Thursday, May 3, 2012

Battle of the Sexes

Sara Del Rey vs. El Generico (My 1-2-3 Cents)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I don't know for sure, but I'm fairly certain that intergender wrestling came into existence in the early 1980's when comedian Andy Kaufman would challenge women to matches during his comedy shows.  This blossomed into a wrestling angle in the MidSouth territory and led to more of these man vs. woman matches.  Eventually Kaufman would take on Memphis hero, Jerry "the King" Lawler.

Now I'm no expert on the subject, and quite honestly until a few days ago had never seen an intergender match in person.  Well, I take that back, I did see "Rosey O'Donnell" vs. "Donald Trump" a few years ago when Raw was in St. Louis.  And technically I witnessed first hand Kharma's brief reign of terror in the 2012 Royal Rumble.  But I digress...

Keeping it clean
Recently I watched my first ever Chikara Pro show live and in person.  My friends and I were on hand for "Hot Off the Griddle" in Chicago Ridge.  The main event: Sara Del Rey (the Queen of Wrestling) vs. El Generico.  We had talked about the pending contest on a recent From the Rafters Radio show which sparked a discussion about whether men and women should be in the ring with one another.

After the high quality match between SDR and Generico, I would say heck yes.  As the match went on, I no longer paid attention to the fact that Del Rey is a woman.  This was just two great competitors going at it, giving the fans on helluva show.  Both treated each other with a level of respect that you don't see very often anymore in the world of wrestling or any other walk of life.  When SDR got the pin, I wasn't really all that surprised, as I've seen her work on line and know that she truly has a gift.

Obariyon vs. SDR (My 1-2-3 Cents)
The next night SDR was in action again, this time against Bitari member Obariyon.  I thought this match was a little more aggressive than the one the night before.  Because Obariyon is a rudo (heel) he bent the rules more and seemed to be a bit rougher with SDR.  But again I did not feel like it was excessively violent and Sara really did hold her own.  She lost the contest and when the rest of the Bitari came out to strike, SDR was saved by fellow female wrestler Saturyne.  These two cleared the ring of the rudos and celebrated to the back.

I used the Sara Del Rey stories as an example because I think Chikara does a pretty good job with these types of matches.  However I do think the WWE has in the past done some pretty good intergender matches too.  But only when they are set up as serious matches.  I don't like it when it's an apparent squash like say Kane vs. Kelly Kelly (I don't know if that actually happened, but when there's a rogue GM, I know he's put Kane in their with a helpless Diva)

Chyna wins the IC title
The Chyna-Chris Jericho feud was pretty good back in 1999.  The two battled it out over the Intercontinental title.  I think it's fair to say that Chyna paved the way for Divas to mix it up with the guys.  Jacqueline would also go on to win a "man's" title when she became the Cruiserweight champion.  She also beat Harvey Whippleman for the women's title.  He had won the gold as "Hervina".  That part of history I'd like to gloss over.  And I may have misspoke by giving Chyna so much credit.  As Miss Texas, Jacqueline wrestled men in the USWA prior to Chyna's WWE success.  Regardless, both women hold a place in the history of women's wrestling in my opinion and breaking that gender barrier.

The Knockouts Tag Team Champs (TNA)
On the flip side of the coin you've got Eric Young in TNA who is holding one half of the Knockouts tag team title with ODB.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, as women wrestlers have come a long way, now a guy is encroaching on their title.  Maybe that's a bit hypocritical of me to say.  I'm just not sure I like the idea.

But I do believe that Sara Del Rey, ODB, Beth Phoenix, Natalya Neidhart, and Kharma all have what it takes to compete in the ring against their male counterparts.  Will we one day see a female world heavyweight champion?  I honestly don't think that's out of the question, but right now the women are treated second rate in WWE, so I wouldn't expect to see that happen there in the near future.  I'd suspect we may see SDR as the champ of a large indy promotion first, and she'll once again set the standard for women's wrestling.

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