A LITTLE FROM COLUMN B – 06.23.2017: Somewhere Under the Rainbow


6ce44eeab151aa69f3f3e37880f32cd3

06.23.2017

I’m going to guess a lot of you by now have realized that it’s LGBTQ Pride Month. There have been a lot of businesses, government officials, and even sports teams that have acknowledged the month with rainbow motifs and uniforms. HELL, The New Day, celebrate it all year long. I realized that there are probably a lot of your fans out there who don’t actually know or understand with LGBTQ even means or represents. So, I’m going to do you guys a favor. I’m going to explain LGBTQ in a way that you’ll understand, through wrestling.

Let’s get this straight from the jump, I’m not going to talk about the morality, biology, or ethics of homosexuality, gender identity, or anything else related to the LGBTTQQIAAP community. For those who don’t know, and had to Wiki it, that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, and Pansexual). That is QUITE the mouthful, isn’t it? Ok, I’ll pause here for you to giggle and make your ONE allotted gay joke to yourself…..you done? Good. I don’t happen to care what your feelings are on the matter, this is a thing now, so let’s just accept that it is. Let’s also just accept that despite the controversy we are not going to argue over the placement and order of the letters in the LGBTQ acronym. Believe me, if the Lesbians decide they want to be first in line, well that’s just what’s going to happen.

Starting with the “L”, it’s been a taboo subject to include “Lesbianism” in wrestling. In fact, when you think about it, there are probably only a handful of instances where Lesbianism was even promoted. Probably the most recent and high profile example was the Trish Stratus-Mickie James angle where Mickie went from “crazed fan” to “single white female”. No one could ever forget the infamous, “Counter the Stratusfaction then a quick taste” moment that happened years ago. That “V” was NOT for “Vendetta” if you catch my drift. You have other situations with Rosa Mendes and Beth Phoenix and currently Rosemary and Allie TNA, where they have subtly teased some romantic interest, or at least a large amount of obsession. In Rosa Mendes’ case it was probably TOO subtle done, as Total Divas brought to light later in her career. As much as companies like WWE like to use their woman as eye candy, it’s just rare to see Lesbianism explored as an angle and even more so to use it as a full-on gimmick. They really are missing out on such finishers as the “Leg Scissors” and the “Superwoman Fist”. I guess Lesbians are only sexy when they are “exploring” not “committed” to the “lifestyle”.

When it comes to Gay wrestlers and gimmicks it’s pretty cut and dry. You basically do NOT see companies committing to a full on Gay gimmick. Sure they teased it for a while in the E with the Chuck and Billy angle, leading to them finally revealing it was all a gimmick. But there are almost no Gay wrestling gimmicks…in America. Japan and Mexico has actually embraced some of these characters unabashedly. You have Danshoku Dino in DDT, Razor Ramon Hard Gay, Yosuke Santa Maria in Dragon’s Gate, all popular characters in Japan. In mexico the tradition of “Exoticos” has been pretty lengthy, almost girthy as it was. A couple recent ones like Maximo and Cassandro have had long careers based on the gimmick. While Cassandro wasn’t actually PLAYING the gimmick, he was living it. I think a lot of American promoters understand that the bulk of their fans do not want to see romantic angles play out between two men, while at the same time it would be hard to make them Faces because wrestling fans aren’t known as being super “Progressives”, but making them full on Heels seems homophobic and could also result in backlash. So why not just avoid the controversy in general.

When you think of other “Gender bending” wrestlers throughout history there have been more than a few that have used “effeminate” gimmicks to gain Heel Heat. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis being one of the first. Going from brawling biker to soft, doughy “Nancy Boy”. Kind of weird to think that one of the first stereotypical Gay wrestlers would be presented as out of shape? I mean…times, they have changed, amiright? Goldust debuted as a “Queer” wrestler. One that wasn’t necessarily attached to a specific gender identify nor sexual preference. He was effeminate, yet he was also a brawler. His valet was a woman, yet he displayed overt sexuality towards his opponents. One might assume he was Bi-sexual, but had he ever actually engaged in physical intimacy with his opponents? Or was it merely mind games? This is like the gimmick they gave Rico when he was the manager of Chuck and Billy, then they paired him with Miss Jackie. He was colorful and dramatic, but there wasn’t anything more than hints at his sexuality.

