All posts by A.V. Christensen

National Pro Wrestling Day is a Time to Show Your Love for Wrestling

It’s National Pro Wrestling Day, folks, and what better a time to show your love for women in wrestling than now! There is so much happening, including Willow Nightingale making her Chikara debut as part of the Young Lions tournament! Also, the League of Lady Wrestlers, Toronto chapter, have released a set of valentine’s day cards that you can purchase to give to your loved ones, or hoard for yourself just like I’m doing!

Lucha Underground Sets the Bar for Intergender Storylines

Season 2 of Lucha Underground just kicked off this past week, and El Rey is already proving it’s willing to go above and beyond all other currently televised pro-wrestling in multiple aspects, but specially with regards to their female workers.

Their take on intergender wrestling isn’t sudden and has been part of its product thus far, but they’re really showing that they’re the leading charge of how to have interesting storylines that really showcase the talent of the women. The most interesting part of this equation is how small of a roster they have, and the ratio of men to women, yet how much of a spotlight is shone on the girls.

In the premiere alone, we see Catrina as the new proprietor at the Temple, and she has a thirst for power that she is willing to manipulate however she sees fit. But the real star of this past episode is Ivelisse, to no one’s surprise, having had not one, but two back to back matches in one night. It’s such a rush to hear a crowd so vehemently behind her as a worker. Being tossed against her partners, Son of Havoc and Angelico, to determine who will be the #1 contender against Mil Muertes for the title- Ivelisse came out victorious before being immediately pitted against Mil. Having had the Gift of the Gods title already switch hands from Fenix to King Cuerno in this episode, it’d be a shock to see the Lucha Underground Championship belt holder to change as well. That being said, Ivelisse vs Muertes made for one heck of a David and Goliath match with enough of a nearfall in her favour, that one can’t help but be excited to see where these threads will take us.

Lucha Underground is doing a tremendous job showing the utmost respect for their workers, male and female, and we’re seeing as the new gold standard for pro wrestling.

Lucha Underground’s Second Season and Comic Book

Lucha Underground is less than a day away from returning and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Wednesday nights have become prime wrestling viewing for fans all around, and it’s wonderful to have the combination of excellent storyline and beautiful technical work back for our weekly consumption.

Just before the return, which will see the introduction of Rey Mysterio since we lost Alberto back to the WWE, the folks at El Rey have composed a great recap video to either remind us of what happened, or as a little intro for those of you who may not have given the entire first season a sit down just yet.

And to add to the excitement, El Rey Network has released the first of four original comic books for free download! The debut issue, scripted by Fabian Rangel Jr. with art by A.C. Osorio, follows the international wrestling legend Rey Mysterio Jr.’s voyage to the “Lucha Underground” temple. Next three comics will be released bi-weekly and will help bridge story lines in between seasons and offer new information into the lives of Vampiro, Catrina, Mil Muertes, and notorious owner and promoter Dario Cueto among others, and we’ll make sure to update you with them as they are released.

This expansion on the Lucha Underground universe is helping fill the hunger all of us at Femmezuigiri have for great content with a lot of diversity and entertainment, and we’re going to continue working with them to bring you some exclusive interviews with the workers in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled, and get ready to watch with us tomorrow night!

Space Mountain May Be the Oldest Ride in the Park: Or How Sexual Harassment Has No Room in Wrestling

Imagine yourself all settled in to indulge in your favourite pastime– whether it’s getting all dolled up in your best swag, holding up your meticulously crafted sign or curling up on your couch next to someone you care about complete with snacks- both instances ready to scream your heart out. Your favourite workers have entered the ring and– BOOM! you get a glaring reminder that this place isn’t for you. This is a man’s game and no matter how much you cry out the odds are never in your favour. “This is how it’s always been,” they cry, “Why are you such a killjoy?”, and “Learn to play along, it’s just for fun.” Being in this community is full of constant reminders that this space is not safe and it’s our responsibility to play along if we wish to be included or leave.

All of the above was made abundantly clear during the 2016 Royal Rumble Divas title match in which the audience is blatantly reminded that women are objects who are at the whim of everyone else around them. You’re peeled in to a match that is showing exceptional prowess and mat work that has, up until recently, been unbeknownst to the women’s division but all eyes (read… cameras) keep cutting to Ric Flair. Don’t worry, Charlotte, Daddy’s here. It’s okay, WWE Universe, there’s still a man near the ring so everything is fine and dandy… nothing to see here. But look, they’re doing such a great job! They’re actually wrestling! Ric Flair has to prove he’s still the boss, so in his natural heel state he grabs Becky Lynch, turns her around, and kisses her against her consent. Talk about a jarring moment that filled me with rage and disgust. But it’s all in the nature and fun of pro-wrestling, except it isn’t. The fun was fully removed when you sexually assaulted a woman. Some would argue that Becky Lynch obviously consented to this outside of kayfabe, but take a moment and think about why– if she won’t do her job, someone else will. It is not a woman’s job to be harassed in the ring by men, and it shouldn’t be expected of anyone at this point (or ever). What a way to throw a wrench into the excitement of an otherwise wonderful match and suck any potential fun out of it, making it almost impossible to pay attention to what’s happening before me– at this moment seeing nothing but red. This extends beyond Becky, past her taking one for the team in the most horrid fashion imaginable, losing the match and getting buried with no room for revenge in a storyline. This extends beyond all of the women who are workers in, and outside, the WWE who are constantly put in these spots where we are treated as nothing more than mere sexual playthings. This extends beyond everyone watching who feels violated, who feels sick to their stomachs, who feel a deep and painful empathy because they to have experienced unconsentual sexual behaviour at the hands of others. It permeates into our culture for workers, for fans, for passersby where this is the norm, and the lovely motto of “Just don’t look” can’t be applied here. This affects everyone. Situations like this continue to fuel wrestling being an unsafe space for anyone who isn’t a cisgendered heterosexual white male. Unless you’re the Nature Boy himself, it’s all downhill from here.

