Healing From Emotional Abuse: Female Wrestlers & Sexual Harassment: with BCP and Liz Savage

Healing From Emotional Abuse: Female Wrestlers & Sexual Harassment: with BCP and Liz Savage

Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

Marissa: Welcome back to the breaking through the speaking out movement podcast connection. I’m Marissa F. Cohen. And I’m thrilled to be partnering with the amazing and talented Rob Crowther of the Bob Culture Podcast. How are you today, Rob?

Rob: Hey Marissa it’s good to be talking to you. We’re doing some great work here. You know, like I always say, you’ve been a big help in my personal life, in my creative life, and I can’t think of a better tag-team partner right now to get the hot tag other than us. So thank you again, for having me on.

Marissa: Well, the feeling is mutual. I really enjoy our time together, working together. You’re awesome. So today, we’re excited to introduce our co-host, Liz Savage. Liz Savage is an American professional wrestler, wrestling manager and wrestling personality, and a #Speakout champion based out of New York. She got her start with dangerous women of wrestling in 2003. After moving to LA in 2010, she took a hiatus from wrestling from the Wrestling World, due to an assault by her friend and colleague. She has been a huge advocate for survivors and champions during the #speakingout movement. And Rob and I are honored to bring her on today to chat about what she experienced and what needs to be changed. Welcome to the show. Liz, we’re so excited.

