Does sex really sell? There are plenty of people who will say “yes” without hesitation, and I’m inclined to agree. You can find sex anywhere, especially in three of the most prominent and important entertainment passtimes in the world: movies, music and television. On film, in special cases where an R-rating is mandatory, you’re likely to find a sex scene or two throughout. In music, sex oozes from the lyrics, and in music videos, you’re bound to find plenty of musicians showing off their bodies while belting out the lyrics to all the top hits of today. Television is far more subdued when it comes to sex. You cannot flip on NBC and expect to see everyone naked without censorship stepping in. If you do see anything of the sort, something’s wrong. And we all know where we see the majority of our wrestling: television.
You can go back just ten years ago, and sex was barely a part of wrestling. The female wrestlers were not as “scantily-clad” as they are today. Back then, there were far more kids watching wrestling, and there were also far more ridiculous (but hilarious) gimmicks throughout the World Wrestling Federation. But just like the rest of the world, wrestling has changed with the times, and wrestling satiates the public’s need for a little sex. And where does the vast majority of sex come into play in wrestling, especially the WWE? You guessed it, sex appeal.
Men are more likely to tune in to wrestling, and it’s only natural for the WWE to look out for their wants and their needs. We’re all here to watch wrestling, but some guys are more prone to wanting to see skin (and I’m not talking male skin… unless they want to. Not that there’s anything wrong with it!). They want to see the WWE Divas in their smallest, tightest clothing, performing before their very eyes, in hopes that a puppy or two might jump out of nowhere. Well, I guess I’ve been listening to Jerry Lawler WAY too much!
Anyway, back on track, it’s only natural for the WWE to cater to the two needs of the male viewers: wrestling and women. Combine the two, and ratings go up. Okay, I only assume the ratings must go up, otherwise we might have less bra-and-panties matches on WWE TV. The sex appeal of Stacy Keibler, Trish Stratus, and Torrie Wilson (amongst others) attracts a certain demographic of male viewers who want to see TNA, and I’m certainly not talking about the other wrestling company. The “divas” have their own division (it’s probably called the diva division), and the most professional women wrestlers wrestle in straight-forward, one-on-one matches. Very rarely do they venture out into “Bra-and-Panties” territory. These divas are Trish Stratus, Victoria, and from what I’ve been hearing, you can also add Jillian Hall, Melina, and Mickie James to the list. I can only hope they’re right.
But what about the other divas? Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler, and Ashley Massaro. They’re not exactly the best in-ring performers, so they’re more likely to be seen in the gimmick matches. Lingerie Pillow Fights, Bra-and-Panties Match (I’m going for the record of most times that the words “bra” and “panties” are used in one column), Santa’s Little Helper Match, etc. Little is left to the imagination, and the male viewers are left wanting more.
However, I must ask one question. How much is too much? How far does the WWE have to go before we’re basically watching women in their bikinis for half-an-hour a week? I have never opposed the WWE Divas coming out and doing their thing, but sometimes, it’s overdone. This weekend, we have six matches at New Year’s Revolution, and two of them are Women’s matches. Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James is expected to be a straight-forward wrestling bout, while the second diva match will be a Bra-and-Panties Gauntlet match, where the five participating divas (Ashley, Maria, Candice, Torrie, Victoria) will eventually be stripped down to their… well, you know… until one woman is left standing victorious. The winner gets a shot at the Womens Championship, right? Umm… no? Okay, well… the winner gets a prize of some sort! No again? Well… what’s the point? There is none. It’s a time-filler for the guys in the audience, and that’s it. That, my good friends, is too much. Too much sex, for one thing, and too much of the divas. I feel sorry for Victoria. She can rest easy knowing that she wrestled in the first ever Bra-and-Panties Gauntlet match, that’s for sure!
Sex appeal isn’t the only “sex” seen in the WWE, though. Sex and Wrestling have went hand-and-hand on several occasions, mainly over the past five or six years. Possibly even the last seven or eight years. However, it always seems to be met with disastrous results. Is it because the WWE just can’t handle writing sex into their plotlines? Or, does sex and wrestling simply not mix? I think there’s a fine line that the WWE crosses whenever a “sex” plotline is brought up, simply because in my opinion the subject of sex mixed with wrestling simply does not go together, and shouldn’t be put together. History only further proves that I’m, for the most part, right on this subject.
