Women's Superstars Uncensored is arguably the premiere women's wrestling promotion in the United States right now. While SHIMMER Women's Athletes has more of a name cache, WSU runs more shows with more of a spread on the calendar year and actually has iPPV penetration. They have several of the top women in wrestling competing for them, including Mercedes Martinez, Serena Deeb, Becky "Cookie" Bayless and Jessica Havok. They're doing more for the artistic advancement of women's professional wrestling in America than both the major wrestling companies combined right now.
So, why did they announce at their Breaking Barriers 2 iPPV event that they were inducting Dixie Carter into their Hall of Fame?
The ostensible reason is that Carter is an apparent strong female in charge of a major wrestling company. She's a successful businesswoman and at times has had a great Knockouts Division. She has this reputation of being a den mother and someone who has had a positive impact in professional wrestling.
On the surface, it passes the smell test, but most longtime Cagesiders know better. Former writer for this blog S. Bruce made a habit of exposing the murky dealings of TNA, and there's no surprise that the stream of vileness came straight from the top. Carter has been accused of enabling others to promote an environment where sexual harassment was allowed, and she herself has often been portrayed as catty towards other female employees. The sad story of Daffney was well-documented here, and given that Daffney has worked for WSU makes that working relationship pretty awkward now.
The counterargument to this is that one has to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Businesspeople aren't supposed to be nice on their way to the top. Vince McMahon is hailed as a genius in some circles, and by a lot of accounts, he treated some of his employees worse than how Carter has been accused of treating hers. That might hold water if Carter were a successful businesswoman.
TNA was started not by her, but by the father and son team of Jeff and Jerry Jarrett. Her father's company, Panda Energy, bought into the company later on in order to provide some financial stability, and Carter found her way into an administrative position. In that time, the company has pretty much tread water, nominally expanding into an apparent competitor to WWE. However, their business decisions of retreading and keeping around destructive personalities backstage have kept them from truly breaking through. The fact that she has a cult-like devotion to Vince Russo is baffling enough for me to question her sanity. Basically, she inherited a company from her father because he didn't feel like dealing with it, and she's played with it to the point where she's driven it into a seemingly eternal rut. Sure, she made some nice coin doing it, but is that really worthy of being in a Hall of Fame?
I say no, not at all.
WSU as a promotion is far, far above what Dixie Carter represents for women in wrestling. They are fostering an atmosphere where women compete not based on how much silicone they have injected into their chests, but to how well they wrestle, how much they connect with crowds, but how good they are at being professional wrestlers. They've made so many strides and gained such a foothold on the East Coast that I'd argue they're the place for women to aspire to work if they wanted to have more of a regular schedule rather than the block taping for DVD that SHIMMER does (this isn't a knock on SHIMMER at all, by the way, it's just their business model and it works for them and for me as well).
I don't know the reason why they'd want to honor a slavedriving vestige from an era past, when women did what they were told and agreed to the fact that men dominated and women were a sideshow. No strong woman would run TNA the way she has, and yet, this company filled with strong women is going to honor her. What gives? I really want to know the answer, because it's not compatible to me. Is it just to get the publicity? If so, I understand it, but I also think that it's not the way WSU should get more on the map. They have a good enough cache that they're getting women like Melina wrestling for them, a far better and more noble path than honoring a fraud. Is it because they really think Carter is a model woman to be honored? If so, then my guess is they don't know the whole story.
Whatever the reason though, I doubt it's a good one. I like WSU and I think they do a lot of good for indie wrestling and for women's wrestling in America, but I can't co-sign this decision. Dixie Carter is one of the worst figures, woman or man, in professional wrestling today, and the only Hall of Fame she belongs in is the one hosted at WrestleCrap.