Tag Archives: wrestlemania

Fashion of Wrestlemania

Wrestlemania: The Super Bowl meets the Oscars. Wrestling’s biggest night, the second being the RAW after Wrestlemania. While some watch for the legacy, the drama, and the competition, I watch because everyone has their flashiest gear on. Forget the Hall of Fame ceremony the night before –  everyone just wears tuxedos and dresses that look like they came from the Macy’s formal sale rack. The real red carpet is that long ramp down to the ring on Sunday night. Join me for a snarky fashion break down of the WWE’s grandest stage.
THE PRE-SHOW
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The announcers
Renee Young kicked off the pre-show in a plunging white tuxedo jacket. She may not have been wearing pants – who knows. With a bold fuscia lip and a silver lariat necklace, Renee looks like pure class. She is later joined by Lita, who is gorgeous in a black lace jumpsuit. The women get the best dressed award as Booker T is just wearing a tuxedo. Cory Graves is as usual trying too hard in a thousand shiny patterns. Seriously, he is rocking a black polka dotted jacket with white lapels, offset by the Regis “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” black shirt black bow tie combo. Thankfully, he eases the over effort with an attitude of indifference. The regular announce teams are just in tuxedos as well, with the notable exception of Byron Saxton  who has given his only indication of a personality with a textured tuxedo coat.image2
Winner: Lita, possibly best dressed of the evening
Loser: Byron Saxton, always.
image310-Diva Tag Team Match
Both team Total Divas and Team BAD and Blonde went with the dominatrix route, but the Divas were the red and dominatrix team and the B&Bs were the purple and dominatrix. The Divas were per their usual, including Eva Marie who made her main roster debut in a typical cross front red lace two piece but with the special addition of a white cape that would have made Gwennie Paltrow jealous. Natalya carried their side in n exquisitely studded variation of her jumpsuit. On the other side, the B&B owned. Emma entered with Mad Max inspired shoulder pads that added to her new villain persona. Lana debuted in a purple halter leotard with a rhinestone embellishment that I want to wear to prom. The cut of the leg was a bit too high for daily wear, though Lana thoughtfully compensated for this with high boots and 0% body fat. Everyone’s extensions were on point, Naomi’s green and purple hair stole the show.
Winner: Brie Bella may have won the match, but Lana won the red carpet.
Loser: all of us who don’t get any Brie Bella after tonight. We’ll miss her being the only reasonable one on “Total Divas.”
The Dudleys vs. The Usos
The Usos took a detour from their usual very very brights and wore classic black – with some very very bright embellishments. Unfortunately, black pleather trunks look like garbage bags. The trunks were in tribute to the Usos’s uncle Umaga. I feel bad about saying they look like garbage bags now, but stand by it. They look like garbage bags with tributes to Umaga on them. Their entrance included leis, which sadly just fell apart. The Dudleys wore the black and grey camo pattern that my college boyfriend’s fraternity adopted as their colors. I was not impressed.
Winner: the tables the Dudleys brought out after their loss
Loser: the tables the Usos broke under the Usos
THE SHOW
image4Fifth Harmony sings “America the Beautiful”
They got five dresses the same exact shade of red. Incredible. It’s as if Stephanie told them, “I don’t care what bridesmaid dress you wear as long as it’s red,” and then they went above and beyond to buy from the same dye lot. And then got the same strappy  black shoes. Fifth Harmony are the best bridesmaids ever.
Intercontinental Championship Match
I didn’t have high hopes for the fashion in this match. Everyone wore kind of what they usually wear, except Zack Ryder who had a robe that looked like something out of a Marvel villain’s closet. The Miz made his entrance in a gold plated King Tut robe. This boxy robe had little give and did not flatter. Sin Cara, on the other hand, was cloaked all in smooth white and looked positively like an angel in a horned luchador mask. Dolph Ziggler rocked some half-ass Bo Derek braids. Sami Zayn looked really great for what he went through only 48 hours prior with Nakamura. Seriously, he was incredibly spry after that ass kicking.
Winner: Stardust, who wore yellow polka dots for Dusty.
Loser: eh, they all just look normal.
image5Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles
Y2J enters first in his Light Bright jacket, a choice that does not read well in a match during daylight. Chris Jericho is also wearing blue and pink glittery panties that say “G.O.A.T.” across the bum, which: same. AJ Styles comes to his first Wrestlemania in white tights with black and red embellishments and red gloves. The white gives AJ Styles a really gorgeous pop, particularly since er’rybody’s spray tan game is on point.
Winner: G.O.A.T. Panties
Loser: everything else about Jericho
image1 (1)Maria Menounous interviews Zac Ryder
That’s a bad look, Maria.
image2 (1)The New Day vs. League of Nations in a tag team match with no stakes
THE NEW DAY CAME OUT OF A BOX OF BOOTY-Os DRESSED AS DRAGONBALL Z. You cannot beat that. The New Day is known to take big risks with gear and hair AND bits and they pretty consistently pay off – DRAGONBALL Z is no exception. Last year, Rusev entered in a tank. This year, he and the League of Nations had to walk around Booty-Os. They are all wearing their shiniest panties though. The LoN manage to win but then right as BNB is bragging OH BAH GAW. IS THAT SHAWN MICHAELS’S MUSIC? It is, and he is in gear, despite it being hunting camouflage instead of sweet hot pink. And he’s not alone! He’s got Mick Foley and Stone Cold with him. They save the New Day  with their signature moves and Stone Cold even dances with the New Day – till he stuns them.
