Female wrestlers have always faced a huge challenge. Even back in the Golden Age, they were treated as a novelty act despite their fantastic success, Mildred Burke among their biggest stars. It continued through the ‘80s as the WWE had a push for them (even a Women’s Tag Team title) but that soon faded to the wayside. While a brief return in the ‘90s came out, it took the later part of the decade and the rise of the “Divas” to give female workers more of a spotlight and their fame today thanks to “Total Divas” making them more relatable. From Playboy shoots to actual matches, the Divas of wrestling are notable, WWE getting the most attention but TNA also having their Knockouts and ROH offering stuff with Shimmer and other indies. They have combined to give women a good shot in wrestling but sadly, a lot of bad to go with the good.
It’s not helped that so many writers/bookers go for the lowest common denominator and treat women as just eye candy (which, to be fair, happens on regular TV shows as well). It’s not just the skimpy outfits and mud battles or bikini contests, women have come to accept that. It’s also downright degrading moments that drive fans of both sexes crazy, totally beneath those involved and making them, and women’s wrestling itself, look completely idiotic. It goes from big stars to lesser knowns but it still happens all over. WWE are the main culprits but TNA have offered more than their own horrible stuff as well. Here are 15 times women have been degraded in this business and makes you realize we still have a long way to go before things can be seen as equal.
15 15. Stephanie vs. Vince
14 14. Kharma Crying
13 13. Throw Mickie In Front of a Train
Professional wrestling, the only sport where attempted murder is answered by “payback in the ring.” TNA has done some pretty dumb stuff over the years but they really stretched it with the program as James Storm began stalking Mickie James as a way to get at Magnus. A truly fantastic star who’d been a standout for TNA, Mickie was now made into a damsel in distress in this mess and dumb to boot to fall for some tricks. That included Storm luring her to a train station in Nashville and TNA showing “security cam footage” of the two arguing on the platform before Storm threw her in front of an oncoming train.
12 12. Terri Miscarriage
Pregnancy-themed storylines rarely work out well in wrestling and here’s a prime example. Terri Runnels had teamed with Jacqueline to become Pretty Mean Sisters and working with Mark Henry and D’Lo Brown. Terri claimed to be pregnant by Val Venis but he said he had a vasectomy so it wasn’t his and dumped her. During a match, D'Lo accidentally knocked Terri off the apron and she claimed to have suffered a miscarriage.
11 11. Dawn Marie and Al Wilson
WWE spent NINE months on this. Nine months of fans forced to watch a storyline that got more insane with every week. In 2002, Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson got into a feud that started fine, but then we got the segments of Dawn Marie seducing Torrie’s father, Al, and soon fans were treated to video of them together in bed and other places and soon kissing Torrie as well. This was a true low time for WWE, pushing the idea of two women being together over wrestling, which may have seemed hot but still came off rather poor.
10 10. Molly Holly
A truly talented worker, Molly was put through various gimmicks like “cousin” to the Hollys then “Mighty Molly” before settling into just a regular wrestler. She had the angle of trying to be all business, not into showing her body off like other Divas and putting them down in promos. Trish interrupted her in a promo to say Molly was just jealous because she “had a big ass.”
9 9. Mae Young Gives Birth
8 8. Farting Natalya
7 7. Christy Hemme vs. Fat Oily Guy
While not a great worker, Christy Hemme was still quite the looker and popular in TNA. She was pushed with a strange angle involving Kip James putting her down and somehow becoming a wrestler would solve that. Jim Cornette agreed and put her in a tuxedo match against the Big Fat Oily Guy who was famous for…well, see the name. Mike Tenay and Don West both moaned on commentary over hoping BFOG would win as they went at it, a messy battle with Christy eventually tearing off BFOG’s clothes to leave him in a red thong.
6 6. Trish Barking
Before she was a fantastic worker, Trish was eye candy, albeit the talented kind. She was put into a long program where she took up with Vince McMahon while Linda was “comatose,” the two making out in front of the wheelchair-bound Linda and more. Disturbing but still a bit fun to watch in a twisted way. However, things got bad as Vince became paranoid and turned on Trish, having her dumped in raw sewage and standing over her, making her bark like “a dog.”
5 5. Snooki
It’s not like she’s the first celebrity to get a push at WrestleMania but still, having Snooki, the “star” of “Jersey Shore” on the program of Mania 27 was a bit much. After a “feud” that made little sense and a build that went nowhere, Snooki teamed with John Morrison and Trish Stratus against Dolph Ziggler and LayCool. Yes, one of the greatest female wrestlers ever had to team with Snooki. The bout was a mess that barely went over three minutes with Trish not even breaking out most of her best moves.
4 4. Piggy James
3 3. Lockbox Challenge
Many believe Vince Russo was the downfall of the Knockouts, turning a strong division into nothing but T&A and lame jokes. It’s hard to argue when you have something like this. Eight Knockouts went at it (including Hamada, a terrific Japanese worker given nothing to do in TNA) with the idea to beat your opponent so you’d get a key but both competitors getting eliminated anyway. Even by Russo standards, the rules were a mess.
2 2. Santino Wins Divas Battle Royal
On paper, it sounded terrific. For WrestleMania 25, WWE put out the word to get numerous past Divas to take part with current ones in a 25-lady battle royal. The participants included Molly Holly, Sunny, Torrie Wilson, Gail Kim and Victoria along with Melina, the Bellas, Natalya and Beth Phoenix and numerous others. It had to be something good, right? Well, giving it only about seven minutes wasn’t nice and neither was the fact that most of the ladies barely got a decent intro before the fight began.
1 1. Sharmell vs. Jenna
Not just the worst major women’s match ever but one of the worst bouts in PPV history. In one of the most idiotic moves ever, TNA decided to hire Jenna Morasca, whose claim to fame was winning a season of “Survivor” years ago. This at a time when their own Knockouts were having to take second jobs to make ends meet. She was set into a feud with Booker T’s wife, Sharmell, at Victory Road 2009 and to call it horrible is being polite. The two did moves that could barely be called wrestling, just hair pulling and some rolling around while Awesome Kong just stood outside watching.
It was a total joke and not a funny one either as it dragged on before Jenna got the “pin” and then was laid out by Kong afterward. Sharmell may not be a top wrestler but being put through this atrocity was undeserving of her or anyone as it ruined the Knockouts massively and just another sign of TNA’s obsession with celebrities ruining so much.
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