The lady wrestlers of old have gone the way of the dinosaurs, replaced by women hired mainly for their appearance. There are, however, some women in pro wrestling today who can work, in addition to having a body and looks that are TV-ready. Two such exceptions are TNA’s Traci Brooks and independent worker O.D.B. (One Dirty Bitch) Jessica Dalton.
Most fans of today’s wrestling are familiar with Traci Brooks, having seen her on TNA, currently at the side of Matt Bentley. But in addition to her work there, Brooks also works a lot of independent bookings. One of her most frequent opponents is the Minnesota-based Dalton. These two talented personalities dazzled Milwaukee fans with a recent match.
Brooks and Dalton spoke to SLAM! Wrestling at the show.
“Jessica Dalton, a.k.a. O.D.B., is my favorite person to wrestle,” Brooks said. “She’s talented, she’s beautiful, and she changes with the times. She understands that wrestling changes and she modifies her style and look to go with the times. She gets it. She’s just awesome.”
The tomboy Dalton, who played hockey in high school and college, was a fan of American Gladiators and wrestling as a child. She was an entrant in the very first edition of WWE’s Tough Enough. She made the first cut, but was not selected to appear on the program. That didn’t stop her. She went out on her own to find a wrestling school and began her career in professional wrestling after seeking out legendary trainer Eddie Sharkey. “I had my first match four months in the business. I don’t think I was ready, but Eddie was like, “Yeah! Go ahead!”
Dalton’s parents encouraged their physical little girl in her dream to become a wrestler, which she admits is a bit avant-garde. “My parents used to take me to indy shows when I was little. They’re big fans and enjoy coming to watch me when I’m in town.” Dalton says her brother, who was one of her first wrestling opponents, came up with her nickname “One Dirty Bitch,” after falling victim to her diabolical tactics, during tussles in the family home in Minneapolis.
Traci Brooks’ formative years were markedly different. The native of St. Marys, Ontario, grew up on a farm, and a career in pro wrestling seemed a faraway dream for a country girl from such bucolic beginnings. “In my town, if you don’t go to college and come back married to your high school sweetheart, you’re the black sheep of the town.”
Brooks reflected on how a career in pro wrestling impacted her family and personal life. “It’s hard with my family. We come from a very small town. I’m definitely the black sheep of my family. I didn’t get to go home and see them for two years, so that was really hard on them. My mother always says I’m a gypsy.”
Brooks and Dalton have their views on the state of women’s wrestling today, such as it is. “This is a man’s sport. I know my role in this business; it’s to look good and entertain the crowd and honestly, I don’t think people want to see women chain wrestle,” Dalton said. “I like it when girls wrestle like girls. We’re totally different, like hair pullin’ and scratching. We can change it up and make it look good but you’ve got eight guys’ matches on the show and they’re doing chain wrestling stuff, and big moves. I’m just pure entertainment.”
Brooks, on the other hand, expresses some misgivings about the way women are sometimes portrayed. “I try to entertain the crowd. Sex sells. There’s nothing wrong with bra and panty matches, I’m sure I’m going to do them one day. It’s the way you do it; you don’t need it every single show,” she said. “The other company [WWE] is not going the direction I like it; it’s starting to veer back the other way. It just seems to be going more bra and panties.”
Dalton is philosophical about the four and a half years she’s spent in professional wrestling so far. “I just want to be happy in the business and I’m enjoying the journey, wherever it takes me. My goal is to be the best I can be. If I get to the top, it’s good!”
Brooks agrees that Dalton is steadily moving up the ladder in wrestling. “She’s great. The indy scene is amazing for girls right now. There are a lot of talented women wrestlers that aren’t getting the breaks they deserve. TNA’s starting to get more women and hopefully is looking towards a women’s federation,” she says.
If you have a chance to see either of these women work, don’t miss it, especially if they’re working against each other. You’re guaranteed a great women’s match, which is something fans don’t see much of these days.