Taya Valkyrie posed the question on social media ‘Why do people talk about age like it’s a negative?” Women in the entertainment sector often have a limited shelf life. In the wrestling business, there isn’t much of a distinction. We’ve seen many women ascend through the ranks of promotions, only to feel as if they have to do everything in five years or they’ll be viewed as the senior in the class who hasn’t graduated and is overstaying their welcome.
For these ladies, the countdown begins at the age of 29. When they still have a lot left in the tank, they are frequently recommended that they should consider shifting to commentary or becoming a trainer. Dawn Marie, for example, was dismissed in the mid-2000s because her figure altered after she had a kid. Her function as an attractive face was no longer desirable. Meanwhile, at the same time, we’d see full segments devoted to male wrestlers who have become family men and now wrestle for their children, and how that pushes them to be the best at what they do.
Mickie James was dismissed and badly underused barely a year ago since she was no longer in her twenties. She still had fantasy matches with the younger talent in mind, but WWE made it plain that they only wanted her to move on to commentary.
Mercedes Martinez was similarly underutilized in NXT, most likely owing to her inability to fit into this eye candy position and her age, which is not acceptable in the newly branded NXT 2.0 era. She was a standout in the Mae Young Classic, and fans finally got what they wanted when she joined NXT following a 20-year trip to WWE. So, what do they do now? They fired her immediately after she began appearing on the show.
During her second stint in WWE, Maria Kanellis was underutilized. Her extremely current narrative proposals of having her spouse adopt her name and being the only expectant mother actively holding a title weren’t structured in a way that could build up Maria as a veteran in the locker room and demonstrate how much progress she has had as a performer and as a woman. She could have demonstrated that, even as a pregnant woman, she could utilize her abilities to maintain her position at the top of the food chain. This could have been brilliantly executed.
The maturation of these women’s personalities into mature ladies with a greater awareness of their jobs and ring psychology isn’t truly depicted in narratives. Men like Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H have all had triumphant comebacks. The fans chew it up and are excited to see who that wrestler will meet next and what the next chapter has in store for them.
Wrestlers like Madusa, Jazz, Molly Holly, Jacqueline, and others should be called in to have dream bouts at Wrestlemania and confront the next generation of female superstars to offer their approval. As we’ve seen with Hogan versus The Rock or Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels. That would demonstrate respect for these female icons, that they have made such an effect on the industry that their ‘putting over’ the next great thing in wrestling is required and recognized.
With this topic growing more significant and accepted over the last year, perhaps we will see some adjustments to the usual. Women who are more experienced in the industry are starting promotions, becoming bookers, agents, and producers. This could be the tipping point that women need to become major players in the industry and end age discrimination. To keep the conversation going, use the hashtag #Ageism.