Girlsâ<80>
As a wrestling fan and a bit of a bleeding heart, I sometimes find it hard to justify the things I see on WWE TV. Letâ<80><99>s face it, wrestling often hasnâ<80><99>t been kind to folks of various ethnicities and races, gays and lesbians, and other groups of people, through the years. And one group who, despite their important contributions to the sport, have been the most used and abused are, of course, women.
Iâ<80><99>ve spent a total of three of the past four years in relationships with a pair of feminists. No, not at the same time, sicko! …Although… I mean…where was I? Oh yes. This experience has probably opened my eyes a little more to just how marginalized women have been in pro wrestling. Add to that the case of my personal favorite (and, arguably, the all-time most gifted) womenâ<80><99>s wrestler, Nora â<80><9c>Molly Hollyâ<80> Greenwald. Molly was, both on and offscreen, a very chaste woman. WWE utilized her, for quite a while, without sexualizing her character too much. Then, when theyâ<80><99>d run out of ideas for her, they made an angle out of her virginity.
Now, Iâ<80><99>m no prude. And I say that, if a WWE Diva wants to be sexy for her audience, then, by all means, she should. Still, I canâ<80><99>t help but wonder if Molly Hollyâ<80><99>s WWE departure a couple of years ago had something to do with how the companyâ<80><99>s female performers were booked and, well, underappreciated. Thankfully, there are plenty of Divas right now who – while undeniably very attractive – are struggling to make the art of womenâ<80><99>s wrestling more respected.
WWE has an excellent champion, currently, in Beth Phoenix. She has an intimidating presence, power to burn, and technical skill for hours. (Coincidentally, or not, she is also breathtaking!) As a fan, I honestly feel that Beth Phoenix is ushering in a new era of WWE womenâ<80><99>s wrestling, as she claims to be doing. She also has a variety of capable challengers – Melina, Mickie James, and Jillian Hall, with quite a few talented women over on the Smackdown brand, as well. Nattie Neidhart, for her part, seems like sheâ<80><99>ll be called up to Raw any day now. And then, of course, thereâ<80><99>s Candice Michelle.
Watching Raw last night, I really felt for Candice. She has been practicing and stepping up her game, consistently, since her WWE debut in 2005. The spill she took looked pretty bad, and my fears were confirmed when I clearly heard the official instruct Beth Phoenix to â<80><9c>cover her.â<80> Later in the night, Michelle was diagnosed with a cracked clavicle. While her injury is unfortunate news for Raw fans, letâ<80><99>s take time to applaud what a great job sheâ<80><99>s been doing lately. The match sheâ<80><99>d been having with Phoenix was very entertaining and athletic. It showed us just how far the â<80><9c>Go Daddyâ<80> girl has come. Sheâ<80><99>ll be back in 6-8 weeks and, judging by the concern last nightâ<80><99>s crowd had for the former champ, sheâ<80><99>ll be welcomed back warmly by the fans.
Iâ<80><99>m also glad to see that TNA is making strides with its Knockouts. Awesome Kong is, well, awesome. Kong Batista Bombâ<80><99>s better than you know who, and she has plenty of agility to complement her powerful attacks. The acquisitions of Talia Madison, Shelley â<80><9c>Arielâ<80> Martinez, and others will also prove beneficial to TNA in coming weeks. And, lest we forget, two absolute benchmarks for womenâ<80><99>s wrestling, Jackie Moore and champion Gail Kim, arenâ<80><99>t going anywhere. One of the potential feuds Iâ<80><99>m most looking forward to right now in TNA is the pending conflict between Kim and Kong.
There is another big hope for fans of real womenâ<80><99>s wrestling. And that hope lies in the SHIMMER promotion. For those of you who donâ<80><99>t know SHIMMER – and thatâ<80><99>s actually a lot of wrestling fans, at this point – itâ<80><99>s a Chicago-based, sort-of sister promotion for Ring of Honor. SHIMMER is an all-female, independent wrestling organization. Itâ<80><99>s been the stomping grounds for Beth Phoenix, Nattie Neidhart, Awesome Kong, and Roxxi Laveaux – who, at the risk of ruining my noble intentions for this article, I must say is an absolute babe. Sheâ<80><99>s supposed to be creepy because she doesnâ<80><99>t go tanning? Puh-leaze.
With these wrestlers all making it in the â<80><9c>big leagues,â<80> SHIMMER continues to offer a scientific, pure wrestling alternative to the eye candy format of WWE. This isnâ<80><99>t to say that SHIMMERâ<80><99>s wrestlers arenâ<80><99>t gorgeous but, simply, that this isnâ<80><99>t the focus. Ably represented by champion, Sara Del Rey, the promotion is finding favor with ROH fans (via SHIMMER athletes being featured at ROH shows) and an increasing audience around the country. They also have what may be the mostly cleverly named tag team ever in the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew. Google â<80><9c>Minnesota Wrecking Crewâ<80> if you donâ<80><99>t get the reference.
So youâ<80><99>re probably reading this and thinking, great Kev, ya hippie. But what can I do to show my respect for and help the many talented ladies of wrestling? Well, for starters, stop ordering those Womenâ<80><99>s Extreme Wrestling DVDâ<80><99>s! Second, do go out of your way to see some SHIMMER matches. The promotion doesnâ<80><99>t actively tour, but a quick internet search will let you see what all the fuss is about.
Third, if youâ<80><99>re at a WWE or TNA show, get your popcorn during a boring backstage segment. When the women are out there, trying to earn your respect, give them the same appreciation youâ<80><99>d give any of the other wrestlers. Cheer for them. Heck, buy a t-shirt, if there is one to be bought. And, by doing so, let WWE and TNA know that there is a place for womenâ<80><99>s wrestling on the card. And no pudding, pillows, paddles on poles, or pickles need be involved.
Kevin is also a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler. Send questions, comments, and cookie recipes to email@example.com.