Veteran wrestling talent LuFisto has been outspoken as of late about her experience with AEW. For context, she took part in a match for AEW Dark Elevation back in April of 2022. She wrote the following social media post out on July 27 –
“It’s cute how people blame booking for a bad women’s division. Talent with too much power; talent denigrating each other; talent trash-talking potential employees so they never get in as soon as they walk in…It starts here. – The one you called FN French Canadian asshole.”
This led to several fans wondering who LuFisto was referring to. This came right as there was a “Book The Women’s Division Better” sign in the audience of Dynamite which the camera caught and stayed on for a short moment.
Fightful sat down after this social media post on then-Twitter (now-X) and spoke with LuFisto who clarified her post and shared her experience with AEW.
“I don’t know where to start, but it’s really something that has been bothering me for a while. It’s been over a year that I had that Dark match at AEW. There are so many things that happened that night. Things that I heard from other women that are working there that had tryouts there, that were extras, as well as men who are currently employed. Of course, I know people want names and everything, but I’m willing to give the names of people involved in my story, but of course, if anybody did confide in me in something, I can share the story, but out of respect, I’m not going to share the name of someone who doesn’t want to lose the job or is looking for a job. They’ve trusted me enough to say, ‘You can tell it, but not the name,’ I’m not going to do it.
“Where to start.”
She continues, “I’ll go with my story of how I got there. It might be pretty long, but then we can discuss it. WrestleCon in Dallas (2022). QT Marshall is sitting right in front of me and I did send him some messages on Twitter before. One of his questions was, ‘Do you have a visa to come as an extra or Dark?’ I did not at the moment. He’s sitting in front of me, so I’m going to actually go say hi in person. That’s where he tells me, ‘It’s funny you came to see me, I was thinking about you, we’re looking for a female coach.’ Is that something that would be interesting for you?’ ‘Absolutely.’
As much as I do love wrestling, one of the things I love the most is, they use the word coach, but I would say I’m more of an agent. I love sitting down with the young generation, even people of my experience, I just love setting up matches and making sure everything is established; the heel, the face, the psychology, the story you want to tell and where you want to go after. That’s one of the things I love the most. I was really excited. He said, ‘Would you be willing to move?’ ‘If there’s a good salary, of course. I don’t want to move for nothing. I just bought my first house.’ ‘Can you be in Boston this Wednesday?’ It’s Saturday. I just said, ‘Oh yeah.’ I didn’t even think about it, I would figure out the rest. ‘You should get an email.’ I go sit at my table and get an email, ‘Wednesday, Boston.’ I see, ‘You need blood tests.’ There’s no way, in two days, I could have a blood test that quick.
There are places in Quebec, but I’ll be home Monday and since Boston is eight or nine hours from where I live, I need to go the day before. I go see him and say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t. I can’t get [the blood tests] that quick.’ ‘Let me think about it.’ I get another email,’ never mind the blood test. Just show up.’ Then I see, ‘COVID test.’ They want the big one, not the rapid test. ‘Oh, that’s the same problem.’ It’s easy to get a quick one, but the PCR is really hard to get, especially in Canada. I go, ‘Hey, I can’t, sorry.’ I get another email, ‘Never mind the COVID test, just show up, be there, bring your gear.’ The whole thing is to meet with Tony. I’m wrestling, but I’m going there for a coaching job. Do my bookings in Dallas, go home, back, jump in my car, I get there.“
She goes into further detail and the describes her encounter with Dustin Rhodes who was conversing with Ruby Soho.