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Winner: Socko, who hasn’t aged a day
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Match
This is a chance for two guys who always wear the same thing to change it up from black trunks (sponsored by Jimmy Johns) and a black t-shirt and jeans – oh. Nope. They both went with their old tried and tries.
In a hilarious twist though, Dean Ambrose is wearing a black Suplex City shirt with DA over it. I am considering doing that to my own Suplex City shirt now. This match wasn’t as great as I want it to be either, even with the chainsaw and barbed wire bat teases. Sure, there were 13 suplexes but there were 0    Surprises.
Winner: Brock Lesnar’s sword/brass knuckles tattoo.
Loser: Kendo sticks
Women’s Championship Triple Threat
This was the most highly anticipated match for fashion (possibly tied with Triple H’s entrance). There was also so much potential for terrible costumes, between Becky’s hit or miss steampunk and Charlotte’s tendency towards Victorian Secret looks. Becky Lynch cosplayed as a gilded sea captain. Her purple and gold corset and steam punk shorts are actually gorgeous. Sasha Banks got her cousin Snoop Dogg (née Lion) to perform entrance, though the gal who sings the hook was singing off key along with a very obvious backing vocal track. Her gear was inspired by Eddie Guerrero. Single tear. Miss Flair makes an equally grand entrance with the help of her father. Charlotte wears a robe made from pieces of the Nature Boy’s robe. Her gear is obviously made to match in ode to her father. All three women look amazing. The match is also the best of the night, without question – three extremely capable athletes getting out there and doing good work.
Winner: womankind, who officially get a Women’s Championship after slumming as “Divas” for years.
Loser: malfeasance by Ric Flair
image4Hell in a Cell: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker
Shane O’Mac got his own personal Jordan’s from Nike just for Wrestlemania. They are pretty fly. He’s also wearing a run of the mill jersey emblazoned with number 32 crossed to look like dollar signs. It is a very comfortable, functional look, but I would really rather he took his shirt off. He enters with his children for maximum sympathy. Kids, do you want to come watch Daddy almost die? You have to wear the same outfit as Daddy. Undertaker is wearing his usual deep cut black tank, hat and duster. This is the classic Undertaker, the Little Black Tank Top and Leather Pants of the wrestling world, though he probably got the studding done special for the day. The Undertaker has a smart mom bob now, and honestly looks great. It draws focus nicely to his neck tattoo. It’s much better than Taylor Swift’s bob, in my humble, though he could benefit from some waves.  He completes his look by flipping his eyes back into his skull.
Let’s face it: the Undertaker’s entrance is the best part of this match. It got very painful to watch very quickly. Yes, Shane jumped off the cage – but for no reason and to no effect.
Winner: ugh
Loser: justice.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Yeah, yeah, everyone looks normal. This match was where I was mostly checked out – until DDP came in. His yoga program is great! And then…SHAQ?! In TAPOUT gear?! Thank you for the palate cleanser.
Winner: Baron Corbin? Wha?
Loser: Fandango has lost his sparkle since he lost his dance routine.
BAH GAWD, THE ROCK HAS A FLAME THROWER
Pretty cool that the Wyatt Family comes out to interrupt his attendance record lies. Bray Wyatt is wearing a butcher’s apron that looks like the Necronomicon and his best acid washed jeans. But then – surprise Rock match! He isn’t supposed to really wrestle because of his movie insurance, so he takes 6 seconds to win. Having angered the Wyatts, he needs back up – which immediately comes in the form of John Cena! John Cena! He is wearing his formal cargo shorts and his meh Tampa orange t-shirt. Orange is a hard color to pull off, especially since John Cena seems to be more of a spring. He looks better in the cool pastel dress shirts he wears for dates with Nikki. But new t-shirt colors may have spoiled his return. Regardless, he looks very healthy and a lot leaner.
Winner: Rock’s bull panties
Loser: the child who got John Cena’s meh orange t-shirt.
The Main Event: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
Fact: only two people in the entire world can pull off leather bodysuits, and they are Beyoncé and Stephanie McMahon. She looks ah-may-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-zing. Leather body suit with studding, leather top coat, thigh high boots, and a spiked hairband holding back an incredible wavy weave. I believe I can pull this off for work tomorrow. She delivers an incredible speech that orders us to bow before her husband and  raises the question of how soon she will get nodes from an elevated throne. Her husband, Triple H, enters through lines of skull-masked NXT wrestlers. He is just wearing his regular black panties. He has surpassed spray-tan and is now spray-mahogany wood stain.  Roman Reigns enters to…less fanfare (they kicked off the sound, yo) in a gold embellished RR vest and cargo pants. Why do they wear cargo pants and shorts? Are they keeping their wallet and a compass in the side pockets? Steph’s eye makeup continues to be incredible even after she is speared by Roman Reigns. Roman ends up with a new belt to spice up his boring black outfit and the boos are once again turned down.
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Winner: Steph, kween of this Mad Max dystopian future
Loser: all of us who watched 5 hours for an ultimately dull main event

