Column – Put Your Pants On

by Will Benson on 22nd July 2008

No, this isn’t an article about the men in the ring still wrestling in those underwear-style trunks. I don’t think anything more needs to be said about Mr. Kennedy ripping his pants off before he gets all hot and sweaty trying to pin another guy down. I could just phonetically write down the noises one makes when one throws up, but that wouldn’t be a good article.

No, this is about women’s wrestling. I firmly believe that women’s wrestling can be just as popular as men’s wrestling if it were done right. If it were treated seriously, the girls getting real gimmicks, being put in real storylines, having real matches, why wouldn’t it be? The ‘sexist idiot’ population has become the minority over the years, and though it still exists, those people wouldn’t take away from the millions of wrestling fans who would indeed watch a women’s wrestling promotion. The fact that SHIMMER is able to survive is proof, but skeptics will of course say that “they’re just piggybacking on ROH.” That’s why the Knockouts are the big proof. In any typical iMPACT!, the Knockouts matches are invariably the highest rated segment. Some Knockouts matches have gained as much as 500,000 viewers compared to whatever was on before them, and on a show that averages maybe 1.4 million…

Holy ratings, Batman!

The Knockouts are so popular that TNA has been in talks with Spike TV about making a second brand devoted entirely to the Knockouts, and Spike has not declined in any way; they’re receptive to the idea, and wow, I’m hoping and praying that it goes through.

What makes the Knockouts so popular is that, for the most part, they are real wrestlers. The top three would probably be Nicole Raczynski (Nikki Roxx, or Roxxi Laveaux), Jessica Kresa (ODB), and Gail Kim. Those three girls do look good, yes, but that’s not why people tune in. The key point is they have great charisma and are immensely talented. I can back this up by referring you to WWE’s Divas, who for the most part hurt the ratings every time they come on. Elizabeth Kocanski (Beth Phoenix) and Melina Perez (Melina) are very talented, but they’re told to go out wearing nothing, their storylines are nothing, and their matches are kept short so they can never really show us what they’re fully capable of. As for the rest of the Divas, maybe on a good day they can be subpar, but that’s being generous.

In a recent match I remember Mickie James was in the ring yelling at her opponent. Katie Lea jumped in and rather weakly punched her in the back. Mickie fell, and was pinned! That’s all it took to take down the WWE Women’s Champion. Who can take that seriously? Plus, look at some of their key moves. Pulling hair, a provocative headscissors as a submission hold, a Thesz press with all force delivered through the crotch, etc. When that comes on screen I’m truly ashamed to be a WWE fan.

Plus, look at how so many of the Divas are hired. A bunch of ditsy, talentless, silicon-stuffed barbies are put into some kind of tropical game show where they go out in bikinis and face off in limbo contests and whatnot, and whoever sleeps with Vince the most wins. Yeah yeah, call that judgmental if you want, but when Divas are caught in escort service scandals (Ashley Massaro) I think I’m pretty much right on the money. As well, the storylines involve dating John Cena or Santino Marella, or one Diva’s real life posing for Playboy, another Diva being jealous, and then they fight for two months, with the Playboy girl ultimately winning and glorifying women taking their clothes off for money. No wonder nobody takes women’s wrestling seriously. That is, except for those of us who watch TNA, SHIMMER, and those other indy women’s promotions. Speaking of SHIMMER, I remember a great quote from a girl from there. I THINK it was Daizee Haze, but don’t quote me on that. Anyway, she was asked by someone if she wanted to make it big and join the WWE Divas. And she, seemingly offended, replied with “Of course not. I’m a wrestler, not a cheap porn star.”

So basically, like the title of this article says, I want female wrestlers to put some pants on. I DO want to see that, but not in a wrestling ring, as I prefer not to be aroused when I watch professional wrestling. I want the talentless models-turned-wrestlers to be axed, talented female wrestlers brought in to replace them, realistic athletic attire OR an outfit that suits the girl’s gimmick, real movesets, and I want them to have as much effort put into their storylines and gimmicks as the men get. That’s what happens in TNA, and they’re so popular they’ve main evented shows on more than one occasion. In fact, some of the Knockouts do in fact pose for Playboy or do similar things (Christy Hemme, Shelly Martinez aka Salinas, Gail Kim), but that fact is completely excluded from TNA. If people get all lonely late at night and want to drool over that they can, but in the ring, it’s all about the wrestling. As well, the Knockouts who aren’t very talented are kept as valets and whatnot, and the talented ones are the ones who main event. That’s what makes the Knockouts so popular, and that’s the formula that I want applied to the Divas.

If women’s wrestling was treated seriously, it would be a big step in making professional wrestling respected again by mainstream society. WWE would not lose any fanbase, as I somehow doubt there are people who only watch WWE for the Divas bikini contest segments and crotch-Thesz-presses. They would, however, gain an ever growing fanbase of people who have no interest in watching glorified live porn, as well as gain viewers in general as word spreads that WWE isn’t objectifying women anymore.

On a final note, Kennedy, stop it. Either wrestle in pants or come out in trunks, but don’t come out in front of 14,000 fans and millions watching at home and take your pants off. I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT.

That’s my view from the Great White North. I’m Roxxi Laveaux Fanboy, may the voodoo be with you.

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