“I go in, meet Shawn Dean, really nice, they give me my pass. The extras change in the shower where the women were. I’m sitting around, waiting, I really want to meet Tony (Khan). That’s the thing. The match is cool, but I want to meet Tony because of the coaching job. The first person I see is Bunny. I say hi. She looked at me, ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘I’m hoping to get something.’ She goes away, comes back a bit later, and asks me the same question. ‘I hope to have a coaching job.’ It’s a little chaotic, people are running around. I go into the ladies locker room, and silence. There is Ruby, Bunny, and Toni (Storm) sitting together on one side. They look at me, no words, and it feels really weird. I see Mercedes Martinez, happy to see me. Jade (Cargill) is doing her thing. The young girls…everyone is separated. I get the same question, ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘I got called to be an extra and meet with Tony.’ From there, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel good right away. I see QT, ‘when am I going to meet [Tony]?’ ‘I don’t know, he’s busy. Walk around, mingle.’ I’m walking around, I’m watching Bryan Danielson teach Jade. A newish wrestler, she comes to see me, ‘Oh my God, you’re here, I want to wrestle, are you staying?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘I’m going to ask the agents if you’re going to wrestle me.’ Another one comes to see me, ‘Oh my God, you’re here, please tell me you’re here to stay.’ ‘Wow, is it that bad?’ She’s like [makes face] like ‘we need you.’ Then I’m starting to kind of put things together. Thunder Rosa is sitting on one side, no one is talking to her. One guy goes to talk to her. I don’t know if it was an agent, I couldn’t see from afar. Everybody is in their own thing. It’s weird, but I’m not used to this environment. I’m waiting, no Tony, nothing. I go backstage, I walk around, meet Christian, very nice. I talk to Mark Henry. I meet Dustin [Rhodes] and he’s talking to me about where I trained and his daughter. By this time, it’s really late. It’s almost 5. I go see Mercedes, ‘Do we know what we’re doing? What’s going on?’ She’s like, ‘We always know at the last minute.’ Time goes by, I see the card, and the first wrestler who said they wanted to wrestle me, she said, ‘they won’t let me.’ ‘That sucks,’ because I really like her. I end up in the six-woman and they keep cutting our time. I see people complaining everywhere because they’re not on the card. They came to Boston, they’re not wrestling. It’s really chaotic. I hear something about CM Punk, but I saw him at catering, he was doing really nice and he was nice to me. It feels like high school. There is no unity, for some reason. They tell me I’m going to have an entrance. I thought, as an extra, I would not. I run to my car, get my jacket, go back in.”
“I go to the restroom. As I open the door, I hear, ‘She something something.’ I open the door and on the table, Ruby Soho is sitting with Dustin [Rhodes] and they just shut (up) and they look at me. ‘Okay, they were talking about me, that’s for sure.’ [Ruby is] like, ‘I have to go.’ I go to Dustin and he goes, ‘So, all French Canadian people are fucking assholes eh?’ I’m like, ‘Excuse me, what?’ He was nice to me five minutes ago. He’s like, ‘Yeah, apparently that’s the way it goes.’ I have a very bad relationship with Jacques Rougeau. I can say he was even abusive to me, calling me to tell me I was fat and to lose weight. I’m like, ‘maybe he had a bad experience with Jacques too?’ He’s looking at me differently and the funny thing is, [Evil Uno] walks by and he’s like, ‘Hey, Uno, that’s true French Canadians are fucking assholes, right?’ Uno is like, ‘I’m French Canadian.’ ‘Oh, okay.’ They talk a little bit. I’m there, but I just leave. I’m like, ‘what the fuck just happened?’ I love Dustin. I even wrote him messages, thanking him for the Keep Stepping thing, because it was very inspiring. I’m like, ‘What the fuck just happened?'”
LuFisto goes into detail of the structure of the Trios match she was there to do. The match was herself, Emi Sakura & The Bunny against Ruby Soho, Anna Jay, & Skye Blue.
