This week’s mail bag delves into the topic of Intergender Wrestling, Pancrase, and legitimate shoot matches. Questions were provided by CWU Patrons on Ko-fi.com. Let’s get it started!
Vandread125 asks: Where does intergender wrestling fall within mainstream promotions of ever happening? It’s either been mocked or dropped in mainstream promotions like WWE, (formerly) WCW & TNA/Impact. While TNA/Impact currently are taking it seriously NOW with the Tessa Blanchard v Sami Callahan storyline, will this be a one off or start a new Women’s Evolution?
The biggest hurdle for Intergender Wrestling isn’t so much the promoters, but the wants and desires of television networks, advertisers and major sponsors. Mattel who handle many of WWE’s merchandised action figures has long been rumoured to have a clause in their contract forbidding it, and advertisers can get a bit skittish over anything that might push WWE outside of its current TV PG rating (even though WWE has often been hovering on the border of PG 13 for a few years now). Some may call for ‘better’ sponsors and advertisers but that is easier said then done when literally millions of dollars are on the line.
There’s also the question of whether there is anyone intelligent enough to produce intergender wrestling matches in WWE that is believable (let’s not use ‘realistic’ where WWE is concerned) but also in a way that does not seem exploitative or fetishised. It is something better suited to more modern minds who have a better grasp of the current social climate, and not those with outdated values and rigid ideas of gender roles.
Importantly it must be stressed that intergender wrestling – just as gendered wrestling – is cooperative, compliant and consensual. These are adults mutually agreeing to get in the ring together to work a match, and the vast majority train to be high performance athletes that continually hone their craft. The allegations that it mimics Domestic Violence are unfounded while completely dismissing the notion that DV can happen between same-sex couples.
There are clearly instances where a women’s wrestler gets in the ring who is physically stronger than a male, but even when a woman is at a size and strength disadvantage they can tell the in-ring story of the woman being faster, more agile and mobile, more technical, more intelligent etc while also showing that maybe the man is slower, more rigid, less technical and has mental disadvantages like temperament, ego and so on. If Rey Mysterio can have believable matches against powerhouse behemoths by working a match that works to his strengths while taking advantage of his opponent’s weaknesses, a believable Intergender match can be worked as well.
What should not happen is having women win all the time in Intergender matches. There has to be a balance of some matches being competitive and some being squashes, just as there are in single gender matches. Intergender matches should be empowering for women – and many of them often are – but there is also value in some matches and segments acting as cautionary tales as well. It can all contribute to a deeper style of story telling and in the right hands can be revolutionary.