Intergender wrestling has been a hot-button issue among talent and fans alike these past several weeks and thanks to Pro Wrestling Illustrated we’ve gotten a full panel discussion from Gail Kim, Ethan Page and other stars to give their thoughts on the matter.
The topic of intergender wrestling really took fire on August 6 when Lance Storm shared the following Tweet stating, “I see some discussion on inter gender wrestling matches again. In light of #SpeakingOut I think these matches have to stop. I’ve heard from so many women who were uncomfortable doing these but felt obligated to to get booked because these matches were accepted ‘norms'” and Storm received a lot of blowback from that, so much that he did an entire episode of discussing the matter on Wrestling Observer Radio with Garrett Gonzalez and Dave Meltzer.
Due to Storm’s comments, it prompted Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Kevin McElvaney to set up a round table discussion for stars to talk about intergender wrestling in detail. Gail Kim started it off by giving her stance on intergender wrestling stating, “I kind of wanted everyone else to speak because I know a lot of other people are pro-intergender and I’m not against it, I’m just not for it full-time on a regular basis.” Gail then defends the track record of Lance Storm and the positive influence he’s had on women wrestling.
“First off, Lance is one of the biggest supporters of women’s wrestling, truly, I can count top three in my 20 years of being in the business, okay, so people saying that he’s not wanting them to succeed or whatever they may be, absolutely not true. He’s concerned about them and he’s kind of protecting them more than anything.”
Kim does mention how a lot of the social media reaction from female talent was that if they ever felt uncomfortable performing in an intergender match, they’d just say “no,” but she doesn’t believe that’s always attainable to talent.
“Unfortunately, our business, and maybe it’s changed for the better now but it’s not completely changed, our business still is – we’re in positions where you can’t say no, I’m sorry because then the next person will come along and you’re worried about losing your spot and unfortunately we’re not at a time where women are half the card, they’re not. Maybe, once in awhile you might see it, but that’s just not realistic.
“I know when I started at 23 and even making it to WWE at 25 for years I felt pressured like I could never say no to anything. I mean just made the best of the situation when I was so uncomfortable, all the time so I don’t think that’s a realistic point of view from these girls saying, ‘I’ll just say no’ and that they would speak up. I just think that’s not realistic in the majority of situations.”
Heather Monroe, a popular independent star and recent competitor on AEW Dynamite, gave her stance on Storm’s Tweet.
“I feel like the thing that got a little out of hand was his wording of it was not good I don’t think because it was ‘Stop it all. Full stop, don’t do it at all’ and there’s so many people that are okay with it, that I do think we need to change the culture of wrestling which is what we’ve been talking about with Speaking Out, to change the culture of wrestling to make it more comfortable for people to say no or if they’re not comfortable saying it themselves to be like, ‘Hey, you can come to me and I’ll talk to this person for you,’ and I think that that’s what we really need to change,’ or like using Speaking Out was also I think wrong on his part as part of it cause a lot of Speaking Out wasn’t about that. It was about sexual abuse and it did end up kind of veering towards training and that kind of stuff, but it was mostly about people speaking out about their partners that were also wrestlers like abusing them and there was a huge intergender wrestler that did get put into that but it wasn’t about intergender wrestling.”
Kim follows up: “I think where he was blurring those lines were abuse of power cause it’s the same vein in that regard, the abuse of power it’s subject and I think it kind of crossed over a little bit, but some people were talking specifically about speaking out and some people were talking about specifically about intergender wrestling.”
IMPACT’s Ethan Page was the only male talent on the panel and mentions why he spoke out in defense of the intergender wrestling aspect.
“I have a lot of respect for Lance, but I also know the fear in pro wrestling when someone with that kind of weight says something. [To Gail Kim] It’s exactly what you’re saying, people don’t want to say ‘no’ to opportunity, they also don’t want to speak their truth against someone who has power in wrestling or influence in wrestling so not to be like the ‘voice of the voiceless’ all of the time, I know I’m probably annoying on social media but when I see things like that I just know there’s opportunity to actually like have discussion instead of kind of ‘This is my way and I know you’ve been listening to my opinion for many, many years so you should probably just listening to this,’ I just feel like this is a more discussion topic instead of like, ‘let’s abolish all of intergender wrestling.'”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
This is quite literally only the first few minutes of a 50-minute discussion that involves other stars such as Tasha Steelz, Trish Adora and Jamie Senegal. You can check out the entire PWI Roundtable below: