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.
Rob: Alright! Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to a very special tag-team epsisode of the BCP- Healing From Emotional Abuse Podcast Connection! That’s right! We’re teaming up right now to have some very real discussions about what’s going on in this world that I love so much of Professional Wrestling. Combined with the Good Sisters world of Overcoming Abuse right now. Of course that is Multiple Time Amazon Award Winning, Best Selling author, my good friend Miss Marissa Cohen. Marissa, What’s up? How are you?
Marissa: I’m good. You always make me blush with your intros! Thank you.
Rob: Well, you know, it’s a crazy time right now in my world of professional wrestling. I see this hashtag, growing, #SpeakingOut, #SpeakOut, where indie stars or even a lot of the national performers that we see on TV right now are talking about some of these very uncomfortable, sometimes abusive, inappropriate situations that are going on behind the curtain right now in this Wrestling World. Stories are surfacing from years ago, some of these major stars are speaking out. Or some of these major stars are being accused of these crazy things. So, it’s very, very crazy right now. And I thought, who better to reach out and have a discussion about this? Because in 2020, let’s be real, we need to have discussions about things. Than Miss Marissa, Cohen. So Marissa, thank you so much for agreeing to doing this. And hopefully we’ll do a couple of these and have a great conversation, your thoughts on this whole thing?
Marissa: I’m just honestly happy that you brought it to my attention. To be honest, I’m not a huge wrestling fan. And I know that’s kind of a sacrilege thing to say to you. But I’m really not. And I didn’t even consider the amount of sexual harassment and sexual assault and abuse in the Wrestling World. So, thank you for bringing this to my attention And I’m really, really happy to be a part of this, even though obviously, I hate that people are being abused and assaulted. But I’m glad that now, #SpeakingOut is coming to light and people are starting to speak their truth and tell their stories. I think that is so important and you’re right. It’s just starting the conversation.
Rob: Absolutely beautifully said, and we have a special guest with us, Marissa, I’m very excited about this. You know, obviously not excited about the situation. But again, excited to discuss it, break the silence a little bit. And right now, we’re excited to welcome to the show former ring announcer, commentator, wrestler, even no stranger to having gold around her race. That’s right, a former NWA women’s champ herself, formerly known as Daisy Deville. Please welcome to the show. Miss Linda Danville! Linda, what’s up? Thanks for a few minutes. How are you?
Linda: I’m so good. Thank you for having me. How are you doing?
Rob: Doing okay, you know. It’s, it’s been a year. 2020 — it’s been a lot. It’s, you know, it’s still going with this whole speaking out movement right now going on in the Wrestling World. You know, first and foremost, your thoughts on the speaking out movement going on social media right now in the Wrestling World.
Linda: You know, I hate to say it, I mean, I’ve been involved in wrestling since I was 17 and 2001. So, I’m like, a fossil right now in wrestling. But I hate to say it, but when it first started to come to light, I was like, Well, I’m not surprised. And that’s such a horrible attitude to have, like, I’m not. Wrestling as a giant boy’s club. And I and I wasn’t surprised. So, I reactivated my Twitter was looking through something. And I was honestly, like, I was honestly horrified. Like, it goes so much deeper. And you read these girls and even the men’s stories. Women and men’s stories. And it’s so much more beyond like, just grab ass in the locker room, or a lewd comment here or there, or somebody’s not giving a shit if you’re married and you know, approaching you. But it’s so beyond that and it’s horrifying. Like a lot of these women, you know, this is like your dream and you do anything to get there. And then you get to this grand stage or you get closer. You get promised all these things, and somebody takes something special to you and just shit’s on it.
Rob: Oh, boy, that’s crazy to hear. You know, and a lot of people are saying like, yeah, they’re not surprised. Like we don’t really know what goes on behind the curtain. You know, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of promoters and a lot of shows, and, you know, be there before the first bell rings, you know, be in the doors before the crowd gets in there. And I’ve had very positive experiences, you know, I’ve never been in the locker room but you know, everyone shaking hands, you know, showing respect to some of the legends in the business. It’s all been very, very good. So it did you know, obviously break my heart to see all this stuff. But I think these discussions need to be had. Now, you mentioned locker rooms. You know, I know a lot of these shows are in high school gyms or VFW halls and stuff like that. Is it uncommon for you guys to have like separate locker rooms.