How about the most recent representation of sex on WWE RAW. You know exactly what I’m talking about: the much-hyped “Live Sex Celebration” on Monday night between Edge and Lita. All night, the WWE promised that we would see Edge and Lita have sex on a bed placed in the middle of the ring on RAW. One flimsy mattress and cheesy porno music later, and you have your live sex celebration, complete with a supposedly accidental “nip slip” of Lita, almost censored by the USA Network. Almost. Was there a particular reason for seeing this on RAW, as the “main-event” if you will? It wasn’t called for, and took away from an otherwise shocking and well-deserved title win at New Year’s Revolution (a shocker that may end up on my best-of list at the end of 2006).
If you’re new to the game of wrestling, then let me fill you in on why Edge and Lita would do such a thing in the middle of the squared circle: Lita cheated on Matt Hardy with Edge in real life, and ended up cheating on Kane with Edge on-screen and they’ve been an on-air item ever since, while ending their off-air relationship long before their on-air “public displays of affection” started. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. The entire segment was brought to a screeching halt by a dancin’ Nature Boy, whose pelvic thrusts made me lose that late evening slice of pizza that I was hoping I could have held down on Monday night. As Edge and Lita have made out for months on-screen, I felt a strong disdain for the pairing entirely, but this sex fiasco really did them in and may have cost Edge any credibility that he gained from winning the WWE title at New Year’s Revolution.
If your memory is that good, then we’ll head back just about two weeks to another sex story on WWE Smackdown!, and of course I’m talking about Melina and Batista’s sexual harassment plotline. The most brilliant minds in the WWE came up with this, right? The idea was that Melina would sex up the Animal, and force him out of the tag team match with MNM in mid-December, but it just got him prepared a helluva lot more and he went on to win the titles with Rey Mysterio. Melina is now suing Batista for sexual harassment (or, at least she was before Batista suffered another injury this week). You just cannot dignify this angle with a response at all, and you have to hope for it to go away quickly. I’m not pleased that Batista’s injury will be the reason for its demise, but anything will do.
It was bad enough when the writers added Melina having sex with Batista to the storyline to spruce things up, but when it became about sexual harassment, the entire scenario got out of hand, and became way too far-fetched. It’s not that sexual harassment is far-fetched, but if you’ve seen the video, Melina clearly is seducing Batista. They show the damn video!! It’s ridiculous. The only real intent behind this angle is to bring in Mark Henry to destroy Batista. Umm… mission accomplished?
Sex isn’t just a recent thing over the past month. One of the most revolting and repulsive storylines in WWE history came in 2002 in the form of the much-referenced Katie Vick. What started as a silly murder (Triple H accused Kane of killing this girl, Katie Vick) quickly ended when Hunter, dressed in a Kane mask, pretended to have sex with the dead body of Katie Vick in a funeral home, with the all-time classic line of “I just screwed your brains out!” as Hunter holds up raw hamburger meat intended to be her brain. Classy, ain’t it? Just add necrophilia alongside sexual harassment and sex in front of thousands of viewers in attendance (as well as millions watching at home).
You’re sitting in your chair thinking “Man, that must be the end of all the sex stories that WWE has produced, right?”. Wrong, so very wrong! Who can forget the lesbian misadventures of Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie in early 2003? If anything killed the Diva Division, it was this. Mercifully, the entirely ludicrous love triangle (which included Al Wilson, Torrie’s father and Dawn’s new husband) came to a “tragic” end when Al Wilson died. Not in real life, just on the show. Thank God we won’t have to see his ugly mug again. Everytime these three came on screen, I was bored out of my mind and I know I wasn’t alone. I’ll say it just to reiterate my point: sex and wrestling do not mix! Lighting gasoline (wrestling) on fire (sex) will end with disastrous results.
And finally, as one last clear example that sex will force any storyline straight down into the firey depths of hell, I’ll describe a scene so unnecessarily vomit-inducing, that it may tarnish my column just from the mere mention of it: Mae Young giving birth to… a hand. Please, make it stop!
Sex and wrestling DO NOT MIX. The sex appeal of the divas works to their advantage in bringing in more male viewers, but whenever the actual act of sex is involved, you’re placing the entire show on life support. A little part of wrestling dies, and we all suffer for it. You will be awake all night trying to think of just once instance where sex has actually improved an angle in the WWE (or any wrestling company for that matter), and I’ll stand by that opinion until proven otherwise.