A potentially interesting character that was art imitating life, was the TNA version of Orlando Jordan. Originally Jordan came out with both a male AND female valet and it was actually very groundbreaking. It was rumored that Jordan actually pitched this to the E before his release, but was shut down. The problem is that eventually went away from the angle of him being full on “Bi-sexual” and turned him into a more stereotypical effeminate wrestler. Now had they kept him as a “Pansexual” wrestlers, not being attracted to a specific gender or both genders, but the “soul” and “personality” of a person, it might have made for some socially progressive viewing. But…I just think too many old school wrestlers/bookers/promoters weren’t comfortable with this so it was ultimately scrapped. Again, OJ debuted and spent most of his time in the company as a Heel.

This brings us to current day examples like Dalton Castle and Velveteen Dream. Velveteen Dream is a play on Prince. A very BAD play on him. They haven’t really gone into depth as to whether he is merely an “artist” or whether they will delve deeper into his sexuality. I don’t have high hopes for this gimmick because we’ve seen this already, and better versions. Dalton Castle on the other hand, he has a gimmick that is gangbusters in the Indies, but may not survive if signed to the WWE. He comes out with his “Boys” typically the same twins, but sometimes other costumed wrestlers if he’s on the road. He’s had Bobby Fish, Tanahashi, and Kyle O’Reilly fill in when needed. He calls himself “The Peacock”, but hasn’t actually shown a full leaning towards homosexuality. In fact, the character is more sensual than sexual in nature. Even Castle is hesitant to explain what the sexuality of his character is. He sells it as a guy who is truly a showman and not meant to be overtly Queer. What I really enjoy about the character is that he allows the audience to focus on the performance, and not leading them towards any obvious clues about his sexuality. He is also booked a Face in most promotions, which is pretty rare in the industry. I think most fans are conditioned to automatically boo Gay wrestlers, yet cheer women who play into their Lesbian fantasies. Perhaps over time we’ll see this evolve.

The thing about wrestling is that there has been a long history of homosexual wrestlers; from “The Grand Wizard” Ernie Roth, Pat Patterson, Chris Kanyon, Orland Jordan, Darren Young, and Cassandro. While most of these wrestlers waited till they were either out of wrestling, or at least out of the WWE, Darren Young was one that had come out while still signed. Instead of seeking to promote him and feature his sexuality, the E decided to ignore it all together and try to “Make him great again”. Yeah, that…didn’t work so well. It actually would have been great to have kept his character completely separate from his real-life persona and used him as am ambassador or emissary into the LGBTQ community, perhaps seeking to grow that demographic like they are doing with Jinder Mahal’s title run for the Indian market.

But alas, we haven’t come THAT far. This might have been discussed internally, but my guess is they didn’t want to alienate their core audience that may not be as “open minded”. When you just crunch the numbers, statistically 1 in 11 people in the US identify as Gay or Lesbian. So, that means that chances are that at least a half dozen or more wrestlers in the locker room are probably gay. We’re talking at least one member of 205 is 20Fabulous. Maybe that number is significantly less in the audience, but it still represents an opportunity. But I’m sure that the numbers have also been crunched in Stamford, is it worth risking alienating 10-20% of your audience that might boycott your product just to gain maybe 2-3% more viewers? Is it worth it to be “socially progressive” if you feel backlash from your core audience that already feels like the “snowflakes and libtards” are ruining their country? Who knows? I’d like to think that eventually the E will have no choice but to introduce a “Queer” character that will be booked and treated as a Face, let’s just hope it’s not going to take someone’s “Make-A-Wish” to get it done.