Linda: I don’t think I’ve ever had my own separate room because you know on most of these shows it’s there’s maybe one or two possibly maximum six women on a show. And it gives them their own locker room is like a flipping luxury. There was a place when I wrestled for SWF we would do shows, gosh, I think it was a VFW in Totowa, I forget what it was. But it was just one big, like curtain dock. Like event space, I think. Then it’s kind of had a back way to a women’s bathroom, which had like a fitting room or like a powder room or something. And that was like, the most luxurious, I think it’s ever been like I’ve changed in my car. I’ve had to — there was a VFW in Bayville, where they wanted us to have the locker room like outside in March, which was insanity. So, we ended up taking over one of the extra bathrooms and wrestling is male dominated. So, they use the women’s bathroom and I’m in a friggin women’s bathroom with a bunch of dudes. Oh, no, you know what there was we used to wrestle for DWA, we had this place in Jackson, that is like a historical horrible monument or like whatever, called Rova Farms. And was the it was like, the locker room was basically a blocked off lobby that had a mens room and women’s rooms on either side, and the promoter and the locker room leader, where they would always use the women’s room as their personal locker room. And then once I came along, and they started a women’s division, we would kind of just move our shit in there and they would get kind of grumpy about it. I’m like, it’s the flipping ladies room. So then you kick them out when you want to get dressed, but very seldom, I mean, at least the places I’ve worked. Very seldom you actually have like a locker room. I think my first show was at one of the brick high schools can’t remember which one it was. And they were like, oh, you’re going to have your own locker room. But there was like a high school football game that night. And everybody was changing in their auxiliary gym. So, I’m like, 17 And there’s a bunch of dudes getting half naked in high school weight room. Oh, yeah. It’s super fun, man. I got tales.
Marissa: That’s disgusting.
Linda: Yeah, I mean, it’s not uncommon. It’s almost like when you go to the beach, and you see like surfers, and they basically put on a towel and they get dressed under the towels never really see anything. But like to be at the beginning of my high school senior year, and like, I get to be a wrestler today and I’m going to manage a tag team and everything is great. You walk in and there’s just like, sweaty, smelly dude changing under like Garfield beach towels or something stupid. It’s, that’s, that’s fancy.
Rob: I think while moving forward… I mean, again, this is why we have this discussion. I think moving forward. I mean, I think this is a no brainer, but separate locker rooms. That’s probably part of the solution right there. So, we see all these crazy, I mean, you shouldn’t say crazy. But to see all these surprising, I guess, or maybe not so surprising claims coming out about some of these pretty big names. Some of these people that I’ve had on my show. I’ve literally gone back and deleted episodes because of these things. You know, and, you know, everyone obviously deserves, you know, their do justice and all that, you know. Who knows what’s real and what’s not. But I believe the stats speak for themselves and I’ll throw this to you Marissa. I think they’re saying like, what was it less than 5% of like claims such as the sexual abuse, rape and such are, I guess, less than 5% are false or something like that? Would you know anything about that Marissa?
Marissa: I do. So, the statistic goes between 2% and 8% of reports are false reports. Depending on the demographic. So in certain demographics, obviously, it’s higher or lower. But only about 5% of cases are reported to the police. So, in the grand scheme of things, 2% of the 5% that are reported are false. And it’s such a minuscule number, but people like to focus on it so much.
Rob: Yeah, it’s really crazy. And you see some of these things. And then you see some of these, like, I even really don’t want to name names, but like, you see some of these responses. Some of these people that are putting out that are accused and you’re like, that’s your response? Like you don’t have a leg to stand on. Like it’s really just it’s kind of pathetic, and crazy. Linda, you said you’re not really that surprised to see all this stuff coming out. You don’t have to get specific or name names or anything like that. But have you experienced, I guess similar things to some of the stuff we’re seeing on Twitter?
Linda: So, I would say, I’ve been and I everything I say is going to sound so horrible one way or another. I have never I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been, let’s say, like big enough that I’m traveling out of state. I’m doing all these things, and I’m living out of my car. And I’m like sharing hotel rooms with people. That’s when shit gets bad. Like I’ve seen, like, I’ve never been so thankful that my career didn’t make it. I’ll just put it that way. Like, because what are you going to do? Like I said, there’s maybe two to six women per show. And I saw somebody’s response on Twitter to someone was like, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t be in a hotel room with a guy.” Like, what are you supposed to do? You’re traveling. Wrestling is not like, you don’t get paid a million fucking dollars, unless you work for Vince McMann. And maybe you’re lucky if you make three figures. Like I’ve never, that’s never. It’s basically like, a hobby. Most the time, and I’m going to get dragged for saying that, but it basically is. You do it because you love it most of the time. And so, I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to split a hotel room with somebody, and fear for my life. Early days, I dated a guy that I went to wrestling school with and he was very adamant about, like, we don’t want anybody to know we’re dating, because that’s not what kind of look around you. And I think back to some of the things that we would say to each other. And I’m just like, he was not a good person, but whatever. Um, so we weren’t like going out after shows, and like running down to AC with people, which