Monday, February 12, 2018

Don't Look to Wrestling for Your Woke Daddies

Ryan isn't your woke daddy, but no one in wrestling should be
Photo Credit: Mikey Nolan
Joey Ryan is known for two things nowadays: wrestling a style completely based around his penis and speaking up on Twitter on behalf of women wrestlers. It's garnered him a checkered reputation among the wrestling community, but generally, sex positivity and sticking up for women combine to allow anyone to accept the benefit of some modicum of doubt as whether or not they're a decent person. At the very least, it's a breath of fresh air from the rotten garbage that populates the wrestling industry, like noted statutory rapist Chasyn Rance and accused domestic abuser Adam Rose, right? Well, about that...

Uh, okay. Of course, the paper-thin defense of Ryan being on the same show as these guys is that again, wrestling is full of creeps and cretins. Working on the same show as these guys isn't a principled stance most people on the indies can afford to take except Ryan has a fucking sponsorship with YouPorn. Regardless though, not only is Ryan working the same show, but it would appear he's working the same match as a guy who was fired from WWE for domestic abuse (and don't get it twisted, just because the arrest was thrown out or Rose didn't get a conviction, that doesn't mean he's innocent) and a dude who lured a 16-year-old girl across the country to get her in an altered state so he could more easily have sex with her. Again, Ryan is on a nationally televised wrestling show in Lucha Underground. He has a sponsorship. He gets select dates in Japan for bigger promotions like Dramatic Dream Team. He has enough clout to tell any promoter in America, even Vince McMahon, to pound sand.

So, if Joey Ryan really was your woke daddy, then why would he not nix that above match as soon as he found out what Rance did? I mean, a fucking Google search of Rance just by his name alone yields a link to a news article detailing his arrest as the fourth result. If you were really woke, and you had the clout that Ryan did, wouldn't you at least do due diligence on your opponents, even if you didn't know who they exactly were coming in?

Dragging Ryan for this is warranted, especially given his outspoken nature in other socially conscious issues, but at the same time, wrestling isn't exactly a business that is going to attract the wokest individuals. The industry itself emerged from carny grift, and thanks to the most powerful figure in America in said business, McMahon, it has yet to fully loose itself from those constraints. Basically, wrestling is the most capitalist enterprise one could engage in for the most meager pool of shared money that probably can't legally be called a jackpot given how paltry it is. When you're in an industry where most of the people in it only care about how much money they can make, of course you're not going to get many left-thinking individuals in it, ones who will put their desires for cash aside when their principles are attacked.

I will never attack a fan or a critic for continuing to push wrestling towards a better direction from the outside, because that is what I continually aim to do with TWB and my presence on Twitter. One cannot stop trying to make their lives and the spaces in which they habitate better, safer, more inclusive. However, that desire must come with cautious expectation for what the people inside those spaces might think. To say that one cannot look for woke daddies in a business where wokeness will be sold out for money is not defeatist or complacent, but pragmatic. Sometimes, you just have to take the attitude that you and the people you trust have to take what you're all trying to change into a better place, dragging it by its ear kicking and screaming. Hell, you already did start. The promotion in question removed Rance at least from the show after immense pressure.

You have more of a proclivity to use the power you wield than most of the self-styled "woke daddies" in wrestling. Perhaps, expecting that most wrestlers might not be trustworthy is the way to go. That way, when someone who seems refreshing comes along, you don't have to be too devastated when they turn out to be opportunistic. And hey, if someone comes along who is the real deal, then it's a bonus. I'm not sure anyone in the latter category has come along yet. I'm still waiting for the time when Chuck Taylor or Zack Sabre, Jr. or Sami Zayn get a visit from Milkshake Duck like a proverbial Sword of Damocles, but hey, I'll take what I can get.