Babygrrls, today I want to tell you about something that bothers me a lot. As a heterosexual woman and a wrestling fan, many people assume I’m attracted to the boy wrestlers. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll set aside the weird creeps who think women like wrestling only because of the attractive boy wrestlers.)
I’m attracted to men and some wrestlers are men — assuming I’m attracted to some wrestlers is reasonable. What bothers me is that this assumption implies that I feel the same kind of attraction to every kind of boy wrestler. This is flatly insulting because frankly, I’m a very introspective person and I’ve spent the better part of a decade parsing all my varied and delicate feelings about so many wrestlers in so many circumstances.
I feel differently about every wrestler I’ve ever had feelings about, and all of those feelings are important and valid and contribute to my enjoyment of and engagement with the whole sport. This is serious and nuanced, people! The world will be better when we articulate and embrace the complex ways that all kinds of people (cis people, trans people, men people, women people, nonbinary people, kids, grandmas, etc etc) deal with their wrestler feels. I want to hear yours, too, so let this serve as the start of a discussion.
So here are some ways I as an individual human person feel about some of the wrestlers that so many fangirls like to do the fangirling over lately (fangirling is also a serious and valid feeling, yes):
Let’s just get this out of the way: Shinsuke Nakamura is the most beautiful human ever to set foot in a wrestling ring. His physical beauty is actually distracting during his matches and this has never happened to me before ever with anyone else and kind of makes me angry honestly Shinsuke PLEASE. Why and how does he carry himself so? How can I learn to have such swag? Like the Toshiro Mifune of pro wrestling, he communicates more with a facial expression that some wrestlers do in an entire match. Why does it seem like he has sunlight trapped just under his skin? Does he know that his hair is always perfectly placed to make someone wanna reach over and push it away from his face a little? I mean goddamn. I bet he knows. I’d join a religion if he started one. I cannot even.
Shinsuke Nakamura is also the best wrestler I’ve ever seen and the fact that in my world the Venn diagram of most beautiful wrestler and best wrestler is a circle is just amazing, 10/10 five million stars A+ thank you strong style gods. That said, I’d never want to carry on a personal relationship with him. I’m sure he’s a great friend. Just, no thanks, I’m busy absolutely worshiping him, you know? Let’s leave that there where it belongs. But all the warmth and sensuality he shares as a performer — oh, I will take it so gratefully and for as long as he will give it, from a respectful distance.
If I weren’t already happily married I’d be actively trying to marry Minoru Suzuki. I mean, probably to no avail, of course, but I think you have to try for the things you want in life. These feelings stand in stark contrast to my feelings about Shinsuke Nakamura. I respect and love and worship Shinsuke from afar, but theoretical-target-of-my-affection-Minoru-Suzuki would probably have to be like “Hey lady, it’s great that you pay money and come to all my shows, but could you like not stare at me so creepily, maybe?” I don’t even know. I don’t understand these feelings myself but it probably has to do with fishing and One Piece and maybe even a good amount of mind control. I spend my days trying not to capslock shout at him on Twitter about how much I love him. It’s pretty terrible but my husband is kind of okay with it and I know lots of people (or at least two other people okay whatever) share these feelings and they help me deal with my life. Maybe it’ll pass? God I hope it passes, this is exhausting.
I don’t actually know what happens to my brain when Beautiful Actual Angel Kazuchika Okada is on my television but it’s just incessant high pitched squealing. I wanna hug him so hard he can’t breathe. He’s like the human version of the cutest puppy. If I were gonna write fanfiction about us (and dude I MIGHT) he’d be my little brother and I’d buy him ice cream all the time and we’d play video games and I’d probably paint his nails and I’d finally get to hear him sing the Gatchaman theme karaoke. Actually, I wonder if his parents would adopt me. I would call him Kazu-kun and bite Tanahashi’s face off for making him cry at Wrestle Kingdom 9. I’d be the best big sister, you guys.
My feelings about Dean Ambrose make sense to me, but it’s hard to articulate them. I’m not attracted to him. I have eyes and a brain, I know that he’s an attractive young man. His physique is like a young, leaner Tully Blanchard. It’s amazing. He’s beautiful. He’s charismatic. But. Nope. All my feelings about Dean Ambrose lie so squarely in the workratecompartment of my brain with a few bonus feels sprinkled in the goddamn how can I get a waistline that good? compartment. I love his wrestlery charisma and his silly promos. I love his technical-brawler style. I love that his character is what would happen if the Hollywood Blondes were fused together in a transporter accident and then tried to grow into their later personas simultaneously. I LOVE it, I love him. But it’s all pure prowres love, and hope, and enthusiasm, amen.
I have no feelings about Kota Ibushi. I like to watch him wrestle sometimes. He’s really good. He was in my favorite match ever. But I don’t need to see every match he’s in. I don’t even think about him at all unless I’m watching a match. His physique is obviously remarkable but the extent of the fucks I’ve ever given about that is “His trunks are great, they really highlight the unique angle of his thighs in relation to his hips.”
This one is difficult. I don’t want to hate him, but I do. I feel like things might be a little backwards either in my head or in his, but he’s an incredible heel. His tactics infuriate me. His air guitar infuriates me. As a person, I recognize his amazing skill and incredible devotion and the fact that he deserves every last shred of my respect for helping to revitalize New Japan Pro Wrestling when everyone else was kind of sucking. But as a wrestling fan, oh my god, I hate Hiroshi Tanahashi and I LOVE hating Hiroshi Tanahashi and I pray that I never stop hating Hiroshi Tanahashi because hating a wrestler for the right reasons is a deeply satisfying feeling that has been missing from my life ever since Bret Hart retired. In other feels: holy shit, that haircut. Amazing.
So that’s a brief-ish summary of where I’ve been for the past couple years, rummaging around in my brain and trying to articulate the discrete and potentially unique feelings I feel for the performers I admire so much in so many ways. There’s more to dig up from childhood, to be sure (I was a wrestling fan before I knew I was a heterosexual woman, so that’s pretty interesting!), and I didn’t even discuss women at all this time! Watch this space for more things-that-women-feel-about-wrestlers.