Fellow Femmezuigiri contributor, Brittany Meyer, offered up some personal experience with this sort of situation and how toxic and misogynistic this community can be:

I fell out of love with wrestling after I was a valet, one time, for a wrestler I thought I respected. It wasn’t until the gimmick faded and the texts came from the person, and not the character, that I had to come to terms the fact that this is just spandex and dudes living out a dream on whatever ring that will have them. I have not seen him in person in almost three years, and in that time he had held a toxic relationship with a friend of mine, harassed other wrestlings friends on Facebook and Twitter, and has tried to manipulate me back into his life with suicide threats and promises that he’s getting better. With so many incidents proving he was untrustworthy and manipulative, I cut him out of my life. That was one year ago, and I have refused any message or friend requests since.

As a Chicagoan, I felt good about the fact he was seldom on the wrestling scene here since he’s located in Florida. I have gone to many shows in the greater Chicago area and have come to love one particular company, Freelance Wrestling. Freelance was started by some local wrestlers that I have been watching grow since I first moved to Chicago; they’re smart, driven, and produce one hell of show. They have been around for over a year, and I would religiously attend their events, often introducing friends of mine to live wrestling through their shows and having our own designated standing location by the ring so we could be in a good position to high five wrestlers and yell into the camera.

About a month ago, I saw they booked the unstable wrestler who I had pushed out of my life. I was nervous to attend this show, but I also didn’t want to shirk support of my favorite promotion just because he was in the opening match. Hoping the wrestler wouldn’t say anything to me or attempt to reconnect, I thought it would be best for me to not post about it on Facebook or twitter and quietly attend– thus sacrificing any potential world of mouth the promotion could get at the hands of their fans in order for me to have some peace of mind.

With his match in progress, I noticed he didn’t look at me and he mostly stayed on the other side of the ring; I thought I was in the clear. He won his match and I saw him blow a kiss across the ring to my side. It looked as if it went to a girl standing near me and just acted like nothing happened. I then watched him cross the ring and climbed over the ropes on my side. Now, I got nervous.

As a part of his scummy heel character, he usually asks for a kiss on the cheek when he wins a match. I was now concerned with the fact that he may ask me for a kiss and I would have to decline, in front of all the cameras, and audience members who will most definitely cheer him on. I was getting worried.

Once he hopped off the ring, he was just feet from me. He received a borage or high-fives from a friend before I saw him turn to me. Instead of him presenting h12276656_953088474758070_9296646_n (1)is cheek, I saw him lunge, face first, into my face. It looked like he was about to kiss me, and play all of this off as ‘just part of the show!’ Instinct kicked in, and I slapped him with my right hand to get his face away from mine. His lips didn’t touch mine; he just shoved me and ran off. 

I was mortified. I couldn’t believe that a show I love so dearly became a place of harassment for me directly. This left me to attempt to logically rationalize how to go forward– I guess I’ll avoid his shows since he’ll use his heel gimmick to get away with whatever he pleases. The bigger fear is how Freelance would response when I approached them. After approaching others within the community for advice most of what I received was unfortunate, but many of them offered condolences with the caveat that this was the sad reality of wrestling culture. It’s amazing for something that exists purely in the realm of fantasy that this was an acceptable ‘reality’.

The reality I was dealing with was the fact that I didn’t know how I could ever feel comfortable at a wrestling show again. My reality was grappling with the conflicting emotions of how something I love can accept this behaviour and side with the aggressor.  It may have been the reality, but I couldn’t rightly live with it. For myself, and for every person out there that had dealt with a similar situation and was too afraid to speak up since ‘This is just how it is,’ I needed to say something to the promoter. I swallowed painfully and sent out a lengthy message with a fear at the pit of my stomach awaiting the inevitable “Yes, we heard his side and we know you’re crazy; if you didn’t want to see him you shouldn’t have come.” The moment I pressed send, I began to cry. I’ve accepted the fact that I was targeted, harassed and nothing will be done about it. The unwelcome whiny outcast of the Chicago Wrestling community who spoke up and ruined all our fun.

It only took moments for me to get a response, but my heart exploded with joy. A profuse apology from the promoter thanking me for bringing the situation to his attention complete with reassurance that the footage will be reviewed with their team. More tears, now ones of pure joy. I was awarded the rare opportunity of having a voice and a valid opinion. Legitimate shock that I was allowed to enjoy wrestling without disgust or dread. Being believed and listened to was never a response that I could have anticipated, and I honestly cannot thank Freelance Wrestling enough- you have set the bar for integrity and I hope that promotions around the world can learn from your example.

It would be nice if the story ended there, but to no one’s surprise I’m sure, word got back to the worker of the interaction and the ever-changing “stories” began pouring out. He’s just doing his job and if he upset anyone in the crowd then he was doing it well. News flash: harassing women is no longer an acceptable way to gain heat or pops, and it never should have been in the first place. Instead of the story ending here, he took to his own social media to villainize the company for refusing to book him going forward.

