Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ll have heard the reactions to the announcement of the first ever woman to play Doctor Who. It’s sad to think that some people believe that having a vagina automatically means you can’t play a time traveller. As weird as that is, you can apply that to so many other aspects of life. Why should your genitalia mean that you should be underpaid? Why does it mean that you can be discriminated against?
Thankfully, we live in a time in which things are starting to equal out around here. However, it was only fairly RECENTLY that the fans of the WWE Women’s Division, or Divas at that point, started the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance.
So they did.
The women’s revolution endured a tumultuous start, nine women were pigeonholed into three teams of three and started some weird gang war that never really amounted to much other than a vehicle to push Charlotte as an underdog face. That was arguably doomed to fail from the start given her privileged background, but it soon evolved into something more.
Women were once caged to their gender roles, but soon THEY were in the Cell. They once believed that they could only reach so far, but now they are climbing ladders.
It’s that latter point though which has seen some people start to question this revolution in recent times as the first ever Women’s Money In The Bank Match was won by… a man?! After all, we should be looking elsewhere to prove that, right?
On Monday Night RAW, it, arguably, feels like the challengers to the title are simply alternating and rotating without a real story. When they tried building something resembling a storyline it resulted in what many believe to be one of the worst segments of all time because the writers completely misjudged what made their potential top face female wrestler so popular back in NXT. Hell, even the WWE erased it from all of their own social media channels.
Now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, and honestly, the lack of my main subject here is purely intentional. Put simply, this isn’t a column about the WWE.
This is a column about Lucha Underground.
This is a column about the Luchadoras.
And also, this is a column that will contain spoilers so if you want to witness the revolution first hand then I suggest searching anywhere you can to find it. If not, however, allow me to be your guide.
Yep, if you search hard enough, removed from what you’re normally presented with, then you will come across a Temple, not an organization. You’ll discover powers not politics. More than anything else, you’ll see first hand the true meaning of equality.
Perhaps there is no greater example than what takes place week after week in the Temple as women are pitted against men on a regular basis. In the recent Cueto Cup to crown a new #1 Contender, Johnny Mundo’s teammate (no, not a valet) took on Joey Ryan and Jeremiah Crane in back to back rounds. The first episode of its second season was headlined by Ivelisse taking on – and almost stunning – an absolute monster of a man who is known to be the personification of death. That’s right, Ivelisse, a small fiery Puerto Rican badass took on a six foot, 245lb behemoth.
And almost won.
Though, when I think of equality I think of a day when a woman can hold the main heavyweight championship of a promotion.
That day has already come, gone, and I’m sure will rise again.
At Aztec Warfare III, a twenty-performer match that embodies the spirit of the Royal Rumble but with pinfalls and submissions, instead, it was Sexy Star that won the match.
If you’re uninitiated with Lucha Underground, at the mention of a performer name such as ‘Sexy Star’, you would be reminded of the days of Bra and Panties matches galore. Instead of the sexist days of old though, it’s a name that means that she is absolutely proud of herself. She is allowed to express that. Yes, she’s good looking, but she IS a STAR for more than that reason. She was not hired for that purpose. She was signed because she can seriously perform within that ring.
Imagine if Sasha Banks won the Royal Rumble match and also in that year’s match then was able to pick up the Universal Championship in the process? We’re still far, far off that happening.
But in Lucha it has already happened.
For those who find it hard to comprehend this still. Ask yourselves. Haven’t you played as Anna in Tekken before? Haven’t you raided tombs as Lara Croft? We’re willing to accept the idea of strong women in fantasy and yet for some people this is still but a dream that is yet to be harvested into reality.
It is in this fantasy genre that Lucha excels, of course. If you recall back to my comment about little or wasted story development in the WWE right now, you might be surprised that in Lucha Underground, one of the most focused upon and powerful characters is Catrina. She not only controls the aforementioned Mil Muertes, she saved him from death. Several times now actually. She not only possesses a stone to raise the dead, but she wears an amulet to grant herself seemingly eternal youth.
I’m not saying for a second that every promotion should forget reality and ask everyone to suspend disbelief for a second, although that has happened rather frequently with the likes of the Undertaker and the Broken Hardyz! So why not with more women?
There has to be more Rosemary’s out there, right?
What I AM saying is that Lucha Underground have invested so much time and development into this woman, Catrina, and it has made the product stronger as a whole. We care for Jeremiah Crane when his interactions with her reveal more of a secret dark past; we are excited by the chemistry between Fenix, the man who in turn represents life, and the woman who plagues us with darkness.
I appreciate the irony of using a shrouded character to emphasise how Lucha Underground is taking us out of the dark ages. However, it is in my opinion that the Temple itself has not had enough light shed on it for all of its hard work that it has put in to redefining gender roles. It is Lucha Underground that really GLOWS.
But admittedly, after all of this it shouldn’t ever be about gender. Yes, this comes from the man who has just wrote a column about the very matter! It should be about AGENDA. Who is doing what and why? How does that add to the story? Who is skilled in that ring?
I’m not saying for a second that WWE and other promotions are not trying to do that these days, but what I am saying is that if they want a positive example of how to give their female superstars the relevance they deserve. They could do much worse than trying to track down the Temple themselves.
The Revolution has been, is, and hopefully will continue to be televised. You just have to know where to look.
Try Boyle Heights.