Earlier this year, the pro wrestling industry went through it’s own MeToo movement. Allegations of abuse and sexual assault rose to the surface online, prompting survivors to tell their stories.
In part one of this roundtable, Erin speaks with three performers from the local wrestling scene – Xena, Avary and Candy Lee. We unpack and address some of the systemic cultural issues that create barriers for women and queer people in the industry.
This interview was recorded in July 2020.
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- QLife – 1800 184 527
- National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line – 1800 737 732 or https://www.1800respect.org.au/
International Mental Health Resources: https://checkpointorg.com/global/
Hi, I’m Erin, and welcome to the first/another episode of Bronco Busters, a podcast sharing the stories of women and queer people in pro wrestling.
Erin Dick 0:22
Earlier this year, the pro wrestling industry went through it’s own MeToo movement. Allegations of abuse and sexual assault rose to the surface online, prompting survivors to tell their stories. The abuse was prolific and widespread, and happening right on our doorstep.
In part one of this roundtable, I speak with three performers from the local wrestling scene – Xena, Avary and Candy Lee. We unpack and address some of the systemic cultural issues that create barriers for women and queer people in the industry.
Today with me, we have three wonderful women who are rising stars and leading the way for Australia and New Zealand’s wrestling scenes and they’ve all been vocal in some way or another in showing their support for change during this time, as well. So first up, I have from Geelong, the reigning MCWA Women’s Champion and one third of the Brat Pack, Avary, how are you?
Hi! I’m good. How are you?
Erin Dick 1:36
Yeah, I’m well, I’m well, it’s good to see you again. Um, next from Sydney. She’s one half of Lux with Kingsley and a two-time if FWA Women’s Champion. Hello, Xena.
Hey, thanks for having me today.
Erin Dick 1:49
No worries. Thanks for being here. And finally from Auckland by way of Samoa, a former PWE Women’s Champion, Maniacs New Zealand Pro Wrestling Women’s Champion, and IPW New Zealand Women’s Champion. That’s a big list. Candy Lee, how are you?
Candy Lee 2:05
LOL, hello, it’s cold.
Erin Dick 2:09
It’s so cold, isn’t it? It literally just started raining as I turned on my laptop, and I’m like, this is great. This is the perfect environment to record a podcast. Wonderful.
Cool, okay. Well, with introductions out of the way, I wanted to take this moment to check in with all of you. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of really intense and emotional things coming to the surface in the last few weeks in the wrestling industry, regarding allegations as I said earlier of sexual assault, abuse, both physical and emotional, quite rampant in our industry. How are we all feeling? Xena, I might start with you. How are you feeling in yourself right now?
Um, for a couple of weeks, I haven’t really known how to feel. It’s been like a mixture of exhaustion and like, I’m tired of it and I’m sick of it. But I still love wrestling. So I’m like in that bubble where, like, I don’t know how to feel about everything surfacing right now. Um, yeah, that’s me right now.
Erin Dick 3:21
Yeah, it’s hard to put words to it. I know, for me, at least it’s been, as a fan, you know, and as someone who’s got friends in the scene, it’s really heartbreaking, but not at all surprised. Which is unfortunate. Leilani [Candy Lee], how are you?
Candy Lee 3:36
Um, like, mentally I don’t feel, like I don’t know how to use words properly. Um, I don’t know. It’s just all reallyy stressful and overwhelming. And like, I’ve been like, really upset about what’s happening. And I’ve like lost a lot of motivation when it comes to wrestling over the last few weeks, like, I mean, ever since like, COVID hit, my like, mental state hasn’t been all there when it comes to wrestling. The whole movement has made it even more worse and like, yeah, I don’t know.
Erin Dick 4:15
Yeah, it’s a pretty rubbish time with if you think about COVID as well. I totally understand that.
And Avary, how are you?
Um, I think now I’m good as in initially, when everything started come out. I was just angry and frustrated. And there’s no real place to vent that anger and frustration. But like, it was just – I was extremely angry for a long time. It took me a while just to like step back and start to like, listen and just try and stand up for people instead of just venting my anger about it. But yeah, I mean, I think I’m all good like now taking a look at the situation and it’s good that, you know, these things have been brought to light. So I feel, relatively I mean, okay about it.