Liz: Thank you, guys. Thanks Marissa. Thanks Rob. It’s, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks with everything going on. And honestly, when I posted my story to Twitter, I didn’t even expect it to be heard the way it did. Or for it to send you kind of shockwaves through the wrestling community and the way it did. Unfortunately, you know, I don’t feel people are still taking it seriously enough. And I feel like unless we stay on them, this shit is just gonna keep perpetuating. So I’m a little history as you said, I started wrestling in 2003. I have a background in theater. I have a background in journalism, and I do podcasts and host shows. That’s my variety of experience, and some has been with wrestling music, Cannabis, a whole host of different things. And I knew deep through wrestling, I had gotten involved in wrestling in 2003. In 2006. I got to be an extra on Monday Night Raw. And when I got to be an extra on Raw that same night, we ended up going and hanging out with some of the production staff versus the wrestlers. They’re on lockdown. To be honest. That night, it was Fourth of July weekend in Philly. And that’s when I met Dave. Dave added me on Twitter. And then he added me on Myspace and we talk all the time because I was a female booker. I booked for a couple different companies. I also, you know, was a prominent manager in the Northeast at the time, and I was wrestling mostly because my mouth got me in trouble. You know, as what happens with managers. So I didn’t really think of Dave as anything other than a friend. I thought of him as a very good friend. And we talked a lot. We talked about, you know, character development and storylines. And you know, the things that you would talk about with wrestling, it was never anything blurry or anything weird or anything like that. Also, because I had a wrestling bully, I didn’t really mind the dirt sheets at all at those times, because there was usually some horrible stuff being posted about me by my wrestling bully. But, you know, even then I hope that she gets the help that she needs, because a lot of her issues seem to be based around the same kinds of things that so many women spoke out about. So, but I digress. Dave asked me first and I think 2008 or 2009, when he first moved to LA to come move to LA. And the reason being is he said that I had helped save his life after he got fired because like I hung out with him that weekend, and we watched pay per view and talked. I was on my way home from New York to New Jersey. And he’s like, oh, come hang out. And I was like, Okay, I don’t have anything to do. I have to work tomorrow and he sounded very sad. And you know why he gotten fired, but I knew he had wanted to leave the company for a while at that point. And he wasn’t happy with what he was doing because he was working on a PCW. So I hung out nothing weird happened and everything was cool. You know, we stayed in touch. You know, we hung out a few more times between then and when we moved to California. And then when he was on the telephone coming out here in LA. Two years later, though, I was working in the Poconos, winter was coming and I was like, he’s asking me if I want to move to LA and I’m like, huh? Go check out LA or deal with winter in the Pennsylvania Poconos. Check LA for the winter, right? What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, Dave was working for NWA Hollywood at the time. So when people say they don’t want this to affect NWA, and that he doesn’t want this to set in UI, or technically already has. Because he was working for NWA. When this happened. He was also working for Ring of Honor and working with IMPACT which back then was TNA, which is now IMPACT. Which is essentially a different company at this point. But he was working with those three companies when this happened, and I considered him a good friend. And when he moved out to California, I didn’t expect some major role or anything, but he said, hey, you know, I could use you as a manager on the show. And we don’t have a lot of female wrestlers out there in the local area. So it’d be cool. You could like, get thrown around by Shelly, some of the other girls who have bigger names. And I’m like, I’m down with that. He’s like, I’m starting a Promotion Agency, I need help. You know, you know how to do all this social media stuff, it’d be really useful to me. And I was like, cool. He’s like, but you’ll have to find another part time job. I’m like, okay. And he’s like, you’ll have to find a place, but you can stay with me for a while. And I was like, okay. So when I got out there, he just totally turned cold. Like as if I wasn’t his friend. He never told roommate I was coming, which he had told me that that person knew. And they were like, really shocked that not only did I come there, but then I was staying for a while. So that made me feel really uncomfortable. And then like he was gone all the time. So even when he was there, like I gave him space, so he could write and do what he wanted. I went to look for jobs, you know, did my thing out there, but nothing ever materialized through him. I went to NWA with someone. And he introduced me to Adam Pierce, who told me if I wanted to get booked there, I’d have to suck his dick. And I laughed at him. And I said, Well, I guess I’m not getting booked here. And you know, what’s funny is later that night, when I told Dave about the situation, because I wasn’t gonna bug him during the taping, he just didn’t really have like, any response. And he’s like, well, what did you say? And I said, Well, I guess I’m not getting booked here. I’m like, I can’t believe that. You know, I can’t believe that Dave Marquez would have someone like that working for him. And I don’t know, I never said anything to Dave Marquez about it. I didn’t feel the need to. I was like, I’m not working for this company. You know, but it was just like a kind of like, a wake-up call to like, you know, it should have been like the foreshadowing of what happened. Because, like, I slept in his room because of the small apartment. And the living room was very small. It was his roommates furniture. And I consider him a friend. I am a pro-wrestler. I slept on road trips with many times having to share hotel rooms with guys. Having to share beds with guys. Never been touched. I just share a bed with my ex-boyfriend on a road trip once and he was sad. I didn’t touch him. So like that kind of extent, you know. So it’s like, it was very strange when I woke up in the middle of the night with his hand down my pants, and he was touching himself. And I was like, what the fuck, because we were both clothed. And there’s been, you know, kind of conversation about anything like this. And I rolled away from him. I was just like, kind of horrified that he did it. I was just hoping he wouldn’t touch me again, which he didn’t. But then like two or three days later, he sent me this email while I was at work. I was in my work meeting for the night, essentially telling me I had a week to get out of the house. So I was on more than a week, maybe 10 days in total, I’ll have to look at the exact date of it. Might be like 9-10 days, but I was after that weekend. It was really stressful. I ended up staying with complete strangers after that. I was pretty shell-shocked because I didn’t have a base in LA. And I had spent the majority of my savings just traveling around looking for jobs because it is so hard to get around and not knowing my way around and not having anyone show me wasn’t really helpful for me. So I spent a lot of time learning and making mistakes, buying tickets the wrong way before I learned. But like what I really learned was, you can’t always trust your friends. And this was like, I don’t know at the time. What was I gonna say? If I came out then, nobody was gonna listen to me. This is 2010 you know? Had some wrestling contacts locally, but it was nothing that was really holding my interest in. And there’s a lot of backstabby kind of situations out there because I wasn’t in the cliques there. And I just kind of dropped wrestling. And I said, you know, this is just, I guess it’s just not something that I should do right now. And I actually had intended on moving home, but then got involved in social justice work out there, and spent eight years doing that. And I started getting back into wrestling due to delucia-underground. And when I moved home to East Coast two years ago, I got involved again, and have been, you know, training on and off. Now, because of this pandemic, I’m not training at all. But I started doing shows tour booking again, I started traveling, again, helping people like with a variety of different things. Whether it be helping them set up a ring, or, you know, running the back end of the show doing production, whatever. So I thought and I’ve always followed people on Twitter. So when I got off work, my shoot job. And I saw this on Twitter. I was like, I have to do something. Because it was irking me that I tried to say something to someone else from NWA, who I considered a friend a couple months ago, or, like, maybe a month and a half before it had. Before I came out about it. And they kind of just blew it off and didn’t listen to me. But now they heard you loud and clear. I didn’t expect NWA to tell him to resign, or for him to resign. That’s on him. But then his statement, like in return in response to me, it’s just disgusting. Because he admits he did something to me. He’s like, Oh, it’s not the way she said, fuck you. You didn’t have consent to touching. It’s the way I say End of story. That’s my response to him. And to all the fan boys talking shit about me. It’s like, I don’t even know what to say. This is why you don’t have girlfriends. Like, this is why, you know, you don’t respect women. You don’t respect the time of the thing to be put in. And if you think that women should be able to trust that male friend, like we have a sad society.