COLUMN C:

  • Kris Wolf, Stardom High Speed Champion is coming to RoH. I have no idea what a “High Speed” Division is, but I assume it’s the slowest possible wrestlers they have. I mean, how fast do you usually move when YOU’RE high? I wonder if she won it in a “Taco Bell Gift Card in the Bank” match?

 

  • “Search and Destroy” take on “The Rebellion” in a “losers disband” match too in RoH. I’m assuming here that there is a swerve and Rhett Titus turns on The Rebellion to form, “Stop and Frisk”.

 

  • I had no idea RoH also had action figures. The new release features: Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Delirious, and Bobby Fish. Cole and O’Reilly are technically available now, but you’ll be have to pick them up eventually at your nearest Full Sail University. 

 

  • The Miz gets an “Entourage” this week, as Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel joined up to take out Dean Ambrose. Because THAT’S why the movie flopped so badly, it just needed TWO Turtles.

 

  • Baron Corbin is “Mr. Money in the Bank” now. Here’s to waiting 3 months until he interrupts a match between Mahal and Cena, takes out Cena with the briefcase and boat load of smelly beanies and Propecia falls out before he covers Mahal.
    Chad Gable spotting as he lost to KO this week. Clearly the littlest of American Alphas wasn’t extreme enough to win the US Title. Next week let’s hope to Jason Jordan challenge Owens in a hardcore Gable, Ladders, and Chairs Match.
    Seth Rollins is the WWE 2K18 cover athlete. “Be like No One” is the tagline. Meaning that all Create-A-Wrestlers will be required to be Aiden English. Because…he’s definitely “No One” right now.

 

  • Ex-TNA wrestler Crazzy Steve recently had a WWE tryout this week. Seeing him without make-up is definitely a letdown. It kind of loses all the magic. It’s like if Sting repelled down from the rafters wielding a baseball…glove.

 

  • Sonjay Dutt is the NEW X-Division Champion after beating Low Ki. Was IMPACT doing this just to curry favor with the Indian market? Perhaps, but they merely opened the Tandoori for him, he had to walk through. Finally winning the belt represented a big Raita passage for Dutt. It was a good little match full of false finishes and Paneer falls. I apology for all the food puns, I wanted it to be a Naan issue. How I didn’t Tikka you off.

 

  • Looks like we may be getting a title unification soon in a GFW vs IMPACT Heavyweight Title match, Lashley vs Alberto el Patron. I’m hoping this doesn’t happen in a “Red State” though. I don’t think the “You Deserve This” chant should be used every time one of these guys gets punched.

 

  • Drago has gone full heel in Lucha Underground. Making Kobra Moon the new “Queen of Dragons”. Anyone else feel cheated that she didn’t debut last season buck naked holding Pindar and Vibora?

 

  • Big Cass finally turned heel and dropped Enzo with a “Bonified Thud”, and you CAN’T teach THAT!

 

  • NJPW has announced the roster for their G1 Climax Tournament, not to be confused with their G Spot Climax Tournament following it. Double elimination Bukkake style of course. I’m told it’ll be a real Spot Fest.

 

  • Former CHIKARA champion and current NXT signee, Kimber Lee has officially changed her name to Abbey Laith. Some people don’t get the reference, and it’s quite clever on her part. And as we all know, to Abbe Laith means to “to bluff”. So she was probably playing cards and she cheated, and she was forced to take the name.

 

  • There were a lot of unhappy fans after the inaugural women’s Money in the Bank match. I think what’s lost in all this is how well of a team Ellsworth and Carmella have made. Those two are so in lock step that both of their periods are now synched up.

 

  • Vince Russo reportedly has as restraining order out against Jim Cornette. In order to provide an additional layer of protection, Russo has also lined the perimeter of his yard with DVDs of “Best of The Youngbucks” and piping in “This is Awesome” chants through loud speakers. Fortunately Cornette doesn’t have to worry about that with Russo, technically you have to invite him in your house before he can enter.

 

 

   B


 

Advertisements