Welcome to the first-ever SLAM! Speaks. This is the launch of what will become a monthly feature here on SLAM!, where the staff will give their unabashed, uncensored thoughts on issues in pro wrestling. Each month, the SLAM! staff will be given a subject and will then give their thoughts on the topic at hand on Fridays. On a rotating basis, writers will be given an opportunity to go all out on their thoughts, in “The Last Word.”

The following week, you, the SLAM! audience will get a chance to voice your opinion. Your thoughts will be published on the site one week after the original SLAM! Speaks article goes live.

In order to participate in SLAM! Speaks, all you have to do is e-mail the roundtable moderator Jon Waldman with your thoughts. Please ensure that your subject line is SlamWrestling, otherwise your e-mail may not be received due to junk mail filters.

Cartoon by Annette Balesteri, our SLAM! Wrestling Editorial Cartoonist

Now sit back, relax, and get set for the first-ever SLAM! Speaks.

SLAM! Speaks Topic #1 – “Is Sable right in saying that the WWE is sexist, giving jobs only to those women with the right look instead of right abilities?”

Jason Clevett
WWE once tried the “talented women” route. I don’t think anyone was watching Bull Nakano & Bertha Faye for T&A. It was still a bathroom break, despite the fact that the Nakano vs. Blayze series provided some really great matches. The current crop of Divas are nice to look at, and sex sells. It’s two faced of Mero to make the comment, as she wasn’t hired for her wrestling ability.

Bob Kapur
Sable’s comment implies that a woman can’t be both attractive and have wrestling ability — I don’t believe that to be true. There are plenty of WWE Divas who meet both criteria: Molly Holly or Trish Stratus for example. This suggestion that beauty and ability are independent of one another is, to me, the more sexist view. Furthermore, it’s hard to buy the argument that a company is sexist when its most powerful person (Linda McMahon – CEO) is a woman.

Greg Oliver
I agree that the WWE only hires a certain type of woman for their shows — athletic and good looking. But really, that goes for the male wrestlers too. The days of the fat, balding oldtimer still working is past. So if they discriminate against both sexes, how can it be sexist? The WWE has gone out of its way to
promote a women’s division, especially on Raw, despite a lack of enthusiasm from their crowds. That’s certainly to their credit.

Chris Sokol
I think Sable is right when she says that WWE looks for sex appeal; I mean that’s the only reason they brought her back. WWE does good though with some of the women they bring in. For instance, Trish Stratus was brought in to be a T&A delight, but now she has become a great women’s wrestler. With women like Stacy Keibler, you know she’s there for her assests; she can’t wrestle a damn lick. Bottom line – WWE focuses too much, not all, but too much on T&A and not on actual wrestling ability.

Jaya Roopansingh
Sable has no right to say what she said, considering she became one of the first “divas” based on their looks instead of their ability. Did Lance Storm really get a fair deal? He has all the ability in the world and got nothing because he lacks the certain charisma of the rest of WWE’s male wrestlers. If the men are being treated the same way, then how can anyone say it’s sexist?
Being a WWE superstar is not just about ability and that’s something every wrestler knows before they get into the business, so no one should complain after the fact. No one thought Chyna was a striking beauty. She still rose to stardom. Remember Luna Vachon? It’s not how you look, it’s what you do with how you look. That goes for anyone wanting to walk into a wrestling ring.

Jon Waldman
Yes, the WWE wants a certain look for their wrestlers, but it’s not restricted to the women. Just about every male that has been called up from OVW over the last while has fit an archetype of being tall and chiseled (eg. John Cena, Rene Dupree, Randy Orton). The only wrestlers that don’t have this “look” are those who have been brought in from other companies (Paul London, Akio), have had their bodies covered to hide their physiques (Mordecai) or finally got their chance after years in the “minor leagues” (Nick Dinsmore). In short, it’s not sexism; rather an overall preference by WWE for the “beautiful people”.

The Last Word

Corey David Lacriox
And the truth shall set you free.

That is exactly what Sable discovered with comments about WWE and their presentation of women. But it was far from being any kind of a major news flash, both in her comments and the end result, her getting fired.

Since the inception of Vince McMahon’s “sports entertainment” genre, a clear evolution in presenting women as a pure T&A product has taken root. Sex sells and the WWE has striven to present that with their Divas, blown spots in tow. The end result is sports entertainment marks giving praise to the Diva matches as credible displays of wrestling proficiency. Sufficed to say, these individuals have never set eyes on female pro wrestling from Japan. As such, they come off looking naïve to put it mildly.

Whether it’s because of sheer contempt for women in wrestling, or a lack of mature vision for quality story lines, women in WWE will always be displayed as eye candy. The company is not interested in presenting serious, competent female wrestlers. If they were, you would see names like Momoe Nakanishi, Meiko Satomura, Ayako Hamada, Mariko Yoshida and other female wrestling greats from Japan on the roster.

Then there’s the select number of women workers based here in North America who far surpass their WWE counterparts in athleticism, ring competence, and most importantly, passion. But because such brave souls don’t meet the minimum Playboy physical attributes, they will sadly remain on the fringe of the wrestling world.

What makes this reality all the more tragic, is the simple fact that T&A is everywhere in our society, easily accessed via TV, movies, video games and the Internet. So it’s not like WWE is offering anything unique with one of the any given clothes ripping escapades. In fact, as seen recently with the disinterest in the Diva search contest, a significant number of fans are making it clear that heaving breast cleavage alone will not appease them.

Sable has certainly benefitted financially from McMahon’s obsession with T&A. With that, she said what most intelligent observers already knew and it certainly won’t change how women will be used in the long run. I will, however, applaud her audacity in making her remarks in a public forum.

If the minimum result is generating some serious discussion on the topic on the role of women in professional wrestling, then she was more than right to make the statements.

— compiled by JON WALDMAN