Since last month, Wrestling has been going through its own #MeToo movement with #SpeakingOut, and because of it, several promotions are basically out of business. #SpeakingOut blindsided a lot of us. It started out with guys I wasn’t that familiar with, like David Starr. Then it got momentum with allegations about guys like Joey Ryan, Travis Banks and Marty Scrull. Then, there were some familiar names like Will Osprey, Jay Lethal and Michael Elgin. Seriously, how does Michael Elgin keep getting work??
It can be difficult to know how to deal with this. I know when the #MeToo movement happened, I wanted to believe that I wasn’t being entertained by people who were monsters behind closed doors. It sucks to know that a celebrity you once enjoyed could be so disgusting. I was a huge fan of House of Cards, but after the Kevin Spacey allegations, I was never able to go back to it.
I truly believe in “innocent until proven guilty.” And I also am well aware that cancel-culture is quick to ruin someone’s career, even if the only “evidence” of wrongdoing is an opinionated Twitter post. So my non-expert advice is to use some deductive reasoning. Pro wrestling, though I love it so much, is a boys club with carny roots. Diversity and inclusion have never been its strong suits. There is a long history of women in and near the sport not being treated well or taken seriously. Nancy Argentino, Nancy Benoit, Miss Elizabeth… These are just the names we know. There’s a thousand stories out there that never get told. So to be a wrestling fan in 2020, support the people that are brave enough to come out and tell their stories now. Don’t believe everything you hear, but be ready to give the benefit of the doubt. Don’t try to silence them just because you don’t want to believe that your favorite wrestler is a bad guy in real life. Unless your favorite wrestler is Michael Elgin. In which case… Seriously? Raise your standards!
I’ve wondered what the proper reaction is for me in the #SpeakingOut era. I don’t want to give you a list of every person that’s been accused of misconduct or wrongdoing. I don’t want to list every single horrible act. I don’t want to go into detail about what they did, what they allegedly did or what they didn’t do. It doesn’t feel like the right move is to just rehash. So instead of just piling on to the already massive assortment of articles about the subject, I’m going to do something that most people that know me think I’m not capable of—I’m gonna shut up.
That’s right. The article for this month is over. What I’m doing instead is listing some of the best free matches available that feature amazing female wrestlers. Many of the women you’ll see have been victims of terrible harassment and abuse simply because they loved wrestling and wanted to be a part of it. So instead of you reading how I feel about it, watch their matches. Maybe think about what they had to go through to get to this point. Or maybe just think about how awesome they are at what they do. The best and easiest support you can give is to watch them wrestle.
Kelly Klein vs. Deonna Purazzo
Jordynne Grace vs. Taya Valkyrie
Millie McKenzie vs. Lana Austin
Toni Storm vs. Rhea Ripley (A good match, but please go find some of Toni Storms excellent Stardom work)
Hazuki vs. Hana Kimura (Hana literally lost her life trying to get more people to watch women’s wrestling)
Mia Yim vs. Tessa Blanchard
Kimber Lee vs. Heidi Lovelace (Ruby Riot)