Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shayna Baszler's Pro Wrestling Debut

Baszler took to the mat like a natural. Probably because of the MMA career, but still...
Photo Credit: Mikey Nolan
Saturday in Reno, NV, Quintessential Pro Wrestling promoted a card that featured a notable debut from one Shayna Baszler. The member of the MMA-version of the Four Horsewomen and Ronda Rousey's training partner took to the ring against perhaps the most seasoned female veteran on the indie scene, Cheerleader Melissa. On one hand, putting someone in their first match ever, regardless of whether or not they competed extensively in a sport that's "like" pro wrestling, against Melissa would be like pitting an expansion team against the Green Bay Packers in its first football game. On the other, Baszler got training from Josh Barnett, who has straddled both worlds, and Melissa has done some MMA training herself.

And according to Alex Goff of The Fight Game Blog, Baszler acquitted herself well. While Goff says he doesn't " know that [he] would want to see her in what would be a standard pro wrestling match," she wrestled in the "reality" style well, which to me says she's down with #grapplefuck, which has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with a style of wrestling that combines World of Sport, amateur and MMA influences, and shoot-style. Luckily for her, the EVOLVE crew of Timothy Thatcher, Drew Gulak, Hot Sauce Williams, Chris Hero, and formerly Biff Busick (who was too beautiful for the indies and is flying south to NXT now) are doing their best to normalize that mat-heavy style. If Baszler can bring out the amateur/British/"shooty" style on the women's scene, or even transition into going toe-to-toe with the men who partake in that style, then she's going to be a special performer, even if she never makes WWE.

And she will continue to perform in the ring. After the match, SHIMMER Champion, Canadian Ninja, and all-around bad dude Nicole Matthews came out from the back and whacked Baszler with a steel chair. Matthews is more of a "traditional" pro wrestler, but then again, wrestlers surprise all the time. Either way, it's another match to look forward to. Baszler's career seems to be something to look forward to.