Pro wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has a history of saying questionable things about women’s wrestling, and he recently added another doozy to his ever-growing list of eyebrow-raising statements.
In the most recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Meltzer flat out implied that fans aren’t allowed to criticize women’s wrestling:
“The deal with women’s wrestling in the U.S. is that you are supposed to say it’s good even when it’s not.”
Well then. To quote one Reddit user, “Implying that their gender is somehow shielding them from criticism strikes me as extremely boneheaded.”
Indeed, it is boneheaded – and incorrect. Fans had absolutely no trouble criticizing Alexa Bliss and Bayley’s awful kendo stick match at Extreme Rules last year. Similarly, the never-ending friends-to-foes-back-to-friends-again storyline between Bayley and Sasha Banks is universally lamented. In other words, when a match or storyline is bad, fans will say it’s bad – regardless of the gender of the participants.
However, while boneheaded, this isn’t the worst thing Meltzer has ever said about women’s wrestling – or women in general.
Meltzer’s Misogyny Problem
In fact, the above comment isn’t even the worst thing Meltzer’s said about women’s wrestling this week. On the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer proclaimed that Peyton Royce was “more attractive in NXT” because “she was a lot lighter.”
Is this normal stuff for a journalist to be talking about? Ever?
“She was more attractive in NXT” “She was a lot lighter.” pic.twitter.com/URfefHaFDu
— Danny (@dajosc11) August 9, 2018
Royce responded to the comments a week later.
So what would you have me do Dave… starve myself? 🤯🤯🤯 This is how nightmares for young women start. The females in your life must be proud. https://t.co/8MNpZNsR7m
— Peyton Royce (@PeytonRoyceWWE) August 15, 2018
For reference, here’s a photo that Royce posted to her Instagram account on Wednesday:
That doesn’t look like someone who needs to lose weight to me, Dave.
But wait – there’s more. Last week, Meltzer suggested that women on WWE’s roster bleach their hair because “Vince has a type.”
All women, if you want to get ahead in WWE, hair dye seems like an inexpensive and relatively safe thing to do. If you're non-white, that's admittedly going to be tougher odds. https://t.co/TcoH0E9AHC
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) August 3, 2018
What a completely inappropriate way to respond to a fan’s equally inappropriate “research.” (Note: @those_turtles was presumably responding to Meltzer’s observation on Wrestling Observer Radio that “looks are far more important than they need to be” in WWE’s women’s division. Meanwhile, he somehow thinks it’s a-okay for him to criticize a woman’s weight – and tie it to her wrestling ability.)
Are looks important in WWE? Unfortunately, yes. WWE isn’t just a wrestling business – it’s an entertainment business, and as the adage goes, “sex sells.” However, in spite of the “research” done by wrestling Twitter, I sincerely believe that WWE has taken huge steps toward breaking the stereotype that blonde white women are the peak of beauty. But because it just so happens that two of the best/most popular women wrestlers on the main roster (Charlotte and Alexa Bliss) are blonde white women, critical fans incorrectly assume that you have to be blonde and white to get ahead in Vince’s company.
All that being said, Dave Meltzer is of course entitled to his boneheaded opinions. But he’s consistently displayed a misogynistic attitude toward women in wrestling, and that’s not okay.