Situations like the one Brittany so kindly shared with us are met with a lot of harsh skepticism and a tense request that we keep our mouths shut. This is not just an issue at a wrestling level but for women across the board. The worker currently isn’t being mentioned because of fear of further backlash, harassment and a furthering sense of dread with regards to attending wrestling events. We don’t want to see the promotions that go out of their way to be decent promotions hurt because of scorned men who don’t want to let go of their patriarchal privilege.

We’re finally getting our brief reprieve from having Jerry Lawler on commentary, but we’re not out of the weeds yet. Someone other than Mr. McMahon needs to tear down this wall and let wrestling fans know that there’s no more room for sexual harassment here. That one day, twitter feeds won’t be inundated with men explaining why it’s okay to ask if a female wrestler has breast implants.  Soon rape jokes won’t just be seen as ribs in t
he locker room, or in training centres, that are fun and lighthearted. Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.55.15 AMEventually, intergender matches won’t be rife with spots where our opponent drools and gets a huge pop from the crowd by miming that they’re going to fuck us or get their face between our legs. *Insert pathetic wolf whistle here* We’re here to let everyone, including Ric Flair, know that Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park, but it’s high time we shut the old guy down and give him a rest– the park is desolate and he doesn’t even go here. We got off that ride ages ago and we’ll do just fine without it.

And the surprise entrant is… — ROYAL RUMBLE 2016 Predictions

It’s that time of year that we all look forward to and end up leaving bitterly disappointed. We decided to go over the card and craft for you how we think Royal Rumble 2k16 will playout.

Pre-Rumble Tag Match

With all our feelings towards ECW it’s with great shock to say most of us are leaning towards a Dudley Boyz win since the pairings of Henry/Swagger and Young/Sandow seem quite far fetched, but it’s be cool to see what they could do with the latter of those teams.

rr_graphicss3Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens

Same as before, we seem to be at a draw on who we like more out of the two. There’s been some speculation that it might have to end with a double count out with both men trapped under a pile  of rubble and debris just to continue the trend of Ambrose losing due to hilariously convoluted means in gimmick based matches. If Owens wins then it can lead us on the pathway to the Owens/Sami Zayn title match that we all wish to see at Wrestlemania!

Charlotte vs Becky Lynchrr_graphicss2

Like a plot straight out of Mean Girls we’re going to see Becky show up and burn Charlotte’s diary since she’s just too darn mean. The inventor of the #DivasRevolution, the every woman – Steph McMahon, will then call out for a lumberjack match of the entire Divas division. Becky will call a no contest and snatch the belt and break it into pieces– one for each Diva and all they’ve contributed.

But in reality there will be a win for Lynch with a finish that allows Charlotte to keep the strap all to herself. Becky getting cheated will allow for a triple threat or 4 corners match at Mania between Charlotte, Becky, Paige and Sasha Banks. Becky getting cheated will get the crowd on her side for what will make for a really interesting future for the booking of the main roster women’s division.

rr_graphics2The New Day vs The Usos

Most of our predictions are looking towards how it’s going to play out as part of a Wrestlemania lead up, and this tag team belt match is no different. New Day is going to retain, and they have to avenge Francesca at this point. The only other way for them to do this is to give the Usos the belts so that they can win the rumble as a trio and then turn on another another– and let’s hope that this doesn’t happen. We need a good faction to stay in tact for a little while longer, I can’t handle another Shield upset.

Alberto Del Rio vs Kalisto rr_graphicss

The US Championship belt is almost like a poorly attended game of hot potato, so it’s looking like it’s Kalisto’s turn. It’s be nice to see someone hold onto it for longer than a week this go around.

rr_graphicsLet’s Get Ready to Be Disappointed!!!!!

We all know the only reason to truly watch the rumble is to see who the old school entrant is and we’re going way out of left field with The Great Khali.

As for the surprise entrant will most likely be Triple H. Even though there’s slight whispers of Styles, Triple H is going to come at the end just so someone can beat Roman. Who knows, maybe Sledgie will make an appearance. The smart move, despite our iffy feelings about Bullet Club, is to have Finn invade with Balor Club up from NXT and NJPW. It’ll at least make for something interesting to chatter about. Other things we’d like to see is a Diva entering the rumble, maybe even Natalya, and having them go far or even win.

So there you have it, folks. Don’t forget to follow us on the twitter for all the nonsense during the show where we consistently outshine the official commentary.

 

 

NXT Takeover London: Predictions

In a surprise turn of events, NXT is going to have to pull out all the stops to measure up to the TLC PPV; that being said, we have no doubts that our fave wrestlers are going to deliver quality entertainment. This makes it harder to tease since there’s not a match on the card we’re not interested in.

Let’s take a look at what we have in store and our thoughts on how it’ll pan out:

Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Baron is surprisingly forgettable, despite the potential his character holds. This will be an interesting chance for Apollo Crews, actual ray of sunshine, to bring some excellent talent to an otherwise mediocre match.

We’ve had the joy of seeing Apollo crews climb through the roster pretty quickly, and can’t wait for what’s to come from him next… hopefully next time it will be against a more worthy adversary. Nothing can really stand in his way with the exception of Asuka and Joe, who we will see later tonight, but maybe the three of them will team up and do a little dance in the centre of the ring catching us all by surprise.

*Surprise twist: Apollo lifts Baron’s motorcycle and crushes him with it, but since Apollo shines bright like the moon he actually helps Baron to transform into a werewolf. Sadly, no one is packing and silver bullets, so it’s time to call up to our main roster comic book characters to help this story unfold.