Painted for beyond the grave

When you think of important figures in the history of pro-wrestling, it would be impossible to build a list without the Undertaker. The man has had an almost untouchable streak in sports history, and let’s face it, everyone who has seen an Undertaker entrance has quivered at one point or another. I’ve been lucky enough to watch the Undertaker perform at two Wrestlemania’s, and there are few feelings in the world that compare with the awe and spine-tingling joy one feels when the gong echoes through an arena.

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The Undertaker is also one of the most interesting characters in wrestling history, fashion wise. His look stays familiar while still changing and evolving with the times. His black and purple motif is a signifier for him, and that’s what I decided to play with here.
I wanted this to be something fun, dramatic and dark, without being too ‘costume’ looking. I wanted to use the colors and drama of the Undertaker without it seeming too gothic or undead looking, and I think it worked pretty well!

To start this look, as always, moisturize your face and find the foundation you want to use. I knew I wanted to look pale for this and lucky for me, I’m super pale already. I used Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in Porcelain Ivory as my foundation and applied it with my fingers, as I feel like with this product it applies much more smoothly this way. Once I had done that, I moved onto the eye since that is the focal point of this look. I started with using the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk across my lids as a base, blending it out with my ring finger. I gave it a few seconds to set and began applying the eyeshadow.

Before applying the shadow, I first filled in my eyebrows. This is a pretty simple step. I used the ELF cream liner in black and an angled liner brush and follow the curve of my eyebrows, drawing in the outline. Then I used what was left on the brush to fill them in a bit before using a flat eyeshadow brush to collect some of the black shadow in the Sleek Ultra Mattes V2 palate and filling in the spaces I missed.

undertaker makeup palette with noFor the colours you’ll need both the palate I mentioned before as well as Sleek’s i Divine palette in Snapshot. In terms of style, I started this as a cut-crease eyeshadow look. This is a little harder to explain, but YouTube has tons of great tutorials on how to do this. I also extended the look and because I was making it a lot darker heavier than one would normally use for a cut crease look, it sort of morphed into a smoky eye toward the ends.
I started out with the darkest purple here [1] and drew in a line following the crease of my eye with a firm dome brush. I blended that out just a bit and then worked on building up the other colors around it. I then blended in some other purple shades, [2] & [3], starting right above where I had placed the first color. The point here was to create an effect where the lightest part of the eye ends up being the lid and just under the eyebrow, the darkest part in the shadows of the crease and then blending the richer colors upward. I used a soft blending brush to apply and blend these colors upward until I thought they were dramatic enough.