happened often. And we weren’t going to bars, we would just like go to the show, go to the diner and go home. So, I wasn’t really in situations a lot of time. And then later on, like I, you know, met my husband, and then we had our kids. So, I’m not rocking and rolling all night with the dudes because I’m going home with my family. So, I’ve never really been in a situation where I’ve been cornered in a bathroom but have, I been? Have I? I’ve definitely been hit on. I’ve definitely had somebody say lewd comments. I’ve definitely not gotten paid because I was a woman on the show, or because I waited too long to use the locker room to change and everybody was done at that point and then the promoter booked. Like, I don’t know if it was necessarily something that happened on purpose. But we had it was like, I want to say, I only had my, my oldest son at the time. I was just restarting and I went to help somebody, they were doing a fundraiser for the Lacey the firehouse one at least. And it was at one of the high schools or middle school or something. And they had me train one of their firefighters who was female and it was supposed to be you know, me and one of the guys that I know Cletus versus two of the firefighters, a male and a female. So, I was basically we all put the match together. Because who doesn’t want to see your firefighters that you’re raising money for Like wrestle? It was super dope. But then, you know, you kind of have to wait a minute because we shared a locker room and like, I wanted to get dressed. But my van is like, all the way in East-Bumble, so I can’t go all the way to my van. So, I don’t know, whatever. So we go to a bar afterwards. And the promoter who maybe ran free shows and is smelly and disgusting and annoying, whatever. He was sitting there like, like, big shit like, “Oh, well, we had a good night we raised money. Everybody got paid.” And I’m literally sitting two feet away from me. And I’m like, “I didn’t get paid.” I thought nobody was getting paid because it was a fundraiser that’s common. And you didn’t say anything, didn’t offer buy me a beer, did not buy me a sandwich, or whatever. But as far as like harassment goes, it’s definitely happened. I’ve been approached in my Twitter DMSs by a former WWE star that we did a show with, but he was super tall, and he mentioned at the show that I was super tall, and I had really long legs and that’s great. He was like you He was asking me questions like, what my shoe size was, how tall I was. If I would, you know spend time with him when he did shows with us in New Jersey. And I was like “Lol I’m married That’s funny.” He’s married to you, by the way. Not to the same person now. He was married someone else at the time. But he was like, Well, how married are you? I’m like, “The married with children kind. That kind of married.”
Marissa: What kind of question is that?
Linda: I’m like, married — like vows in front of God and I love my husband. He’s had my heart since I was 14. Anyway, but you know, it’s like so this man he like messages me and he says that and it’s probably one of the only times. But I made it a point on my wrestling Facebook page. Like if somebody contacted me on messenger unless it was regarding a booking, I would just delete it and not pay attention to it. And I would get Messages every now and then like, hey. I’m sure single females or even married female get this all the time I really don’t let people know that whatever. I make it very obvious and I don’t answer things. But I was starting to get some messages like my, my inbox and I would just delete them and I made a point to mention something on my wrestling Facebook like, hey, clearly stated my bio that I’m married just because I do wrestling doesn’t mean like, you can approach me. And a promoter I had worked for was like nobody fucking cares that you’re married. Why do you say that all the time? And I’m like, is this how you talk to your wife? Because that’s disgusting. And it really struck me like if he asked me to ever work for show for him again. I absolutely never would. He definitely doesn’t run shows anymore. But that’s like the kind of stuff that you just deal with. And you learn to like laugh it off, I guess. Because and you know, looking back on it now, like that was so stupid. Like, why would I laugh it off? It’s so fucking rude and disrespectful. And I’m almost ashamed of like the things that you learn coming up, like, you know, it’s a locker room. It’s a man’s world, basically. I could go on and it wouldn’t even scratch the surface because some of these women have been through, men have been through. There are married men who would have a girlfriend and be hitting up. I mean, none of these are my story, but from some of the things that I’ve seen, like… I know, a wrestler who’s non-binary, and she was getting hit up, I guess, because she was different. And the guy was furious. But had a wife and a girlfriend and is now denying everything, which is disgusting because I know this person. I’ve met her on one occasion and it’s just not… like she lives life on apologetically like she wouldn’t make something up just to ruin someone. Like she doesn’t give a fuck about your life. She just wants to wrestle and be happy. And if she’s mentioning something, you know, it’s because it happened.
Rob: Even just hearing all that is crazy for me. And, you know, I asked both you guys this, like, you mentioned the DM’s. Linda like, you know, we were very, you know, pro women’s wrestling show. We’ve had a lot of like the great indie stars on our show.
Linda: I’ve never met her. But I know the guys that are running Titan. alot of those guys were involved with SWF and are no longer. So, and like my guys, like Vinny, and those guys, we’re on there. So, I was tuning in from home. She has it. She’s going to go very far. And I’m scared for her because she’s what, 17? 18? Very young, I’m nervous for girls like her, because there’s a very good chance from my experience, somebody is going to pull some shit. And she’s not Oh, my God, I’m getting so emotional right now. And she’s not going to be able to realize like, what she wants and what she can do. Because it’s, more likely that somebody’s going to ruin it for her, then she just decides to hang it up early.