Asuka vs. Emma

There is going to be some obvious interference on Emma’s behalf here, since that’s what’s been pushed over and over again, but it’s working. Asuka is our clear standout  in what will be a brilliant match of submissions.

*What can’t happen under any circumstances: In an effort to continue turn the tables on Asuka mocking them, Emma comes out in a kimono and Asuka’s mask. Thankfully, this won’t happen, but we don’t rule anything out in the WWE Universe.

Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady

It’s about time the realest guys in the room took home the tag championship since they’ve already turned our hearts SAWFT. The boys have recent pulled away from their comedy stylings as revenge for Colin’s knee injury, and it’ll be a feat of victory if they steal the titles and continue this aggressive streak they’ve started.

*You can’t teach that: What is “How to retain a tag belt in NXT for any substantial period of time?”

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

nxtakover

Bayley has hugged us all, but she can’t hold that belt forever, and it only seems obvious that Nia continues her undefeated streak and snatches the title from Bayley. It can honestly go either way for a multitude reasons, and it’ll be a treat no matter the outcome.

*Next level staring contest: The match has the potential to turn into a battle of who can hug the other for the longest, and the entire universe takes a nap and falls more in love with one another going forward.

Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe

nxtakover2

Do we dare predict that all three titles switch hands tonight? Why not go for broke and continue the upset.  Balor and Joe have had an interesting story ever since Joe came on the scene, from tag team partners, to a blow of disrespect, to sworn enemies, it’s nice to see characters develop and evolve over time.

*Montreal screw job gains a newer, happier meaning: Sami Zayn returns and blindsides both of them taking the title for himself and reigns over NXT before summoning Kevin Owens to come back down and prove himself once more.

 

Bald Spots, Beer Guts and a Champ No One Likes: Or TLC 2015 Predictions

Going into this weekend’s final PPV of the year for WWE we are met with the realization that TLC 2015 is completely unrecognizable from something in the Invasion angle. All guffaws aside, we put our minds and feminine wiles together to bring you a very accurate, and somewhat irreverent prediction of what is going to go down this Sunday night on the WWE Network. We aren’t emotionally invested, but some of us did shell out $9.99 for it, so here we go.

Continue reading Bald Spots, Beer Guts and a Champ No One Likes: Or TLC 2015 Predictions

Lucha Va Voom – Mexican Horror Story

It’s only a week away, so time to get your pants spooked off by one of the best wrestling shows around when Lucha Va Voom returns with their annual two-night Halloween spectacular shows on Wednesday, October 28 and Thursday, October 29 at The Mayan in downtown Los Angeles.

We’ll be giving you a play by play follow up after the show occurs, but you still have time to go if you’re in California. You’d be daft to miss it.

 This Halloween celebration will feature: All Mini Monsters Match; an exclusive U.S. appearance by Japanese luchador Mr. Cacao and professional wrestler KikutaroEvil Doctor’s vs. Mexican Masked Maniacs (Dr. Cerebro/Dr. Maldad vs. Extreme Tiger/Relampago); The Poubelle Twins (the sister duo of Fifi and Bibi dressed up as French Maids); multi-Guinness World Record holder Marawa The Amazing; a HEINO! Tribute to Vicente Fernandez (feat. aerialist Kate Minwegan); Miss Rita and the L’il Homies; plus Chickens; Aliens; Dirty Sanchez and much more.


Get your Tickets Here

Event/Date: Lucha VaVOOM’s “Mexican Horror Story” shows on Wednesday, October 28 and Thursday, October 29, 2015

Location: The Mayan (1038 South Hill Street / Los Angeles, CA 90015). Click here for map.

Doors: 7:00 p.m.

Start Time/End Time: 8:00 p.m./10:30 p.m.

Admission: Click here for tickets. General Admission tickets are available for $40 and Ringside Seating tickets are available for $55. 21+ event.

More info: Visit luchavavoom.com or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Skin Tight Bitch Fight

A month back I teamed up with other members of DMG Toronto as part of their Gym Jam and created Skin Tight Bitch Fight.  Now, that game is live for play in your browser on itch.io.

The game is fairly straight forward, although not too easy to win. Your goal is to play alone, or with a partner, and put on a match that will go over with the crowd. If the crowd isn’t satisfied your next show will have to be cancelled.

Give it a try and support it on itch or my patreon if you can. 🙂

 

From ‘Flaming Fag’ to Lesbian Stalkers: Wrestling’s sordid affair with Queer Identities

Last night, WWE aired the first episode of its new season of reality TV show Tough Enough – in which contestants who aren’t professional wrestlers compete for the chance to win a $250,000 contract from the company and join developmental. Prior to this episode, they aired a ‘competition special’ to introduce the audience to potential competitors- one of which was Daria Berenato. Daria is an MMA fighter and, seemingly unplanned, came out as a lesbian on WWE programming. It’s an interesting turn of events when they are handed someone who is gay, and they are aware of it prior to hiring them. This is obviously not the only determining factor on whether or not Daria lands a career with the WWE, but it’s definitely something to watch for.