Rob: Yeah, no, I was just gonna say I don’t mean to interrupt. I mean, it’s a crazy story. You know, obviously, it breaks my heart, you know, just being involved in the business, I would say from a journalistic perspective, very heavily involved in the indie scene out here, the New Jersey, New York area, and everyone has just been so good to me. You know, I obviously haven’t had any issues. I am promoting their business and writing reviews and interviewing their talent. So when I see this #speakingout movement, you know, I look at it and to me, I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, but it definitely broke my heart. I didn’t expect to see it. There’s a lot of just like great kids in this business that are up and comers that I worry for. When you saw this, Liz, this hashtag come out. What was your gut reaction? Were you like, yep, I’m not surprised or like, what was your thought process?

Liz: Well, the first ones I saw were the stuff from the girls in the UK, and I had heard stuff about Progress for years. And I was like, wow, and then it just started going through. And then I started seeing stories about people here in the United States. And I started seeing stories about people I knew. You know, people I’ve worked with. People who Okay, best example, Joey Ryan, right? I know him from my time in California. Always super polite to me. Always treated me one of the few people who treated me like I could hang with the crowd. I was cool enough for them. You know, very nice, never weird. None of the girls ever said anything weird. Other than, you know, like talking about how he acts like a kid, right? Because he’s into like Disney and baseball and like, whatever, you know. So, none of the girls ever said like, hey, he’s a predator. Watch out for him. Maybe they said that because I was closer to 30. At the time, the same age Joey is. But the lot. The first time I saw him, when I came back to wrestling, my hair was no longer blonde. And I was at a maverick pro show in California. And I approached him and I said, hey, you know, how are you? Do you remember me? And he looked at me with like a look of expression like what did what did I do to this girl? And it was very strange. And I commented that to my co-host this that I do my show with a Fridays. And he wasn’t my co-host this time he was just my friend. He’s like, that was weird. And then Joey came up to me after the show and hugged me. Like, I recognize dealers are starting to dark hair through me. You know, you’re taught we talked a little bit but then coming hearing all these stories from all of these girls. And then you know, girls in the UK. Girls in the US. Girls in Canada, girls all over the place. I’m like, Oh, this is a fucking mess. He was messy and this should never have gone on this long. You know? And that’s the thing is these predators build a layer of trust with their community. Matt Riddle, same thing. Like he’s like the good, bro. Like I always liked him super polite, nice guy to see what he’s saying that candy is bullshit, because she has no reason to stalk him. Like she is she has her career in her own right, and I feel terrible that she’s being treated the way she’s been treated by the fan boys.

Rob: Do you? Do you have just curious, do you have a relationship with Candy?

