Brittani Houghtlen, known for being a commentator, announcer and promoter, is now offering social media classes to wrestlers to help with their exposure. The classes are called “Grappling with Social Media” and her mission is to, “help you all grow within the modern pro wrestling world.”
Outside of the wrestling world Houghtlen is a director of marketing for a mortgage company. “I have to make that entertaining, and if I can make that entertaining, I can definitely make wrestling entertaining,” she told SlamWrestling.net with a chuckle.
Houghtlen believes social media is a key part of wrestling. “Social media is the end all be all when it comes to entertainment in general nowadays,” she said, noting that a lot of the indie stars of today wouldn’t be where they are without social media and these outlets create a constant connection to the fans.
“We have a connection to not only the fans but other wrestlers and other promoters from states who probably have never known we existed, countries who would’ve never known we existed. When it comes to that, it is such a door opener.”
Houghtlen said social media has been the reason she got a lot of her opportunities and it has made her a living. She said she now wants to educate others and help people just starting out.
“My dream of all dreams for these classes is they follow what I am teaching, what I’m preaching and they end up getting an amazing following to the point that they get signed by a larger company. They get exposure and get put out there to where it is undeniable that they are the next one.”
Houghtlen pointed out how tough it can be to be a successful wrestler and how much work really goes into it. “Not only do you have to train and learn how to wrestle, then you’ve got to turn around and become a persona, even if it’s just yourself, you’ve got to crank it up to 11. Then you’ve got to learn how to talk or you’ve got to learn how to find a good manager that can talk for you and be able to work with that.”
“Then you’ve got to learn how to work a match in a tag match or a six-man or a scramble, there’s so many working parts. And then on top of all of that, you’ve got to start posting online and showcasing yourself, and you need to put your best foot forward when it comes to social media because screenshots last forever.”
Houghtlen thinks of social media as an extension of wrestling training and it is a way to build yourself up to become, “the ultimate triple threat wrestler, no pun intended.” She said she called her class Grappling with Social Media because it’s a constant fight.
“I feel like I’m fighting with the algorithms and fighting with views and fighting with the trends and fighting with the newest app and newest social thing that’s going on. So, it’s part of that and that’s what I want to teach them.”
Prior to announcing these classes, Houghtlen has been a part of the wrestling business since 2015 but has been a fan her whole life. She grew up watching back old episodes of Mid-South Wrestling and then started following the attitude era of WWF which she remembers the most from her youth.
“Luckily, as an adult going back and being able to catch things like Dusty Rhodes and Harley Race and all that kind of stuff really has rounded me out. But as a fan, I was in that era of like Stone Cold, The Rock, Jericho, Edge, like all of that kind of stuff. So, I saw that all transpire and I was hooked.”
After being a fan for so long, Houghtlen said at the age of 19 she made the decision to move to New Orleans, Louisiana, and become a wrestler herself. However, upon her arrival in New Orleans instead of becoming a wrestler, she became a burlesque performer and somewhat lost interest in wrestling.
It was then in 2014 when WrestleMania 30 was live in New Orleans and her passion for wrestling was found again. “It was a huge thing in the Superdome and I was like, oh my God, I still love wrestling, but I don’t necessarily want to be a wrestler. I want to do what I love the most about wrestling, which was storytelling. I want to be one of the people that helps tell the story, I want to do the commentary, I want to do the announcing, I want to do the backstage interviews.”
She then decided she was going to find a local promotion and become something in wrestling, but she said she did not really know what to do. It was then that a friend of hers, Brett Landry, who was the ring announcer for WildKat Sports, decided to transition to a managerial role, so, WildKat was looking for someone new. “They brought me in I met Luke Hawx, the owner of WildKat Sports. He was like, so have you done this? And I straight up went, yeah, I lied. I don’t recommend it, but I lied my way into the business.”
Houghtlen landed the job and had to train herself while working, she said watching WWE’s Lilian Garcia and Melissa Santos from Lucha Underground helped her improve her craft.
After breaking into the business, Houghtlen has worked for a number of different promotions, including World Class Revolution and WrestleCade, and has done many different roles. A short list: commentating, announcing, backstage interviews, running gorilla, and booking and agenting matches. “I always joke that I do everything but wrestle. So, if you need it done, I got you.”
The owner of WrestleCade, Tracy Myers, was happy to explain why he continues to use her for his promotion. “As a commentator, Brittani brings a contrarian point of view and that is refreshing. As an announcer, she brings a sense of charisma, grace and authority to the role that is difficult to find on the independent level.”
Houghtlen also touched on how important she thinks it is to have women in the wrestling industry.
“It’s that joke of like, a woman’s touch, I think it just adds an extra layer to it. You can’t have a story without a whole plethora of personalities, a whole plethora of feelings and emotions, and I really think that anybody who is a woman or identifies as a woman has a place in pro wrestling because it’s for everybody.”
