WOMAN ON FIRE – 06.20.2018: A New Breed of Competitors

By Kim Artlip, Columnist

24296357_10155312231598681_2895200996683612610_nThe face of wrestling has been slowly changing and in the past few years that I have been a promoter, I have noticed the paths that are taken to the sport have changed as well. Speaking for myself, I was a small business owner who loved the sport, had followed it for years and saw a viable business model could be developed after seeing how shoddily shows were run in my immediate local area. Not being from the sport, I did my due diligence for nearly nine months prior to my first show of studying the talent, meeting vendors, talking to venues and developing a business plan.

It’s not always been an easy transition for me to be honest from business to sports promoter. There has been a small group of people that don’t want to see a woman succeed where they have failed. I’ve been threatened, had my car vandalized and lost track of how many ridiculous calls and messages I have received from a failed promotion and his staff/friends. I tend to ignore that and keep my eye on the prize and focus on building a company that I can be proud of and builds up my community as well. I do this by being different and walking a different path. It’s no wonder I was drawn to several wrestlers who embody this over the years who have inspired me that age is just a number, you can do anything you set your mind to and the roles of women in the sport are changing.

I had the unique opportunity to talk via social media to Tyra Russamee who participated in China’s first ever intergender match this weekend at MKW. The match originally was going to feature Ellsworth who instead backed out (not well done, just saying) to appear at MITB for the WWE. But back to Russameee. She is the type of wrestler who appeals to me as one who is not from typical mold. Only two years into the sport and this Thai American sensation has already broken barriers and appeared in Japan, Australian, Singapore and China just to name a few countries.

Not only is she a phenomenal athlete versed in Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Capoeira, Klettern, Basketball, and Tanzen, she is well educated and working toward her MBA later this year. I feel a particular kinship with her as she entered the sport around the age of 30 when most women are moving onto other endeavors. She’s focused, disciplined and goal oriented on what she wants to do in the sport and where she wants to travel during her career.

This new breed of women in the sport I feel can only benefit the sport as we see performers with the experience of competing in other sports and college level. They are bringing a more polished and structured athlete to the sport rather than the diva model we had for many years. I feel from promoter’s perspective that these women will have more longevity in the sport and be better draws than the gals who don’t have the physical discipline and endurance. From a fan’s viewpoint I would rather see athletes like Lacey Lane (Crash Lucha Champion) who has wowed fans at my company in the ring rather than the out of shape gal with the trailer park gimmick.

Speaking of Lacey Lane, this pitbull has the total package as well. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Shaw University in 2012. She played NCAA Division II basketball while attending college and trained extensively with the Dudley Boys prior to her wrestling debut. She had a tryout in 2017 with the WWE and since then has gone on to become one of the top women stars in Arolucha and Crash Lucha. She’s another example to me of women entering the sport a few years later that most and rising quickly to the top like Russamee.

I’m not saying we won’t still see young hungry wrestlers entering the sport and making names for themselves but I see a distinct trend that is benefitting the sport of a new breed of smarter, savvy wrestlers who are bringing outside experiences to the ring and the sport wins. I’m excited about it and expect to see this trend continue not only in the performers but in the managers, valents and business side of the sport.

Kim Artlip

Owner + Promoter


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