Becky Lynch vs. James Ellsworth? Intergender Wrestling Certainly ...

Becky Lynch vs. James Ellsworth? Intergender Wrestling Certainly Belongs in WWE

Friday, April 21, 2017

Feed Source: WWE Bleacher Report

Becky Lynch isn't crazy. Intergender wrestling absolutely has a place in the WWE landscape.

The Irish Lass Kicker tangling with James Ellsworth would be right at home on SmackDown in the oddball world of WWE.

Men battling women in the ring is something WWE has avoided for years, however. It's now a publicly traded, family friendly company hesitant to venture into that potential public relations hornet's nest. 

Done right and done well, though, intergender wrestling can be a viable option.

Lynch sparked a debate about the controversial element of the industry with a single tweet. A fan brought up the possibility of her fighting her rival Carmella's weaselly sidekick Ellsworth, and Lynch responded with a "bring it on" attitude:

As intriguing as it would be, it's doubtful the match will ever happen. WWE hasn't gone down that man-against-woman route in a long time.

On the other hand, Lucha Underground and various independent promotions have welcomed it. Joey Ryan regularly wrestles women. Sexy Star won Lucha Underground's top championship by outlasting 19 men in an Aztec Warfare match.

Those instances have not been without their opposition.

A common criticism of intergender wrestling is that it's not realistic. It's hard to suspend one's disbelief about a woman holding her own against a man in a slugfest, some say. 

That argument ignores how much wrestling sets the rules within its own world, WWE included.

In 2013, Sheamus beat up the entire 3MB faction by himself, flattening both a former intercontinental champion and former tag team titleholder in the process. John Cena defeated Mr. Money in the Bank Damien Sandow with one good arm after taking a hellacious beating that same year.

Rey Mysterio (5'6", 175 pounds) has defeated Kane (7'0", 300-plus pounds) multiple times.

In MMA, that fight would never get sanctioned. In WWE, the underdog can defy the odds, the impossible can become possible, warriors can invoke supernatural powers, God can serve as someone's tag team partner.

In that context, it's hard to argue that women competing with men is such an unfathomable possibility.

WWE would choose its matchups wisely, anyway. You don't pit Five Feet of Fury Alexa Bliss against the monstrous Braun Strowman. But don't tell me that audiences couldn't buy the powerhouse Nia Jax going toe-to-toe with Kalisto.

Lynch against Ellsworth is the perfect example of an appropriate time to delve into intergender wrestling.

The former SmackDown women's champ is an arm-wrenching, hard-hitting warrior. WWE presents Ellsworth as the ultimate Cinderella story, a guy lucky to even be in WWE. He's slight and inept. AJ Styles once took him down in seconds.

Often when Carmella's loyal minion has tried to interfere in Lynch's matches, the Irish grappler has had little trouble putting him on his ass. 

How much further can WWE go the other way, though? What will the reaction be when Ellsworth starts taking the boots to Lynch? A man beating the hell out of a woman on live TV isn't a great look.

And wrestling isn't judged like movies, which have featured any number of scenes depicting male-on-female violence.

Triple H addressed the issue on an episode of the Wrestling Compadres podcast in January. "I don't know if the world is ready yet for the guy kicking the crap out of the woman," he said. "I don't know if that works for WWE."

That's why intergender wrestling should be done thoughtfully.

You don't book an intergender Hell in a Cell match. You don't script unsettling, brutal spots. You pick and choose your moments.

WWE already does that to a degree. 

Triple H was front and center for a recent example. At WrestleMania 33, he crashed into his wife, Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon, sending her flying through a table.

The heel finally tasted some comeuppance. The tyrannical power couple was embarrassed. It was all part of the story.

Men wrestling women would simply be an extension of a moment like that.

And WWE embracing intergender wrestling wouldn't so much be a venture into uncharted territory as it would be borrowing from the past. Wrestling has a long history of pitting men against women.

Patrice A. Oppliger wrote in Wrestling and Hypermasculinity: "As early as 1911, Bertha Rapp gained fame by challenging and defeating men from the audience. Mildred Burke offered men a $25 prize if they could beat her in a wrestling match. She allegedly wrestled almost 200 men in her career.' 

The late Chyna wrestled men plenty in the late '90s.

She took on the likes of Jeff Jarrett and Chris Jericho, entered the Royal Rumble and won the Intercontinental Championship. The Ninth Wonder of the World was an imposing badass with a penchant for aiming her kicks at men's nether regions.

It made perfect sense for her to battle men, just as it would make sense for Lynch to take on Ellsworth or for Jax to clash with a male member of the Raw roster.

In an interview for Real Sport with Gur Samuel, Jarrett said of intergender wrestling: "I think as a constant, it doesn't work, and it hasn't worked. That's been proven over history. But in the right time, in the right circumstance, with the right talent, and in that era, Chyna was one of those characters."

She can't be the only right talent for women to wrestle men. The Attitude Era can't be the only right time. 

A match like Lynch vs. Ellsworth has to be on the table, to be among the implements in WWE's toolbox. Intergender wrestling can work in today's WWE.

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