It’s February one of my favorite months of the year because it is the month of love and Black History. Two things that mean so much to me.
I’m here now soon to be going on two years in a pro wrestling career. Since I started my journey I reflected much on why I love wrestling and the people who made it so. For me seeing a Black wrestler was always special because it wasn’t shown a lot on TV. Hell, I’d be lucky if I got to see a segment with at least one Black wrestler.
The Black male wrestlers were few in numbers but the women were even worse. It was often one Black woman for the longest time – Jacqueline. I think as a kid the most Black women I’ve seen at the time were Jacqueline, Jazz, and Shaniqua. Jacqueline was the first Black woman to hold WWE gold, followed by Jazz who revolutionized what it was to be a strong Black woman. We also had Awesome Kong who was revolutionizing women’s wrestling in TNA.
Years later I got to witness a feud that may haven’t been much for some but to me it was huge. Layla El and Kristal Marshall had one of the first feuds with women of color in a while. Kristal being of Caribbean heritage and Layla being of mixed decent was something I could relate to.
A few years later Miss Alicia Fox came through and held the torch of representation. She even got to higher heights as being a go-to media girl for WWE – something I myself loved to see. Seeing her sent out to make rounds for WWE as a representative on talk shows, and guest appearances in tv shows and magazines opened the door for women of color to be more visible to be seen as marketable.
Along comes Naomi and Cameron who were able to help grow that alongside Alicia. Both Naomi and Cameron were main fixtures in Total Divas (a show Alicia later joined). Two of the most popular characters on the show. From that Naomi and Cameron were able to build a brand for themselves. Cameron, after being released does pretty well for herself in being a social media entrepreneur. Naomi became one of the biggest stars in WWE today. All types of endorsement deals and business ventures within and outside of WWE.
The evolution of the Black woman in wrestling has truly risen. Now you can look and see more representation than ever. I can turn on AEW and see Jade Cargill, a woman who I’ve never seen anything like her in wrestling. I can as well see Bianca Belair on Raw at heights that are rarely seen for a Black individual. She has become not only the longest-reigning Black woman in WWE’s history but the longest-reigning Black person regardless of gender.
Sasha Banks/Mercedes Mone is a pioneer in what women’s wrestling is in not only WWE a kingdom which she ruled but all women’s wrestling ever is going to take the torch to international heights. She’s already main evented WrestleMania along with Bianca Belair and that was a historic moment in itself and to be honest I can only see both women adding more to that legacy.
I can as well look at other companies and see faces like Tasha Steelz, Savannah Evans, Willow Nightingale, Red Velvet, Kiera Hogan, Athena, Trish Adora, Siren the Vodoo Doll, The Beast and so many more. So much history being made with these women that it’s magical to even witness. I myself can’t believe I’m one of the lucky ones to be there from the dark times to the light.
NXT has many Black women coming through the door in hopes to make it to the main roster and one day repeating what Banks and Belair have already been able to accomplish.
If you don’t feel pride seeing how far Black women have come in wrestling then I’m sorry for you. It’s the variety for me! It’s the different shades for me! It’s the different characters for me! And lastly, it’s the respect and admiration they are receiving for me!!!
As a Black wrestler trying to make it in this industry, I can only hope to one day meet these ladies and share my gratefulness for them being who they are. I believe we’re only scratching the surface here.