by Lily Lestrange.
It’s hard to believe how far women’s wrestling has come these days. With the Divas Revolution (or Women’s Revolution as it’s now called, I suppose) well and truly in force in the WWE and particularly NXT, female wrestlers from all different backgrounds and corners of the world are able to showcase their talents to one of the biggest audiences that the world of wrestling has. Not only that, with all-female companies such as SHIMMER, Fierce Females and AJW popping up all over the world the time for women in the wrestling business has never been better.
So why the big focus on women? Why call them “female wrestlers” when they are all doing so well in amongst the men; does equality not dictate that they should all just be called wrestlers no matter what gender? Well, no. Nowadays it’s more common to just deem everyone a wrestler regardless of their gender but it wasn’t always like this and the purpose of this series is to recognise the journey that we’ve all been on to get “women’s wrestling” to the point that it is today, so for the purpose of this series that’s what it will be referred to. It just makes it simpler to get my point across but it doesn’t reflect my actual views (my views being if you’re good then you’re good and if you’re shite then you’re shite, regardless of your gender).
So yes, women’s wrestling is currently booming, but it hasn’t always been that way. In England back in the 70s and 80s there were women who wrestled but they were few and far between and it seems that a lot of the time the local councils would come and shut down the shows that they were involved in. Because of this, a lot of the bigger promotions wouldn’t touch them and it was down to the “indy” promoters at the time to put on shows involving women’s matches. This seems fair enough; I can’t imagine fans being happy with shows always being cancelled, especially if they’ve already bought tickets and promoters wouldn’t be too happy about all of the disgruntled fans that they’d have to deal with as a result of it.
If England thought they had it bad though, it’s nothing compared to up here in Scotland; we had next to no female presence until the early 2000s. Whether it was through lack of training schools, lack of interest from women looking to be wrestlers or lack of promoters willing to book women on their shows, no-one knows. Apparently most of the female wrestlers that appeared were ones on the WWF tribute shows. In fact, the only information I could find on any women being on shows prior to the 00’s was from wrestler and promoter Dale Storm of Spartan Promotions, who notes that wrestler Lolita Loren was on several tours with the company in Scotland back in the late 70s and early 80s, alongside “midget” wrestler Diamond Lil. Sadly neither of these ladies hailed from Scotland so we can’t call them some of our own.
I can only speculate about the reasons why it took so long for women to start appearing on shows in Scotland. Back in the early 2000s there weren’t half as many training schools available as there are now: I believe it was only BCW in East Kilbride (which is a town south of Glasgow for all you non-Weegies) and W3L/SSW on the east coast. So even if you were a female interested in becoming a wrestler it would’ve been an even more expensive and time-consuming process due to all of the travelling you’d need to do if you weren’t local to any of the schools. It would explain why two staples of Scottish wrestling, Carmel and Sara Marie Taylor (who both hail from Edinburgh) were two of the first female wrestlers in Scotland to make a name for themselves. Over the years they’ve done everything; they’ve joined up and tagged as the Glamour Gym and they’ve feuded relentlessly with each other in various promotions. Throughout this series I’ll be covering more details about them both but it should be known at this point that they are pioneers of their craft for diving head-first into it, especially given the fact that no-one had done it before them.
More wrestling schools started popping up in the mid/late 2000s, particularly with Source Wrestling School (or as it was known back then, NXT) opening it’s doors in 2007. With it being in Glasgow it made it so much easier for men and women to take up wrestling and so we saw the birth of Nikki Storm and Viper (as wrestlers that is, no the actual birth, that would be clatty), who both started their training in 2008. Kay Lee Ray also started out in Source in 2009 but then moved on to PBW when they opened their training school in Barrhead as it was closer to home. Now PBW have three locations (Barrhead, Airdrie and Greenock) and along with Scotland’s newest training school GPWA, there’s never been more of an opportunity to get out there and learn how to be a professional wrestler. As big Cena would say, yer time is now because Scottish wrestling is at its peak and it’s only going to get bigger from here.
And of course, the rest is history. My job now is to go into detail about the history of these women; who the past, the present and the future of women in Scottish wrestling are. I’ve already gone into the past and well, there isn’t one really. What we’re going to be looking at are the current stars of Scottish wrestling, whether they’re up and coming or whether they’re considered part of the furniture at shows now. It’s an injustice that there’s so little information available about them given how much they’ve given to Scottish wrestling (and that goes for everyone involved in Scottish wrestling, not just the women; there’s a lot of talented wrestlers, trainers and promoters here that don’t get the recognition they deserve) so I feel like it’s my duty as someone that often enjoys writing a lot of words about wrestling and posting it on the internet to bring that information to you.