Erin Dick 5:06
Yeah, that’s interesting as well that you mentioned that, um, you know, not having a space, I guess, to vent your anger and that frustration at first initially, maybe. But have you been surprised at all by any of the reactions in your circles? I guess here in Melbourne in particular?
Not really in Melbourne, to be honest, I feel like everyone in Melbourne has been pretty supportive and very understanding they, you know, I think most of my anger was towards those who immediately went to questioning instead of listening. I think, yeah, I mean, I live quite a while out of Melbourne. I haven’t really seen anybody for a long time. So I can’t say I’ve one-on-one caught up with many people. But yeah, I think Melbourne’s been pretty good about accepting it. Like, there’s been a lot of changes, there’s been a lot of things in the right direction.
Erin Dick 5:58
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, that’s been my experience, for the majority, but yeah, there’s definitely still some work to do, which I’m sure we’ll get into. How about you Xena in Sydney? How have people been reacting and has evryone been generally supportive?
I’ve also taken like a step back from wrestling at the moment. I’ve been working on myself, so I haven’t been keeping in contact with a lot of people right now. But I know promotions will be making a change going forward, I hope they act on that from what everyone’s been saying on social media. So that’s one thing that needs to come to light for the actual change to happen and just not all talk on social media at the moment. Um, yeah, that’s all I can say.
Erin Dick 6:46
Yeah, that’s fair, there’s a lot of talk going on. Candy, how have things been in New Zealand? I know that, I guess the scene in particular there has, like, I don’t know, been really vocal, especially with connections to the UK scene. Yeah, what’s it been like?
Candy Lee 7:02
It’s been like, like, for the most part, a lot of people have been supportive, when it comes to the cause and like, also wanting to implement change and stuff. But like, I don’t know, because some people will show face value on social media. But then, in real life, they’re just like, they don’t actually care. So like, I don’t know, it will be interesting to see who actually sticks to what they say in terms of like, wanting to see change, but I do believe that there are gonna be some serious changes that won’t happen overnight. But hopefully, people actually mean what they say, because I feel like a lot of companies and people tend to, like, show face value more and not, they feel like they just have to say something, because everyone else is saying something. So hopefully, people are saying something, but actually, like sticking to what they’ve put out there. Because I feel like with the way that everyone wants to see change, I feel like accountability is going to be so like, huge going forward. So, if you don’t adhere to what you like put out in your statement, then obviously you’re going to get caught up for it. And I feel like this movement is so good for that. Because like, I feel like more people are going to be brave enough to speak out when they feel like people aren’t being accountable for the actions. Yeah, so I just hope people stick to what they put out there.
Erin Dick 8:43
Yeah, it’s a big thing, isn’t it like the whole chasing clout online and it’s so easy as well to like, just throw a hashtag on something and then all of a sudden, you’re one of the good guys, is something that I’ve been encountering a little bit. I guess just for context, obviously, this is all happening at a time in the world where there’s a lot of movement towards this like deconstruction of what it means to be a woman or a marginalised person in our society. What’s happening is like really reflective of the Me Too Movement. And I know that for me, I work in the radio industry. So I see these sort of conversations happening in those spaces as well alongside this so it’s all a bit overwhelming. It’s like it’s all coming to a bit of a head but I think the unique thing with wrestling and I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this guys but the fact that it is built around this kind of like secretive space and this bubble of protecting each other and protecting the integrity of wrestling, often I feel, perhaps maybe creates this environment where this sort of behaviour that we’re seeing come to light does run rampant. Do you guys have any thoughts on that at all, whether it’s like something that occurs more in the wrestling scene because of how secretive wrestlers have to be and performers have to be in that space?
Candy Lee 10:10
In terms of like a boys club?
Erin Dick 10:11
Yeah, I guess so. Yeah. Like, um, we can link it to that for sure. I guess. It’s kind of like a thing of protecting the boys in some ways, isn’t it?
