Friday, September 1, 2017

Why The Mae Young Classic Means So Much To Me

If you are new to my little corner of the internet, you should know I am a huge professional wrestling fan. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in my moms bed on a Saturday morning and watching the recaps of what happened during the week in wrestling. My love is so strong it is the reason why I went to college for communications. I wanted to be a wrestling broadcaster because, at that time I could never imagine someone like me being able to be a professional wrestler.

For the longest time women in the professional wrestling world (and yes, it is professional wrestling to me not sports entertainment) were only seen as eye candy. Beautiful women in very little clothing having cat fights. As a young girl, clearly this was not something I was ever interested in. A few years ago, that all started to change. The WWE became very progressive and started letting the women take more chances and fully let them become superstars. (I wrote about this before and you can read it here) There are even independent companies that are just female competitors, It's amazing.

The young girl inside of me sitting in her moms bed watching wrestling was so excited. The first time two women were the main event of a pay-per-view event, I cried. It was everything that I had ever wanted to see. Everything that a little girl needed to look up to. Strong, confident, athletic women who are showing off their talents - not their bodies.

Then it really happened. I got a text from my husband a few months ago that WWE was having a women's only tournament. 32 women from all around the world competing against each other to show what female wrestlers can really do. I got chills. I couldn't answer him. When I processed it, all I said was "finally". This week the WWE Network released some of the early matches of the tournament along with all of the back stories of the competitors.

The Mae Young Classic, named for one of the most iconic female wrestlers of all time, is not just for WWE Superstars. Actually, most of the 32 women are independent wrestlers. They are coming from all walks of life and pouring their souls out for the profession they love. They are all built differently and most are not your typical "pretty girls". To me, it is breaking the stigma that was surrounded around the female competitors for so long.

So why am I making such a big deal out of this? I am making a big deal out of this for girls like my friend Cecilia's twins who love Bayley and have their friends watching now. For April who drives  her daughter from North Carolina to St. Louis to see the first ever women's Money In The Bank match. Above all, this is a big deal for that little girl sitting on her mom's bed who never thought a girl like her could make it in that world. It shows that your dreams are truly possible if you have the courage to pursue them.

I only wish there was something like this when I was younger. Maybe it would have given me the courage to at least try. I want to thank these 32 women for having the courage to follow your dreams and change the stigma associated with female professional wrestlers. You all are role models for a new generation of wrestling fans. Thank you for helping to shape the future of the business we all love.


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