For whatever reason, one of the most prevalent male fantasies in modern culture is seeing two women engage in a sexual experience together. Given that the entire point of being a lesbian is that a woman has no romantic interest in men, this seems a little counterintuitive, and yet in the world of popular culture, semantics like these are a little bit less important.
Thanks to a certain sports entertainment impresario being one of the men who buys into this fantasy even more so than most, World Wrestling Entertainment and other professional wrestling companies have been especially guilty of turning their employees into lesbians simply to titillate a crowd. Were McMahon or any other promoter able to handle LGBT characters with the proper respect and care, maybe a storyline like this could actually entertain an audience in a non-sexual way.
Unfortunately, it seems like whenever they try to make a woman’s gimmick that she’s in love with another female, the result is horribly offensive to real lesbians, let alone any viewers who happen to live within the bounds of good taste. That said, on very rare occasions, even WWE has somehow managed to get it right and make a compelling storyline out of lesbian issues. Either way, if you happen to be one of those people who just want to be enticed by the imagery, there will be plenty of that, as well. Keep reading to learn about 15 lesbian moments in pro wrestling that made our jaws drop, in more ways than one.
15 Eric Bischoff and HLA
It feels appropriate to kick off this list with one of the main reasons people believe WWE will never handle lesbian issues properly. Back in 2002, ratings were sagging something fierce after the exits of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, and plenty of other stars who personified why the Attitude Era was so popular. Rather than attempt to establish a newer, younger talent as a superstar worthy of replacing those legendary names, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff went the lowest common denominator route and offered HLA—“Hot Lesbian Action.” On September 9th, two actresses who were clearly not actual lesbians were lead to the ring where they awkwardly pretended to kiss one another, for all of about three minutes. At that point, Bischoff had 3 Minute Warning attack the poor ladies, making sure absolutely everybody was offended by what went down that night.
14 Rosa Mendes And Natalya Neidhart
It’s bad enough when WWE uses entirely fake lesbian couplings in their storylines, so it should go without saying it becomes a whole lot worse when they use the tried to force the idea of a real one. That said, depending on how one feels about reality television in general, the idea may well be business as usual. If it isn’t clear by now, we’re talking about one of the plotlines on Total Divas, the series documenting the real life of several female superstars. In seasons 3 and 5, this included Rosa Mendes, and she also appeared as a guest or recurring character in 2, 4, and 6. Also, since 2014, Mendes has been openly bisexual, a fact that has come up on the show more than once when cameras were running and she may have had too much to drink. First, Mendes kissed a shocked Natalya Neidhart, and then…
13 Rosa Mendes And Paige
Vince McMahon probably just about lost his mind at the news Rosa Mendes was openly bisexual, and when Paige revealed the same thing, it’s almost easy to picture him doing whatever it took to pair the two together onscreen and off. Obviously, it isn’t too hard getting women who work together to spend time together, and so cameras caught Paige and Mendes hanging out on many occasions. Eventually, just as had happened with Mendes and Natalya Neidhart, this included a moment where Mendes drunkenly came on to Paige with a passionate kiss on Total Divas. Also just as had happened the first time, Paige calmly pushed Mendes away and said she didn’t reciprocate those kinds of feelings. Regardless of this demure reaction, WWE and Total Divas other producers used the moment as often as they could in advertising, trying to milk it for whatever it was worth.
12 Stacy Keibler And Torrie Wilson
Mostly because of how patently offensive it was on every level, most WWE fans have all too clear memories of Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo’s homoerotic tag team and subsequent fake gay wedding. What most people probably forget is that something just as horribly offensive was taking place behind the scenes involving the ladies. First thing first, on the February 7, 2002 episode of SmackDown, the then-relatively new Billy and Chuck challenged Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson to a pose-off. Sexually suggestive poses ensued, including the ladies crawling all over one another, and the crowd responded by naming them the winners by a wide majority. The catch is that the exact same segment was filmed weeks earlier with Trish Stratus, who found it extremely out of character for her and didn’t want to be involved. As punishment for refusing the role, Stratus soon lost the WWE Women’s Championship.