It’s not even like a boys club. On Twitter, like, victims are coming up with stories and then we had friends coming out with stories, like, you know, with something positive about the named assaulter. Like, I don’t know how to put in words, but like, it’s disappointing to see that people would go out of their way to defend their friends when their friends have been labelled victims. I mean, assaulters. Yeah. You know what I mean.
Yeah. Like, people find it hard to believe that someone can be someone abusive behind doors, but really nice to their face. But because they’re really nice to, you know, their mate’s face in public, like, “Oh, he’s a great guy, he’s great.” Or “she’s great girl”, you know, “they’re great people”, you know. I understand that mentality. But yeah, with men, you know, behind [closed] doors they’re an absolute piece of sh*t. I know many people who, you know, treat men and women very differently. Like, some people treat women very differently than they treat their mates.
Yeah. And even like, with the whole movement going on, like they just went against the movement, like if they have something nice to say about their friends just wait till the movements, like you know, settling down or like inbox them or like, you know, don’t go against the movement.
Candy Lee 11:42
I think that goes back to what you were saying about like a boys club protecting each other because I feel like in the past, when it comes to wrestling, there’s a history of that like, unspoken rule of like, if you’re friends with someone like you protect them and stuff. Like I understand the whole mentality about protecting the business and like, not leading, like things in terms of like, matches and whatever – like protecting kayfabe I guess to fans, but then my thing is like, I feel like this protecting kayfabe but then there’s protecting your friends from being [exposed as] rapists and paedophiles. Like, I feel like that’s where people should have, like drawn a line and turn to protecting, like wrestling or whatever they’re trying to do.
Erin Dick 12:32
Totally what I’m getting at, is that it’s like, because we protect the kayfabe, we are also protecting the structures that are in place to make that happen and the hierarchy that exists within the industry. And as a result, we see that like in the Me Too Movement as well, that people who are in power are being protected, because their friends want to protect them and think that they’re good people.
Candy Lee 12:54
Yeah, and that’s like the whole thing about what’s like, in the past, or you have to like that whole thing about respecting veterans, especially in the like in the wrestling business, like, “They’re like a whatever vet, they’ve done all this” and you just think, like, you can’t speak up against that, because, like, you’re either a rookie, or you’re just new in the business. So you’re like, “Oh, but that guy’s got so much respect behind him so I feel like if I say something, I’m going to get blackballed. I won’t get bookings.” So I think that’s why this whole boys club mentality is passed down through like generation, I guess.
Erin Dick 13:32
Yeah, for sure. That kind of leads me Candy into my next point is that a lot of the cases that we’re hearing about are from reflections of people, particularly women, when they’ve just joined the business or they’re training or they’re breaking in for the first time. And we see that abuse of power happening at that level. And I know like we’ve had these conversations, I guess about like, what it’s like getting started in the business as a woman and it’s from what I’ve been told it’s really difficult because you have to prove yourself an extra level on top of the guys. But what’s it really like, getting started in the business? I feel like with all these stories coming to light, there’s a lot that we haven’t talked about. Maybe I’ll start with Avary this time. Yeah, what is it really like getting started in this business?
I think it’s like everyone’s experience getting started the business is completely different. Like every company you start at is completely different. Personally I started a really sh*tty company, like a really bad company. They gave me no rights to my character, what I would like to do, they would pair me only with girls because the boys might get the wrong idea if they touched me during training. But in the same breath, you know, they were so pedantic about you know, keeping girls separate and dividing by gender, and you know, girls not allowed to touch boys with the same breath. Some of the trainers would you know, then hit you up afterwards and you were 16 years old, you’re like, “Oh my God, a boy is talking to me.” I had a really sh*tty experience getting into it and for the first few years until I realised that I could leave, it was very much ingrained in my brain that was, you know, if you left you would know, amount to nothing. You’re with the best company. If you went anywhere else you’d amount to nothing. I’m very glad I left now, looking back. But uh, yeah, I think everyone’s experience is completely different. My experience was horrible, because the company I started at just did not respect women, they looked at as, like a whole different species. You know, it’s not nice, it was horrible. But once I left that company, I really started to explore. Don’t get me wrong, I did come across some d*ckheads. But I think majority of the people that came across in wrestling then, you know, helpful and supportive and lovely. So I did have a lot of great experiences after that.
