Woman’s rights have been an age old debate in this country ever since its inception. I think it is safe to say that most people will agree with me when I say that women can be just as valuable in some cases if not more valuable in others than men, yet we always seem to visit this topic whether it’s in culture, religion, politics and yes sports. Women are constantly striving for equality in all aspects of life with their male counterparts. Of course this is a wrestling based column and wrestling is no different than any other jobs in this country in its discrimination towards women, with that being said I am going to ask you should women make as much as men in professional wrestling? You’re reading “Wrestling Rumbling.”
I’ve said it time and time again I am not much of a fan of woman’s wrestling. I do think there is a select niche audience for it but I’ve never been one to really invest myself in any angles involving women. I used to always think that this was because the mainstream promotions never really presented woman’s wrestling as anything more than a sideshow attraction that was maybe just a step above midget wrestling and because of that conditioning I just couldn’t generate the interest. In recent years I have found myself trying to open my mind to it, after all woman’s wrestling promotions have done well in Japan with AJW existing for years and doing strong crowds and we have seen the rise of all women promotions in the United States with SHIMMER and WSU immediately springing to mind, still I must confess I just can’t get into it as a fan. I’ll admit that WSU and SHIMMER do a fantastic job of presenting their wrestling and I watch both products in the interest of expanding my knowledge of wrestling but just can’t call myself a fan of that. It’s always been a niche audience to me and always will be, with that being said I am just one person and there are a ton of concepts and ideas out there that have millions of fans and do draw money that don’t float my boat either but you never hear about the issue of compensation in wrestling in quite the same way that you do when it comes to the ladies.
You will have a great deal of fans who say that women are a special attraction and that they have never paid a ticket to see a woman’s match up. I would include myself amongst them however there are many fans, specifically female fans who look up to and idolize female wrestlers. How many of today’s female wrestlers have we heard mention that they grew up looking up to Trish Stratus and Lita? So while I and maybe others haven’t bought a ticket to see a Diva or a Knockout maybe someone has? I can’t sit here and say that there are women that I have never enjoyed watching as when I think of it Tammy Sytch immediately springs to mind. Early on in her career she was the most downloaded female on the internet and during that time period I probably spent a great deal of time downloading posters and photos of her as well as buying magazines that had her likeness. What can I say? Sex sells. I enjoyed seeing Tammy on my screen, same with Sable and some others that would follow but at the same time I don’t think I ever went to a show saying “Man I hope I see Sunny”. It was an afterthought, if she was there than that was great but if she wasn’t I wasn’t necessarily feeling cheated or robbed. When I look at it that way women in wrestling are the nuts and cherry on top of my sundae. The ice cream is what I care about and it’s what’s really great but the cherry and nuts well that makes it better. It should be stated for the sake of this argument that a sundae with nuts and a cherry on top in most places would probably cost more than just the ice cream by itself; however it is not double the charge of the ice cream. You see the ice cream is the main attraction.
As much as some of you may be fans of woman’s wrestling I am pretty sure most of you are bigger fans of their male counterparts and well that is because men are the ice cream in the sundae. I’m not saying this to be sexist I am just stating the basic concept of supply and demand that exist. Everyone who wants a Sundae may not want the nuts, they may not want the cherry but if they want the Sundae you know they want the ice cream involved and that’s the men. I’ve never seen a fan ask for his money back if they didn’t see Tammy Sytch or Sable at a show but I have seen fans angry if they didn’t see Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart or Ric Flair at a show. It’s a male dominated industry, but it is that way because males are a bit more in demand than females.
That logic doesn’t just exist in wrestling but in mainstream sports as well. Sure Gina Carano is a beautiful woman and something of a draw in MMA but can you name 5 other female MMA competitors? Same thing with boxing, the WNBA and even the LPGA. None of those sports generate as much mainstream press and exposure as their male counterparts and you would be hard pressed to name as many competitors in those sports as you would in their male leagues. As a matter of fact the biggest female sport in this country in my opinion is probably woman’s tennis and that is simply because of the way they sell it based on sex appeal; still it should be said that the reason some of the female tennis players are able to make a nice living is because they sell tickets to their event which shows there is a major interest in the sport.
I’m sorry some may want to argue that there is but there isn’t a major interest in woman’s wrestling in the United States and it is not because of how it is portrayed in mainstream wrestling but it is because of you the fans. Fact of the matter is if you were interested in it than promotions like SHIMMER, WSU and even Wrestlicious would be more than niche promotions they would be mainstream by now. The fact that it is not mainstream proves that they just don’t draw money in the same way that the men do. So while there are many women who complain about the discrepancy between themselves and men need to blame the fans.
