The Jobbers Circle: Women in Wrestling
Written by Conway Monday, 26 January 2009 00:00
Welcome to another edition of the Jobbers Circle. Before I begin I would just like to say thank you to those who commented on my last blog and would also like to say that comments are always welcome in the Jobbers Circle.
Throughout the history for professional wrestling I can not think of any other aspect of the industry which has gone through as many changes as the involvement of women.
The involvement of Women has always been in one of two fashions. On one hand you would have the trusty valet. The pretty manager who either helps her prickish heel client win a match by any means or the pretty manager who just stood there and looked pretty lending moral support for her babyface love interest. Up until the later 70's and onward into the 80's, 90's and today, this is what the majority of women in the business did.
Now I have always been a fan of mangers and there are some note worthy valets on that list like Ms. Elizabeth, Sensational Sherri, Woman, Beulah McGillicutty, Sunny, and Chyna. I know I have mentioned the pretty face card when it came to most wrestling valets but these ladies truly understood the importance of their performances and the need to put their client over.
Sherri, Woman, Sunny, Beulah, and Chyna would bring personality into the fold to help put over such stars as, Shawn Michales, Steve Austin, Harlem Heat, Randy Savage (helping him makes sense anyway), Sting, Million Dollar Man, Ric Flair, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Dean Malenko, Skip & Zip, The Godwins, The Smoking Guns, The Road Warriors, and Degeneration X. They did so through by working as a mouth peice when their man needed someone to speak on their behalf. They also did this with the use of interfierence in matches. These women were often heels who would either use their charm or even brute force to break down the eniemes of their employers.
The Case of Ms. Elizabeth is a little bit different. She wasn't as flashy and charasmatic as Sherri or use her feminene charms like Sunny or take hardcore bumps like Beulah or even get her hands dirty like Woman or Chyna. She was the rare babyface valet but she did more than lend support to her friends (Former Husband Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan). Well actually come to think of it, that is just about all she did. But there was something about her that was special. She really understood the nature and importance of psychology to a match. She just acted her heart out to be as lovey dovey, as heart broken, or as emotionally worn out as possible to make the fans even more interested in feuds like Randy Savage vs Hulk Hogan or Savage vs Ultimate Warrior or Savage vs George "The Animal" Stelle. Elizabeth being the kind person she was, really made the fans feel for her when she would see her closets friends just destroy each other in the ring or when she watched Savage's retirement match with Warrior. It was her genuine emotion that would help make these matches all the more memorable.
The 80's and 90's truly were the golden age of the valet. As the 90's were near their end, valets would no longer be important or even interesting characters. The only purpose they would serve would be to show off their tits and ass for the camera and distract the refferee. Think of the valets of the black and white era but with Playboy models. Ring psychology and mic skills has become a lost art form with valets (like most other characters in Wrestling). Too bad but I have plenty of hope for the women in the next category.
On the other hand the other hand, you had the feamle wrestler. You could say that Women's wrestling started in the classic age of black and white television (wrestling legend The Fabulous Moolah began her 27-year title regin in 1956), which is true but it wasn't as common as it would become decades later.
Personally I have always thought highly of womens wrestling (except for the pillow fight and Bra and Panities bull shit). There have been several women throughout the histroy of the business who have proven themselves to be great wrestlers like Moolah, Mae Young, The Junping Bomb Angles, Sherri Martel, Wendi Richter, Madussa, Bull Nanko, Trish Stratus, Lita, Victoria, Molly Holly, Ivory, Dazie Haze, CheerLeader Mellisa, Gail Kim, Mikie James, Beth Pheniox, Awesome Kong, Mikie Kunckles, Natalya Niedhart, just to name a few.
Women's Wrestling has gone through the same type of transformation as the valets did. At first female wrestlers went and performered using their atheletic ability and use of ring pyschology to put themselves over and have the best matches possible but once the late 90's came in it was time for "attitude" to take over the industry and with that we had center fold models wrestling in skimppy outfits and in any type of overly sexualized scenario possible (for a tv-14 rating anyway). Jacquilin, Chyna, and Ivory are the only three exceptions I can think of.
It wasn't until the end of this era when women's wrestling became respectable again. WWE had a great group of women from 2002-2005. This was likely the best roster of women in the history of the main stream. Women like Trish Stratus, Gail Kim, Lita, Victora, Jazz, Jacquilin, and Molly Holly. These ladies would always give it all and would put on the best mathces possible.
2004, saw the teleivison shitfest know as the WWE Diva Search. A competition where talentless eyecandy strut around doing stupid obsticle courses. Oh What Fun. This is where we saw the influx of models who didn't give a shit come back into the fold.
It was with this that the WWE began to hire supermodels and attempt to train them to wrestle (it is clear that some of them only want fame). So the WWE is kinda at a stale mate when it comes to womens wrestling. They have talented wrestlers like Natalya, Mikie James, Katie Lea, Melina and Beth Pheniox but it seems that most often than not they are only there to job to the models which is a real shame.
There is alot of promise out of the WWE though. As companies like ROH and Shimmer continue to threive on the indy circuit with talented performers like Dazie Haze, Cheerleader Melissa, Sarah Delray, Lacy and MsChief, putting most divas to shame.
The TNA Knockouts however, are a WWE alternative but they are begining to mimick them ever so slowy. I have seen some great matches from the likes of Roxxi, Gail Kim, Taylor Wylde, and of course Awesome Kong (One of the best female wrestlers I have ever seen) but with the stupid shit I have seen in the divison lately (Christy Hemme as a threat to Kong (Hemme is ok but come the fuck on), the Sarah Palin gimmick and ect..) I am begining to fear the worst.
In closing I would just like to say that I would prefer to spend my money to see women who bust their asses to put on a great show than some pretty face who just doesn't care. Women who are strong, and have a great personality and work ethic easily trump a pin up anyday.