Erin Dick 15:53
Yeah, thanks for sharing that Avary. Xena, what about you? Did you have any particular difficulties, and you don’t have to be explicit about anything, of course. But yeah, what was it like breaking in for you? And, you know, you’re still quite early in your career in some ways, and you’ve had to take some time back now. But yeah, how how does that feel to you? Does that resonate with you, that experience?
Training with me has always been fine. I think having a supportive female wrestler, that’s like taking training and is on top of the leaderboard really helps other female wrestlers come and get into training. We’re always taught to treat each other equally at training, men and woman. So that’s like, fine with us. But like, when I first started, I haven’t shared this story with anyone but there was, not a veteran, like, he was around for a while. He sent me dick pics, and would call me and would message me and I had just started training. I think it was like six months in. And then I approached some of the wrestlers. I’m like, “oh, look who’s messaging me, look at the dick pic”, and everyone laughed it off. Someone actually got the dick pic and made it into a smiley face. Like, I drew a diagram around the dick pic. So like, things like that weren’t take seriously back then. So being in wrestling for four to five years now, it’s just something that like, you know, we had to deal with, or it’s like a normal thing, like to do or like happen to us.
Erin Dick 17:26
Thank you for sharing that. I’m so sorry, that happened to you. That’s, like, fcked up. But the thing is, yeah, like you just said, it’s kind of, it’s the norm, and I’m using quotation marks that you’re expected to just cop that sort of sht.
Candy, how about you?
Candy Lee 17:44
I feel like, I my situation is different to everyone because like, I like being trans and stuff. So like, when I was looking for a school to train at the promotion that, like I call my home promotion at the moment, when I emailed them and stuff, they were all for it. But then I felt, like, it isn’t me to not be like to tell people about, like, me being trans and stuff. So obviously, I mentioned that to them. And the people in charge at the time were like, “Um, we’ll get back to you”. So, I was like “Okay, this doesn’t sound promising, like, why do you need to, like have a meeting about someone being trans to start”, but whatever. Um, I hadn’t heard from them for like weeks. So I just, like, reached out to them one day, and I was like, I haven’t heard from you guys. Like, so what’s happening? And he just replied straight away saying, “Oh, I’ve talked with everyone in management, you’re good to go blah, blah, blah”. And yeah, so I started and I’m naturally like a shy person, I get like, shy around meeting people. And I have like, anxiety and stuff. So I was really nervous starting out and stuff. But I talked to one of the trainers and he made me feel comfortable and stuff. But like, they assured me that only people in management knew about meeting trans and stuff because I really wasn’t comfortable with just telling like random strangers about it as well. But then apparently like, as time went on people were telling me all year everyone knew because one person told one person and they told the wrong person then it just spread. It’s just like things like that and wrestling it’s like never protected as like, you can’t really open up to people because even some people at the top you think they have your back [but they] don’t take things seriously. People I feel like when it comes to wrestling, like even people in management, they don’t treat wrestling like any other organisation, like it’s not treated like a workplace where like you [prevent] sexual harassment and things or teach people about what’s wrong and right. So when people in management just talk about your business, I just feel like that stuff so normalised that that’s why a lot of what’s happened, happens, because no one really takes it seriously from the top. But also with that whole being new and wrestling, especially as a girl, when I was new, there was this thing called vulture culture where like, apparently, every time a new girl comes to the rookie class, all the guys will swarm in like vultures, apparently, and then they all message this new girl and to see which one of them like, gets it in I guess. But like, I felt like I didn’t really get that. But then when I look back, I kind of did because a lot of the guys did start randomly messaging me and stuff. So I’m like “Why is it so normalised, this whole vulture culture situation? And why are we all laughing about it?” So I feel like, for years, things in wrestling aren’t or weren’t ever taken seriously. So that’s why this when the Speaking Out Movement thing came out, I’m like, kind of not as surprised or shocked. Because when you think about it, most of the people at the top don’t like, put their foot down and put in place policies to protect girls, especially new girls. Because, like for me to come in and then hear about vulture culture, you know, when like, if a new rookie comes along, especially a girl, all the guys flocked to her, like, when I heard about that, I was just like, that’s so weird. Because me being trans, I’m like, not used to male attention like that. So like, I felt like, that was just a whole weird thing to me. So when my situation happened to me, and like, upon reflecting back on it, I was just like, okay, like I did kind of experience that, but I just, I’m just so used to not like experiencing that. So yeah, I kind of understand about that whole starting off, it’s kind of like, yeah.