Liz: Not at all. I’ve met her once. And I was super drunk when I met her, and I think I offended her. That’s what happens when you go to a WWF after party in New Orleans, after WrestleMania, when you’ve been drinking all day long, and you get to the bar and the owner of the bar just starts feeding you tequila. You know, I mean, that’s the kind of situation New Orleans comes in. I was  one of my ride or die gals, we were running around causing mayhem, because that’s what we decided we were going to do in New Orleans the year before when we were in Orlando. And we were having fun, you know. Harmless fun being ridiculous or was our one girls night out, we finally got to like, really ditch the guys and go do what we wanted to do. And we just went to the party and had fun, and were talking to people and we ended up in a car with Candy at the end of the night. And she just thought. I don’t know, she didn’t know who we were, we didn’t I didn’t know who I knew recognize her. But I know who she was, because she started she was like a student when I was like moving to California. So, you know, I’m older than most of these girls, I just turned 41. So I started when I was 23 going on 24. And then spent a while and then this while out and you know, came back to COVID. But it makes me feel good to see how many people are standing behind us and how many promotions are standing behind us. But it’s simply not enough. You know, I feel like all of these companies need to do sexual harassment training. They need to adhere to sexual harassment, state and federal sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policies. Because if you’re going to run a company and call yourself legit, you need to legitimately like, live up to the things that they asked you to.  And not be a piece of shit. You know, girls seem to have our own locker rooms no more changing in the corner no more changing the bathroom. If a female tells you they feel disrespected. Like you need to fucking handle it. You need to tell your male staff that they’re not going to fucking disrespect people. Like, you know, I want to show. I’m not going to name you know, I’m not going to need actually fucking I am named wrestler. I was in a  show New Jersey. And this is a company where I used to the, I’m always treated really well. I gonna be the co-commissioner at this old school wrestling company when I first started out in wrestling, and I love this company and old school wrestling company. They run small shows in New Jersey, this guy named Guido, I don’t know what his whole gimmick is. He says to me, he’s sitting in this chair in the back and I’m like walking around talking to some of the greenhorns and some of the new people. And he was talking about Frank’s son, and I was like, Oh, my God tripping me out, I haven’t seen you since you were a kid. They used to come to my shows, you know, and now you’re wrestling. And this guy says, he looks at me, and he’s not any older than like, maybe 22-23. And he’s like, here, Honey, come sit in my lap. And I was like, who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? And that threw him for a loop. I was like, you better shut the fuck up and not talk to me that way not talk to any girl that way. Because the next time I hear you, you’re gonna get my boot in your jaw, you understand? And everyone was like, whoa, and I’m like, No, I’m fucking serious. So they don’t talk like that to people. It’s not okay. But that’s the thing. It’s like, not enough people are willing to stand up for themselves and tell people it’s not okay. Or the guys just let other guys do it to the girls and to each other. You know, and that whole culture is like really toxic. Sure, you can pull pranks on each other. They don’t have to be nasty and disgusting. You don’t have to do sexual things to each other. You don’t have to abuse each other. You know, it’s like, but the amount of sexual assaults and sexual favors that have been demanded of the women in wrestling, far outweigh anything that has happened to the guy. It’s not to say that the things that have happened to some of the guys haven’t been terrible on themselves. It just happens way more frequently. It happens, I think almost all of us have a story to tell, even if people don’t tell their story because they’re afraid too.

Rob: Wow, you touched on it perfectly. You know, you say like obviously and I think we’re seeing that just statistically you know, it is the women Like, I don’t know why people think that they’re in a position of power. Or I always say I think ego is a huge part of the problem for these people who, Oh, like I was on this one show once in this capacity. Now you have to, and now I’m the king or whatever. But you know, you do see stories like obviously Keith Lee saying he was drugged and well, that hotel room — doesn’t know what happened. I mean, that’s, that’s also crazy to me. But how much do you I mean, this is just like my kind of thought, but what do you think these people’s mindset are at? Like, how much of ego goes into this? And you know, how much is using their power going into all this terrible behavior.

Liz: It’s a cross between all it’s like ego, power and society saying that it’s okay for them to do it. You know, because society has allowed this dynamic over and over and over and over again. Think about like, Nicole Smith, like, she was what, like, 24-25, when she started dating that billionaire dude. She was married to him by the time she was like, 27, I think she was dead by the time she was 30. You know, and it’s like, everybody celebrated this. I can’t remember the dude’s name. Everybody likes celebrating him. There’s like all he’s awesome for like, marrying this hot chick, she’s a playboy model. And then everyone was Anna Nicole is like, Oh, she’s piece of shit. She just married him for money. You know. And it’s like, that dynamic has always been like… I still see guys who are like my age, she think girls that are young enough to be our kids. And it’s gross. And it’s, that’s the power dynamic, you know, and then it’s the power dynamic, when somebody is your trainer, or your boss, or has a position of higher authority, like championships or been around. Or even perceived authority that doesn’t even really exist. You know, because that’s a big thing in wrestling with people who give you the idea that they’re an authority, but nobody knows really, who the fuck they are. You know, when I went through some of these stories, I had to Google the people and see who they were. And then I saw that these are people who gave themselves as quote unquote, trainers never even left their home fucking territory.

Rob: I did want to say this real quick, you know, we did talk to talk about having like that ego, or that power trip, or whatever it is, treat people this way. Like we’ve, we, you know, we haven’t really been like naming names. But you know, I think it gets to a point. I mean, #SpeakingOut, that’s what we’re doing here. You mentioned Matt Riddle earlier. You know, Marissa you obviously, you know, did your homework on that, you know, I’m more of the wrestling and of the things Marissa more of the psychology and all that kind of stuff going into it. It’s why  we’re the ultimate tag team right here.

