Two varying perspectives on women’s wrestling were presented in the podcast world today. Tammy Sytch, AKA Sunny, appeared on the Ross Report and WWE Superstar Nia Jax was on Talk Is Jericho.
First, JR interviewing Sunny:
Are you in favor of getting away from the term “Diva” and using “Women” as WWE is doing now? What’s your stance on the “Diva” term?
“Honest to god, I don’t really watch the show that much so I don’t really know everything that’s going on, but I do have it on tonight and right now the girls are on. I think they shouldn’t get away from the ‘Diva’ thing completely, because I think there should be both. I think there should be women wrestlers and champions and then there should be Divas. I think there’s a place on the roster for all of them. Do I think its overkill with how many girls are there right now? I think three was a much better number (in 1996) than, what is it, twenty something that they’ve got right now? I think it’s a little bit overkill. I really think it’s too much. I honestly do.”
Are you not a big fan of women’s wrestling?
“That’s a very difficult question to answer. Let me try to be as politically correct as I can. You know me; I’m not the most politically correct person in the world. I’m the female Jim Cornette, so I have to word this correctly here.
“Am I happy that more girls in the business that bust their ass are getting shots? Absolutely, I’m happy with that. Have I always been a fan of women’s wrestling? No. And I’ll tell you why. There are some guys that can go out there and sell a dropkick like they’re dead, but then these girls pop right back up from all these bigger moves. It just makes it a little unbelievable. Why should a frail girl, and I’m not saying they’re all frail, but they’re much smaller than men, how can they be more resilient to some big moves than some of these guys? So I think there’s a lot lost in the psychology of wrestling because of that. They’re doing, you know, 18,000 moonsaults and moonsaults from the outside from the top and popping right back from it, when guys are doing the same thing and selling it for five minutes. That’s why I’ve never been a huge fan of women’s wrestling. Is there a place for women in wrestling? Abso-freaking-lutely. But, I don’t know, I think something is missing in the psychology of women’s wrestling, I really do.”
Around the same time that was happening, Nia Jax was talking with Chris Jericho, discussing her first WrestleMania match:
“Bayley, Sasha, Charlotte. These girls are crazy good. So they had all these ideas and stuff and I’m sitting here thinking well ‘I’m still the green one, I don’t want to throw out an idea and feel like an idiot’. So I’m sitting there going ‘Maybe this? Maybe that?’ Then they’re coming up with something, then Fit’s throwing things in. I’m like ‘I don’t want to mess any of this up.’ So I literally said ‘wherever you want me to be, I’ll do it. Just tell me. Direct me.’ To be in a ring with those girls, and they’ve already accomplished so much in this business in such a short time. Like, you know, Bayley being the champ already, but then Sasha and Charlotte with their main event matches.”
But this is your opportunity and you want to kill it too. You want to rise to the level.
“Definitely. Before big matches, I usually write down on a notepad kinda what I want to accomplish. So it’s like ‘Be confident. Sell. Take your time. Have a good time.’ That’s literally what I write down. It was funny because my brothers were in my hotel room and were like ‘what’s this?’ ‘Well, its just something I write to myself just to remind myself like ‘go out there and kill it.’”
Besides the WrestleMania match, what’s been your favorite match that you’ve had?
“It was actually a match I had with Bayley at NXT London. Bayley and I had all these ideas of things that we could do and Triple H is the one who helped us out a lot with that match. It was insane. That crowd was… my first TV match; they hated me, which was amazing. Bayley was so over and we got so much time. Hunter was like ‘Take your time. Have fun.’ I watched it again the other day and I’m like ‘god.’ I loved that match. Loved it.”
Do you watch a lot of your stuff?
“I try to. I always like to watch and critique myself and get better at certain things. We got that opportunity at NXT where we broke down every match and you had your coach there. So I definitely want to keep that up because I have a lot to learn.”
Closing take: On one hand, Sunny admits she doesn’t keep an eye on the current product. So, in fairness, she could be thinking back to the pudding matches of the Attitude Era or, since she mockingly called out “18,000 moonsaults”, we’ll assume she’s maybe a little further along and thinking of a time when Lita and Victoria were on top of the women’s scene in WWE. But then, she also says she’s watching a current women’s match while doing the interview.
I feel the comments are shortsighted and the complaint about lack of selling in women’s wrestling can easily apply to so many men’s matches too. It all depends on who you’re watching.
The comments by Nia Jax show the level of preparation and seriousness given to the psychology of a match in today’s product. The woman literally writes the word “sell” on a sheet of paper prior to her match as a reminder because she recognizes the importance of doing so.
Ultimately, I vote for a third podcast where both women get together and discuss their perspectives.
About Jeff Rush:
Jeff Rush is a life-long fan of professional wrestling. He’s attended the last match of both Andre the Giant and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s careers and two of the three matches of the Rock-Austin WrestleMania trilogy. As a child, he was once yelled at by John Tenta for sitting too close to him on a bench at Hershey Park. Jeff listens to way too many wrestling podcasts and watches way too much WWE Network. He also catches as much indie wrestling as he can when it comes through his home of New York City. Find him on Twitter @jefflikesstuff.