Erin Dick 22:19
Yeah, I hear you. It’s tricky. And yeah, thank you for sharing. I feel like there’s a lot to unpack there, especially regarding, like, trans issues and trans awareness. So I’d love to come back to that in a moment, but I guess first another thought for you Candy is that this is something I’ve had conversations with other girls in the business as well about the idea of not wanting to be called a women’s wrestler, or, yeah, I’m just a wrestler. There’s this idea, and I want to know what everyone’s thoughts are on that because I know, Candy, you have that particular affinity for the Divas. And likewise, we’ve shared that interest together. And there’s a lot of people in the community who like looked up to the Divas and want to reclaim that moniker in a lot of ways. Do you think it does more harm than good to say, “I just want to be seen as a wrestler?” Because I don’t know, this is my thinking. And I’m keen to hear what you guys have to say. But if we do say, “I’m just a wrestler”, then women just kind of get lumped in with the rest of the pack and the people who, if we need that protection [we don’t] get it because we’re just supposed to go along with what the boys are doing and just assimilate in that way and just be one of the boys and cop things like abusive behaviour and manipulation. Yeah, Candy, what are your thoughts on that?
Candy Lee 23:44
For me, personally, I actually, like prefer being referred to as a women’s wrestler, because especially being a trans woman, I feel like it’s more reaffirming for me, and like, my experiences in my life in general. Like, I understand why women want to feel equal to like, their male counterparts and stuff and I’m all for it. And I’m all for equality and stuff. But me personally, I feel like what my journey is, like, because in society, people don’t see me – like, they downplay trans people anyways, and they see us like as not visible so for me, being called a women’s wrestler or like using that is like so empowering to me. Because that’s just reaffirming to me and that knowing my place as a woman because if you just take that away I feel like you just open up [to] transphobia from fans because like, you know how fans are like, their mindsets like so black and white these days most of the time. So for me, like this is just me personally, I don’t mind whether like other girls in wrestling or wanna be just called wrestlers like, you be all that by like I, me personally, I find a reaffirming for myself and like, yeah, so I don’t mind.
Erin Dick 25:10
Yeah, Avary, I wanted to ask you, because your character is very like, very like feminine sexual character and you really embrace that in in your work and everything that you do in the ring. And I want to ask you how, like, obviously, you would experience backlash to that, right? Like, as Candy was saying, fans can be black and white and gross. What’s your thoughts then around the whole women’s wrestling and the fact that – Yeah, you can. I don’t know. I know that you have opinions on this. So I’ll let you take that.
I don’t think I have like a very strong opinion on that. I think I’m like, yes, I’m a wrestler. But technically, I’m a women’s wrestler as well, and to kind of stand up and say, “I don’t want to be called a women’s wrestler. I want to be called a wrestler.” It’s like, the word woman isn’t bad. It’s not a bad word. Woman is great. Women are great. Like, I don’t feel like that you shouldn’t be an insult. Like, “I don’t want to be a woman’s wrestler. I want to be wrestlers.” Like, you can be both. You can wrestle and be a woman like, how is being a woman an insult? How is that you know, I don’t want to be defined as this. If anything, you should be like, “F*ck yeah, I’m a women’s wrestler.” Like, you should be proud. You should embrace that.
Erin Dick 26:28
Yeah, for sure. Xena what do you think?
I think Avary covered it with me too. I’m in the same boat as her. Like it’s not an insult. If people want to call you a women’s wrestler, go for gold.
