Tag Archives: sexuality

Lita

Arguably one of the most popular wrestlers in the women’s division during the attitude era, we’d be daft to overlook Lita.

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Lita was fairly contentious to say the least since her storyline was heavily sexual in nature. You might remember her from such on screen flings with Matt Hardy, Christian, Dean Malenko, Kane and a “live sex celebration” in the ring on Raw with Edge, when you should be remembering her for her multiple title reigns, fantastic in ring work rate and being the only woman to take part in a TLC match within the WWE.

Her biggest push was part of Team Xtreme alongside the Hardy Boyz, one of which she had an off screen relationship with ‐ Matt Hardy. That relationship was ended to pursue one with Edge and WWE creative hopped on that and made it into an on screen storyline. Utilizing a woman’s sexual prowess to aid their heel turn is tricky business and one that I generally wouldn’t advise. It’s really tough to see someone you admire and respect being portrayed as evil for pursuing her desires and regarded as manipulative and pitting friends against one another. That push tends to be taken from a different angle when it comes to men, HBK for example, who is praised as a ladies man and it’s entirely okay. This wasn’t always used in a negative light, and in her feud with Trish Stratus they used Christian and Jericho’s bet on who could bed their woman first to spur a Battle of the Sexes match since the men were such pigs.

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Lita was a four time women’s champion and held that title for a consecutive 73 days. Lita retained said title in a hardcore match against Jacqueline; and I wish more women would take part in hardcore matches. She is also one of EIGHT women in the WWE Hall of Fame.

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Here are two really great matches of hers you should watch (including said hardcore match):

 

Varied Ways of Feeling about Boy Wrestlers: A Confessional

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):

Shinsuke Nakamura

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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.

Minoru Suzuki

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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.

Kazuchika Okada

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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.

Dean Ambrose

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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.

Kota Ibushi

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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.”

Hiroshi Tanahashi

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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.

Foreign Objectification: Toyota/Yamada vs Ozaki/Kansai |AJPW Dreamslam II

At WrestleMania 31 this weekend, the entire Divas division will be compressed into a single tag match with no payoff or forward motion for any of its competitors. This bag of crumbs callously offered to long-suffering believers in women’s wrestling in America will purposely underwhelm in the undercard, making assured shit show stoppers Sting vs Triple H and Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns seem like a stumbling attempt to provide an earnest near-miss of what the WWE audiences actually want.

WWE has gotten hip to the social media, but the overwrought hashtags belie veritable tears in the veneer modernity.

A combined age of 167 in your upper card is not progress. Putting 6 of your 8 wrestlers of color on the pre-show is not progress. Shoehorning women into a tag match whose booking goes contrary to the storylines of the wrestlers involved is not a victory lap for diversity and “reaching the people”. It is a stumbling, begrudged forced march into the dark ages of tone deafness that has sunk the industry again and again.

In 1993, one week after Hulk Hogan won the then-WWF title in a main event he wasn’t booked in, Manami Toyota, Toshiyo Yamada, Mayumi Ozaki, and Dynamite Kansai put on a women’s tag match in Osaka that broke the gender barrier like a shoot kick to the face behind the referee’s back, earning the first Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Match of the Year for women in the sport.

When brought up, the match is often weighed down by hobbyist wrestling historians as an example of how far wrestling had fallen in that time. And, for real: WWF had shit every bed at the Sleep Train with their non-televised title changes, mismanaged younger talent, and letting Hogan job to a fireball.

But this was the same year that Shane Douglas won and then rebuked the NWA Heavyweight Championship to announce the formation of Extreme Championship Wrestling. AAA put on their first TripleMania and NJPW’s Fantastic Story in Tokyo Dome brought in 63,500 attendees.

A bleach-proof blemish in WWE’s history, 1993 was nonetheless a formative year for professional wrestling across the world.

This match is not the low hanging fruit of an industry in decline. It is, even without the benefit of understanding the commentary, one of the greatest matches in the history of the sport. Full stop; fight me.

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To Set the Scene

This match was the second of a trilogy of contests between AJW’s Toyota/Yamada and JWP’s Ozaki/Kansai. While WWF spent the mid 90’s (and really, the whole of their ouevre as an organization) pilfering talent, no matter how useless, from their competitors, fans of joshi puroresu (primarily women) witnessed rival promotions kick and scream through a series of wrestling clinics that cinched Japan’s fourth consecutive Match of the Year award.

David McLane struggles to keep a women’s promotion open in America–there are 12 listed-as-active women’s promotions in Japan, notwithstanding women who appear on the more mainstream “men’s” promotions. The competition in Japan is mayhaps more collectivist than individualist–but it is yet, as Dynamite Kansai’s face will attest, strong style stiff.

Continue reading Foreign Objectification: Toyota/Yamada vs Ozaki/Kansai |AJPW Dreamslam II