She said being a female in the business has had its ups and downs for her — she’s experienced a lot of support and a lot of the opposite. A woman of authority coming in who is not a wrestler causes some pushback. “I’m not, quote on quote, a worker, I’m talent, but I’m not a worker. So, I come in and they go, but what the hell does she know about wrestling? She’s never laced up a pair of boots.”
“So, I really had to be tough and I had to be kind of really cold and hard and, take no BS and be very short tempered and to the point. And I’m trying really hard now to lose that a little bit because I can come off very brash if I’m trying to be like, I know what I’m doing. It’s that whole thing of having to prove yourself.”
In 2025, it will be a decade in the business for Houghtlen, so she is starting to brush off the negativity. “There are way more people that know that I am part of this business and know what I bring for this business that respect me. So, you know, I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s that the people that do enjoy me, enjoy me.”
Myers also said that Houghtlen stands out because she is a successful woman in a position of authority taking things to the next level in what is a male-dominated industry.
Houghtlen takes her job as a ring announcer very seriously and sees herself as the one leading the crowd. “One of my go-to lines is, I’m here to guide you on this journey that is professional wrestling.”
When it comes to the commentary booth, Houghtlen can do both color commentary as well as play-by-play. She said she is thankful for all the opportunities she has had because she knows promoters do not make a lot of money, so it means a lot to her when they are willing to spend money on her talent.
To Myers, Houghtlen brings a lot of care to her work and that is the reason he continues to hire her. “We take a lot of pride in what we do. If others don’t, they won’t work for us long because we demand a lot,” he said.
Her biggest inspirations that have influenced her work are Paul Heyman, Dusty Rhodes, Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon and even some NFL commentary.
On top of having all these jobs, Houghtlen is also believed to be the first female promoter in Louisiana, as she is the owner of Elev8 Pro Wrestling. She was the ring announcer for the promotion initially but took over in 2019.
The promotion was launched back in 2016 originally owned by Alex Cruz, but Cruz had a difficult departure from the company.
“He started doing all the terrible things you hear about promoters and wrestlers and Dark Side of the Ring-style stuff. So, his eventual outcome was that he was going to sell the company,” she said. “He also had a school attached to this at the time, which meant that him selling the company and folding it and folding the school means that he took these kids’ money and just said, sorry about you, and was going to just bounce.”
Houghtlen said she has a soft spot for people in wrestling and believes wrestling saves a lot of lives. She saw that Elev8 was all that some people have, so she made the quick decision to buy the company.
“If you would’ve asked me a month before that, if I thought I would be a promoter, I would’ve laughed at you. I would’ve been like, no never, I don’t want it, but, I did, I bought it.”
Houghtlen purchased the company at the 2019 anniversary show, Ultimate Valor Three, and had the notary come to the arena to get her license to be a promoter. Unfortunately, she said the night she bought the company was the same night Cruz left the company and took all the wrestlers’ money for that show.
This gave Houghtlen her first chance to prove what kind of promoter she would be. “I do good business and I paid everybody and I paid them all of their money in full and took care of them. I’m still close to every single one of them till this day and I work with a lot of them often.”
After she took over, she then rebranded the promotion to be what she envisioned and she moved to Dallas, Texas. Houghtlen is now excited to start bringing Elev8 to Texas, but she still plans on holding special shows in New Orleans because she said that will always be its home.
Myers said Houghtlen’s work in Elev8 is what put her on his radar. “I saw her work there [Elev8 Pro] before I hired her. The way she promoted her events is what initially stood out to me and made me take a closer look,” said Myers.
Being a promoter is very difficult, Houghtlen said, and it is due to bad promoters out there giving them all a bad reputation. She said in the past she has dealt with promoters who do not even provide something to eat or even water for their wrestlers. “I take care of my wrestlers, everyone gets paid on my shows, every single person, no one works for free. I make sure there’s catering or food in the back and especially water.”
She also does not allow the fans of Elev8 Pro to get out of line. “If there is a fan that throws out a racist or homophobic slur or does something like that, they are instantly ejected. I don’t need your $10 if you’re going to cause that kind of energy.”
“I want very positive energy, we are very open and my company is very open to people of color, very open to the LGBTQAI community. We are very open to all of that and so I don’t want negative energy whatsoever when it comes to that, I want everybody to feel safe.”
Houghtlen has been lucky enough to make a profit with every show she has run with Elev8 since taking over the company.
There have not been too many female promoters in wrestling in general, especially in Louisiana. She said it feels weird to be a part of history, but she has yet to get much recognition. “I might get my flowers when I’m dead, but it’s one of those things it’s strange to me, but I’m very proud of it. I’ve never considered myself a trailblazer, but I guess sure, why not? I’ll add that to the resume.”
Houghtlen is proud of all she has accomplished and is excited about what her future in wrestling may hold.
“Now I’m at this level where I either need to start travelling more and getting more outside of the southern realm and start doing more out there to grow. Then I need to give back or I need to step up and so it’s either like hit that contract point or continue to give back and expand.”
Fortunately, she has social media to help expand her reach.
TOP PHOTO: Brittani Houghtlen standing in the ring. Credit: Stefawni Elle