Rob: It’s, crazy that you bring that up. And again, like, I get what you’re saying. For sure it does, it does make you worry, like we always try to, you know, represent ourselves in a good life and have good rapport with these people. You know, I hate trying to reach out sometimes it’s the only way through social media. I think that is part of the problem And I’m a big social media guy. A lot of my job involves social media, whether it be my podcast or my day job. I get it. But like, you know, you talk about the DMs and all that stuff. I’m very careful when I reach out on social platforms. I keep it very professional, very respectful. And when we have, you know, a wrestler, especially young, younger wrestlers, or female wrestlers on our show, were very, very respectful. And the respect goes ways, you know, goes both ways. It’s all about that. And, you know, we see young wrestlers, you know, you mentioned Mimi, who’s fantastic. I do think she’s got a great head on her shoulders. You know, way, way ahead of her time. You know, wish her all the best. I will see her on TV, no doubt in my mind. You know, and like we said, hopefully this conversation will be part of the solution. Guys like Casey Navarro has been a great friend of my show, man, he has such huge potential. So, you know, he’s just a good guy, a good human. And I literally asked him like, how do you stay so humble? Like, I’ve seen the stars that he rolls with, you know, during this whole pandemic itself. He just checked in with me, he’s like, Hey, man, how’s you and your family? I’m like, I’m like, why are you talking to me? Like you’re just like, great guy.
Linda: He was like 16 wrestling for SWF. Him and Jordan Oliver. And you just look at those kids and they’re so hungry, like they’re going to do so well. He get injured a lot though. And every time I turn around like this friggin kid! Come on.
Rob: He’s the future. Well, he really is. Yeah. And maybe, you know, maybe these kids like up and coming, like, maybe we’re having these conversations now. So, the business will be better for them. Like, it’s very hard to tell, Marissa, let me ask you, like, you know, you’ve explored, you know, all different organizations. You’re looking at things that are going on in the military right now. You know, obviously, I was like, hey, Marissa, like, there’s this whole kind of abuse and stuff, you know, out online. In the Wrestling World, you know, are you guessing you’re not surprised by this? But do you kind of see a lot of this in maybe like sports and stuff like that?
Marissa: Unfortunately, yeah. And a lot of sports or professional organizations don’t handle it very well. So, like you said, I’m working kind of with the military and not with the military, I’m going to correct that. I’m working with an organization who wants to be a third party to military sexual assault investigations. Because the internal abuse of power is so corrupt, and horrendous, and they treat survivors of sexual assault with such disdain and disrespect, that it ruins a ton of people’s careers. And so, when you approached me with this for wrestling, I, it was hard for me to say that I was surprised, like, I wasn’t surprised. Because for the same reason as the military or police. It’s an abuse of power. You know, you have these, these children or these very young people who have these big ambitions and want to do amazing things. And you literally have their destiny in the palm of your hand. Right? So, these promoters, and these agents and the people who have a name or have an established brand, have such power over the younger generation, right? So, it’s easy to exploit them. It’s easy to manipulate them or coerce them. If you’ve ever seen the TV show, and this might be a really bad analogy, but if you’ve ever seen the Amazon Prime show The Boys …
Linda: Oh, man, I had to not watch it. I found out like that baby dies or whatever, something happened with the baby. And it was right when I’m like, in the middle of nursing my son, Oh, I can’t watch it. I was like, Oh, my God, look at that pumping being represented on TV. And then I’m like, Oh, no, I can’t watch this. I’m going to be good for my emotional.
Rob: It’s crazy.
Marissa: But in that show, in the very first episode, I forget what character was but the fish guy, right? He has the power over this brand-new person who’s so eager and so excited. And he basically says, if you want to be anything, you have to give me a blowjob. And so, she feels compelled to do that to keep at her dream, without realizing the consequence that she’s going to feel. And I feel like wrestling and any organization like it, I mean, any athletic organization, any organization where people have power over each other, the younger ones or like the newer guys are susceptible to that. And they’re so often abused, and it’s never ever addressed It.
Linda: Wrestling is unique in the way that there’s not really many other sports or organizations like that, where you’re going to mix men and women. Like you have a card and it might have up to 10 matches on it, you might only have one woman’s match, or you might have one female ring announcer. Or you might have one female taking this tickets even, or manager, or valet. It’s not, there’s not a lot going on at one show. And there are things that for years, you just accept as okay, because you don’t want to step on any toes. And if there’s ever been like, anything that you’ve been super passionate about. Wrestling is really big on respect, which is really fucking funny in the current climate. Yeah, like you come in, you shake everybody’s hand. Everybody. Like if a wrestler’s wife or kids are there you shake everybody’s hand. If there’s something you don’t like, you shake their hand. And it’s a very specific, like the wimpiest handshake ever. I actually shake hands a little bit rougher because I needed to assert dominance. Just because I’m a woman, like, don’t F*** with me, this is my handshake. It’s a real handshake. So, there’s that. But it’s like, if you there’s so many unspoken rules that you have to follow. And if you do them, I’ll just write and listen to all the right people like you can go far. And if you say the wrong thing… I was actually reading, one of the girls that came up a little bit before my time from North Jersey was on Twitter the other day, and I remember back to like my early days of, Yahoo groups and all these things, you’d see all these women from different areas around New Jersey that you might actually wrestle one day. There was a database, a website for women, independent woman, and it was called Glory Fantastic. That was great. And it comes in every year. And you see all these girls like, you might wrestle them one day, and then you hear through grape. I’m like, Oh, well, this one is a rat, which is like a wrestling groupie. Like, this one’s a rat, and she was all these guys, or this one given blowjobs. So, she could get the title. And at this point, like, I’m questioning everything I was ever told in wrestling in my early days, because it’s like, those are not real stories. And people would spread rumors like that, so people wouldn’t go far or so you would get a bad reputation. And they were really big on pitting women against each other. And it just wasn’t healthy, like beyond the things that men would do. The women were horrible to each other too. And it was basically just like, what, what you were taught. And like that was it. And you hated everybody and that was it.