Finally I went in with the last color, the lightest purple shade [4] and packed that onto the lid. Wiping off the same blending brush, I blended it into the crease just a bit so the line between the two wasn’t obnoxious. The last step was to take some of the white shadow [5] and place it just underneath the brow bone and blend downwards. This brightens everything up and adds even more to the drama of the look.

Once I was happy with the general eyeshadow look, I applied eyeliner. For this I used the ELF cream liner and angled liner brush again, first lining the top as close to the lash line as possible. Then I ran this under my eyes across the waterline as well, also picking up a little of the second purple shade just to add a pop of color. For the dramatic lines for my inner eye, I continued using the same product and brush. The easiest way to do this is to draw a line from where your top liner ends to the point you want. You can go as far in or out as you choose. Then you draw another line from that point to the water line of your bottom lashes and fill it in. This takes a steady hand and a lot of practice, so don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right the first time!

After the liner is complete, the last thing I did was take a large fluffy brush and run it under my eyes, wiping away any eyeshadow that may have dropped down. I then took a concealer brush and my concealer, the MAC NW20 and ran some under my eyes and also across my lips to make them look as colorless as possible.
That’s it! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the look or the products, and send me photos (@ChicagosCRose) if you try to recreate this or put your own spin on it!

10 Ways Chyna Winning the Royal Rumble Could Change Wrestling: Part 1

In 1999, Chyna became the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble. By the fingers-crossed fictional logic of the contest, we had a 1/30 chance of an intergender main event for the World Title. Now, even the most part time fan recognizes the Rumble as the long con. Feuds are lined up. Pushes that otherwise take weeks are condensed into twenty minutes of plowing through fading glories. Like a building demolished, the Royal Rumble is a chaos so meticulous it is passed off as a surrender to entropy.

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There is upset at the Royal Rumble, but there are no upsets. Batista and Reigns’ wins were decried, derided on Vines and viral photoshops–fans canceled the Network en masse in disgust and frustration. That is the behavior of people who feel betrayed, not bewildered. From the moment Daniel Bryan was dumped to the floor you knew Reigns was going to win. If DDP had won, the #CancelTheNetwork hashtag might have never caught steam.

But “Which one of these three or four superstars will go through the fanservice guest appearance and half of the tag team we keep forgetting to book to make it to WrestleMania?!” does not a compelling buyrate make.

To trot the paces of a thought experiment, and indulge the hollow promises of the pay per view’s booking: let’s imagine Chyna won the 1999 Royal Rumble. Maybe Creative wrote themselves into every corner of the room and thought “fuck it, let’s go crazy”. Maybe she flipped the script and eliminated Vince McMahon and Steve Austin–what are you going to do, have security escort her out to an elimination because she wouldn’t lose?

Let’s lose ourselves to the somnolence of “what if”. What if a woman main evented WrestleMania?

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But first, two points of order:

Chyna could have probably been a decent wrestler if people gave her fucking time. Every wrestling podcast co-host callously laments Chyna’s choppy ring work. When wrestlers come in from WCW or Mexico, they get a grace period–oh they just haven’t learned that WWF/E style of wrestling yet. But when a woman primarily used as a manager, who occasionally wrestles former models and weightlifters in the eye candy division, has trouble keeping pace with Road Dogg or Jeff Jarrett, oh how they bemoan!

Chyna is a fucking babe. Her first Playboy appearance is the best-selling WWE women’s performer feature of all time, and one of the top five best-selling issues in the magazine’s history. That’s not “oh, I just have a subscription”, or “hey huh huh huh isn’t this weird”? That’s a lot of people, in their rooms, jerking off to Chyna’s naked body. The frailty of straight masculinity requires most men to rebuff her sex appeal–if you like a woman with muscles, you might like men, too!–but the money doesn’t lie.

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My hands are bereft of stones: Chyna’s Playboy magazine was the first one I ever bought, despite being four years too young to do so legally.

There. My bias is out of the way. Onward to Imagination Station! Choo Choo!