“I have to get ready for my match now and I have to wrestle her. One thing I notice is, Skye Blue is not saying a word. They tell her what to do. Anna Jay says, ‘I can do this.’ ‘It will be your turn there.’ I don’t want to talk too much to put my input because I realize I’m the only one not signed in the match. Why am I there? At this point, I don’t know. They told me I’m going to start with Skye Blue. ‘What do you want to do? What are your moves?’ It’s like…either she’s bland as a person or she’s not allowed to talk. I don’t know if she didn’t understand why I was asking her for her stuff. I was weird. We do this, Ruby sets up the whole thing with Bunny, Emi is just following. I do a clothesline, ‘I should probably go for a pin there.’ ‘No, don’t do a pin. Just tag Emi.’ Okay, cool. [Ruby says], ‘The finish will be, we do something, Anna Jay is going to biff you guys on the apron, I’ll come get you for the finish, 1, 2, 3.’ ‘Okay, that’s fine. Do I go down, do I stay up?’ ‘Just stay there. The finish is coming.’ We go do the match. It is what it is. It’s not like a five star match, but for the four minutes we had, it is what it is. When we get to the finish, Anna Jay hits all of us. I stay there and wait, and nothing is happening. They keep going, they do something else on the other corner. I’m waiting. Go back in, finish, 1, 2, 3.
“We go backstage and they all keep going. Dustin is right there and is like, ‘What did you do?’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘You made all those girls that are signed when you’re not look really bad. It was terrible.’ ‘Okay, details?’ ‘You should have bumped on everything they did.’ I’m like, ‘everything they planned was for me to sell to the next for the other to sell to the tag for me to give a clothesline, tag out, and only tag back in.’ I have 40 seconds in there. ‘Sir, can you please give me details on what I should have done better so I don’t repeat it?’ ‘When Anna Jay biffed you on the apron, you should have fallen outside.’ Now I’m like, ‘Thank you, sir. I see.’ Of course, everyone else left. No one is there when he’s giving me this criticism. Billy Gunn is nearby. I look around and am like, ‘can someone else tell me that I suck this bad? I need another opinion.’ He was looking at me like I was disgusting. Now I’m like, ‘they told me to stay on the fucking apron.’ The thing that I was thinking about was, there were a few girls that told me they had matches with Britt Baker where they would go in the ring and they would change the match completely or, if the girl forgot something, she would go, ‘where are we?’ Silence. Of course, the match would look bad, they would never be called again and they got stiffed as well. They didn’t want to stiff me, but they made sure, to at least an agent, I looked like a fucking idiot. I went around and asked some guys, ‘did you watch the match?’ One of them told me, ‘I did not, but I will.’
After her match and critiques, she still wanted to speak to Tony Khan but was unable to and was told he was busy. She talks about that in detail and then goes on to share her prior experience with Soho and also why AEW’s structure doesn’t work due to the “gatekeeping” of it.
“I’m so upset that I went there and spent my money for this. I’m like, ‘you should have known better,’ especially with Ruby. When I was backstage at WWE at WrestleMania (2016) because I had tickets from Pat Patterson. [Senior Director of Talent Development] Canyon Ceman was right there. Kimber Lee was working there, and Andrea, we were sitting together, and so was [Ruby]. Canyon comes to sit with us, ‘Oh, I went to the women’s shows. Queen of Combat, that was the shit. We went to SHIMMER, we got what we wanted there. The rest was whatever.’ Kimber Lee and Andrea are looking at the floor and [Ruby] is like, ‘Yeah, yeah. I know, I know.’ You’re shitting on SHIMMER? From that moment on, I’ve always had that problem with her. How the fuck can you throw them under the bus, just to kiss ass? The funny thing is, he looks at me, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Hi sir, I’m Gen [Genevieve Goulet], nice to meet you.’ He kind of figured out I was on that show. ‘Well I gotta go.’ [Ruby says] ‘I gotta go too,’ and she left. I don’t know if she ever thought I was going to talk about it. She gets booked at IWS in Montreal. They want to book her against me. ‘Alright, let’s do this.’ Two days before they announce our match, IWS is freaking out. ‘We have to change everything, we’re sorry. Something with AEW. It involves five people on the card, we have to re-do the card.’ ‘Okay, it’s going to be Ruby, because of me, and all the other girls, which makes five of us is the reason why everything is fucked up.’ Of course that’s what it is, they didn’t want to tell me. She shows up, ‘Hi, how are you?’ Gives me a big hug, ‘it’s so nice to see you.’ I’m like, ‘Motherfucker, after everything, you think I don’t know?’ I’ve seen this behavior forever.”
