Where’s My Freaking Revolution: Right Back Where We Started

It was, technically, a year ago that I began all of this. The first official Where’s My Freaking Revolution column was actually about last year’s Great Balls of Fire PPV, but the entire venture was inspired by the handling of the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match and the fallout afterwards. The column I consider the “pilot” for the series went live on Deadshirt on June 20th, 2017, the same day I posted my pitch for WMFR.

I’m still glad I was talked out of making it a weekly thing.

So it kind of feels fitting that almost exactly a year later I found myself completely reevaluating everything I’ve believed and written about and tried to fight for. To the point that I considered, briefly, ending this column all together.

WWE had a highly publicized For Your Consideration event in LA on June 7. During the event, Charlotte Flair made a comment about wrestling being a male dominated industry, and Stephanie McMahon corrected her by saying that it “used to be a male dominated industry.”

Good thing nothing here still looks male dominated, huh?

Charlotte Flair, by the way, is one of the highest paid women on the roster and still sees only a fraction of what her equally billed male counterparts make in a year. This can be explained in two ways: either Charlotte is not actually considered by the company to be on-par with someone like Seth Rollins when it comes to talent and drawing power or she is considered to be equal to him and WWE just feels justified in paying her just under 20% of what he makes in a year because she’s a woman. Either way, it doesn’t really support Stephanie’s claims that wrestling isn’t still male dominated.

Let’s be real, it’s not like we even have to crunch salary numbers to see this. In the past year the women have been the main event on only a single PPV, when the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble went on last at the January show. And even that ended up feeling like it was done just to hype the arrival of Ronda Rousey afterwards. In fact, women have only main evented two PPVs in WWE history: this year’s Royal Rumble show and the 2016 Money in the Bank PPV when Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair went on last, and even that was done with little fanfare only being recognized later on. NXT, which boasts its history of pushing women forwards, has an even worse record, the only women’s match to main event an NXT special was the highly lauded Sasha versus Bayley match in 2015 at NXT Takeover: Respect. NXT has also failed to keep up featuring women equally in-ring during Takeover shows, the women have been limited to a single match at every special since NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II in 2016.

Takeover Respect
Remember when Bayley was a badass main event start? WWE doesn’t!

The men still dominate the WWE merchandise store. “Special edition” shirt runs feature one or two women’s names or logos, and it’s generally the same two women (right now, Rousey and Alexa Bliss). Currently there is only one woman in NXT who has her own shirt available, Shayna Baszler (while Nikki Cross is part of Sanity she doesn’t have her own merchandise available). The WWE Legends collections make little to no attempt to include the women who have acted as inspirations for current superstars.

And it’s hard to feel like anyone’s on our side anymore. Triple H has been cheered for his work with NXT and the Mae Young Classic, but his true colors seem to show with recent NXT booking and product. Not to mention his own claim that the reason WWE wasn’t showcasing women for a long time was because “the talent wasn’t out there” which was a blatant lie.

Naomi jumps
Here, have a picture of Naomi being awesome to break up the text.

And while it happened in the indies, I have to bring up something that deeply rocked me: Joey Ryan, former tag team partner of NXT’s Candice Le Rae and outspoken proponent of equality in wrestling, performed a bit in New Orleans alongside Jerry “The King” Lawler, an openly sexist “legend” who helped dismiss the ring work of plenty of WWE women with simply the word “puppies.” To see someone who seemed so positive for “our side” team up with a man with a long history of mistreating women personally and professionally was a blow to my gut.

We can’t even trust other women in wrestling to do right by us. The stories about Fabulous Moolah have circulated for years, how she ripped off her students, took away their opportunities to profit/promote herself and allegedly prostituted the girls training under her. The Dixie Carter run TNA had its fair share of gross and demeaning stories and circumstances for women, even while patting itself on the back for featuring them more. And during some of the worst of WWE’s treatment of women in the company, the person running the writer’s room was…Stephanie McMahon, the woman who claims men no longer dominate the industry, yet couldn’t handle being called out over WWE’s pay inequality.

AJ faces Steph
Wrestling takes “art imitates life” very seriously.

Stephanie McMahon who also helped to recruit Ronda Rousey to sign with WWE. You likely know my take on this by now. If you don’t, I will provide you with a link, go and read that to see why I have such a problem with this situation. But it was as I was railing against Ronda as the antithesis of the Women’s Revolution it was pointed out to me the horrible truth: actually, Ronda was what inspired Triple H and Stephanie to promote more women’s wrestling. They saw her ability to draw and the chance to score her as a featured player and that’s why all of a sudden you saw more serious treatment of women in NXT. So Rousey isn’t the antithesis of WWE’s revolution, she’s the catalyst for it.

I realized that’s true. And it nearly made me end this whole experiment. Because what am I really fighting for, what do I really expect to get out of this? If the basis of your whole revolution is based around a self-serving egomaniac who you could easily argue hates other women, why would I ever expect a culture of respect and empowerment to ever make its way to the ring? If that’s the revolution they’re pushing, why should I bother? Because it’s never ever ever going to be my revolution.

Isn’t that what I’ve been crying for from the beginning? My revolution?

I’m sorry if you came here looking for match recaps and analysis of Money in the Bank. That’s obviously not what I had in store for you. In case you did, here it is in brief: MITB match was INCREDIBLE, out did the men by a mile, showed the point of wrestling LIKE GIRLS by innovating on their own instead of copying what the men do, I’m sick of calling out the issues with Alexa Bliss, is she seriously champion again ugh, I didn’t hate the way Ellsworth was used this year and actually thought all parties involved in the SDL Women’s Match did an incredible job especially Asuka’s look of shock when her entrance gear moved on its own. Also let Ember Moon fight everyone, let Naomi have more ladder matches, I still don’t like Lana but her little “LANA CRUSH” was adorable.

Carmella vs Asuka
Asuka and Carmella’s acting skills made this troll job work.

But heading into year two of Where’s My FREAKING Revolution things may get a bit different. They may be more personal at times, less of the recaps you might expect and more digging a little deeper. Possibly some navel gazing, but that’s mostly because I miss having it pierced. It’s going to be less of demanding what “we” want from the WWE, less of “you should be doing this” and more of me, what I’m getting from it, what I would do differently, what’s wrong from my own perspective. It may lose some of my readers, and that’s okay. You don’t have to stick around if you’re not into it. Go find your own revolution because I’ll bet its different from mine.

Last year I was accused of taking the ending of the Women’s Money in the Bank match personally. I said I didn’t. But going forward, yeah. Maybe I do take it personally. Maybe that’s the whole point.

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