Continue reading 10 Ways Chyna Winning the Royal Rumble Could Change Wrestling: Part 1

Rousey + Rock: Represent + Repulse

It seems that the WWE is on the path to try to win the “put the most oppressive people on a pedestal in the shortest period of time” award, and for some reason the mass market doesn’t seem to notice or care. Right now I’m going to be touting a seemingly unpopular opinion, and normally I wouldn’t mind, but this is a huge issue: Ronda Rousey’s cameo was by far the worst part of Wrestlemania 31. “But Rousey’s a tough woman who knows how to fight!”, I can hear you all screeching at me. Don’t you worry your pretty little heads, you’ll come to understand soon.

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Let’s rundown what happened on this weekend’s PPV, okay? We learned that it was the night of the irrelevant celebrity, and even made a little bit of a drinking game out of it for our Burning Brawls segment, so cue The Rock showing up even though he isn’t on the card. I can smell his personal brand of home cooked bullshit from a mile away, but against my better judgement I leaned in and listened to what he had to hear. In what was surely turning into Staring Contest: The Match between Steph McMahon, HHH and The Rock, we got glimmering moments in which someone would speak and maybe even fight. Except, to no one’s surprise, we got a whole boat load of misogyny from The Rock himself. Steph’s entire legacy is built on that of Mr. McMahon’s johnson, an image that we all definitely needed planted in front of us. This won’t make Steph back down, she can cut through you with a glare, and that’s a talent that I admire. The Rock reminds all of us that he can’t hit a girl, I think it’s because he’s afraid of Steph, but it’s more likely that he’s a misogynist and believes he has an unfair advantage due to his being assigned male at birth. So, bye bye, Rock.

Wow, what a pointless promo that lasted twice of what the Divas division got for an entire tag match. But wait, there’s a very angry looking woman glaring at him from the front row. I get momentarily excited until I realize it’s fellow transphobe Ronda Rousey. If you don’t remember, earlier this week I weighed in on The Rock’s casual use of transphobic slurs, so I’ll just skip over that bit and focus on the current issue at hand. Ronda is invited to the ring, at his side, to join in the stare down to end all stare downs, before she puts Steph into a pretty nasty looking arm bar and then takes down HHH.

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Here’s where it gets difficult to remain impartial. I get it, I’m genuinely impressed that the WWE no doubt attempted to do something right in the name of entertainment. Someone at some level is obviously up to speed in what’s what and who’s who in popular culture and they managed to book someone who is currently relevant in the world of sports entertainment. This is following them having let #DadFight take the stage and show us what old broken down wrestlers who no longer have that it factor look like for more than 30 seconds. They also convinced the WWE to let a woman who isn’t a valet, or related to someone important within the company, step into the ring and have lengthy airtime. And lastly, HHH agreed to take a bump from a woman. (Yes, I’m fully aware he took one from Brie last year.) These are all extremely impressive and I’ll give them their props… but I’m taking them away since they massively fucked it up. Intention isn’t magic, and I know you tried but trying doesn’t always give you a passing grade. And, Ronda Rousey, I’m here to tell you that neither does being a cis white woman.

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This tough little number who just took down HHH is the same woman who won’t pipe down about how it’s unfair for fellow MMA fighter, Fallon Fox, to fight in the women’s division. Her reasoning is because Fallon has made the choice to be a trans woman. You read that correctly. In the expert scientific opinion of Ronda (I hope you can smell my sarcasm), Fallon has made the decision to be trans and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to fight women who have had the fortune of being assigned female at birth. This does not apply, however, to intersex folk because they don’t have control over how they went through puberty. Ronda, among other medical experts such as Joe Rogan, tout statements such as “She can try hormones, chop her pecker off, but it’s still the same bone structure a man has”  as their main talking point in the advantage that Fallon has over the cis women within the UFC. All of this, but she has no issue judo throwing HHH. Because, even if it isn’t about her ability to fight Fallon, it would give the wrong social message.

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WWE, you’re continuing to give me the wrong social message as a queer “fan”, and I use that term loosely. It’s obvious that despite your campaigns and your pleas that we’re not welcome here. The internet’s been all a twitter about the idea of Ronda making yet another appearance on your show, which you entertained on last night’s RAW commentary, and the only acceptable appearance she should make is one where her and Brock Lesnar have a match to the death, and the other one implodes after their success of destroying on of their own kind. My universe, and that of the WWE, will be a much happier place once this comes to fruition. Until you’re ready to reach that point, keep Brock on his kayfabe suspension, and the only garbage people I want to see on screen from this point forward are the following:

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Fan Edition | Shield Devotee

In this week’s fan edition of “Who’s That Girl” we are speaking with this lovely cat from Nashville that I, AV Christensen, met during a trip I took down there in the winter. She was my Lyft driver and got really excited when she saw my profile photo was me executing a flawless Boston Cream finisher and asked if I was truly “a bad ass lady wrestler”.