Marissa: And it’s so interesting, like you mentioned that there’s such a culture of community respect, right. But behind closed doors, and under all of it is abuse and rumors and pitting women against each other. And pitting humans against each other. Like, I think that’s so horrific. I understand the concept of wrestling. And I’m not saying that they should you know that there shouldn’t be competition, but to exploit people and spread rumors about things that they did to further their career, when chances are that wasn’t the case. Like that’s so twisted.
Linda: It’s hard because you don’t know what sometimes. That’s because that’s what wrestling is like, you’re not supposed to know what’s real and what’s fake. And it’s not just the storylines, or how strong somebody is, or their character. It’s literally the people themselves. You don’t know who to trust, basically. And, you know, not things I ever thought about until like, this weekend, and I’m just like Jesus Christ. Like I know so many people that right now are thinking of giving up because they’ve just completely lost faith in wrestling. And that it’s so sad, like, now is not the time to give up. Like if you’re mad that people are being shit humans, like that’s more reason for you to stay. That more of a reason for you to stay and take care of the young kids. Because you’re the one that needs to change it. Like you’re the person that somebody who’s fresh out of wrestling or 16. Beyond being like a seven-foot-tall human like that. So, they want to go to you because they know like, you’ll believe what they say. If you’re like hey, a Marauder says that if I don’t follow a whole closet with him, like I will get a championship. And that man will be you Act. That’s the guy you talk to, cause he’ll help you. But it’s just so fun and the handshake thing too. Like I said, it’s not a regular like standard, like Welcome to the business lunch handshake. It’s like two fingers. You’re supposed to show everybody in the locker room, that you’re going to work. Like you’re not going to stiff someone. So like, you’re not going to put them in like a chokehold and legitimately choke them. Like you can trust that like,
you’re supposed to be able to trust people in wrestling with your body and the fact that you can’t trust people to be alone in a room together without fearing for your fucking life is disgusting.
Like, I shake your hand this way. So, you don’t hurt me in the ring. But then the same people that you’re showing you won’t hurt you in the ring, like okay, this is a nice handshake, but you have to worry about them like grabbing your ass or like touching you wrong in a match. Or making a really fucking rude comment. Like oh my god, I’m fired up right now. I haven’t ever said any of this out loud. Like it just fucking astounding that you have to worry about that when you’re literally showing someone that you can trust them and they can trust you and then they just throw it out the fucking window.
Rob: Wow, that’s a soundbite right there. Like you put it perfectly like you trusting these people with your body like midair. Mid flip. Picking you up. Jumping over the rope.
Linda: Like, you know, it’s like how can I trust you? You can put me in a like me, an almost six-foot-tall woman who was not like I will trust you to put me in, like, an overhead maneuver and throw me on the effing ground. I will trust to do that. Or to chokeslam me, or do something. But I have to go to my fucking van because I can’t change here. Because that’s me like fucking asking for it?
Rob: And I think you summed it up perfectly. Like, I never thought of it that way. You know, I’ve been behind the curtain a few times. My experiences and the promoters that I have been able to work with have been super positive. It’s so great to see and all this stuff breaks my heart. But you know, I do remember people coming around and shaking my hand like, Why are you shaking my hand? Like, you know, I’m just a journalist, you know, you know, but yeah, but that’s how I learned you shook everyone’s hand like hey, I’m so and so I’m like, I know who you are. I’ve seen you on TV. Like, you know, why are you shaking my hand? To me it was just like magic. I see people running the ropes like it was really, really cool. And I’m all about it. But at the same time Like, what do we do to change things? You know, like, we talked about the separate locker rooms, like, you know, we have these big stars, these big shows these big events and conventions, where, you know, we’re having some of the indie wrestlers going to pick up these big names from the airports, you know. And that’s where we’re hearing a lot of these stories happening. I have seen some, you know, organizations making some changes to some of these, like things, you know, I understand people have to pay their dues, you know, whether it be setting up the ring, or like picking up people. But maybe this, you know, maybe some things need to change here. And I’m curious, your thoughts on some of the things such as that that might need to change moving forward?
