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   Fri, September 3, 2004



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SLAM! Speaks: Readers respond to Sable and sexism


Cartoon by Annette Balesteri, our SLAM! Wrestling Editorial Cartoonist


The readers have spoken.

A week ago, SLAM!'s staff weighed in on their thoughts on Sable's tirade and charges of sexism in World Wrestling Entertainment. This week, the readers have their say.

(Staff note: letters have been edited for grammar, punctuation and capitalization).

Marcel Beaudoin
Sable, meet kettle. Kettle, meet Sable.

I don't think that Sable has much ground to stand on in this case. Like you guys mentioned, she got her shot in WWE solely based on her looks. I dare anyone to say that she could wrestle to the level of Trish Stratus, Molly Holly or Lita.

What she is essentially saying is that it was all right for her to take advantage of WWE's emphasis on looks and "athleticism"hard bodies, but now that she has lost her lawsuits and has been rejected by the company again, it is a bad thing.

I wonder what the probability would have been, if she got re-hired by WWE, that she would have said something like this?

Frank Pozen
Corey and I know each other so we're on the same wavelength on this subject.

Rena Mero's recent comments were ironic considering that Sable as champ was one of WWE's more successful scams. It's not that Vince McMahon hates women wrestlers. He just doesn't care about them and doesn't think they can draw; so he doesn't put any effort into booking them in a constructive way.

What Corey says is true. Most WWE fans don't watch anything other than WWE so a lot of them don't know what else is out there. So the WWE fan perception of women wrestlers is that they're not very good. I write a weekly column about joshi puroresu called Joshi Dreams for PW Insider. When newbies see what the Japanese women can do in the ring, they don't want to watch the WWE Divas anymore.

The sexism is always going to be a part of WWE. The morale killer called the WWE Diva Search reinforces that. But there's a bigger problem rearing it's ugly head. Do you realize that the WWE hasn't hired any female wrestlers in 2004, not even to developmental contracts? The most recent developmental signees were Melina Perez & Bobbi Billard in Dec. 2003. They've looked at plenty of female wrestlers such as Cheerleader Melissa, Erica Porter, Angel Williams and even 15 year joshi veteran Takako Inoue. They haven't signed any of them. My conclusion is they don't want to pay them. Someone as experienced and accomplished as Takako Inoue won't work for peanuts. And though Takako has the WWE Diva look, she told Nikkan Sports that if WWE wanted her for T & A, she wouldn't work for them. If WWE isn't going to hire someone as good as Takako Inoue, what are they up to?

I believe that the WWE Diva Search is the first step in the likelihood that WWE will eliminate the women's division completely. They don't want wrestlers. They want Playboy playmates. I don't know if that would be a bad thing or not. I don't believe the WWE wants to have a good Women's Division anyway, and I don't think the average WWE fan would care if it went away. I always tell fans the same thing; if you want to see what women wrestlers can really do, you have to watch Japanese videos. The WWE is the wrong place to go.

Jodi
I believe 100 percent that WWE doesn't care one lick for talent and rather is all about looks and charisma. Half of their roster is a total waste of our time, but that goes for both women and men. I think they are a pathetic caricature of a once great company. I used to watch WOW when it was on, and after seeing that cage match I have no question North American women can wrestle every bit as hard as their male counterparts. Where is Danger these days anyway? I hope in Japan making a good living, she was phenominal.

The problem with the WWE isn't sexism, it's the total no-wrestling-allowed aproach to pro wrestling. I think if Vince could get away with it, there would never be another match on his show. Obviously he cares not a wit about talent, hence letting guys like Kanyon, Storm and Raven go, while pushing the A-Trains and Hidenriechs of the world down our throats. Seriously; Chris Daniels jobbing out on Velocity because he wasn't worthy of the real show, Or Low-ki vs. Esa Rios on Metal with the announcers not even mentioning either wrestlers name during the entire match (all the anouncers did was babble about some main show love affair angle)?

WWE is not a wrestling company anymore, Summerslam proved that to me that they are purely a soap opera that has the odd sub-par wrestling match on it. Really it's such a shame because they do have a lot of amazing tallent that never get to showcase thier skills. I haven't scene Van Dam, or Benoit, or Angle or any other true tallent put on a note worthy match in years.

Keep pushing TNA and ROH they are the true North American wrestling company's. Leave WWE in the past. Remember it's WWF days for the greats they were, and bury this skeleton now, it's not even worthy of the wrestling name.

(Staff note: Lance Storm was not let go by the company - he chose to retire and is still with the Fed, working as a trainer in OVW).

AJ in Indiana, USA
Personally, I really don't understand what Sable is up to, except trying to hog the limelight.