Let’s check in with Audrey and her obvious obsession with a certain faction within the dubya dubya eeee.

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Name: Audrey Killawatts (a.k.a Khaos Reigns)

Age: 21

Location: Nashville, TN

Describe your ringside style: Chaotic Neutral

How did you become a wrestling fan? My best friend introduced me.

Fave Wrestler: A toss up between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler.

Fave Promo Cut: That’s a tough one, I really loved Dean’s “Ice Bucket Challenge” on Rollins.

Fave Move: Scorpion Crosslock

Fave Match: Um, dude, I have no idea, there are seriously too many. But Rollins v Ambrose early on in the break up of the shield. Ambrose looked so torn over having to take out Rollins. Brilliant.

Dream Tag Team: I miss the Shield…

If you had to choose your own entrance theme, what would it be?

Huge thanks to Audrey for taking part! Can’t follow her on social media since she’s not a twitter gal. But if you’re ever in Nashville she’ll cut your hair, or maybe drive you around if you order something on Lyft!

Boys Will Be Bigots

“He hurt my feelings.” “Oh well, boys will be boys.” I truly wonder how many times Vince McMahon, and the majority of the talent within the WWE, have heard this excuse used towards their actions over the years. I’m of the mindset that once is too many, but here we are continuing to wrestle with homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, you name it.

So, here we have a company that totes it’s anti bullying campaign, Be A Star, and does everything in their power to go against what they claim to stand for. Hot off the heels of hugely problematic trainer and alleged sexual harasser, Bill DeMott, stepping down from his position within the company, you’d think they’d want to push away from this troubling pattern they’ve been stuck in for so long. Instead, they pay big money to resign Brock Lesnar as one of their mainstays. This is more than just my personal feeling about his wrestling prowess, or lack there of, but solely aimed at what message they are sending by promoting a vocal homophobe and unrepentant stalker. He has, on the record, stated “I don’t like gays. Write that down in your little notebook. I. Don’t. Like. Gays.” Not only is he still signed with the WWE, but he is their champion and the face that they continue to push. They also spent a lot of money to keep him around, and if that isn’t a glowing endorsement of his behaviour, I don’t know what is.

People are going to argue that one person doesn’t constitute a problem, or point out that them keeping queer talent on the roster shows that they are trying to change. I wish I could believe that was the case, but when Darren Young came out the transparency surrounding their statement and maintaining his career to save face was strong. You had a man who you were trying to push fairly hard, only to bury him in your midcard moments after he came out. Pat Patterson has had his sexuality ‘known’ by the public for quite some time, but he only came out officially on WWE Legends’ House. There has also been some allusion from wrestlers, such as Roddy Piper, towards treatment along the lines of sexual harassment from Patterson in the locker room when they were first starting out.

Let me run down a list of other horrific examples of this problem, past and present, that drive this point home.

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Billy and Chuck

Billy and Chuck became a tag team duo that’s sole purpose was to incite gay panic. How quaint. They would have extremely homoerotic workout routines and eventually were engaged to be wed live on television. Fast forward to their ceremony, they are about to be pronounced husband and husband and there is a freak out where it’s revealed that it was all a huge publicity stunt and they weren’t really gay.

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Mark Henry

Mark’s entire gimmick is based around him being a lady’s man. Upon attempting to woo Chyna, who was having none of it, Chyna’s friend Sammy was sent back to take care of Mark. Here’s where I point out to you that Sammy is a cis man dressed as a woman, his purpose is to trick Mark into having sex with him. In wonderful attitude era fashion, we see footage of Sammy going down on Mark Henry backstage. Mark starts to feel up Sammy and then proclaims “Sweet Jesus! You got a penis!” Sammy rips off his wig to reveal he’s actually a man and Mark Henry runs to the washroom to throw up.