Linda: You know, I don’t know. It’s just, it starts with knowing right now, that if somebody has a problem that their voice will be heard. But at the same time, I don’t even know, because it’s so something so simple as, hey, you’re new, you’re still training, whatever, instead of setting up the ring, because I know you probably hate it, because everybody hates it. But then whatever, you either hate it, because you don’t want to do it, or you hate it, because you’re very particular about how you’re going to set up. But instead of setting up the ring, or putting together chairs and go to the airport to pick up who the Eff ever, formerly known as … on the on the card today. And imagine like somebody who’s like 16, or 17, and maybe 18, even 20, whatever. And they’re just like, holy shit, like, my idol is on the show. And not even not only am I going to be in the same locker room with this human, I’m going to go pick them up from the airport. And I’ve heard the only thing I’ve heard is like, there was always a story about like, Oh, so and so picked up like I’m Adela page and he made him go to wall and get them free stuff and then he didn’t eat them. Like, your weird things like that But I’ve never heard of somebody getting assaulted. But now somebody’s going to have to worry about that like. So I go pick up this big purse like, like, when I was in SWF that was a little bit more of one of the companies that would book the bigger names like something like UWC. They’re more about their own talent and their fans basically enjoyed that brand. And not necessarily wrestling in general. They have a very specific fan base down there. But something like SWF, like, Oh, we have formerly known as on the show today, can you go get them? And I remember doing a show with and I’m going to use a name just because it wasn’t a negative influence whatsoever. It was probably the only time in a locker room that I’ve gotten starstruck. It was at that one room bathroom and Badass Billy Gunn was there. And I am a huge DX fan, which is interesting in the climate because they were very graphic. They’re like, the reason why I got into wrestling. I thought it was so funny. Like all the stuff they did in between. And they weren’t wrestling and going out and being either a good guy or the bad guy. They were making fun of everyone. And they were just doing whatever the hell they wanted. And I thought it was spectacular. And then on top of that, they work really well as a unit. And they were amazing wrestlers. So, a couple years ago Badass Billy Gunn was at the show, and I’m like, oh my god, like my first AOL screen name was ANewAgeOutlaw. I was like, I’m really going to shit a brick. And everyone’s like, oh, why? Because you want to go …Oh my god, now it’s turning into a horrible memory. So everyone’s like, Why? Because you want to you want to go like suck his dick? Like No, I’m not going to… like I’m not … just because I like enjoy a certain wrestler like, it’s from a pure place. It’s from like a 14-year-old girl watching wrestling and thinking this is the shit. And one of the reasons why I got into a ring was because of DX. And I’m literally three sinks down from Badass Billy Gunn. And that doesn’t mean I want to hold up in a locker room or like a bathroom stall with him. It means Holy shit. You’re Billy Gunn, you’re an amazing wrestler. You bump like nobody’s business, this is the fucking best day of my life. Have a throat lozenge. I almost passed out. But whatever and everybody assumed it was something weird. But anyway, I don’t know where I was going with that. I am chatty and lose my train of thought. I blame children for whatever. But you know, everybody just assumed something. It was awful. So my reaction to that. Okay, here we go. Like if somebody said to a young Me, “Hey, can you go to the airport to pick up Billy Gunn?” And I was like, oh my god, I sleep in a DX shirt every day. I wear the extra training because it’s supposed to bring me good luck. These are the reasons why I do what I do. And I get to pick this guy up at the airport and put it in my fucking car and let him change the radio to whatever he wants because he’s my fucking idol?! That would have been me, and somebody is going to be in that situation and probably already has and then not saying Billy Gunn because he’s a treasure. But another person will have another wrestler likely from this era or you know, one of the guys that’s recently let go, like you get to go to the airport and pick up this name. And they’re like, oh my god, do I wear a different wrestler shirt? What do I wear I’m driving my car. Do I go the speed limit or will they think I’m a dork? Should we stop at Wawa and then that wrestler, who you worry so much because you want to impress them, and you are literally starstruck, they encroach on your space and touch you uninvited, and they literally kill every dream you’ve ever had in five minutes. Like, somebody is going to be put in that situation, and that’s fucking horrible. So, what do we do we send an Uber like, I don’t know.
Marissa: What about I mean, as silly as it sounds, but like, what about the buddy system? Right? So, if we implement a sort of buddy system in events. Where younger people are not like, I’m trying to think of a better word than chaperoned. But what if they have somebody with them? That that can keep them safe? And can monitor situations? That’s not like a bodyguard, but like a friend? Is that reasonable? Or is that like a silly dumb thing to say?
Linda: So, it’s not dumb and it’s not silly. But I also don’t think, and it’s always going to be negative, like, somebody is going to get ragged on. Somebody’s going to pull over somebody. Somebody’s going to do something and they’ll be like, Oh, look, a 16-year-old Joe. He’s got his fucking mom with him. But like, no, it’s my truck. But like, it’s such a testosterone fueled thing, that having somebody there to look out for you, you’d never hear the end of it. You’re literally supposed to have a locker room leader. There’s supposed to be somebody running the locker room, who is monitoring the matches, making sure people aren’t sneaking out to the bar and get drunk before their show. Nobody’s sneaking out into the parking lot to like blow lines of coke, because things happen. Like, you’re supposed to have somebody looking out for things. But you can’t monitor everybody all the time. And there should be somebody who’s designated I believe And I was talking to, actually I think Tommy the Moose told me he was supposed to be on your show next week.