There is a storied history of how professional wrestling views the LGBTQ+ community, and there has been a push as of late to turn over a new page, so to say. It’s a rough gamble when there are these crossed wires. Currently, the NXT superstars are tweeting in support of GLAAD in a campaign called #WWEqual, while simultaneously housing storylines in which Diva Paige uses transphobic jokes to gain crowd support, and a whole other slew of homophobic bigotry in the past few years. As of the 2015 Money in the Bank PPV, WWE now has its first openly gay male tag team champion in Darren Young. Yet, on commentary from RAW they can be heard saying “…and Darren Young, we know his story, he’s a tremendous role model as well.” He’s gay. His story is that he’s gay. Say this were an injury, or anything else pertinent to the viewer, there wouldn’t be a moment in which the broadcast team would gleam over the finer details. But this isn’t the first time they’ve skirted around mentioning anything with regards to non heteronormative sexual identities on broadcast- in the original broadcast of the ’96 IC Feud between Goldust and Razor Ramon the moment when Lawler asked if Goldust was ‘queer’ was bleeped out. At the same time, there was no issue in the King using slurs in a directed manner during a promo.

These are not the only instances of gay wrestlers in the main stream, although a lot of them haven’t been out during the height of their careers: for instance Pat Patterson and Chris Kanyon- who claimed one of the reasons for his WWE release was his homosexuality (the statement was later revealed to be a publicity stunt, but his fears of homophobia were well founded and rooted in truth), and Sandy Parker from AJW.

For the fraction of sports entertainment that is heavily focused on the theatrical mockery of masculinity, it’s curious to see such blowback against legitimately queer performers yet support for gay panic gimmicks. There have been a multitude of straight performers playing gay dating as far back as the original Gorgeous George- an act that was an allusion as it was never uttered aloud on broadcast. Adrian Street, regarded as the spiritual successor to George, sported makeup and a garish wardrobe in order to elicit heat from the crowd and make fun of this over aggressive machismo. Heck, even Macho Man Randy Savage was billed as this savage manly man… yet came out in glittery robes to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance.

Turn it to the women, and lesbian story lines are utilized to elicit titillation from the male audience and fear from the women. One of the more notable moments being with Mickie James’ ‘obsession’ with Trish Stratus. Not only does this venture into the territory of poking fun at those with any mental illness, but feeds into our good old friend Gay Panic.

In the world of Lucha Libre, there is the tradition of Exoticos- men who wrestle in drag. Unlike in mainstream American pro wrestling where these men in a dress matches are used as a form of humiliation, Exoticos- although often viewed as rudos and not tecnicos – are well respected. It’s not common for exoticos to be gay, but Cassandro is one, and his career has been a fruitful and open one.

The indies aren’t too far off from mainstream pro wrestling when it comes to this lack of representation. There are a lot of homosexual advances in the ring utilized in order to gain cheap heat or a pop from the crowd, and the bullying that makes its way into the locker rooms. Thankfully, despite this permeating culture there are openly queer positive performers and leagues that come out from behind all of this such as the League of Lady Wrestlers or Go Deep! Lube Wrestling put on by Red Hot Burlesque in Oakland, California.

There is absolutely room for multiple openly gay performers in all facets of pro wrestling. So, seeing how Daria fares on Tough Enough may open doors for more people to been seen and represented on TV. Wrestling needs to continue to make strides towards being and open and inclusive safe space for all involved: from those shown in the ring to the fan sitting in the front row whose story isn’t known. This needs to come at the cost of men fretting over how they’ll be received in “kiss me arse” matches and punches to the face if someone is alluded to be queer in a promo. We’re not your insult, we’re not your punchline, but we are people who would love wrestling even more if you eased off the slurs and just got to the bodyslams already.

Be A Star, #WWEqual, #GotYourBack and wrestling’s viral equality facade

Pride week is upon us as summer begins and it’s that time of year when corporations come out in droves supporting the “LGBT” community, never mind the Q, I, 2S, A, and so on. Do they really? Sports has always been an iffy field when it comes to equality and I’m going to put wrestling, as an industry, pretty damn low on the list of those who actually make an effort.

That being said, WWE likes to make the appearance that they are all about equality, but there is transparent hypocrisy right down to the very core. Today, #WWEqual is a hashtag that’s popped up in conjunction with wrestlers tweeting about GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign. Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 4.57.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 4.58.02 PMThis has caught our attention and I’m coloured quite curious right now as to what’s stirring this, other than an opportune moment to get attention. Now, I truly believe the ‘superstars’ who are tweeting as part of this campaign do have the best of intentions; but it’s hard to take anything seriously from a company that has an openly homophobic main eventer, hires transphobic fighters to appear on PPVs and just plain has little respect for women.

This isn’t the first time we’re seeing GLAAD and WWE pairing up, they’ve partnered with Darren Young shortly after TMZ outed him, they’ve reached out to talk to them when John Cena made disparaging remarks in regards to trans people, and there is no shortage of damage control in regards to maintaining their image. It’s an odd image to try and maintain though, since despite these efforts we’re left feeling unsafe and unwelcome in the wrestling community.

Combat sports as a whole, however, are taking huge steps forward with regards to inclusion. We have Fallon Fox fighting with UFC and our first ever openly gay Tag Team Champion in the WWE with the Prime Time Players (Darren Young).

So, how can these efforts to better themselves coexist alongside storylines in which Paige calls Tamina a man and mentions that she’s in the wrong division? Sooner or later these campaigns against bullying need to be effective internally as well as just what they’re spouting out to their fans.

Personally, I really hope that our voices are finally getting through to the big wigs and efforts are being made, but I’ve been burned before. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this hashtag to see if there’s any legitimate partnership or if this is just another bandwagon hop.

I scream, you scream: ‘Where’s my WWF Ice Cream?’