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John Cena

It hasn’t been long since John Cena was still rap battling his opponents before a match, most of which were peppered with slurs and wholly oppressive in nature. It didn’t take long before GLAAD actually stepped in to address this issue and steer them away from this continuing to happen. This is yet another man who the WWE has at the helm of their company, and is supposed to be a role model to children, or at least that is how he’s marketed.

This list can go on and on, and that is really disheartening. There are lesbian panic storylines surrounding Rosa on E! Total Divas, the countless times that Lawler has called someone a fag on commentary, the time that the Godfather called Regal a fag in effort to entice a fight, The Rock saying John Cena’s wristbands make him look like a bloated transvestite Wonder Woman ready to fight crime, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Cheap pops aren’t worth it, and there’s no way you can look me dead in the eye and tell me “But he makes us money” when you’re spending ungodly amounts to keep them signed and have my believe you and condone your actions. Once again though, I’m none too convinced that your real slogan isn’t “WWE: You like what we tell you to like.”

Who’s That Girl? Sensational Sherri Martel

A career like Sherri Martel’s would disrupt the otherwise deftly meticulous managing of women’s talent and identity that has become a trademark of the WWE. The first name only gimmicks and over promoting of an underwhelming Divas reality show allows WWE to effectively own the identities and careers of their talent. Should they tire of their five minute snack break matches, WWE can hold the door open to the inhospitable future that lays before them–where else do you think you’ll go? You aren’t properly trained. You don’t even have a full name like a real person. This is where you belong.

Sherri has a career that defies tethering to a brand identity. A 3 time AWA Women’s Champion and one-time WWF Women’s Champion, she has sassed and sashayed her way onto every major American wrestling promotion, even appearing on TNA before her death a year later. She was the standard bearer for wicked feminine wile in the Federation years, managing Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, and Ted DiBiase, her deviousness accentuated by exaggerated makeup meant to mask her effervescent beauty and entice the marks to  heap hate and judgment on her.

Even the Heenan family would blush at her career-wide retinue–Harlem Heat, Ric Flair, Shane Douglas, Eddie Guerrero, Art Barr.

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Sherri’s mad mat grappling chops are undeniable, but her ring psychology outshines some of her male contemporaries. Triple H once intimidated a referee into reversing a title change. That sort of heelery seems half hearted hackery when compared to Sherri berating the referee, without ever acknowledging the opponent she is wearing down with illegal holds. “Are you happy now!?” she screams, breaking the hold and giving her opponent a chance for a comeback. Sherri knew, for better or worse (usually worse) how to manipulate what men found aggravating or even offensive about her.

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Laying a foundation for women to be fierce in and out of the ring, a formula followed for decades by other valets/grapplers, may have also cost Martel her staying power. She wasn’t tied to a single wrestler (like Miss Elizabeth) and didn’t dramatically change her name or persona when coming into a new promotion (like almost anybody who isn’t a main event star who can leverage their star power against a booking committee’s whim). She was often jobbed out or paired with wrestlers doomed to dodder into obscurity (Tatanka, Marty Jannetty). No one could own her identity. This was before WWE Creative would give you a list of acceptable names, including your real name switched around, that didn’t have the name you’ve used your whole career. This was before WWE set up a whole “starter league” to put established wrestlers through curtain-jerking purgatory to remind them of their new place. Thus Sherri was not always treated sensationally by the business she devoted herself to.

She coached champion tag teams. She took bumps from Hulk Hogan. She brawled in the audience on the independent circuit.

Sherri Martel was tried-and-true journeywoman glue, helping keep the sport together, even while her male counterparts nearly tore the industry apart because they didn’t want to share the spotlight with younger, fresher talent.

A queen if we ever deserved one.

Who’s That Girl? Madusa (Alundra Blayze)

It’s not so often that you get blacklisted by a company for 20 years only to be honoured and inducted into their Hall of Fame afterwards. But, then again, it’s not so often that we come across wrestlers that are the calibre of Madusa.

Madusa, short for Made in the USA, has held 6 separate titles around the world, including the WWF Women’s Championship on three separate occasions. That title is the one that Madusa would later trash live on WCW Monday Nitro stating that this is what she thinks of the WWF Women’s Championship belt. This was an extra huge deal considering that she was brought in to the WWF to help revive the women’s division since that title had been vacant for the three years leading up to her debut. She debuted under the name Alundra Blayze, however, because she had trademarked the name Madusa, which Mr. McMahon didn’t want to pay the license fees for. In other milestones, Madusa also fought Leilani Kai for the title at Wrestlemania X, marking the first women’s match at Wrestlemania since the first one ever.