Liz: Wrestling is psychology.

Rob: Yeah, there you go. Exactly. Yep, there it is, right. But we use named like Matt riddle, now, like, professionally, like I used to, I’m not gonna do a shameless promo here, because it’s not the place for it. But I would review his matches, when he’s coming up in NXT. I wasn’t very high on him. And recently, his performance and matches and gimmick or persona has grown and grown on me. And very, very good job very over, as we say, in the business with the fans and stuff like that. But then this whole, this whole thing comes out. And, you know, you see that he said, she said and all that, and Marissa, I’ll tag in for this in a minute. But you know, we always say like, I think the percentage was what less than 4% of these accusations are statistically false. But we see him released a video a couple days ago. And I want to ask you about this, Liz, if you didn’t see the video, where he admits to cheating on his wife, but denies the claims for candy. And I don’t want to laugh. But, you know, to me, for personal reasons that the fact that he admitted to cheating on his wife is one thing, you know, yes, I know, you’re on the road and all that stuff. But you know, that’s not okay.

Liz: And I think she’s at home with your kids.

Rob: Yeah, with this kid, right. And, like, I think one of my friends on Twitter had tweeted out, he admits to having low moral fiber but not having low moral fiber. It was something like that. But

Marissa: It was a Matt Riddle denies having a low moral fiber by admitting he has a low moral fiber. Yeah, weird flex or something like that.

Liz: Yeah, it was like that’s the same thing Joey Ryan did, they all have been weird, like not really taking any kind of like thing. I didn’t really do it, but I’m still a creeper. I need help. But not all of them said they need help, they all fucking need help. They all need to be removed from any kind of position of power. They all need to be out of the wrestling business and away from women. And this needs to follow them throughout their careers. And so they really do show that they have done some sort of restorative justice to better themselves and to stop blaming victims.

Marissa: The problem is that they know that their fan boys, as you called them earlier, are never going to hold them accountable and they’re always going to have their backs because they’re their fan boys. Right? So they have no, qualms. There’s no responsibility or accountability there. And it’s a he said, she said situation always. So they have no fear of getting in trouble. And that’s, like you said, I think that’s what needs to change. There needs to be an element of accountability. And there needs to be that element of repercussions for their actions. Or else it’s just gonna be like a continuation and people are gonna continue to be unsafe in wrestling.

Liz: Well, if one of the people who came out about their ex-boyfriend, you know, I spoke to a Booker who is looking at her ex-boyfriend who I consider a friend. And his response to me was, what am I supposed to do, not book him? Yeah. Exactly what you’re supposed to do not be like, sorry, you’d like what you did to that girl is fucked up.

Marissa: Right. I mean, look what’s happening in the in Hollywood, right? I mean, all of the underground stuff aside, the face value things like when Matt Lauer was accused and Kevin Spacey was accused, like all these people, the accusations came out, and they were cancelled. Immediately, Matt Lauer fired on the spot, Kevin Spacey written out of House of Cards on the spot. Like that’s what needs to be done.

Liz: That’s the problem. Most people are barely working for any big budget. Anyone? You know, I mean, yeah, some people make more money than others match and definitely been fired. WWE has made some really poor choices in the people that they choose to keep and the people who they choose to fire, I’ll tell you that.

Rob: Can I can ask you a question Liz? Just curious, you’re read on this. You know, I, I feel like I’m a very like you’re on one side of the line or you’re on the other like, I’m never a stand on the line kind of person. Like that’s how I am like you either do or not, as Yoda says. Very wise Yoda. But basically, you have companies like AEW, who would address the situation in a certain way. Whereas again, like other big companies, like as you had just mentioned WWE, didn’t really do anything. And let’s be real in terms of their employees’ health right now. That’s a whole other situation. So yeah, let’s not go down that road. But we see companies handling things very, very differently. Let’s take because we are naming names today. Pick a situation like Sammy Guevara, if you’re familiar with what happened with him and made about Sasha Banks. How do you feel you know, young guy and I’m not excusing anything young guy made these comments earlier? I guess he did — Publicly apologize.