Now with that being said should women in wrestling be paid more? It really depends on the company and the situation. The women in TNA have been time and time again the highest rated thing on the show but I don’t know if that is because there is more interest in the women themselves or if at times it is the best booked thing on the show. I have still yet to see a TNA fan tell me they bought a ticket to see The Beautiful People or Sarita and Taylor Wylde and I have never heard a fan complain if their favorite Knockout is not on a TNA house show. I know I am going to have people send me emails with the reports that Christy Hemme makes $150,000 a year and well she is just a backstage interviewer and really doesn’t add much to the show. That to me does not mean that women should be paid more it just means that the backstage interviewer should be paid less. I have never heard of a fan buying a ticket for a female performer but I am sure from time to time it happens, I am pretty positive that no one ever bought a ticket to see the backstage interviewer.
Should they be paid more than commentators? Depends who are we talking about though? While no one pays for the commentators I still believe that they add a hell of a lot to a show. It’s been said more than once by many in and outside the business that a good commentator can make a bad match watchable and a bad one can make a good match unwatchable. There is a great deal of value to that. I’m sorry but your first string announcer should be an excellent piece of talent in his own right (granted that’s not always the case) and treated as such. You have to endure there commentary through a whole show whereas a women will only have a match that in most cases won’t even be touched on again throughout the show. How valuable are they really compared to the announcers?
Again though should they be paid more? Well who are we talking about? Let’s face it women are not the main event of the show so to say a top woman should be getting what a top guy makes is a very hard argument to make. Now with that being said I do believe there have been women that have come through the industry that have drawn a big amount of money. I also believe that they were fairly compensated. In the past few weeks I have heard Awesome Kong and Tara mention the money situation in TNA when it comes to the females. Awesome Kong is a terrific worker but I have never, ever seen a fan pay money for a ticket to see her. To be quite honest and I don’t say this with disrespect towards Kong but just in my opinion as a fan I’d rather see Eric Young and well needless to say I am not a fan of Eric Young. I’ve never seen an Awesome Kong shirt sold or a magazine that people said they had to buy because she was on the cover or the centerfold. Tara now is a bit different but I think what she fails to realize is the marketing in TNA is not what it is in WWE. Where WWE will have its diva swimsuit calendars and Diva DVD’s in TNA you are lucky if they make a shirt with your likeness on it. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a TNA Knockouts action figure and I know a single one was not featured in the TNA Impact video game. My point being in Tara’s case is that all the things that she can probably make money on in WWE just don’t exist in TNA and well when you don’t sell PPV’s and your ratings aren’t blowing the world away what do you expect?
I do believe most Divas in WWE are compensated very fairly. I say this because I have never heard a Diva complain about pay in WWE. Maybe those in TNA should try to do their best to elevate their stock so that WWE will have interest and if they can’t do that then maybe they should just be happy enough to have employment period or better yet show someone important in TNA all the different things WWE does in marketing to make money for women that TNA does not. I’m sorry but if the current business model persists I don’t believe in giving any of the TNA Knockouts raises. While it is unfair that TNA has signed many incoming talents to expensive contracts it should be stated that TNA did so on the premise that the talents that came in drew money in the past. The women in the company just don’t have that kind of a track record so while a Knockouts match may be more entertaining than a match with The Band there are still more folks who will pay money for The Band than the Knockouts.
I want to again state I am not a sexist and I would love to see a wrestling business where both the women and men are paid very well because that would mean the business is doing exceptionally well. I don’t think the women are being treated unfairly though and I encourage anyone to tell me how I am wrong in that statement. I think women have done a great job of breaking down barriers in the wrestling business but they have a long way to go before they can be considered the draws and the money earners that their male counterparts are. Can it happen one day? Anything is possible and I hope I am there to see it.
OK time to wrap this week’s column up but it’s time to give the people something to do for the weekend. WWE has the Over the Limit PPV which should be a decent show worth watching and for those in the NYC area you can check out the NYWC show this Saturday in Long Island. For those who don’t know Mikey Whipwreck owns the promotion and uses it as a forum to book his students. So you can argue that it is a bunch of green guys, I will counter and say that it is a bunch of hungry guys who are looking to improve and can improve much more with the support of the fans. For more information check out http://www.nywcwrestling.com. Even though it is not this weekend I did receive correspondence from the owner of Pro Wrestling Live as they get ready to present their next show August 7th in Long Branch New Jersey which is going to be headlined by Ken Doane formerly of the Spirit Squad in WWE vs. Paul Burchill and they should have more talent added to the card soon. For more information on that go to prowrestlinglive.net and well if you want to send me feedback on the column, tell me about a show you would like to see promoted or anything else email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all emails and as you can see I’ll pretty much support anything wrestling related. That’s it for this week, next week I will try to do better, and until then I am out.