Sunday, October 17, 2021

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Wrestling veteran LuFisto discusses the evolution of women in wrestling

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LuFisto made her wrestling debut in 1997, under the ring name Lucifer. Since then, she has managed to capture the NCW Femme Fatales champion, CZW Iron Man championship, as well as the Shine championship. The wrestling veteran has worked around the world and encountered some of the biggest modern stars such as Becky Lynch, NatalyaNikki Cross, Awesome Kong, Ivelisse and Sexy Star.

The wrestling veteran has battled a lot throughout her twenty year career, and recently sat down with ESPN to discuss the changes she’s noticed in the industry, and more. Below are the highlights:

On the evolution of women’s wrestling:

“I always say to the younger girls, ‘You have no idea how easy it is today. But it is such a good thing, because it’s been a long road for all the women that were trying to make a name for themselves.”

How she became interested in wrestling:

“My first memories of wrestling are of watching it with my grandma. She liked Hulk Hogan and I liked the Ultimate Warrior. And then I kinda stopped watching it around probably when I was eight years old.”

A friend of LuFisto’s reintroduced her to the product a few years later by making her watch WWF. And this is where she truly became a fan of the industry.

“At the same time, Alundra Blayze was there and she was wrestling Bull Nakano. One of my other friends showed me Japanese women’s wrestling, back in the days when we had to order tapes. I think that’s exactly where my love of wrestling really started being more than just, ‘I’m a fan,’ to the point where I’d love to do this. The Japanese women wrestlers were so incredible; they were strong and they were intense.”

On the lack of women in the industry:

“In Montreal, there were two other girls [when I started] and one of them quit. There were two girls in the whole province for a while. So everybody wanted me to be a valet, but I said no. I didn’t want to be just a valet, I wanted to wrestle — and if men were the only opponents available, then I would take on anybody that I could.

I mean, there was Chyna on TV, as far as a woman stands toe-to-toe with a man and she swings a chair then she takes the shot totally as an equal. And it doesn’t matter if I’m a woman or a man, it was literally a fight. I was sure some people were uncomfortable, but then people got used to it and it kind of became, I wouldn’t say cool, but with time I would get women to come and see me.

They were like, ‘Oh my God, you are almost like a superhero. When people say, ‘Well, women can’t fight guys. Well, Catwoman can fight Batman, and the Black Widow can kick ass with the Avengers.’ So to me, it’s exactly the same and even for young girls in the crowd, they would see me as a superhero.”

On dealing with sexism as a wrestling professional:

“I had been wrestling in Ontario for the Hardcore Wrestling Federation. The Hardcore Wrestling Federation had wrestlers like Tyson Dux, like Eric Young, Pepper Parks, I think … It was a very good promotion, and they had some of the hardcore matches and I was the girl there that was also wrestling the guys. There was a promoter that didn’t like that. Well, long story short, he asked me to go on his shows and do bikini contests and wrestle the women, but I was like, ‘No, I’m a wrestler. I don’t want to be involved in hair pulling, catfights, or any type of bikini whatever.’

It was always super important to me to be seen as a wrestler, and HWF had given me such a great opportunity in wrestling all of those guys. So we had a show scheduled in Toronto and that promoter called the athletics commission; there was an old law that said that women and men could not be in the ring at the same time in any fighting combat kind of sport.

My only way to get through this was to, of course, go with the government. So I called the Ontario Human Rights Commission and explained what had happened and the lady on the phone was like, ‘You definitely have a case, because right now you can’t do something because you’re a woman.’ I filed papers, made phone calls, and years later they finally decided that wrestling would not be regulated as a whole, they removed it completely from the sports commissioner’s hands.”

On the opportunities women have in the modern industry:

“Back then, we had to fight to have a spot on the card. Now, women matches… not only do we have our own shows, our own promotions, but a main spot on regular cards [for major companies] as well. Women are finally seen as part of the show, not like an addition an addition to the card. The road has been so long, because every single night we had to go out there, try to steal the show, prove that we belong. Now women wrestlers do belong on the show.

Mostly, to me, it’s about women wrestling being taken seriously. That’s the most beautiful thing for me right now, that when you look on TV and you see Asuka, she is a defending, serious champion. The matches are long. They have two or three matches on pay-per-view nights on TV. Same for the knockouts on TNA. Women in wrestling, right now, matter.”

LuFisto and ESPN also discuss how she first getting in to the wrestling industry, the long path she has gone through to get to where is today, and more on ESPN.com.

What do you think of LuFisto’s words? Do you agree on the difference in the world of women’s wrestling? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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