Liz: Yeah, good. Yeah. From what I know of him. I think he did it trying to be hip and cool. And like he wanted to boys and see something where you see him, you know, didn’t realize how fucked up it was in the moment, but it’s no excuse for what he said. I mean, he’s a kid, essentially. I think he’s a phenomenal wrestler. I hope this really made a mark on him. And, you know, it’s like Sasha Banks. I don’t know her personally. She started right around the time that I was moving out of the Northeast. She just started wrestling regularly. You do know, her husband now? Oh, yeah. This is actually videos of neologisms from back in the day.

Rob: He does me know, he’s a big gamer. And he does the attire.

Liz: Yeah, yeah. He’s just amazing costumes. He’s also a very talented wrestler. And he basically said he stopped wrestling for them.

Rob: Oh, really didn’t know though. Okay.

Liz: Very talented, very talented. But I thought the way she handled it was very classy. I think that, you know, the way that he did what was right, he apologized. You know, they say they’re sending him for sensitivity training. I think everybody needs to be sent for some sensitivity training. I think everybody needs to be sent for some sexual harassment training. You know, it’s like, I don’t even think that most people know what sexual harassment is.

Marissa: Isn’t that sad? In a situation where your bodies are your weapons and your bodies are your biggest assets. Right? People don’t even know how to respect each other’s bodies and each other’s spaces. Like I find that so disgusting

Liz: Yeah. It is. We have to trust our lives in other people’s hands, and we can’t even trust them.

Rob: That’s crazy. You say, Liz that you feel that it’s not going to change. And I’m not arguing that point at all. I have seen some local promotions that are able to run right now like doing like driving shows and whatnot right now — social distancing and all that. That has hired console and have brought in speakers before the shows to speak with the talent, your thoughts on that?

Liz: Um, I don’t know. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but they all need to come up with serious business policies on how they’re going to move forward going forward. Recruitment of talent, like talent, dating talent, bosses, dating talent, like, there needs to be guidelines, and there needs to be stuff that’s talked about, like, for real. Cuz it’s like, otherwise, you’re just gonna have the same cycle perpetuated again and again and again, indefinitely. And that’s what, you know, they can say and do for a short period of time. But if that doesn’t keep up, what where did we go with it? And as long as these guys are still getting booked, that’s the problem.

Marissa: I agree with that.

Rob: We talked about, you mentioned separate locker rooms earlier, which I think is a huge part of the solution. Not that it’s going to solve everything, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. A lot of these stories you see involved the airport, pickups, you know, I’ve been to a lot of conventions, where a lot of my indie friends like would have to go pick up a major talent. And yeah, I hear you hear a lot of Oh, really. So your kind of thoughts on that experience as it was and how it may be should change moving forward?

Liz: Um, well, I guess it depends on who you’re sending the person you to pick up and how comfortable, if they already have a relationship with that person. But even then, you never, you never know. I mean, I picked up people because I didn’t want greenhorns doing it. And I wanted to make sure they got where they needed to go on time. So when I had my own car, I picked up people from the airport on a fairly regular basis, never had any problem, pick the people from the train station. But I also road trip with a lot of people for years. So it was like, when you’re in wrestling, besides just picking people up, like you’re literally in a car with people, sometimes, for five hours, one way to hang out for two or three hours, work for 10 minutes, you drive back five hours in a car with people. And it’s not like you’re in a car, when you’re doing road trips like that you’re not one person, usually you’re in a car, it’s like three or four or five. So like these stories and the things when people talk about things in buses, like what Candy talks about, or what Lizzie Valentine talked about, with like almost being left. In Mexico, she was afraid to speak out and she was almost left on the side of the road. Because like she said, she was arguing with a male wrestler who’s being aggressive with her. You know, and it’s like, and he was out in pairs, you know, where he was, you know, screaming at her in the car, and they wanted to leave her in the desert. You know, in this kind of shit, we face, it’s the kind of shit if you speak out, it’s like what’s gonna happen? You’re gonna get thrown out in the middle of nowhere on the highway? You’re gonna be left in a foreign country? There’s so many different fucking things that could happen when you’re on these trips. You know, and you have to be able to trust the people you’re with. So it’s like, it’s where the whole culture needs to change. It’s like women shouldn’t go pick up people they don’t know or don’t feel comfortable with. The promoters needs to not run shows if they can’t afford them. The promoter is not willing to not book women if they can’t afford to get them separate at this point. I’m not saying don’t book women, I’m saying come up with sponsorship money, guys. Like, if you want me to consult and make you a sponsor deck, I’ll do one for you. But it ain’t gonna be free. You know. That’s the funny thing is like when people tell me, oh, I’m not gonna book you as this. Well, you you’re in Idaho, and you are never going to book me anyway. Because my fee just to show up as $100 and you’d have to fly me out and put me in a hotel and feed me and drive me around and pay me. And I don’t think that’s happening. I think I’m realistic about this stuff. Like a lot of these indie promoters think all talent should work for $25 still. And some of these people who are getting assaulted are getting assaulted at chosen companies that they’re paying to be there. They’re not getting paid they’re paying to be assaulted. They’re paying to be used. They’re paying to you know become someones use for the time being, it’s gross.

