It has been a difficult day for the British wrestling scene. The #speakout hashtag trended globally this morning as a number of wrestlers spoke publicly about the abuses they have suffered in the industry. The response has since spread worldwide, with men and women in the industry sharing their stories.
What began as an intensely personal movement has become the wrestling industry’s ‘Me Too’ movement. It is long overdue; these stories have been told in low voices in the dressing rooms of promotions all over the world. For too long women wrestlers have felt compelled to keep silent for the sake of their career, or their personal safety. And although the industry appears to have moved on from the Bad Old Days, it’s clear that there is much work still to do.
Make no mistake, we are witnessing a mass catharsis. For some, this movement has been years in the making. It is unconscionable that these issues have been swept under the rug for so long. And while it is painful to learn that the wrestlers we admire are not who we thought they were, it is important to be clear-eyed about things. We as fans cannot turn a blind eye to vabuses for the sake of our own entertainment.
The situation is continually evolving. It is uniquely difficult to report on an issue which is yet to be fully realised, let alone resolved. It is nonetheless imperative that we address it. Women’s wrestling has come a long way; the fight for equality in the ring is important, but the fight to clear outdated attitudes behind the scenes is the most important of all.
We at Steelchair Magazine stand by those who are bravely speaking out on this issue. We condemn in its entirety the abuse, coercion and misogyny which has clearly pervaded British wrestling for far too long, and we offer our full support to those pushing for change. A better future is possible, but first we must excise the rot.