Erin Dick 26:41
I feel like this kind of comes from this like thinking of like, you know, when we had the whole movement towards, you know, serious technical wrestling, and when wrestling kind of started to pick up in the mainstream, it became, yeah, it became embarrassing to be a Diva or to have that like sexualised character and to use that to your advantage. In some circles, at least, but yeah, I don’t know. I feel really – Avary, I love your character so much and I feel so empowered every time I watch you. So it just means a lot to be able to see, you know, a strong woman who embraces her sexuality in that way.
Yeah, you have like the energy Avary. I wish I had that energy sometimes. [laughs].
Ah, thank you!
Candy Lee 27:23
Yeah, I love it.
It’s like nothing to be like ashamed of. Like, I don’t care what people say. It’s the energy that I wish I had.
[laughs] F*ck yeah. I have a lot of fun.
Erin Dick 27:41
This leads me into I guess, another idea or way of thinking that exists in this space and it’s the whole “pull up your bootstraps” mentality, I don’t know, just get on with it kind of thing. And I feel like that encourages hazing in a lot of ways and then we get this additional layer of backstage bullying and things like that become really normal because you just have to get on with it. Obviously, that needs to change in my opinion, but what do you guys think? What’s your experience with that being told to pull up your bootstraps?
I can honestly say, I’ve never heard that saying before.
Candy Lee 28:20
Meet too. I’ve never heard.
Erin Dick 28:25
That’s probably a good thing.
Candy Lee 28:27
But I get the intent of what you mean. Like, I’m sure, like, we’ve experienced it, but not exactly that saying.
Yeah, I get what you’re saying. Yeah.
I get what you mean.
Erin Dick 28:42
It’s like hazing, right? It is often a result of that mentality of like, yeah, you just have to push on with whatever you’re receiving. And it kind of feeds into what you’ve all been saying is that you receive, like, comments or messages or things that, uh, you know, inappropriate but you kind of just have to, like, even just like things that aren’t so overtly inappropriate, just like, subtle bullying that makes you feel small that happens backstage and it’s like a result of the hierarchies that exist backstage of like, you gotta respect the veterans and –
Candy Lee 29:16
Yeah, or like, the whole, the whole, like, the golden boys of like, the promotion or whatever country or whatever scene they’re from. Like, Oh, that’s like, you know, like jocks in high school. Like, there’s a joke there the popular girls, blah blah blah. Like, I get that often because like I feel like I don’t really play into like cliques and stuff like that. I just like to be open and like, as friendly as possible to like everyone because I know what it’s like to be judged, obviously, because of who I am in society and stuff and I know what it’s like to be bullied for who I am. Like especially in high school and stuff so like, I don’t know because like, my thing is like, Oh my God, you guys are like, high school was years ago for some of you. Some of you are almost 30. How you still behaving like you’re in high school? Like, I don’t know, were you bullied in high school or something? Were you a loser? That’s why you feel like because you’re in wrestling now and you have some notoriety, you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m gonna abuse this power.” Like, I feel like that’s where a lot of this golden boys mentality comes from and the root of why they do the things that they do to people like they think that, “Oh okay, we’ve got something we’re good at. We’re good wrestlers. So we’re allowed to, like, treat people who we don’t think are on our level like sh*t, basically.” And I feel like that mentality is what’s a big problem recently. I know Speaking Out was about like, like the sexual assaults happening and stuff, but also I feel like stuff like bullying and just shooting people sh*t, because you think that they’re less than you like needs to change as well.
Erin Dick 30:59
Yeah, do you guys have any, Xena and Avary, do you have any other thoughts on bullying in the industry?
