WWE’s first openly gay signee Jake Atlas recently sat down with DS Shin from Ring the Belle to divulge his top five women that have inspired him. Atlas recently made his debut on NXT in a losing effort to Dexter Lumis. Just like most gay men growing up, Atlas idolized the women of WWE through admiration and intrigue. He spoke to Shin about how it was the women of the company that inspired him to become the wrestler that he is today.
Generally from a young boy you would hear them say idols such as The Rock, The Undertaker, and Stone Cold influenced them to want to become a wrestler. For Atlas, and many gay youth, this was quite the contrary.
Let’s go through Atlas’ top five and see if these women were ever inspirations to you.
Atlas starts off his list with the French Kiss herself, Maryse. Maryse was definitely a powerful heel during her mainstay with the company. He praised the fact that she came in green without wrestling experience and turned herself into not just a Diva but an in-ring presence. She also came into this without knowing English very well. Atlas explains how when he has been a heel character, Maryse’s portrayal is one he admired.
“I’ve always been a fan of heels. I’ve always been about the bad girls, the mean girls. It just looks so effortless for her. So sometimes whenever I have done a heel character I have done the hand gesture, like get out of my face, and it has always been a tribute to her.”
4. Gail Kim
Atlas believes that Gail Kim is one of the best women’s wrestlers to exist. He mentions her move to TNA and is glad they were able to show why she is one of the best.
“I’m glad that TNA gave her the platform to acknowledge that she is one of the best. Her match with Tessa Blanchard was phenomenal. You know, I think I saw this on Twitter. Gail Kim vs. Tessa Blanchard was what Trish and Charlotte was for WWE at SummerSlam. That’s just generational. Gail Kim was ahead of her time, she was so good, I enjoyed her work at WWE. It was really awesome to just see her win the Women’s Title in her debut, because she is just so good,”
3. Sasha Banks
Atlas attributes Sasha for his psychological aspect of wrestling. Her sayings and thought process behind the art of wrestling is what he admires from her. He has adapted this into his own career and his own way of thinking about loving what he does.
“Again, just the heel character in her is what really drew me to her, but more than anything, she is just so passionate about this…..The one line I always say when I am about to go through the curtain is ‘I was born to do this.’ And maybe other people have said this in the past, but I got it from Sasha.”
“Another quote that she says is ‘be so good that they can’t ignore you.’ And that can’t be anymore truer for her. Mentally she is just so good at wrestling and you see that through her matches. Through the psychology of what she does. The Sasha and Bayley match, one of the best matches I have ever seen.
2. Aj Lee
Aj Lee is one female wrestler that Atlas believes was relatable to him. Through her advocacy on mental health and from her passion she showed for wrestling. He talks about her book and how she was meant to do this. He also recalls her FCW days and how he enjoyed her matches with Naomi.
“I remember at Payback when she won the Divas Title and when the referee handed her the belt, you could just see her face as she is receiving the belt. This was her moment. This was her crowning moment. Her whole life’s work into finally winning the top championship of WWE. I just connected to her from her FCW days when she would have the matches with Naomi, they would kill it.”
Let’s be honest, Trish Stratus was an idol for many people. She predominately was an idol for all of the gay youth growing up, myself included. She was also that way for Atlas. He recalls the story of not being able to see her main event match on RAW against Lita when it took place because he was punished by his mother. He recalls a funny story of how he blamed his mother for Trish losing the title that night.
He had the following to say on why she means so much to him:
“I remember before I came out, I would always say she was my girlfriend and that I would marry her one day. I just wanted to be her. She is the best of all time I think of the women. When it comes to the overall package. She had it. She was a superstar. She was the standard of what you needed to be.”
“She just made me feel everything about pro wrestling. She made me feel it all. She made me cry, I cried at her retirement match. I cried in her return, I cried for the Trish and Charlotte match. This was my person, my go to wrestler. You made me feel this about wrestling.”
Voices like Atlas’ are good for the community. Him speaking on his top five women’s wrestlers who have inspired him to do what he does is inspiring of itself. The women that we have grown to idolize whether it is in WWE or any other organization means a lot to those who feel as though they don’t have a voice.
What did you think of his list? Do you share any of the same women? Who makes your top five? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Thank you to Ring the Belle for this exclusive content.