I mean when she first appeared on WWE, she was so cool, even bigger than Sunny who was THE top diva, then slowly her clothes came off, she gets offended at a lesbian angle she didn't wanna do, quits the company, sues McMahon for millions...(runs out of the money) comes back to WWE, DOES A LESBIAN ANGLE...then insults the company again regarding women being toys after the angles she does.

She's a hypocrite and just needed either more money or more time in the spotlight because no one cared after she left the first time. Bring back the Sunnies or the Kimberlies, or get someone to try to act as CLASSY as Miss Elizabeth once was, that would be great, Get someone women can relate to for a change, not someone off the pages of Playboy. It would be a nice change of pace.

Clint

WWE has completely gone into the toilet!

I was a long-time fan, all the way back to the days of the old Stampede Wrestling. What WWE tries to pass off to the viewers is not wrestling. It's become a reality tv smutfest; and I for one, am tired of it.

It was somuch better when stories were told in the ring, where it belonged! I apologize for appearing so emotional; but it makes me sad. I'll press on. Hell, TNA just started airing on ESPN Classics Canada. At least I'll get my fix of wrestling, then leave when the soaps come on *cough WWE!! COUGH*

Take care! And remember...Wrestling will survive. Remember that people!!

M.D. Kerr
I tend to agree with the general tone of your writers. Yes "sex sells"; just look at any commercial with a target audience over 10. And yes, for the most part the current crop of "divas" have proven themselves both in and out of the ring. One of the faults I do have with most of WWE's diva storylines is that they generally cross the line and take the segments out of the realm of family entertainment.

In it's hay days of the 80's, the emphasis was on family entertainment. It was these shows that allowed McMahon and Turner to turn their products into billion dollar industries.

On a parting note I would like to refute a statement by Greg Oliver " The days of the fat, balding old-timer still working is past". If this was true, Ric Flair would be out of work.

Alan Omelia
I just wanted to wade in on the state of womans wrestling today.

Yes, most of the woman are there for pure fluff so to speak. I honestly think that is what the largest demagraphic is young men and they want to see the beautiful women there. That being said, Rena Mero knew what WWE wanted when they hired her back, therefore she had no right to say what she did and deserved to get fired.

Ed Darcey
While WWE may be a carnival act, what pro wrestling show is not, to some extent.

The much vaunted, and wildly overrated, ROH promotion is full of carnival touches not to mention their blatent sexism. ( There may have been 2 or 3 women's matches in their history, one using the neophyte Becky Bayless). And while Mero is right, the whole industry is ripe with sexism. Even the two feds that come to mind that use women legitimately and regularly, WXW and IWA-Midsouth, ( I'm leaving out the niche promotions, WEW and PGWA ) are mindful of how a woman looks as well as how she works.

The fact that Lacroix doesn't think the WWE gals can wrestle and compares them to the Japanese women is way off base. The Japanese women's feds are another kettle of fish. They are set up to run only women's matches with tons of intensive training and rehearsals. Comparing them to the WWE is both unfair and nonsensical. Add to that the fact that Victoria, Molly Holly, Jacqueline, Jazz and Gail Kim could all hold their own against Japanese women (as have their earlier counterparts, see Wendy Richter, Sherry Martel, Moolah, Cheryl Day, Mimi Lesseos, et al).

The good women workers of WWE are by far the best women wrestlers in this country, and most of the women wrestlers I know ( and I know plenty ) would admit that. Training, extensive run throughs, house shows, working with the same people over and over will make you good. And while there are blown spots, compared to all independent shows, they are few and far between. And not without consequence; why else did Gail Kim's big push stop after a number of blown spots? She trained and worked and came back better.

That's the luxury WWE has. While there is no denying that McMahon wants good looking women working, one of your contributors points out that it's the same for the men. It's even filtered down to the independents. Rarely do you see the sort of out of shape slob you used to see throughout a card. They're usually more of a novelty act then the main show.

In conclusion, everyone ought to give some credit to WWE for having a credible Women's Division at all (where's TNA's ? ). And considering most of your readers and contributors could care less if there ever was a woman's match on a card, I find it downright galling that you have the nerve to discuss it. Having been a fan of women's wrestling since before most of you were born, I can tell you one thing for sure: the average wrestling fan's attitude towards women in the sport hasn't changed in 40 years; they don't belong, get them out of the ring so I can see two musclebound behemoths beat on each other, while displaying little or no knowledge of or aptitude for wrestling moves.That's wrestling reality, nothing McMahon, or anyone else does, will change that.

Stan
Are you guys kidding? Trish is a good wrestler? In fact she's a homely mutt! Without a boob job, I'm sure you would agree.

Mind you, the same can be said for Sable, but I think Sable actually has more wrestling ability.

-- compiled by Jon Waldman

Have a topic you'd like to see discussed in SLAM! Speaks? Send your suggestions to SLAM! Speaks Moderator Jon Waldman.