To get you in the mood for this post, I’ve got the background music of choice for you. That was almost my entrance theme for Doughnut Messaround as part of the League of Lady Wrestlers, but I felt that the Mr. Softee motif may have been lost on the Canadian crowds.

jimmy hartSo here I am, sitting at home eating an ice cream sandwich and wondering how much happier I would be if one of my favourite wrestlers was imprinted on it, just for novelties sake. There are days when I describe silly facts like that about myself and am met with the response of “it’s your aesthetic” and no one is surprised. But alas, this ice cream sandwich does not have that magic value that I so desire.

If you weren’t around to revel in the joy of the Good Humour branded treats, you weren’t missing much. They had a bizarre almost slushy like texture, probably caused by freezer burn, but I would still chase the truck down the street to get one if they were around today. Maybe with the current resurgence of wrestling in the forefront of pop culture, WWE and Good Humor will humour us and listen to CM Punks many demands and bring ’em back for a final go. Where in the hell are my WWE ice cream bars?

Back in 2008, WWE magazine even had a DIY page on how to make your own bars in time for SummerSlam. Vanilla ice cream, cookies, chocolate shell and a popsicle stick? Maybe we’ll have to test this out this summer and make LOLW branded ones for our own promotion and see how those fly off the shelves.

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Comic from BotchedSpot.com

 

I am totally on board with ice cream being the official wrestling food, especially in the heat of the summer. So let’s take a look back at the glorious promos all surrounding these not so tasty but memorable treats:

Meet the women of Skin Tight Bitch Fight

This weekend I got to partake in my first ever “game jam” with DMG Toronto. A game jam is where you have an finite period of time in which to create a video game, and this was my first time ever setting foot near video games. The theme was “GYM JAM” so Femmezuigiri through our hat in and decided to collaborate with some fellow members of Dames Making Games and create a wrestling game.

The game is still in the beginning development stages but will be playable on Femmezuigiri once it’s complete.

Skin Tight Bitch Fight is a visual novel in which you take over for the league booker who has come down with a nasty case of Hulkamania — the most serious of ailments. Navigating through a sea of pun laden wrestling promos you select your fighter match ups and a few of their moves cooperatively with a partner in an effort to please the crowd. But be careful, if the crowd isn’t happy then they won’t buy tickets to your next show and the promotion will go under. Support the fighters and do your best job booking and agenting these matches so the women can afford to continue on with their wrestling careers.

I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek and introduction to the ladies who make up the roster of Skin Tight Bitch Fight. 

 

[CONTEST] Betty Turbo’s Delicious Art

In my quest to discover more wrestling branded food to review I stumbled across the art of Betty Turbo and couldn’t be happier. Betty was kind enough to take the time to speak with us about what drew her to draw wrestlers in such a delicious light.

A.V: How did you get into wrestling fandom and what about it resonates with you the most?

BETTY: Several years back a friend asked me create a custom work of art for her partner for a holiday gift and the only clues she gave me were that he liked Ric Flair and giant squids.  I had to do a little research about who this Ric Flair chap was.  I got so many comments from people on my Ric Flair drawing, I was urged to illustrated more wrestlers, and I was really unprepared for how enthusiastic wrestling fans were!  As someone with a background in theatre, and someone who utilizes an art persona in my professional life, I connected with the dramatic angle and performative storytelling aspect, as well as the notion of characters and alter egos.  The more reading I did the more I got sucked in to the world of wrestling!  Through the magic of the internet I connected with Natalie Slater of Bake and Destroy, who is also a big proponent of wrestling and baked goods, and she connected me to a lot of contemporary wrestling fans and later invited me to illustrate her cookbook.

A.V: What inspired you to combine wrestling and delicious baked goods in an art form?
 
BETTY: When I started the Ric Flair piece, it was such a foreign subject matter to me, that I tried to filter the content through a lens in which could bring my own enthusiasm and expertise more directly.  I have always been a dessert fan, and I was working as a cake decorator at the time, so I decided Ric Flair and the giant squid were battling for the last slice of chocolate cake.  Next I drew Jake the Snake and replaced his trademark gimmick with cupcakes.  While it started as a joke, as I developed more drawings it became a very compelling tool to play with.
One aspect of fascination for me in looking at pop culture is: who are our examples of excellence?  Wrestlers battle it out to win this or that championship title, and devote themselves (to varying degrees) to becoming these top specimens of physical strength. What if they put all that work into winning a blue ribbon in a baking contest?  Are certain categories of excellence reserved for only men or only women?  Who do we model ourselves after and how can we cross-pollinate some of these arenas that feel largely divided by gender roles?
Another fun intersection of pop culture and dessert I always come back to is the idea of consumption and “guilty pleasures.”  How we consume media for entertainment and our attitudes towards food have a lot in common, you know?  Some of it is considered good for you. Some of it is considered junk.  Some folks want to make you feel bad for enjoying anything “low brow” or assume that if you are interested in wrestling, or reality TV, you have only poor taste and low standards.  Or you couldn’t possibly be a foodie if you also enjoy ranch dressing made from a packet.  And healthy people definitely never eat a double scoop ice cream cone.  But I do think it is in fact possible to enjoy some junk food, physically and mentally, and still be a thoughtful, intelligent human being!
A.V: If you could have your own food inspired wrestling persona, what would it be? Do you have any moves that you would incorporate?
 