Rob: Oh, yeah, we love Tommy.
Linda: Tommy. Friggin Uncle Tommy the Moose. He got Oswald few little onesies when he was born. So, Uncle Tommy the Moose, He is just pure delight. Yeah. Speaking to me about like, he’s like so and so was running this show. And me and Risa Pappas, Tommy’s girlfriend, she’s a Ring announcer as well. We’ve had her on she’s great. I didn’t she fantactic? She gives NO FUCKs. She’s like racists suck and gross men suck. I’m going to bring it up that I love her a million times. They’re such an unlikely pair And I love it so much. So, he was telling me that they were talking about how they should probably have somebody (and this wasat the end of the weekend before all this came to light, really.) And it was like, they, you know, they don’t know what they’re doing with this. So, they should have somebody run, you know, the women and your name came up? And I’m like, well, it’s not feasible, because I don’t, you know, I don’t My job is like, you know, when I’m not furloughed, is it’s a weekend job. And when I when I’m not weekending, I have my kids. And my hours are weird. And it’s, you know, it’s not feasible to get that kind of mom time, you know. Like, my version of a knitting circle or whatever. But I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m like, you know, that would be so great. And usually the locker room leader is somebody on the card is a veteran, somebody who’s been with the company or even one of the trainers from the school or a promoter somebody was like, money mark, or whatever. You should 100% have someone and it should be somebody who’s not really doing anything else on the show. Like you should have like a dorm have an RA. Like, I don’t know, like a prep school would have like a prep school mom or like somebody monitoring people. And it shouldn’t be someone who’s involved in the show in any other capacity. I don’t think, other than helping reading the storylines, and making sure everybody sticks to their times, and telling people who’s up next and you know, basically babysitting the locker room.
Rob: I like what you’re saying. And Marissa, that was a fantastic question. In fact, I’ve seen like people, certain companies and to me, like the people that always like, you know, speak up right away, like that shows me something. Recently, something happened in AEW and AEW, like, we’re doing this with this person. And this is happening. Like companies that just like come out and say something or address it head on. I feel like that’s the best way to go about things. You know, just acting and I’ve seen companies, a lot of the indie companies saying like. Alright, for the airport pickups, we are going to have two people go. So, Marissa, you hit that right on the head. Like we’re going to have two people go. There’s a lot of different things, I think that we can change moving forward. And I think just having this discussion like, you know, you don’t need to go hire a human resources department. But I like what you’re saying Linda, like I’ve seen some companies already adopt this. Having a someone in charge of the women’s locker room, you know, preferably like a woman, you know. That would make a lot of sense. And you know, same thing for the men’s locker room. Let’s have separate locker rooms, let’s have, you know, not necessarily human resources, but some someone appointed to have that role. Like a wellbeing, you know, make sure everyone acts appropriately. Something like that would be really cool. And I think that’s part of the solution right there. Also, you know, not just having these conversations, but I’ll ask you guys, this. You know, I’ve seen this a lot in the music industry, this is a lot different, you know, like the local band and stuff. But I think ego is a huge part of the problem. And I can see that absolutely see that a lot in the business, Linda?
Linda: Oh, my God, it’s like one guy has a security role on WWE, or like a fake doctor or EMT. And then they come back to a show. They’ve started going tanning, they’ve got new gear. They’re all baby-oiled up. And they’re like, “Well, you know, uh huh.” And it’s like, that’s what it looks like I’ve wrestled here. I’ve wrestled this person. So, you know, show me respect. Like, what the fuck did you do here to earn respect? Like, Oh, my God, the ego. It’s just you have the guy in the back who’s like, man-spreading in his chair, takes up a whole fucking corner with his water jug. And it’s just like, you know, I’m King shit and you’re like, No, bro. But yeah, so much ego.
Rob: Yeah. And I think that’s why people think they can get away with doing these horrible things. I’m so and so I’ve been on this, or I’ve this many accolades. And that doesn’t excuse it, we’ve seen a lot of big names that have just kind of disappeared off of Twitter right now. And organizations that I can think of one or two right now that just no longer exists, because of this whole thing. It’s crazy.
Linda: The thing in New Jersey too, is, there’s no real Athletic Commission. So somewhere like New York, you have to have a license to wrestle, and you have to have a license to operate. In New Jersey, as long as you got a permit for where you’re wrestling. Like if it’s in a field, or you pay the VFW, the right kind of money, and you have insurance. Anybody can fund and run a wrestling show. So, there’s not really a whole lot of accountability, because anybody can do it. Which means anybody’s going to do anything and then that anybody is going to run the show and be like, well, I’m the promoter. Or I’m Booker, or I’m the locker room guy, or I’m a veteran, because I’ve been wrestling for four minutes, and you’ve been wrestling for two minutes. So let’s run a show. And it’s like, there’s no, like, nobody knows what they’re doing. because anybody can fucking do it.
