Did you see the interview with Triple H where someone asked him about intergender wrestling? His response was as follows: “It’s just shock value. You don’t need it. When it’s done right, I do believe there is an exciting moment when it can happen, but it doesn’t need to be the standard.”
That answer made me love him even more. Not because I’m this WWE apologist, it’s because I respect anyone who has common sense as a leader and a strong enough voice to express their reasoning.
Today’s going to be a little more conversational and informal, is that okay with you?
I was so happy he said this, too.
I’m writing this from a hotel room in Las Vegas, ready to help with a taping of Ring Warriors on WGN. And in addition to that, I have an online mindset coaching group for wrestlers and sports entertainers. Where we don’t just talk about moves and in ring psychology. But we talk about the hows and the whys.” The high level psychology. Why things work and don’t work. The mindset needed to succeed in wrestling as a job and as a career. Its a conversation that has been sorely missing in this industry, where for the most part, the prevalent advice at the local level is “say you have a lot of passion, starve, and hope someone takes pity on you and offers you a contract.” I like to put the power back in the talents hands.
And that’s what Triple H is doing here in this answer. Earlier on he says, “The women don’t NEED the men as a shock value thing to get noticed.” He’s empowering the women by saying they stand on their own without intergender a wrestling.
And the reason I brought up my group a moment ago, and why I’m so happy Triple H said something, is because the members of my group are vetted and we only allow serious professionals into it. And even then, a very spirited debate broke out about intergender wrestling.
A few weeks back there was a 13 year old girl who cleanly beat a grown adult man at an independent wrestling show.
As always, my question is, “Why? Who does that serve?”
Some people said: The fans. It was entertaining.
Others said: “It shows that wrestling is for anyone, including girls, and encouraging young girls dreams.”
Others told me: “Its sports entertainment and times have changed.”
Tell me… besides the pure spectacle of it, do you honestly want to live in a world where we lower our standards so much that WrestleMania 50 is a 13 year old girl vs Brock Lesnar? And the girl wins?!?!
People go, “Yeah, but Braun Strowman brought out Nicholas at WrestleMania.”
To that I say, “It was done right.” There was a build. Nicholas didn’t get physically involved. They didn’t present Nicholas as an unstoppable hero for children everywhere. In context, it worked.
The problem I had with the 13 year old girl is not that she loves wrestling, is not that shes training, is not that shes in or involved in shows, its not that I want to ruin her dreams. Good for her.
Its that the people booking that segment mistook “bad business and bad booking” for making some type of progressive statement.
I want to set the stage for you. Its not like this 13 year old girl was afraid of the grown adult male she was in the ring with. She didn’t act age appropriate. There was no interference to help her. There was no “shocking awesome moment.”
The girl literally became Stone Cold Steve Austin and beat this guy clean in the middle.
And its not her fault! How can it be?
It is the fault of everyone who didn’t know how to make that segment work.
If I’m the booker of a company, and someone says, “Hey, we have this girl. She’s training. People follow her. Shes got 10,000 social media likes. She’s 13. Can we incorporate her somehow as a favor?”
Of course I support that.
But what I support is doing it right.
There’s no way in hell I don’t veto the idea of her becoming a Steve Austin bad ass and whooping an adult male. Regardless of his flamboyant gimmick.
Maybe she’s a manager or something. Maybe she’s in a mixed tag like Nicholas and she’s protected until the finish, and its this big dramatic moment.
But excusing horrible booking and bad execution as “progress” and “the business has changed” is going to set the bar so low that you’re not even going to recognize the business at all in 5 years. You wont even be able call it wrestling anymore. It would be like some weird alternative performance art.
And the thing that makes me scratch my head is a lot of the people who advocate this stuff, at the other side of their mouth, say “I respect old school and WWE and sports entertainment killed the business. Support the territories and indi wrestling.”
It doesn’t make sense. There’s no actual standard they hold themselves to. They just attach themselves to whatever is convenient for them to say so they can justify doing whatever.
They’re “playing” wrestler.
I digress though. Going back to intergender wrestling in general, who does it really serve?
Do they put Brock Lesnar in there with the women at UFC?
“No that would be totally unfair.”
Then why do it in wrestling?
“Well wrestling is an art and we can do whatever we want.”
Okay, what about Vince McMahon? He does sports entertainment.
“Vince isn’t true old school wrestling. Sports entertainment is killing the business.”
Then politically, the same people: “A man should never lay a hand on a woman ever.”
Which I totally agree with. So then why intergender wrestling, then, when a man can beat up a woman?
Why intergender wrestling, when a 13 year old girl is put against a flamboyant grown man?
Is it somehow “progressive” for LGBT to have one of their people beat up by a little girl?
I don’t understand the political stance on this at all.
Then they say:
“Its art we can do whatever we want. Its empowering.”
Right. So “empowered man on woman violence.” Empowered 13 year old girl beats up an LGBT guy. Got it. Makes sense. (Sarcasm)
So remind me… why don’t you like sports entertainment though?
“Because its unrealistic and killing the business.”
“…so why is it realistic for a 13 year old girl to beat up an adult male?”
“Don’t question us, its our art.”
I’m not arguing against intergender wrestling. I could care less. Vince wrestled Stephanie on PPV.
Ronda Rousey was in a mixed tag with Triple H.
Nicholas won the tag titles with Braun Strowman.
The difference is they all had context, a reason, and a payoff, and in most cases was a win win.
What I’m pointing out though is “standards” on the independent level are often a moving goalpost and people change their viewpoint just to justify whatever it is they’re doing and hide behind calling it “art” or “politics” because its easier to go for shock value than it is to actually be a master of your craft.
Ps: The best booked intergender segment for my money is when Ronda unloaded on Triple H in the corner at WrestleMania. Totally made her a star and it was done Smartly.
Because it was one moment, and not the whole match.