Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's the best lesbian angle in wrestling?

Gay characters have been a staple in pro wrestling ever since Gorgeous George and the black and white television era, but lesbians have only recently become a part of the show. For about the last twelve years the largest wrestling companies in North America have emphasized storylines and characters aimed at adult audiences. As part of that push, promoters introduced lesbians onto their unique programming. It was a no-brainer.

Today I'd like to ask my readers which lesbian-themed storyline they believe is the greatest in wrestling's history. Usually "greatest" lists can be debated all night and day, however, the wrestling business only has a few storylines of this nature to choose from. Unlike gay villains and other wrestling cliches, lesbian characters and angles remain scarce within the industry. That fact could either make the selection process easier, or just much more difficult. I've detailed each memorable same-sex angle below, along with some pros and cons to consider when putting in your two cents. If I've forgotten an angle or simply weren't aware of one, let me know about it!

THE ANGLE: Beulah and Kimona, ECW's only lesbian storyline (and also it's only bisexual one). Shane Douglas promised to drop a bombshell on his opponent, Raven, the night they faced off for the ECW championship. Raven had replaced Beulah with Kimona after Beulah left Raven for his long-time nemesis Tommy Dreamer, claiming she was pregnant with Dreamer's baby. Kimona dumped Raven soon after herself and threw her support behind Douglas for the upcoming title match. Before the match took place, Douglas announced that Beulah wasn't really pregnant, and that she'd been cheating on BOTH Raven and Tommy Dreamer the entire time. It turned out she was cheating with Kimona! The girls kissed mid-ring to prove this. Luckily, Dreamer was "hardcore" enough to handle them both. He escorted the ladies back to the locker room, and was co-managed until Kimona left ECW.

PRO: The angle was timed perfectly. It took place during the height of shows such as Jerry Springer, where similar stories could be found on daytime TV. Also, the lesbian storyline wrote out Beulah's baby in a way that didn't involve a cliche miscarriage.

CON: The angle, which pretty much went nowhere after the kiss, got ECW kicked off of some TV networks. It doesn't seem worth it, all things considered.

THE ANGLE: Trish and Mickie, WWE's lesbian stalker. Mickie James jumped the railing and made the save for Trish Stratus a few times on WWE television before introducing herself to Stratus backstage. Trish identified Mickie as the girl who continuously wrote her letters and such. Her "number one fan" as it were. The two bonded and Mickie "learned to wrestle" from Trish. Slowly but surely Mickie James became increasingly obsessed with Trish Stratus, and even jealous when Trish announced she had a boyfriend. Stratus knew James was a bit psychotic, but didn't have the heart to tell her to buzz off. Finally, after a lengthy buildup that included a Christmas kiss under the missletoe, Stratus worked up the nerve to tell off James. This allowed James to turn on Stratus heading into WrestleMania, and produced an exciting feud for the Women's title that hasn't been duplicated since.

PRO: WWE women's wrestling was given a decent storyline and a good amount of airtime, while continuing to produce excellent matches between the ropes.

CON: Mickie James had nowhere to go but down. This feud got her over with the crowd, even to the point that they were cheering her during the WrestleMania match. Unfortunately, James has since been reduced to just another Diva.

THE ANGLE: Dawn and Torrie, a wedding and a funeral. Dawn Marie began to make eyes at Torrie Wilson's father, Al. It turned out Al felt the same way. Torrie wasn't a fan of this at all considering the age gap, and because she knew what a heel Dawn Marie was. Eventually Dawn and Al Wilson were engaged to be married, but Marie told Torrie she'd break off the engagement if Torrie agreed to sleep with her. Torrie agreed, but Marie went ahead with the ceremony anyway because she was evil! To make matters worse, she killed Al Wison the night of the honeymoon via marathon sex. The girls brawled at Al's SmackDown funeral, and had a blowoff match on pay-per-view.

PRO: The Al Wilson angle is now infamous, earning its place in history at It also served a purpose for WWE at the time: Producing event-driven television. Weddings, funerals, graduations, etc. Every show has them, and WWE wanted more of them at this point in time. They managed to get TWO events out of ONE storyline. Also, just like Trish and Mickie, the angle gave women's wrestling more airtime.

CON: Everything else! Torrie Wilson was pseudo-raped. The payoff match to the storyline lacked any kind of intensity or seriousness. The angle bored many viewers along the way. Oh, and Al Wilson's lack of both acting and wrestling abilities didn't help matters.

THE ANGLE: HLA, a sexy hate crime. The SmackDown wedding ceremony of Billy and Chuck was gaining WWE a lot of positive publicity. At the time, the Raw and SmackDown brands were also feuding with one another. To counter the mainstream coverage of SmackDown's gay wedding, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff decided to have lesbians on his program. The lesbians weren't getting married however. They were simply making out and removing one another's clothes for no apparent reason. Three Minute Warning interrupted the in-ring lovefest by attacking both girls before too much skin could get revealed.

PRO: It furthered a storyline, and continued to build Three Minute Warning as heels.

CON: Women getting beaten up for being lesbians, even by bad guys, sends a terrible message. The fact that this angle took place during a time when WWE was getting praised for gay-friendly TV makes it an even more questionable decision.

THE ANGLE: Marlena and Sable, the lesbian angle that lacked contact. The Goldust character had been "playing mind games" with male opponents since his debut in the WWF, but information about his valet Marlena was relatively unknown. When Goldust began a feud with Marc Mero, the valets became the reason for the fighting. Mero implied during an interview that Marlena sexually harrassed Sable in a parking lot. Innuendo continued to lace the promos between the two, leading to a forgettable blowoff match.

PRO: The angle developed the Marlena character, and created a nice mid-card storyline for a brief while.

CON: Possibly due to TV restrictions at the time, the two valets never actually interacted physically during the angle. All the talk of unwanted sexual advances that the viewer never got to see took away a lot of interest in the storyline.

I look forward to seeing how everyone votes, and here's hoping we have more gay angles to select from in the future.

No comments: