Last night was the first episode of All Elite Wrestling’s television show, Wednesday Night Dynamite. Pretty much everyone in my social circles knew how pumped I was for this show. I was excited because holy shit, there was a reason to care about wrestling again. I quit watching WWE well over a year ago due to a combination of the Trump shit, the Saudi Arabia shit, and the JBL-Mauro Ranallo shit. And I don’t really have the time or the money to keep tabs on New Japan, as much as I would like to. So now here’s this new company, full of good wrestlers I like, going out of their way to appeal to people like me, having a new TV show on TNT, which hasn’t aired wrestling since 2001.
I was pumped for this match in particular:
Riho vs Nyla Rose to crown the first ever AEW Women’s champion. Now the deal with Nyla, if you weren’t already aware, is that Nyla Rose is a Native American transgender woman. While I may not be Native (I am extremely white), I am a trans woman, so you better believe I was ready to cheer my fucking lungs out for her. Plus, the booking gave me every reason to believe she would win: AEW has spent the past year going out of their way to court an LGBT audience, hiring Sonny Kiss, an openly gay Black man, in addition to Nyla. Cody Rhodes constantly saying “wrestling is for everybody,” banning Vince Russo, a homophobic wrestling writer, from their events, in addition to removing fans that chant queer/transphobic shit during their events. Cody and the Young Bucks may as well have broken through my TV glass and grabbed by the collar and yelled “we want you, specifically, Ramona, to watch this television show!”
So I did. And it was a really great show! Then the semi-main event for the Women’s title was gearing up, and I was gearing up. I was ready to fucking run around the house, cheering and yelling and annoying the shit out of everybody with my enthusiasm. I was ready to see Nyla kick some ass.
And then…she lost.
To say my energy was sapped and the air was taking out of me would be an understatement. I was crushed. I was angry. AEW had worked me into a shoot, brother. The main event of Dynamite may as well have been Cody Rhodes emptying a bag of money into a garbage can, and setting it on fire.
This wasn’t some Daniel Bryan “the guy I like lost” bullshit. Nyla not only lost, but was booked like a fucking fool the whole time. Why would you try to use a steel chair in full view of the referee, knowing that this is not a no-disqualification match, and that you will lose if you hit Riho with the chair? The entire match, she keeps pulling out chairs from under the ring, Fire Pro style, while the commentators keep asking “why is she doing this?” Nevermind the fact that Nyla outweighs Riho by almost 100 pounds, and could simply use her size instead of relying on a weapon. Why is Nyla going for a Senton Bomb to the outside of the ring? What I was told last night was not that Nyla Rose couldn’t get the job done against Riho because Riho was the better opponent, it was that Nyla Rose could not get the job done against Riho because she is a fucking moron. But hey, thanks for the ratings, queers! We might consider telling Jim Ross to quit making snide “she’s not being man-handled, she’s being woman-handled” remarks next time!
I turned the show off after that. I didn’t care anymore.
Like, you spend a year appealing to the LGBT wrestling fans. You book Nyla to win a women’s battle royale from the #1 spot. You keep wink-wink-nudge-nudge promoting the women’s match as “history in the making,” which is definitely not meant to be taken as a loaded statement. Riho doesn’t even work for AEW full-time! You all but said “Nyla Rose will be our first women’s champion.” And while they may have banned Vince Russo from their shows, it’s clear they didn’t ban his booking philosophy with that ridiculous swerve. Great representation, to watch someone just like you compete in the big leagues, then look like a total jabroni and literally fall flat on their ass. Great representation to see Nyla get punked out by Kenny Omega, a man who kayfabes his sexuality worse than Dolph Ziggler kayfabes his politics.
I was originally going to have a section here about the people who have told me that Nyla “isn’t ready yet, brother” or how she’s suddenly a bad wrestler who botches all her moves in ways Sin Cara can only imagine. I won’t entertain that shit. It’s all cis white dudes saying that anyway, and it’s just another example of the wrestling double standard where even if Nyla was the drizzling shits in the ring, what would set her apart from the staggering number of shitty white guys who couldn’t work to save their lives winning titles and main eventing shows? What’s the difference between this hypothetical sloppy Nyla and like, Ryback? Like, I’m as big a CM Punk as you’ll ever meet, but I won’t pretend for a second that he didn’t have quite possibly the worst elbow drop in the history of the business, or that his career defining match at Money in the Bank 2011 didn’t have him falling over and fucking up constantly. Well, nevermind, I guess I did entertain that shit.
I’m mad about this. I really am. I understand that it’s asinine to care about a TV show, but like, I want to like AEW. I want to support AEW. I’m not here on my blog complaining because I hate the company and want to see it burn and end up in Vince McMahon’s tape library. But fuck me, man, you can’t spend all this time and money to reach out to a leftist queer audience, then pull the rug out from under everyone like that. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the idea of Nyla Rose losing matches; I don’t think she should have a Goldberg-like undefeated streak or anything like that. Everyone has to lose some time. But this match was the big one. This was your first impression to a massive audience, the chance to set yourself apart from the competition, your chance to put your best foot forward, and you fucking stepped on everyone’s Nikes. Will I be watching the show again next week? I don’t know yet.