It's not too often that wrestling matches are labeled capital-I "important", but there have been several women's matches over the past year that have been discussed as such.
The latest occurred on the May 4 episode of Lucha Underground, when Sexy Star won a No Más (I Quit) match against Mariposa. The bout built off Sexy's backstory as a survivor of trauma while also presenting the luchadoras as every bit the warriors - capable of grimy, bloody brutality - as their male counterparts.
Lucha Underground has won praise from some for its portayal of its female characters, even as others have expressed concern about their depiction of violence against women. WWE, in particular, has allegedly been unimpressed with the show's intergender action - and Wrestling Observer recently published what they said was a company guideline for women looking for Performance Center tryouts, which included "stop gigging [intentionally drawing blood for effect] at indy shows".
Unsurprisingly, Sexy Star is 100% behind LU's direction. In a recent profile in Forbes which also lauds the El Rey Network program for their approach, she discussed the Mariposa match - and worked in a couple of digs at WWE:
My match against Mariposa has been one of the best things that have ever happened to me because it allowed me to make it clear to everyone what true women wrestling is.
It's not scratching each other followed by glamorous poses. We are not two beautiful women pulling each other's hair.
A real female match is a match between to gladiators, two warriors who are ready for anything and who are willing to leave their blood splattered in the ring if it's necessary. In a true female match, participants defend their dignity with their moves, high flying action, hits, chairs and whatever else might be need, because when two women truly want to win, they are willing to risk it all, including their lives.
For decades, due to poor representation, female wrestlers have been expected to step into the ring to show off their bodies and model.
It feels great to know that the public is clear that my fight with Mariposa was not that. That fight demonstrated that the public has been living in a fog.
Thanks to Lucha Underground and their belief in women and their power, we have been allowed the platform we deserve and we the women have made sure to defend our space and value within the company at all costs, even blood.
That match was only a little sample of the type of fight women who truly love lucha and defend their dignity with much more than a nice body and pretty face are capable of.
Sexy has first hand experience with WWE and their "poor representation". She was brought in to the Developmental program (then Florida Championship Wrestling) for a tryout in 2010 and, according to reports from the Observer and others, dismissed as being overweight and not attractive enough without her mask.
This was under previous Talent chief John Laurinaitis, but it's understandable that the Mexican star would still have a chip on her shoulder about it. Though WWE has made great strides from the days of bra and panties matches, they're still moving too slowly for some - and would never consider putting on something like the No Más affair.
Is that a bad thing? Sexy Star certainly thinks so. What do you think, Cagesiders?