“I’m telling my story and my experience for people to understand that the reason why this division doesn’t work is the gatekeeping of it. It’s not going to get any better as long as somebody doesn’t stand up. Everybody is afraid to talk. Everybody doesn’t want to say what I’m saying right now. I’m even struggling right now, but someone has to say it. Unfortunately, it’s the 43-year-old that’s doing it because everybody is so afraid to lose their freaking jobs that they don’t say anything and they accept things that should not be. Somebody has a tryout and you make sure they look bad? I’m not even talking about myself because I didn’t look that bad. I was told following discussions, some girls are asking for guidance and ‘make sure they look bad so they don’t come back because there is genuine interest in them.’ The girls fighting with each other. I hear it all the time. My ship has sailed, I’m aware of that.
One thing though, I love wrestling with all my heart, so if somebody wants to say I’m bitter, I say, ‘Fuck you.’ I go out there every weekend, I love what I do, I’ve been to court to defend women’s wrestling. The thing that I do not accept, and it’s what’s going on at AEW right now, women are shitting on women when we should be helping each other and lifting each other up. If you’re not good enough to be out there and prove you can go and you have to go through politics and people you’re with, you don’t belong in the sport. Right now, it’s filled with people who use wrestling to have that fame. The ones that really fought hard for women to be seen as athletes, that we work together. One of the problems, men are in charge of the women’s division. I’ll be honest, they don’t care. They will put their friends in spots before the women. If you stay up there because you’re in your comfort zone, it’s not going to change. You need to stand up, you need to speak your mind. Do it politely, but you can’t have people running the whole thing with their friends, with their clique, and expect women’s wrestling to change and people give it time so it matters. It’s not going to change if you don’t have people who are passionate about what women’s wrestling should be when it’s just the people who are out there who want to be there and have a certain power and it doesn’t go with what is the best product you can put up. When you look at the talent they have, in and out of the ring.
“You have Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels, Chris Hero, Sarah Stock, Leyla Hirsch, Kris Statlander, Jamie Hayter. There is so much talent. Why is it not working? It’s not a question of booking because if a wrestler is good and passionate, they make chicken salad out of chicken shit. I always think about Dusty Rhodes and the polka dots. He made that work. Mizdow could’ve been terrible, but he got himself over, embracing it. Not telling them what to do. You work with strengths, weaknesses, you work together. You, as the veteran, don’t go, ‘you’re going to do this, you’re going to do this. That’s the way it works here.’ I know I’m going back and forth between so many things, but it shows how chaotic it is. There are so many little problems. Yes, it’s booking related. Yes, it’s someone that doesn’t put their pants on and say, ‘You are talent, give me your ideas, I want to work with you. Don’t tell me what to do, I’m the boss, I pay out.’ If there is something you don’t want to do and are not comfortable, never push your talent to do something they are not comfortable doing, wrestling someone they don’t want to. That’s creating more problems, injuries, and they’re not going to have a good product on TV. You want things to work. If it means this person, this person, and this person creates problems, fire them. You have 60 women who want to be on top and want to give you good matches. You’re not using them because you have that core that wants to stay there and will do everything they want to stay there.”
When asked if she would want to sit down and talk with Dustin Rhodes and/or Ruby Soho about what took place she had the following to say.