BETTY: Oooh! I would have to come up with something ice cream related, because it would be so good to play with visually, and I could also tie in the cold aspect, as if being born in snowy Alaska created my frozen persona.  I could go iiiiiice coooold when I needed to be a heel.  Gosh I’m ashamed I haven’t already developed this further in my mind!
A.V: I noticed that you have the Beth Phoenix design and was wondering if you had any plans to do a focus on any other female wrestlers in this art series?
 
BETTY: I would LOVE to draw more l lady wrestlers. I haven’t actually added anything to this series in a while, I’m not sure in what fashion it will continue.  Beth Phoenix was vastly more interesting to me than the rest of what I observed of WWE Divas (As a casual fan! No disrespect intended!) but the more that I meet people from independent wrestling promotions the more I am interested in new ways.  I did a little painting inspired by The Fabulous Moolah for a recent show and I would definitely love to go back and spend more time learning about women wrestlers of years past as well. Of course if any lady wrestlers are listening and need a weirdo illustrator to create some merch for them, I’m available!!
A.V: Favourite baked good?
 
BETTY: Pie! Filled with sour things like plums and rhubarb.
A.V: Favourite wrestler?
 
BETTY: I really love Mick Foley and reading his books was what really got me on board as a wrestling fan. He seems like a pretty outstanding human being. I just want to give that guy a hug!
A.V: Do you have a favourite match or a dream match that you would book in an ideal world?
 
BETTY: My dream match is the one in which I’m drawn as a lady wrestler in a Hernandez bros comic book!

Don’t think we’ve forgotten about you. Betty was kind enough to donate one of her wrestling prints as a prize to our loyal readers.

To enter the contest you need to be following us on twitter, facebook, tumblr . You will get an entry from each social media interaction.

  1. Tweet us @femmezuigiri with a link to the contest and your dream wrestler + food combo
  2. Tag Femmezuigiri on Facebook and comment on the page with which food you think it’d be most fun to wrestle in a pile of
  3. Reblog the contest entry on tumblr and add in the comments a food related pun for a wrestling move
TrophyWin a dessert themed wrestler print from Betty Turbo
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Suplex Reserve

2015 is quickly becoming the rise of the wrestling themed albums, and I will not complain. This year there were two wrestling albums included as part of Record Store Day, The Mountain Goats released Beat The Champ, and just last week A Tribe Called Red dropped a surprise wrestling themed EP called Suplex.

We watch our fandom move in and out of mainstream pop culture and every once in a while it catches the glimmer of the unsuspecting passerby drawing them in. Most of these times, unfortunately, what’s gaining steam is produced by and focused on white men. It shouldn’t feel like we’ve struck gold when diversity comes into the picture, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling a great deal of satisfaction when that’s the case.

Here’s where A Tribe Called Red come into play. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a Native electronica group based out of Ottawa, ON comprised of DJ NDN, 2oolman and Bear Witness, who blend instrumental hip hop, reggaeton, dubstep with elements of First Nations music including chanting and drumming. This wrestling inspired EP is hard hitting and refreshing all in one. The single is titled Suplex, and the accompanying video begins with backyard wrestling on the reservation and centres a child’s passion and dedication to wrestling as he moves up the ranks in the wrestling world as a performer.

Bear witness states:

Growing up in a world where indigenous people are so under-represented in the media, you tend to identify with what’s available to you. The connection between the indigenous communities of the Americas, and professional wrestling, is really heavy. In North America we had pros like Chief Jay Youngblood and Wahoo McDaniel who were indigenous, but had to dress in headdress and tassels to compete. In my generation, we all loved the Ultimate Warrior and hated Tatanka. Even if nothing about the Warrior was indigenous, we made some kind of cultural connection to him. More recently, The Rock has shown us how a proud indigenous man can make it as a wrestler on his own terms. The idea of the video was to show that connection we made to these people beyond stereotypes, but also to see an indigenous character make it, without needing the stereotype.

Wrestling, and western pop culture, are not kind to indigenous people and rely on very dated, and oft offensive, stereotypes. Despite the rich Aboriginal history within the ring, we see a lot of grapplers forced to ‘play Indian’ in order to appease the white viewer. This sort of exploitation ends up with a lot of crossed lines, misinformation and leaves the onlooker between a rock and a hard place where you have to discern whether or the marketing of their ethnicity is damaging to the culture or a proud celebration of one’s heritage and Ancestral traditions. We’ve seen many a performer take on this gimmick from Cheyenne Cher in GLOW, to Tatanka, Wahoo McDaniel, Princess Tona Tomah, and the list goes on. They are all obviously very proud of their heritage, but this representation is something that we are seeing die out. We also had wrestlers such as Jack and Gerry Brisco, Native American brothers, who show their heritage but don’t portray it as a caricature of themselves in the ring. Then there’s the other problem of those like Chief Jay Strongbow – a Native war chief played by ITALIAN AMERICAN Joe Scarpa from Philadelphia. But as we well know, racism and cultural appropriation within the world of wrestling is a huge problem that’s shifting but not necessarily going away.

The stereotypes and storylines that we see played out by Natives in wrestling aren’t always centred around the narrative of victimhood, but the existence of these characters serves as a reminder that we exist and should take these opportunities in order to preserve our livelihood. A match between an Aboriginal wrestler and someone who isn’t a person of colour that doesn’t rely on any harmful preconceived notions is vital in order to move forward.  As a fat, queer, Native woman it would overjoy me to see someone who doesn’t fit the societal norm, and can be a great representation for Native women everywhere, enter the ring.