Rob: That’s terrible hotdog and a handshake as they say.

Liz: But that’s how it looks like Johnny Rob used to take me its okay.

Rob: I like I’ve been playing in bands in Asbury Park my whole life. I know that I know that story. But uh, but I digress. Um, I did want to ask you this, Liz. I on my platform, I have so many indie wrestlers come on. I like to help them. I like to help them make names for themselves. Put them over if you will. And it’s great and I have great relationships with them. They helped me with my podcast. They wear my T-shirt. It’s awesome. I’ve had such a positive, reception. A positive experience with all these indie companies I have been able to, you know, go in the door before the again from a journalistic perspective, not being in the business, but be in the doors before the doors open. And I learned the respect, you know, the shake everyone’s hand. And to me, that’s what went on behind the scenes. It was respectful. Everyone was a brother, everyone was a sister. And I thought it was really cool. I saw people running the ropes. And I’m like, this is really cool. So I see this stuff now. And it breaks my heart. It makes me think like, Oh, is this like, not what it is? What’s your gauge? Is it? I mean, I guess what’s the scale here? Is it there’s just like a lot of scumbags? Or there’s a lot of really good people like where’s your head at?

Liz: I don’t know anymore. I mean to cross between both. If you look at my interest, my savage page, I have nearly 5000 friends and no more than half of those people in person. Like I know a lot, a lot. A lot of people it’s like I go to wrestlecon and like especially the one that was up here going to events like WrestleCon, going and was like seeing my family, you know, going to show here, even in California before I left. No, I met new people, I made new friends. But I have a lot of old friends and I’ve been getting in contact with people. There’s a lot of people I really love, I really trust, and I don’t want to feel that way about my friends. I don’t want to have to feel like I can’t to have one of my friends staying in a place where I am, especially when I’m going back out on the road again and traveling with people. You know, bringing greenhorns on the road with me. Like you say, like you like helping, bringing young people up. So do I, you know, I that’s one of the things as a manager, I’ve always dragged along talent with me when I get bookings. I build talent up at shows, I seek out those champions that might not be on someone’s, radar as a potential champion. And I represented a lot of the underdogs, you know, and it’s like, I have a lot of really awesome friends in wrestling. I know so many cool people. A lot of my friends are on TV right now. It makes me really happy for them. But it’s like, at the same time, it’s like, we all need to work together to stop the bad people from ruining what we have, and perpetuating the stuff that made it bad to begin with, because I think that we could take it back and make it into something that could be better, and could be more fun. And could be, you know, the fans could stay behind because it’s like a lot of people are super disgusted with wrestling right now. And it’s not the same watching with no fans are the kind of thing that will make people walk away.

Rob: Very well said. And last question for me over here, Liz, I do appreciate your, your time and you more importantly, being able to open up. I know it’s very hard and crazy. But you know, 2020 Ladies and gentlemen, like I keep saying. I want to ask you this, as I said very big on a lot of the younger talent that are coming up and are seemingly doing well. A lot of them do seem to have good heads on their shoulders. What can people do to just make this better for this next generation?