“So many times, I’ve wanted to reach out to him. He would write things, ‘Be kind to people, you don’t know what they’re going through.’ You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to reply, ‘I really wish you would have showed me the same kindness. Everything you’re saying, I believe too. I’m not perfect. I did things wrong in my past and I will do again, we all make mistakes.’ I know when this goes out, ‘LuFisto, you did this.’ I know, I’m human, whatever. I don’t think I deserve to be called a French Canadian Asshole. We’re nice people. Jacques Rougeau is an asshole.”
On Soho –
“The first time, it went really well. Both matches, I think, were really good. We got good comments, the promoter was really happy, the crowd was into it. The second one, my nose got broken, and she always had a shoulder injury. I heard people say, ‘You hurt her in that match.’ She was hurt before and I asked her, ‘Do you want to do something besides the Burning Hammer?’ ‘It’s already real bad. It doesn’t matter, can’t be worse.’ With the nose, it was a hit that came quick. It happens. It broke my nose. The only thing I said was, after this hit, my nose was completely messed up, there is nothing I can do with it. I was always able to replace it myself, but it was past that. It’s not because she messed up my nose, it’s because it’s been broken so many times and then, it was over. Why would she say I injured her when everything was fine before? I saw her after, it was fine. It’s when I got to WWE and the SHIMMER comment happened and it was, ‘what?'”
LuFisto then circled back around to her tweet by saying, “I opened the door on that conversation and then that finish. I was nervous, I’m sure I had my faults in there. I know I remember the match. I didn’t have anything where I didn’t know what was next. I’ve been thinking about it forever, but I didn’t want to get into drama or an argument. I know by me coming forward and explaining that system that it’s now out there and what people told me and my own experience, I know a lot of people are going to shit on me. Some people are not going to talk to me anymore, but I feel it needed to be said. You can’t go forward and talk about a women’s revolution…right now, everyone is shitting on women’s wrestling and too many women work so hard for us to be respected as athletes and now it’s going back because you’re not putting the wrestling in front. It’s all about being famous, being the top girl. If we all work together, and it’s good from top to bottom, then the ratings will go up. There is interest in women’s wrestling.
WWE, the women’s segment went up because they’re giving more time to storylines. They’re not perfect either. I haven’t been there, so I can’t comment, but it’s pretty much the same women at the top and there’s barely….I haven’t been there, so I can’t comment. As long as it’s that mentality that there is this group and everyone else is whatever, instead of working together, it’s not going to change. It’s not going to be better. There was that moment when SHIMMER was on top, and then the NXT women, and the Knockouts also. Now, it’s like it’s going backwards. I’m not going to get a job, but I’m not going to have my 26 years of wrestling wasted on women who do not deserve to be there, not because they’re not good, but because they are terrible human beings. They’re narcissists and they only think about them and they do not think about women’s wrestling as a whole. Hate me. Talk shit. I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’m old, I didn’t make it. Whatever. I’ve heard them all, I don’t give a damn. I don’t care anymore. One thing I will always care about is that women wrestlers of today, the ones that came after me and my generation, I don’t want them to go through the same bullshit I had, the politics, the abuse, the guys grabbing our asses backstage and being screamed ‘puppies’ and ‘whore’ and that women’s wrestling sucks. Women’s wrestling sucks if you allow it to. By letting your talent that shouldn’t be in charge do what they’re doing right now, you’re allowing women’s wrestling to suck. That’s where I draw the line.
If I don’t get booked anymore because of this, whatever. At least it’s out there. You are destroying what women’s wrestling should be. It’s going backwards, it’s going down. With the talent that there is on the indies and the bigger promotions, everywhere around the world. This should not be happening.”
After this interview came out, Dustin Rhodes responded on X as follows in a now deleted post –
“Hey @LuFisto, read your story and sometimes as a coach I have to be very honest and won’t ever tell you a lie about how good or bad it was. Sometimes hard love comes out and wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope you find what you’re looking for. #KeepSteppin”
LuFisto took to social media following the release of this interview stating – “The women who actually addressed the problems I did today were the ones sent home by Tony Khan.”