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The double standard in wrestling is real... can it stop?


Well folks, the good ole IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) is up to it’s old tricks yet again. Just like I’m sure many of you did, I happened to notice that AEW’s Athena was getting a fair amount of attention across social media platforms this week. Which, she should be getting on a week-to-week basis by the way. She’s one of the best in the pro wrestling business and I’d love to see her get more time to prove it.

Now it shouldn’t have been a surprise considering the toxicity that just spews out of every corner of the internet these days, but boy, oh boy, did people come out of the woodwork to give their thoughts on a six-minute wrestling match this week. And no, I’m not going bother using this platform to promote them. Those tweets are out there should you wish to go hunting.

If you don’t frequent Twitter, first off, good for you. But secondly, things went about as you’d expect.

Athena (formerly known as Ember Moon in WWE) took on Canadian indie star Jody Threat during the Toronto tapings last week. Not long after the match aired on AEW Dark Elevation, the opinions started to flood timelines everywhere. Many pulled a brief clip of the match where Athena was shown laying in some stiff shots. Those clips have since been pulled due to copyright violations, but the match in its entirety can be viewed on this week’s episode of Elevation, here or on AEW’s YouTube channel.

I recommend watching it (the action starts at the 12 minute mark), because I guarantee many of those complaining on the internet did not. They would rather formulate an opinion and lambaste a performer based on a clip of a wrestling match that’s just a few seconds long.

I’m not here to harp on social media. We should all strive to be better than the rash of negativity that comes our way on a daily basis. But Twitter is Twitter. It is what is. It’s the nature of the beast at this point.

What I am here to say is simple - can we stop with the double standards in pro wrestling already?

I’m not going to sit here behind my keyboard and pretend to be the foremost expert on in-ring work. I do have however, have some idea what I’m talking about. I trained weekly for 18 months straight with one of the Jung Dragons. I even wrestled a few matches before my back gave out. Now 18 months does not hold a candle to some of the other experts in the world, so take this with a grain of salt and chalk it up as one man’s opinion.

What I watched, was a hard hitting wrestling match. Yes, some shots looked stiff. Yes, some bumps were rough. It’s a pro wrestling match, you guys. What did you expect?

The days of the lingerie pillow fights are over. Having had the pleasure of chatting with a number of very talented women performers these last few years, I can tell you many of them are here to do the tough work. They were well aware of what they were getting into when they started training.

I just did an interview with Liv Morgan where she was practically begging to be rolled through flaming thumbtacks and people are complaining about a few forearm shots and Athena dropping her opponent to the outside? Do yourself a favor and watch more Jody Threat matches.

Go watch Candice LeRae take a thumbtacked-superkick to the face in a match against the Young Bucks. Or how about you check out literally any GCW event - ever. Ever heard the sound of a light tube cracking off the top of someone’s skull? It’s not pleasant. I sure as hell don’t want to be hit with one, let alone get stabbed with the remnants.

Can the argument be made that these types of spots shouldn’t exist in pro wrestling? Yea, sure. But keep up that same energy for the men.

I think that’s my biggest issue stemming off all the criticism being thrown toward Athena. If that was Gunther or Sheamus laying in those shots, many of those people crying foul about the Fallen Goddess would be standing and applauding the boys.

The number one rule in pro wrestling is to make the audience believe. Yes, protect your opponent at all costs, but you have to make it look real. There’s nothing that takes me out of a match faster than a weak punch being sold like they were hit with an atlas stone.

Again, it’s wrestling. Some punches and kicks are going to connect. Some bumps are going to look rough and feel even worse. Even something as simple as taking a lariat can result in a concussion. This is what the wrestlers signed up to do. They know the risks.

It’s pretty clear not everything in Athena’s match went according to plan, as reported by Fightful earlier this week:

“We’re told Jody Threat was a little lost and had asked Athena what was next in the match to get back on track, and then the match devolved into more physicality. Several were quick to note that while they’re confident Jody Threat has no problem handling that physicality, that it shouldn’t have happened anyway and the communication should have been clearer.

“Those close to Athena indicated that each woman were approached by management after the match, to make sure everything was okay. One source familiar with the situation believed that should have been an opportunity to lead by example as oppose to letting it devolve. Those close to Athena believed that this was the way the match was going to go because of her having to switch to the heel role due to Jody’s babyface reaction.”

The report also stated that the match at one point got too aggressive for AEW management. I’m sorry, what? Checking with each performer to make sure they are ok and that’s there’s no issues between them, cool. But that match was too aggressive? Jon Moxley sneezes and he bleeds.

This is the same company that put on a giant cage match this year called “Blood and Guts”, and during said match, Angelo Parker was strung upside down off it like he had just been attacked by Predator in a Central American jungle.

These women are talented. They are tough (definitely tougher than me). Let’s stop over analyzing every single bump.

Literally, just this second, I remembered that time that everyone lost their mind when Randy Orton gave Beth Phoenix an RKO. A move that boils down to a simple front bump.

I could be completely off base here. Maybe Athena was being a little too rough. It’s difficult for myself or anyone watching from home to know for sure. Only the two ladies in the ring can really speak on it and so far neither has chosen to do so.

All I’m asking is that everyone please realize it’s 2022. The sport has evolved. There is a bevy of incredibly talented women out there ready to run through a wall for this business because that’s what they love. That’s what they’ve chosen to do. Let them work.

What do you all think? Let us know in the comment section below. You can follow Rick Ucchino on Twitter and subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling Podcast Channel for more of his work.

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