Mixed tag team matches are not frequent, but the ones we do get are often good matches. Most recently, WWE had Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans vs Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch and if couple were to lose, they would lose their championship belts to the challengers.
The match was hard hitting and had a level of competitiveness that is normally lacking in these matches. During a spot in the match, Corbin did a move on Lynch that was deemed “dirty” as the rules stipulate the men wrestle each other and once their tag partner is tagged in, the women then compete against each other.
This leads to my question, do intergender matches work in wrestling?
Women have normally been used as managers/valets for some wrestlers during the early days of pro wrestling. Their role would be to provide illegal weapons, distract refs and the opponent, act as coaches or for a lack of better words, be eye candy for the male audience. A few come to mind, Scary Sherry, Precious, Sable and Chyna.
Chyna is probably the most famous female wrestler when it comes to intergender wrestling matches.
Ivelisse & Tessa Blanchard
Although Chyna is the most famous, I wanted to bring up 2 current women that are relavent in today’s wrestling for their participation in intergender matches. First, Ivelisse Milagro Vélez.
Ivelisse wrestled many intergender matches with Lucha Underground. She was even a member of the Lucha Underground Trios Championship along with her partners Son of Havoc and Angelico. She was known to mix it up well with the guys, even to the point where she challenged Mil Muertes for the Lucha Underground Championship after she defeated her trios’ partners. Ivelisse was a fan favorite because of her style and willingness to step in the squared circle with the men and more importantly be competitive in those matches. Ivelisse recently signed with AEW, which I consider a great signing for their women’s division.
IMPACT Wrestling’s Tessa Blanchard has recently been competing in intergender matches. She won the Impact Knockouts Championship on August 12, 2018 and her title reign lasted 147 days. Recently she faced off against Sami Callihan in the first intergender wrestling match to main event an Impact Wrestling PPV. Although she lost the match, it was considered a success, so much so that Blanchard and Callihan faced off again a few weeks later.
Chyna – The Queen of Intergender Wrestling
Maybe the most famous female intergender wrestler was Chyna. In January 1999, Chyna was the 13th entrant in the Royal Rumble, becoming the first woman ever to enter this match. She would go on to challenge Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship (second most prestigious title at the time), eventually winning the title in October 1999 at No Mercy.
After another run as Intercontinental Champ, Chyna turned her attention to the WWE Women’s Championship at the 2001 Royal Rumble in a match against Ivory. During the match, Chyna injured her neck and lost. She would get a rematch at Wrestlemania X-Seven; she demolished Ivory in under one minute to claim the belt. Chyna would run through the women’s division, as expected, since she could hang with the guys. There was really no way a woman could beat her. She relinquished the title after a 214-day title reign. She left the company later in 2001.
Open-Minded Fan Base
Intergender matches normally don’t go over well with the audience because women are perceived to be less athletic and not as strong as the men. So how does a wrestling promotion sell to the fans that a woman can beat a man in a match?
Intergender matches can work if the competitors are similar in height, rather close in weight and if the storyline is built up properly. The woman must be athletic and someone the fans believe can win. If this is done correctly, the match can work and regardless of the winner, both wrestlers will be viewed as winners in the eyes of the fans.
When it comes to wrestling, fans love the David vs Goliath story. Some will say that a woman being strong enough to beat a man is not believable. These matches are met with high skepticism and some men asking why would female fans want to see men beating up women? We need to escape this way of thinking and be more forward thinking, maybe we want to see women beating up men.
As an open-minded fan and one who knows that wrestling is a form of entertainment, I would’ve loved Tessa getting a win over Callihan!