Liz: Listen, watch, if you know someone’s a bad person, call them out. You know, it’s time to put an end into people’s reign is terror. I mean, there’s plenty of guys out there who’ve gone through girl after girl after girl. There’s guys who’ve gone through guy after guy. But it’s gotten to the point where people need to really speak up against this, especially people in power. The people who’ve done things wrong need to admit to what they’ve done. And they need to not only reflect on themselves, but they really need to seek some sort of guidance through I don’t know if counseling or spiritual or whatever it might be. Because you know what, I’ll be real with you. I’ve been part of anarchist groups who call for restorative justice from within when there’s been sexual offenses against members of the group for many members of the group and there was no fluff and accountability. I mean, honestly, like the only accountability that even close thing that accountability or retribution that happened was a little bit of street justice when one of the one of the smaller woman went after the sex offender and a crowd of people and basically socked him in the face about 16 times until he ran into group of cops. But um, you know, it’s like. Dudes need to hold their friends accountable because you think that us as women if you respect us and you say you care about us, hold the other guys accountable. Don’t let them tell stories like this. If you hear them talking, be like to shame them for it be like what the fuck dude? Like, don’t let people be pieces of trash or treat other people like trash. It’s as simple as that. You know?

Marissa: Agreed. I feel like once everyone starts speaking out and calling people out, it’ll change the game for the people who are being affected. You know, like the people who, right, exactly the people who have been impacted or have been assaulted, are probably afraid for their careers and afraid for their safety and retaliation, because look what happened to you and Candy. I mean, you spoke out and then you have all of these people all over the internet, just harassing and bashing and demeaning. I mean, it’s unsafe, and it’s scary for people. But I think you’re right. Go ahead. Sorry.

Liz: It’s so bad. They’re gonna have to take down Reddit threads because they’ve gotten violent about us. Yeah, I haven’t seen the threads. But somebody was like reading to me. And then when I got a chance to get off work and look for the Reddit threads myself, I couldn’t find them. And the one that I did find it, that content has been deleted. You know, it was like the ghost of it. Yeah, it was crazy. I was like, okay. But he was reading off the comments to me, and I was like, this is like, people were saying that I deserve to be raped. People were saying that I deserve to get beaten up. That I’m going to pay for what I did. Good thing I know how to defend myself, I don’t know what else to say. But we don’t deserve this. Like none of us deserve this. And if you’re idolizing these guys, like you really got to look at yourself and be like, what the fuck is wrong with me?

Marissa: It’s a very, very big pill to swallow.

Liz: It’s rough. The whole industry, it has turned been turned inside out. But you know what, I have to give it to the youth for doing it. Because it’s the time for it to happen. And it’s gone on for too long. Because when I started, there is no way that shit would have flown. You know, you look at people like Angela Amorosa. She’s the best, best person to like, talk about. She was one of the ECW girls who never really was like, used during much because she was underage. But she has some crazy stories which everyone, you know, says aren’t true and don’t want to believe. Because they’re their beloved ECW heroes. But honestly, I believe her. You know, I believe that at least like a good percentage of what you’re talking about happened and knowing what happened to some other girls in the industry before me, which I’m not at liberty to discuss those stories. But those stories are out there and hearing some of this stuff scared me. Like, literally to the point and like I heard about a story that happened at a wrestling school. And I was like, should I even come here and sat down with the owner and was like, you know, I heard this happen, and this was fucked up and they’re like, I assure you, that will happen again and nothing has happened like that Since then. It was at a private event. And, you know, they got the steel bombed. And if you get a girl so trashed, you can’t consent, you still don’t have consent.

Marissa: Right? If you’re unconscious, or a lack of a lack of anything is not consent. If you’re asleep you can’t consent. If you’re drunk, you can’t consent. I mean, these you think that they’re basic, common sense. But it’s used so often as like a tool. You know, if we get this person bombed, they can’t say no, so technically, it’s a yes. I mean, that’s not true. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Liz: Yep. And just because somebody has consented in the past doesn’t mean you always have their consent.

Marissa: 100% Absolutely.

Liz: You know, even if you’re in a relationship with them, you know, and that that’s intimate partner violence has been a huge part of this whole movement, because read a good third of the stories are people who were involved with, you know, other wrestlers or their trainers, or you know, someone who was in or around the industry. And that’s fucked up. And these are like, not like relationships that were like two months long. And some of these relationships, these people have kids.

Rob: It’s crazy. I wanted to end it on like some sort of a hopeful or positive kind of note..

Liz: Hopeful note, you know, these companies are finally starting to listen to the women. They’re finally starting to take some of this stuff seriously. And maybe they’ll start treating your wrestling business like it’s an actual business.

Rob: Mic Drop. Yeah, not wrong.

Liz: Thank you so much for having me

Rob: Oh, anytime for reaching out. And, you know, hopefully, you still have your passion for the business and continued success moving forward.

Liz: Thank you.

Rob: All right, stay safe. We’re out.

If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

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