11 Winter And Angelina Love
You got to hand it to Total Nonstop Action, Impact Wrestling, or whatever it is they call themselves these days. Whenever WWE or most other wrestling companies try lesbian angles, it feels cliché and kind of pointless, not to mention completely inaccurate to anyone who actually understands LGBT culture, as this list has repeatedly reminded. In the one incident where TNA tried, on the other hand, they decided to get extremely weird with it. It all started when then five time former Knockout’s Champion Angelina Love began seeing Winter, who WWE fans might recognize as Katie Lea, popping up in mirrors and giving her advice while making sensuous poses and gestures. Part of why it worked is that any lesbian undertones were kept subtle, merely relegated to errant glances as Winter and Love formed a championship winning tag team.
10 Mickie James And Melina
Having been involved in one of the greatest LGBT storylines of all time, which this list will soon cover, one might hope that Mickie James would be a little bit more sensitive about the subject than some others. On the contrary, her character has been extremely flippant about her sexual orientation, having used lesbian tendencies as an attack more than once. It worked in that famous feud this list will cover later, but when James randomly planted a kiss on Melina before pinning her at Survivor Series 2007. The moment came in a 10-woman tag match featuring most of the women in the company. It was bad enough that practically all the women in the company were thrown into a meaningless cluster, and that it ended with such a pointless moment only cemented how off the rails the women’s division was at the time.
9 Layla El And Jen England
Proving just how important it can be for a female WWE employee to be willing to go gay for pay once in a while, Layla El and Jen England did just that when they became the two finalists in the 2006 Diva Search. Ultimately, only Layla was able to get a job out of the random make-out session, and England was never to be seen again, despite giving it her all in every sense of the expression. Taking it a step further than the usual random lesbian experiences seen in wrestling, El and England were both in bikinis and wasted no time in falling to the floor, going all out and doing whatever it took to get that job. Of course, wrestling traditionalists weren’t particularly impressed, if anything horribly upset to see the industry has sunken so low.
8 Taeler Hendrix And Heidi Lovelace
Given their smaller scale and more intimate audience, independent wrestling promotions are far more likely to pull off a lesbian based storyline with some sort of dignity than WWE. That said, the fact many of these companies operate in the Southern United States could be a small obstacle, which Taeler Hendrix knew when accepting a lesbian stalker angle while working for Ohio Valley Wrestling, which despite the misleading name, is actually based in Kentucky. Noting how biased some of the fans in that state are, Hendrix even said it made her sick to her stomach when her bosses told her Heidi Lovelace (aka Ruby Riot) was going to be revealed as her long-rumored secret admirer. Luckily, she was able to get over the uneasiness and create one of the more nuanced versions of this idea the industry had seen. Of course, the fact Vince McMahon had nothing to do with it probably helped more than anything else.
7 Sable And Torrie Wilson
Upon first glance, it made enough sense that Sable would make her WWE return to confront Torrie Wilson about appearing in Playboy magazine. Sable was the first female wrestler to make that move, and wrestling logic means she would always be jealous about anyone replicating her accomplishment. What made significantly less sense was when WWE started taking their feud in a lesbian direction for no particular reason, except that Sable and Wilson had an additional Playboy shoot together not too long down the line. Hugh Hefner would be another one of those men pointlessly attracted to lesbians, so the ladies were forced to hug and kiss as they appeared naked in the pages of his magazine. Even before that, they kissed in the ring at Judgment Day 2003, another moment that went absolutely nowhere and served no purpose.
6 Dawn Marie And Torrie Wilson
For as much as there was to complain when Torrie Wilson smooched Sable out of nowhere, it didn’t hold a candle to the bizarre antics Wilson would get into with Dawn Marie. While she was ultimate valley girl in ECW, Marie arrived in the WWE Universe as a manipulative she-devil, although she would go about proving it in the strangest way imaginable. Apparently, Marie’s master plan was to embarrass Wilson by tricking her into a sexual encounter, which she would then air at Armageddon 2003, barely. In order to get Wilson to agree to the tryst, however, she needed to first seduce Torrie's father, Al. When Wilson understandably was embarrassed her father was dating one of her coworkers, how exactly this would entice Wilson to sleeping with Marie is a mystery. This hardly stopped Vince McMahon, though, who likely enjoyed the idea quite heartily.