You can get Suplex over at Pirates Blend, or listen to it on Spotify below:

Rowdy Roddy Piper’s … all out of bubblegum soda

One of my passions in life is snack foods and I have a super soft spot for wacky flavours — especially when it comes to soda pop. So we’re going to be home to a new column: Grapples to Oranges where I review wrestling branded snacks, merch and other oddities both old and new much to your delight and, hopefully, mine.

Thankfully, even though I have come here to chew bubblegum, kick ass and eat snacks, I am not all out of bubblegum. I’m actually chock full of Rowdy Roddy Piper’s …all out of bubblegum soda by Rocketfizz. And no wonder the man’s out of bubblegum because it’s all in this damn bottle (and in the bags of bubblegum he’s selling to go with it).

piperI obtained a bottle when I was out visiting DoubleCakes and she brought me to a BevMo. Canada doesn’t have a chain that’s quite the land of fun sodas like that, so I felt like I was in the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of pop shops. Luckily, I was able to snag the LAST bottle of Piper’s soda off the shelves. I somehow held out the entire week and saved this soda for last out of all my choices. It was quite the shock to me how much it tasted like gum, although it was brought to my attention it is in the name and my reaction may have been a bit much.

So, snag yourself a bottle to try for yourself, or at least watch this painfully awkward ‘commercial’ that they made to promote the product:

TNA is pending cancellation… again?

Rumour has been running wild tonight on twitter on the status of TNA Total Impact Wrestling. According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer, it seems as though Destination America has cancelled TNA. Spike dropped them like a hot potato a while back and it was only time before it came around again.

This comes hot off the heels of their announcement to move to a new Wednesday night slot. Now, if this is some sort of spin to try and pull viewers from NXT and Lucha Underground then we’ll see our mid week get a lot more interesting.

There are some mixed feelings here since losing any major wrestling promotion is always a little sad, it would be nice to see a shift in the direction since they had recently taken on Billy Corgan to tackle some storylines he’s not equipped to handle. But they were also willing to at least promote they were going to do a women’s only show, even if that wasn’t the case.

As of this moment neither Destination America nor Total Impact Wrestling have confirmed nor denied these allegations, so it’s just a matter of sitting back and watching. Maybe you can take this moment to watch a WOW PPV or tonight’s fantastic women’s matches for NXT Takeover complete with excellence such as this:

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Dust your mug

Please welcome Courtney Rose of Wrestling with Makeup to our team! She will be bringing you tips and tricks to creating fantastic looks inspired by your favourite wrestlers! If there’s someone you want to see her cover, please don’t hesitate to tweet at us your suggestions.


Ever since he debuted on the roster, Stardust has been a favourite of mine. This new makeup look is my nod to Stardust, a bit of a galaxy/nebula kinda thing. I didn’t want to just copy the Stardust look, I wanted to create something new but similar, and I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. This look uses fewer products than one might assume and is much simpler to recreate than you’d think.

The first thing you want to do if you’re doing a version of this look is make sure to moisturize and apply an even foundation. I’m wearing Clinique Stay Matte #02 – Alabaster.

Once you’ve set your foundation, the next step is to draw around your eyes. This will be the general area of the galaxy space with an eyeshadow base of some sort. For this look I used the NYX Jumbo Eye pencil in Milk. I made dashes surrounding the area I wanted, and then more within that area, focusing a lot of the lids and under the eyebrow. Next step is to blend it out so it’s even. Using something like these NYX pencils is really helpful to give the eyeshadow not only something to cling to and prevent creasing, but the white also helps with the pigmentation and makes the colors look brighter, which is so crucial to this look. The blending can be done with just your fingers, which is my personal preference, but you can opt to use a sponge as well.

After that, I began to apply the colours I wanted to use. I mapped out beforehand how many colors I wanted and where to place each on my face, so the application isn’t terribly hard. Start out with a soft dome brush and place some of the shadow, working inward. Wipe your brush off on a napkin or paper towel between colors, nothing with remover. The important thing about this look is blending, so you want to wipe the brush between uses, but not get rid of all the previous color. Then you take some the next colour and place it, blending backward with the previous. It’s essential to blend between colour changes and not to produce any harsh lines. Do this alternating colour pattern all the way across the eyes and fill in however you feel appropriate. Blending is the key here, it doesn’t matter how much or how little product you use.  The eyeshadows used for this look all came from the Sleek Palette – Ultra Matts V1, aside from the red which is NYX Hot Red. The gold glitter is a nondescript makeup glitter and I’m not entirely sure where it came from.  I simply took a brush and dipped it in the glitter and tapped it out over my face to try and get it evenly distributed.

When I felt like the eyes were properly blended, I wiped the brush off more vigorously this time and took a colour close to my skin tone, using it to blend out any harshness between the colours and my natural skin. For this I used Mac’s Brule.

My next step was to line my eyes. I’m a big fan of the ELF cream eyeliner in black. I lined my eyes and then applied false lashes. The ones used here are ‘Oh Honey!’ by Katy Perry. Remember to go back after apply the lashes and fill your black liner in a bit more in order to cover the false lash line. Finally I filled in my lips using NYX Butter Lipstick in ‘Hunk’ and filling in the middle with a bit of the orange shadow from the palette I used.

To keep it in check I set it with Urban Decay setting spray and voila! Done!

All the brushes I used for this look were by Royal and Langnickel!

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Try recreating this Pixie Dust look and tweet us pics of you wrestling with makeup.