(above, the helpless Deborah Harry being pummeled by Hollywood’s Andy Kaufman)
OK, the above headline is a bit of a stretch, but former ECW vet Lance Storm claims the recent proliferation of female vs. male matches on pro wresting’s indie circuit is “contributing to the deterioration of our industry” (“let the men fight the men and the women fight the women. If you can’t put on a compelling show, under those extreme limitations, you either aren’t trying hard enough or you’re in the wrong profession”).
When you do men vs. women matches and ignore the very clear differences in size, strength and style between the two, you completely destroy the realism of a match and contribute to the deterioration of the art form of wrestling by further numb fans to everything except the pop of a move.
While that in itself is bad, really bad in fact, there is a far bigger down side to consider. In addition to making us numb to the storytelling of pro-wrestling, I fear it makes us numb to man on women violence. Wrestling has been fighting the “Don’t try this at home” battle forever. Kids start thinking wrestling moves are fake and thus doing them on their friends is perfectly fine. This then leads to serious injuries and even deaths; and the finger of blame often gets pointed at pro-wrestling. At a time where other pro sports (most notably the NFL) are plagued with domestic abuse charges and countless cases of male athletes beating the hell out of their wives or girls friends, is it wise to be normalizing male on female violence?
As tragic as a guy accidentally injuring his girlfriend while imitating what they see on TV will be, how long before an abusive boyfriend throws his girlfriend down seriously injuring her, uses the defence, we were just imitating what they saw in a wrestling match? “It was just an accident, we were playing wrestling”. It has been used in court with kids, and it will be used in court with domestic violence. The more silly and light hearted we make the “violence” and competition in pro wrestling feel, the more acceptable it feels to do it to others at home or on the play ground. If we do the same with male on female “violence” I think we are making an even bigger mistake