5 Who Is Beulah McGillicutty Cheating With?
To anyone unfamiliar with the saga of Raven, Tommy Dreamer, and Beulah McGillicutty, the news that ECW was actually the first mainstream wrestling company to use gay characters in a major storyline is probably some troubling news. There’s no way Paul Heyman’s notoriously violent and intentionally offensive company could possibly hand the sensitive subject with class, right? Well, maybe not, but at least Paul E. understood the difference between shockingly compelling trash from pointlessly titillating trash. Said distinction is what we feel about these lesbian characters and the people around them when the kissing is over, and the number of emotions felt when Beulah revealed she was cheating on Tommy Dreamer not with Raven, but with his new girlfriend Kimona Wanalaya speak for themselves. We would be remiss not to mention Dreamer’s response was equally evocative—the man was hardcore, so he had to take them both.
4 Mae Young And Mickie James
As tends to happen whenever women become successful in pro sports, rumors have long swirled about the possibility WWE Hall of Famers Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah having engaged in a lesbian relationship during their legendary careers. Whatever happened behind closed doors remains up for debate, but if nothing else, it was pretty clear Young had no problem swapping spit with a woman when she and Mickie James locked lips on an episode of Raw. Given the wide gap between their ages, the moment was far more disturbing than attractive regardless of how one feels about the lesbian fetish in general. On the other hand, compared to some of the other items on this list, the joke here was more on Young’s infamously voracious sexual appetite than on lesbians, so at least it could have been worse.
3 AJ Lee And Paige
Between 2011 and her retirement in 2015, it felt like AJ Lee dated virtually the entire WWE roster. Primo was first in NXT, followed by Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, and Kane, and that’s just mentioning her male suitors. Apparently deciding that none of those superstars were man enough to satisfy her, Lee’s final quasi-romantic storyline in wrestling saw her suddenly start warming up to her old friend turned rival Paige upon the latter’s WWE call-up. Because it took place in the PG era, this lesbian angle was far less risqué than the others we’ve mentioned, and the most physical Paige and AJ got was a lingering hug that clearly made the Anti-Diva extremely uncomfortable. It also made plenty of fans uncomfortable, as they had no doubt hoped the PG rating meant this sort of jaw-droppingly pointless fake lesbianism was over.
2 Mickie James And Trish Stratus
All right, folks, here it is. For all the talk this list has been doing about how WWE in particular is horrible at handling lesbian issues with any sort of class, there’s also the feud between Trish Stratus and Mickie James. In and out of the ring, Stratus and James created one of the most compelling angles any two women in sports entertainment have been able to enact, all based on James developing a Single White Female-style crush on the 7-time WWE Women’s Champion. Initially, men identified with James because they too had longed after Stratus, but before long, her sheer insanity made it clear who the villain was. Granted, this is a little bit close to the offensive trope that gay people are manipulative or evil, and yet the performances were strong enough it made our jaws drop in all the right ways.
1 Stephanie McMahon And… Rikishi?!
In order for this list to go full circle, we must return to those three stupid letters only Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon loved so much, HLA. Mere weeks after the initial lesbian segment brought Raw to an all-time low, WWE was prepared for another monthly Pay-Per-View in Unforgiven 2002. On that card, Bischoff’s Raw representatives 3 Minute Warning faced off with Stephanie and SmackDown’s Billy and Chuck, freshly turned face by revealing they weren’t really gay. Doubling down on the offensiveness, the match stipulations mandated that if McMahon’s team lost, she would have to engage in some Sapphic love. Naturally, that looked to be the case, as the hulking 3MW made easy work of McMahon’s pink supporters. Instead of HLA, though, she made out with…Rikishi in drag. Even if Rikishi had worn a more convincing costume, the bait and switch was ridiculous enough to leave fans flabbergasted, shocked that WWE would resort to something so stupid.