In addition to all these titles held around the world, Madusa was the first woman ever to be awarded with Pro Wrestling Insider’s “Rookie of the Year” title and was the first foreign wrestler to sign a contract with All Japan Pro Wrestling. Ultimately, Madusa retired from pro wrestling around the time that it was rumoured WCW was going to be bought out by the WWF. The other reason was that she didn’t like the direction that women’s wrestling was headed in being less about actual wrestling and more geared towards strip matches.

One of the strongest matches Madusa ever held was a series of matches in her feud against Bull Nakano. These matches took place in both the USA and Japan, and she actually lost the WWF Women’s Championship Belt to Bull Nakano while in Japan. Her ability to fluidly move from heel to baby face has always impressed me; a lot of what factored in the response to Madusa herself was where the match was taking place in the world. Her style was very fast paced and using finishers that required great agility such as a bridging German suplex or a hurricanarana.

Outside of the ring, Madusa also acted as a manager to several great wrestlers including, my personal favourite, The Macho Man Randy Savage. Here’s to hoping that her induction into the WWE Hall of Fame will help light the fire under their asses they need to build up the women’s division once more. Sadly, they haven’t learned their lesson yet and we aren’t slated to see a title match at Wrestlemania XXXI on Sunday.

Divas Do Double Duty

Monday Night RAW starts and it’s my weekly internal debate of “Do I sit through three hours of poorly booked wrestling or do I follow my twitter feed and live off the recaps from my followers?” I decided to give it a shot to see if Vince was actually going to follow through with his vague promises.

#GiveDivasAChance started trending on twitter 2 weeks ago and it still shows no sign of going away. The WWE tries really hard to be on the ball in terms of staying current, so every week Michael Cole will address anything related to the promotion that is trending on twitter. It popped up during RAW as a result to the Divas match clocking in at less than a minute; that’s right, we have male “Superstars” who have longer entrance sequences on the show than the women were allotted to fight a complete match. Despite all this, the announcers stayed mum. Fast forward to the next day and we see good ol’ Mr. McMahon tweeting the following:

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Does Vince hear us? Is he actually going to take a chance to let us influence the narrative of his product or are we going to see a small glimmer of hope and just slide back into the way it’s been. Their current motto is “WWE: Then. Now. Forever.”; if that doesn’t show a resistance to change, I don’t know what does. Take a skip ahead to last Monday, Michael Cole was given the go ahead to address the hashtag which was trending yet again. He addressed it on air by mentioning that it was trending, but nothing further than that. It seemed your typical RAW with drawn out matches and in ring babbling and added in celebrity appearance since Wrestlemania is just around the corner. This week’s celebrity was Wiz Khalifa who got EIGHT minutes of airtime. The Divas got five minutes total. A five minute match isn’t that atrocious, it’s at least four minutes more than they got the week prior… except this was combined between two matches.

Vince McMahon heard our cry, we kept watching and he “Gave the Divas A Chance” by letting the women have more than one match one the show… but they needed to combine both matches to be shorter than an adequate men’s match. To put some icing on this bittersweet cake, partway through the second match featuring Naomi and Natalya, their husbands (Tyson Kidd & Jimmy Uso) started brawling at ringside and the cameras followed the men. What you’re telling us, Vince, is you hear us but you don’t care.

Who knows if this is a tipping point for WWE in how they treat women, but we need to remember that the buck doesn’t stop with them and they aren’t the end all be all of wrestling. This problem has trickled down to indie level promotions as well. Unless a promotion is all women, such as SHIMMER, League of Lady Wrestlers and Valkyrie, or it’s a women’s event as an exception, it’s extremely commonplace for there to be one women’s match on a card… if any are included at all. Bonus points if your sole women’s match is intergender! There are more than enough talented wrestlers who aren’t cis men that can be booked on your show; what’s the harm in mixing things up?

Women’s wrestling is moving up from what is seen as the mid card “bathroom break” and I will continue to bitch and moan until people like Vince are sick of hearing me and actually make an effort to change. Let’s see if this trend continues and whether or not it’s a genuine effort, or if they’re just pandering to keep us quiet.