We were there – Shayna Baszler’s pro wrestling debut.
You arrive at the event only to find you are the only woman who showed up to her scheduled fight. The crowd is asked, “Is there a woman who brave enough to fight tonight?”
You are prepared to fight whoever steps in front of you, even if it is a drunk woman from the crowd. Many years later you realize these conditions, plus the lack of a commission and it is a wonder how you didn’t end up with hepatitis or some other disease.
Before a fight on Showtime, a backstage coordinator asks you, “Are you guys okay with fighting a five minute round?” This romantic story would mark the first time women would fight in a five minute round.
I was fortunate enough to hear these stories from Shayna Bazsler before her professional wrestling debut in Reno, Nevada. It was interesting speaking to the Mixed Martial Arts pioneer about the way it really was when she begin in the sport, compared to now. She has accepted her role as a veteran and recalls these stories while traveling the road with her young charges. Jessamyn Duke verified she has heard plenty of “You don’t know how lucky you are today,” and “Back in my day…” stories.
What makes some of the stories great was the fact that it wasn’t captured on television and exists only in memory, like the night Shayna fought in the middle of a field which was illuminated by parked trucks. For events that were captured on television, she added additional insight such as the night she fought on CBS against Cyborg and how insane it was to get the opportunity when there wasn’t even a women’s division. There were just random fights.
Every year, the UFC honors pioneers in the sport by awarding them a place in the Hall of Fame. I think with the popularity of Ronda Rousey, the UFC should consider paying tribute to the pioneer women of the sport. It was because of their hard work that many are able to enjoy the sport today.
September 26, 2015 marks the date Shayna would have her debut wrestling match. Reno isn’t exactly a strong wrestling city as it usually gets one annual WWE show and this year the company may not come at all.
Shayna took on veteran Cheerleader Melissa in a match that showcased her strengths. Her grappling and transitions into submissions look solid. The reality style of professional wrestling is gaining popularity with some fans. I don’t know that I would want to see her in what would be a standard pro wrestling match. After she was pinned by Cheerleader Melissa (it was her first match after all), Nicole Matthews came out and hit her in the back with a chair. That leads me to believe that we may see more of Shayna in the pro wrestling ring in Reno.