Shameless Plugging: Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 6
I know I’ve already talked a little about this weekend’s Girls Night Out event in Cleveland, mostly as it pertains to me, re: announcing. As awesome as it is that I, a veritable nobody in the world of professional wrestling, get to be involved in any aspect of the production of an event, what’s really important about the show, something I perhaps failed to mention, is the wrestling itself. Absolute Intense Wrestling is one of only a handful of companies in North America devoting entire shows to the art of women’s wrestling. Girls Night Out isn’t a token match on an otherwise male-dominated card. It isn’t titillation. It’s not arm-candy. It’s wrestling; moreover, it’s good wrestling, which is something I can’t help but notice “real” wrestling fans bemoaning a lack of on television.
It’s fine and good to complain on Facebook and add “@WWE” to your tweets with the foggy notion that they’ll understand your rage when it comes to 18-second Daniel Bryan matches at Wrestlemania, but the fact of the matter is this: The WWE has their advertiser-friendly, action figure deal approved formula down to a science, and as long as they can play Randy Orton’s theme song louder than your “YES! YES! YES!” chants, they’ll (mostly) continue to not take your suggestions. This, friends, is why independent professional wrestling is so important. Yes, important. Like music not released by UMG or movies that are released by studios smaller even than Focus Features or Fox Searchlight, indie wrestling offers an important alternative to the WWE, TNA, and yes, even Ring of Honor. Meditate, for a moment, on the words “women’s wrestling.” What do you see, in your mind’s eye? Is it anything like this?:
Countless words have been wasted on the state of mainstream women’s wrestling, and it’s not really my place to dogpile, cajole, or point out that it’s tough to have a great match when allotted two minutes of airtime. But I will point out that the main event of Girls Night Out 5 went 18 minutes, that a competitor on the show (Mia Yim) wrestled two matches, that another woman (Allysin Kay) broke her nose early in her match and wrestled an intense, fast-paced contest for another ten minutes. Could the WWE Divas do the same? Sure, but fans have been complaining about a lack of quality wrestlers (“swimsuit model” could, for most men, only be a disdainful term in the minds of wrestling fans) and good feuds and matches for years, and look where that’s gotten us:
This is exactly why indie wrestling is so important. Not that Sara Del Rey or Veda Scott would turn down a four-minute Wrestlemania match where the host of a Hollywood gossip show walks away with the pinfall, but if you turn up to Turner’s Hall this Sunday, you’re certainly not going to see them in a four-minute match. You’ll get to see those women perform their craft in an environment that caters to their abilities as athletes and storytellers—wrestling in front of a wrestling crowd as opposed to moonlighting at a pop-culture extravaganza. The downside of an event like Girls Night Out, however, is that it is often booked at tremendous financial risk to the promoters. Not that they don’t know that, going in, but indie shows are promoted on a shoestring budget, with little room for error. I may be a little biased in my beliefs, but a company like AIW should be rewarded for putting on an event like Girls Night Out. There are plenty of Cleveland-area wrestling fans who wouldn’t get to see talent like “Girl Dynamite” Jennifer Blake or Annie Social or Kimber Lee in person without these events, but I’ve been to enough AIW shows to notice that the crowds at Girls Night Out are a little thinner than the male-oriented cards, the people in attendance a little more quiet.
I don’t like to assume the worst of wrestling fans, but when they complain that the women’s wrestling or the tag team wrestling on TV isn’t that good and don’t go to the shows that value and promote exactly the sort of wrestling they claim to want to see, I get to wondering if their hearts are really in it. Yes, the economy is pretty terrible and, as an unemployed fan myself, I know that show-going money doesn’t fall from the sky. But I love these shows. They’re events. Happenings. I put my money where my mouth was and paid to be involved in one. A few fans really wanted to see Leva Bates on this Sunday’s card, so they put together the money necessary to get her to Ohio. There are people coming to this show from Europe, which, by the way, is across an ocean. I’m willing to pay $15 to be a part of that crowd. If you like women’s wrestling or just wrestling or just women, you should be willing, too. It’s an old, horrible saying, but if you really want change, especially in this industry, you need to vote with your wallet. This Sunday, you get a chance to stuff the ballot box.
So that it doesn’t just look like I’m complaining, I’ll end this post by putting up the entire show’s card. If you want to help AIW in their quest to make pro-wrestling better for all of us, visit shop.aiwrestling.com and do one of the following: 1) Buy a ticket to Girls Night Out 6, the J.T. Lightning Memorial Tournament, or Absolution 7. 2) Buy a DVD. If you purchase an AIW DVD before Sunday, they’ll throw in a show from their archives (that’s any show not from the year 2012) at no further cost to you. Both options are just $15 bucks and go a long way in providing for future events. If you don’t have $15 and have, say, $10, then head over to Smart Mark Video’s on-demand website and grab one of the eight shows available there.
This card represents what is likely to be one of the best mixes of talent, experience, new faces, and intense competitors in a stateside wrestling show this year, male or female. I could post bootlegged matches from YouTube or give you my opinion on each match, but that is unnecessary. I honestly don’t think there’ll be a weak match on the card. These women are hungry. They deserve your attention. If you go to Girls Night Out this Sunday and aren’t satisfied with your experience, yell at me in the comment section or by using this blog’s contact form. I would be more than interested in talking with you, Jackie Fargo, about why women don’t belong in your wrestling ring. But you need to be there or buy the DVD, otherwise how can you have an opinion?
AIW Girls Night Out 6. Turners Hall, 7325 Guthrie Ave., Cleveland, Ohio. 4:00 belltime. Tickets: $15. Buy them online at shop.aiwrestling.com or at the door.
Paul Arrand Rodgers
Paul Arrand Rodgers has this blog, and that's about it.