Yeah, I mean, like, within wrestling you need to have thick skin. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. Because a lot of how you improve comes from constructive criticism. So like when you’re starting out in the business, generally you get like hazed, and that’s not right. Like some people do unnecessary sh*tty hazing and it’s like, yeah, that’s just being a dick. But some people have it out for your best intention of they’re giving you constructive criticism. And there’s a big difference between bullying and trying to help someone be better themselves by being like “Hey, you’re doing this sh*t, you’re doing that bad.” You know? I think you need to have thick skin – you know, veterans can be dicks too, like everyone can be an a***hole. There’s no doubt about that. But you shouldn’t have to cop outright bullying. Absolutely. There’s no way in hell you should ever have to cop that. But yeah, you will get a lot of harsh comments about you know, your character, your wrestling style, you know, you’ll get opinions from everyone. Everyone will have an opinion on you know, what you shouldn’t should be doing because, you know, especially coming up and being new in the business. Especially when I was coming up in the business I got a lot of you know, a lot of “who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s and why’s” and not all of it was nice. A lot of it was like, you know, you’re doing this sh*t. And you need to do to like, yeah, learn the difference and – If someone’s being a dick, yeah, you can call them out. [laughs].
Yeah, [does that come] under like shaking hands? Like, I don’t know what your pet peeves are, but like, if someone’s bullied me, I won’t go out of my way to shake the hand.
Oh God now, f*ck that.
Candy Lee 32:50
Yeah, like, I don’t know.
This is the thing. It’s expected for me to shake their hand.
Candy Lee 32:56
Because of the heat?
Yeah, I’ve had someone have heat with me backstage to the point where I finished the show, walked backstage and they shut the door right in front of my face. And like people see it. And they don’t say anything.
Yeah. I’ve had heat for not skaing someone’s hand before because they were an absolute a**hole to me, an absolute dckwad.
Yeah! What are we meant to do if it comes down to, it’s expected of you to get a spot?
Yeah. You’re supposed to respect your veterans no matter how much on an a***hole they are.
Candy Lee 33:32
Yeah, like, they could come in and like, slap you in the face for no reason and you still have to, like, respect them and not say anything.
I don’t know what kind of boat that should be [in] like, you know?
Erin Dick 33:44
I feel like that’s interesting Xena because like, it’s not being talked about in the same way that really obvious things like sexual assault, you know, we can as a society now at least we can be like, “That’s wrong.” And we can denounce that. But yeah, I mean, I’ve had that experience of like, when I’ve come to shows to help out on media or something like that, I’m expected to shake hands and I’m like, oh, like, I never understood that culture. Yeah, how do you address that? Like, obviously, it I think it has a lot to do with the top down, right, like, the people who are in charge.
I get it in a way where if you’re versing that opponent on the day, just for like, you know, we have we trust each other enough to wrestle each other. But it’s different when it’s someone you’ll never like, you know, go out of your way to book a match with or wrestle them.
Candy Lee 34:34
But in saying that, like, some people like I don’t even know them or like I’ve never done anything to them. They choose not to shake my hand. So I’m like, how do you expect me to shake someone like to go up to people to shake their hand when they don’t want to reciprocate the same energy? So I’m just like, there’s no, like, that whole shaking hand thing like – I’ve had like, I’ve had people like, literally come and shake everyone around me, their hands and then just ignore me completely, like walk past me like I don’t exist. And I’m just like, okay, like, did I do something to you? And then it’s people I’ve never met before, so I’m just like, okay?
You probably just scared them. That’s why. [laughs] You’re too outspoken for them to like you. That’s the problem. They don’t like people like that. That’s an issue when you speak up, they’re like, you know?
Candy Lee 35:22
But it’s not even that, it’s like people I don’t know, though. Like,
Candy Lee 35:28
Like even like new rookies and the like, and like the promotion’s training school, like they would shake me like all the guys hand and then they would just ignore the women like, okay?
Erin Dick 35:40
If you or someone you know needs support, you’ll find relevant helplines and links in the show notes of this episode and on our website.
Bronco Busters would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which these interviews and stories are recorded throughout the Kulin Nation. We pay our respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging. We also extend this acknowledgement to the Traditional Owners of the various lands on which our guests reside. Colonial violence is ongoing and the fight for justice resides with each of us.
To hear and read more from the women and LGBTQIA+ people of pro wrestling, head to our website: bronco-busters.com for more stories and transcripts. You can keep up with us on Facebook at BroncoBustersAUNZ and Instagram @broncobustersaunz. And don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.