Chus Martinez On Intergender WrestlingPosted: April 18, 2013
Intergender wrestling, also known as mixed wrestling is a type of professional wrestling match between a man and a woman, and may also refer to tag team matches with both men and women on each team. Intergender wrestling was first popularized in the late-1970s/early-1980s by Andy Kaufman. Kaufman participated in several staged matches that were filmed and proclaimed himself the “Intergender Champion”, issuing an open challenge to any female who thought she could defeat him.
From the mid-1990s into the early-2000’s intergender matches experienced a surge in popularity, and were often introduced to the roster of events in major North American promotions such as Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. Perhaps the most successful female wrestler who competed in intergender matches was Chyna. Regularly booked to wrestle her male counterparts during the WWF Attitude Era, she was a three-time Intercontinental Champion, a championship traditionally only contested by men. Other women wrestlers who had notable wrestling feuds with their male counterparts, and even portrayed as their equals in the ring during that time period include Luna Vachon, Jazz, Jacqueline, Madusa, Sable and Lita.
This match-type continues to meet controversy across North America as matches often straddle the line between sporting events and pure erotic entertainment, and also allegations over the depiction of gratuitous physical violence against hapless women. Certain adult entertainment companies produce staged mixed wrestling videos in apartments, incorporating erotic elements, and later sell them online or at adult stores.
Mixed wrestling is often an arrangement between a man and a woman in private. This is also referred to as session wrestling. Ladies who provide session wrestling often have a martial arts or athletic background. Female bodybuilders frequently offer wrestling sessions. Their strength enables them to overpower many men. The sessions vary from light fantasy wrestling to full competitive wrestling. The difference is the amount of resistance the man exerts during the wrestling session. Women who provide full competitive usually have extensive training in a martial art such as judo or Brazilian jiu jitsu. The common outcome in such a match is the woman prevailing over the man. This is accomplished through joint locks, leg scissors or pins.
Today mainstream wrestling organizations like World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling rarely feature women wrestling men. Instead, mixed tag team matches that first began to take place in the 1980s, are still common and very popular in the industry. However, a few smaller independent promotions such as All Pro Wrestling, IWA Mid-South and Combat Zone Wrestling still feature intergender wrestling matches, using performers such as Cheerleader Melissa, Mickie Knuckles and LuFisto who regularly compete with men in athletic matchups, and even in violent hardcore matches and deathmatches.
In Mexican lucha libre promotions, intergender matches are more common in tag team matches. However, both male and female wrestlers are restricted to fighting their own gender. Some tag teams of this kind are siblings (such as Cinthia Moreno and Oriental), trained simultaneously with the same instructor, or even are on a real-life relationship such as boyfriend/girlfriend (Cibernético and Estrellita) or, as an exceptional case, husband and wife (Billy Boy and Faby Apache).