Women In Professional Wrestling Discuss How The Industry Can Become Safer Following #SpeakingOut
Discussions are going on behind the scenes in numerous promotions...
Since the #SpeakingOut movement started two weeks ago, promotions across the world have taken action to make professional wrestling safer for men and women. WWE has fired Jack Gallagher, Travis Banks, Ligero and two referees. Joe Coffey has also been suspended. IMPACT Wrestling has severed ties with Jake Crist, Joey Ryan and Michael Elgin. Jay Skillet and Julian Pace are no longer a part of wXw, and PROGRESS Wrestling has completely overhauled its leadership team and announced multiple wrestlers will not appear in the promotion again. Numerous discussions are also ongoing behind the scenes.
Tom Campbell recently discussed the #SpeakingOut movement with independent wrestlers Alexxis Falcon, Gia Adams and Taonga, and President of The Association of Women in Wrestling Kristen Ashly on the Cultaholic News podcast.
Each woman thought more needed to be done to make wrestling safer for everyone and suggested measures to implement. Falcon noted this could be something as simple as a DBS check for all trainers, while Ashly thought greater unionisation was another option which could be combined with an open door policy.
"It goes without saying everybody should be DBS checked," Alexxis Falcon said. "That should just be standard. Anyone in any line of work, like why are people not being DBS checked?"
Kristen Ashley added: "Promoters should be the boss so to speak of that promotion. They should have an open-door policy. If somebody is mistreating you, you should be able to go to somebody. I know unionising in Britain is easier than here, although it's hard anywhere, but something that just protects those wrestlers who want to speak out and that somebody will listen to them and believe them. Obviously, you want to hold judgement and you want to get to the bottom of things and look at both sides, but these women were afraid to even talk to promoters and sometimes the promoters were the problem. So, having an open-door policy, having a three strikes you're out kind of thing, you don't get booked again."
Taonga and Gia Adams advocated for similar measures to Falcon and Ashly and suggested promoters should provide a safe forum for men and women to speak out against abuse.
Taonga added: "I think it's about creating a standard across the board so that everyone knows that every promotion is safe to work for. Also, it's about making everyone feel comfortable in every way possible, whether that be who they're driving to shows with or who they're sharing a locker room with. Also, creating an open forum for people who want to talk and want to report things and for that to be met with no judgement and for every allegation to be taken seriously."
Gia Adams said: "A lot need to have a female representative or a strong female member of the team. Even though boys have come forward about experiences, the majority are girls and sometimes it's hard for us to come forward to promoters, especially if they're friends with who we're complaining about."