Thursday, March 14, 2019

On Mandy Rose and WWE's "Evolution"

Rose, shown here against Asuka at Fastlane, is still treated with regressive attitudes from certain WWE figures
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(First of all, sorry for going back on my retirement, but you know all wrestling retirements, from workers themselves down to us blowhards writing about it are never permanent.)

I like Otis Dozovic, or just OTIS as he's known now that Heavy Machinery has graduated to the main roster. He's fun, has great facial expressions, does big guy stuff, and has the right amount of silliness to be a good pro wrestler. I also share a passion for eating grilled meats. I also enjoy Corey Graves' commentary for the most part. I mean, sure, he's a real-life douchebag who uses Twitter to peddle bullshit "bootstraps" mentality at absolute best, but he's the best color commentator the company has had since before Tazz developed brain worms. They're generally enjoyable parts of the skullduggery that can be WWE weekly programming.

However, they both have one incredibly glaring and frankly creepy weakness. They're both uncomfortably thirsty towards Mandy Rose. Whenever Graves calls a match featuring Rose, he sounds like all the blood in his body has engorged his penis and that his testes are controlling his narrative. Take for example her match with Asuka at Fastlane; if not for Tom Phillips or Byron Saxton, I might not have known the Smackdown Women's Champion was in the match or that it was even a wrestling match. This has been a problem ever since Rose debuted on the main roster, and it has gotten worse as time has gone on, especially after Paige retired and their stable Absolution was less of a force in stories.

Dozovic's obsession isn't featured on television, but his stalker-tendencies on social media would raise red flags if the faint specter of exaggeration for a wrestling character were absent. The almost childlike obsession with Dozovic wanting to date Rose might seem cute if you write for or read Barstool Sports, but to anyone with half-a-concern for women as people and not living sex-objects SHOULD see it as scary. While someone could theoretically ascribe Graves' tongue-wagging thirst commentary to a mandate from head sleazebag Vince McMahon (or Paul Levesque, whoever is barking cues into his headset from Gorilla), Dozovic controls everything he puts on social media, which puts into question how much of it is character and how much of it is real attraction manifested in a grotesquely objectifying manner.

All in all, in this supposed era of female revolution or as WWE calls it, Evolution, Mandy Rose is treated as the worst kind of throwback, someone whose entire raison d'être is stoke sexual attraction among the fanbase. It's the sort of thing that was supposed to be left behind with the trashing of the Divas Championship belt, but Rose is the outward sign that a corporate leopard doesn't change spots so easily. It's smoke that represents the fire of the problems within the company with respect to women. The fact that Becky Lynch, the most prominent female performer on the roster, is paid on par with wrestlers like Apollo Crews or Curt Hawkins is galling. However, while economic justice is important for gaining equality regardless of demographic, Rose's treatment might be worse. For a company that Stephanie McMahon swears is reaching out to little girls and showing them "GIRL POWER!!!1" it sure is sending a message that no matter what, if you're presenting female, you will never escape the possibility that your character will be "sexy" and nothing else.

Granted, WWE isn't nearly as good at creating characters as its employees and volunteer PR agents on Twitter might lead you to believe. I'm still not sure what Finn Bálor's character really is. He's just a dude who smiles, does a shitty sling blade, and once in awhile, paints himself up when he really wants to win a match. But imagine if his character were based off the prominent member between his legs that he does a terrible job of concealing with his tights. I'm not even talking about something like Rick Rude, who was presented as sexy but had an arrogant dickhead persona to back it, one that didn't have all the commentators talking about how much they wanted to fuck him all match. That never happens because men are never reduced to their fuckability. The fact that women still do is bad, but that they are despite the fact that WWE insists that equality is here is a goddamn disgrace.

So when Graves talks over action in the ring about how gorgeous Rose is or Dozovic posts another video where he's talking about how much he wants to share macaroons with her in the creepiest way possible, remember that it's not cute or normal, but a continuation of WWE doing the same old shit with respect to women. Just because now the company has a greater percentage of women who are treated like actual wrestlers and not potential cum dumpsters doesn't make the treatment of ones who are still stuck in Vince McMahon's perverted gravitational well acceptable.