Rob: Yeah, it’s crazy right now. But I’m really glad that we are having this discussion. And, you know, Marissa’s so big on obviously Breaking the Silence right now. Question for you, you know, you know, Linda, we do see names like Keith Lee, you know. He says, I don’t know if you guys saw he broke his story where, apparently, he was, like, drugged and woke up in a hotel room. And, you know, still to this day, he doesn’t know what happened. You know, someone he was involved with, I guess, in a show in Texas, or something like that. So, this can happen to anybody. Anybody. Anywhere. Absolutely. I’ve seen some people recently on social media saying like, hey, yeah, I have some stuff. But I just don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to share that, you know, Marissa, I’ll throw this to you first. Your kind of thoughts on this. You know, because, you know, I truly, I mean, again, not to pressure anyone, but I do really think, you know, like we always say like you were saying your books Breaking the Silence is that first step? And I think in a way, you’re also freeing yourself in a way, your thoughts on that?
Marissa: Yeah, no, I 100% agree. You’re doing a lot of good things by breaking your silence. And of course, it’s terrifying. You know, you’re opening yourself up to vulnerability and judgment. And especially in a community, like wrestling where I assume everybody kind of knows everybody. Just because it’s such a like a niche interest, that you could be opening yourself up to negativity or backlash. But the positives that come out of it are, you’re finding your voice again, and you’re releasing this weight that you’ve been holding on to for so long. And you also don’t know who you’re helping by you breaking your silence, you could be helping somebody else, find relatability and find comfort and support. You can be that person for somebody. So, I understand and respect if you are not comfortable breaking your silence yet, and you should never feel pressured to do that. But if you have the urge to share your story or to start healing. You know, breaking your silence is the first step.
Rob: Yeah, big, big part of the healing. Very well said. Linda, your thoughts about people speaking up right now?
Linda: I think it’s so fantastic. I think honestly, best thing that’s ever happened in wrestling. Because first you have it goes from like, WWE had their Divas went to you know, they had the Women’s Revolution. And that was really like the minute that they stopped referring to women as objects. Like when I first started, you were either like the one that wrestled or the hot one, I work for an all-women’s company that would literally hire strippers and teach them how to wrestle. As well as having women who’ve gone on and been very established. I did like some shows with them and then my boyfriend at the time was garbage. So, I listened to him and didn’t work there anymore. But whatever. But now you have women who are coming up who watch wrestling, and they’re young, and they’re in the age of like, YouTube makeup tutorials, and you can be really pretty and be an awesome wrestler. Or you can be an awesome wrestler and that’s it. And nobody’s really like, you’re the funny one, you’re the pretty one. And you’re the powerhouse. Like now it’s like, you can be whatever the fuck you want, which is great. So, it started there, I think like actually respecting the women’s work. But then a lot of people took advantage of that. And they’re like, oh, you’re really good. Let me show you a few moves, and that’s when they take advantage of you. But I think being able to just anybody who ever wanted to do it is now respected. And it’s not like Diva’s photoshoots in Tahiti, it’s like just go wrestle, because that’s what we care about. Now that gave, so that gave people the opportunity to be there. Now, that I think is giving them confidence or giving women confidence to come forward. And if you notice, a lot of these stories aren’t like last week at a show in Oklahoma, Somebody drugged me in a bathroom at a bar. It’s five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 17 years ago. And you see a lot of people reacting negatively, which I just want to fucking slam them all right in the face. Like, “WeLl, WhY aRe YoU bRiNgInG iT uP nOw? Because 17 years ago, you couldn’t fucking say anything. Because then you get a reputation and then would never go anywhere. And thought like, and if you love wrestling, like the worst thing that could happen is not making it. So shut up! And you do what you have to do, which is horrible but that’s the reality of the situation. Because you’re listening to all the wrong people and when there’s 10 of them on a show when only one of you, You know, that’s just kind of what it turns into. But I’m so proud of everyone. Like I said, I’m fortunate enough that nothing hardly major happened to me. But people speaking out, made me realize, like, some of the things that happened when I was younger, I listened to really terrible advice. Or I listened to the wrong thing about one woman or when one of my friends was booked somewhere. And I asked him why he wouldn’t bring me on a show. But then he gave me shit for not trying to get him booked on my show. Like those kinds of things are all those are our own stories. Or, you know, when I was dating the guy and I would wrestle in like a skirt, but I had like, literally opaque stockings, and then fishnet and then socks and then like this, and then a bodysuit, and then a pair of shorts. And then this he would always be like, what are you wearing under that? Why did you take a picture with that guy? That’s also a form of abuse. And I didn’t even realize it at the time. Like, oh, he’s just worried that somebody’s going to see my skirt. Like, what an asshole. He doesn’t talk to me. And it’s like, he’s just controlling what I’m wearing. And he’s controlling who I’m talking to. And he’s doing all these things. And I think his fear was, I would make it and then not bring him with me. And, and just that kind of stuff happens too. And it’s like, I’ve had an interesting few day just thinking about things that I’ve always ignored and always thought of like, Oh, that’s just how it is. Like, no, that’s not how it is like, that absolutely isn’t how it is. It shouldn’t be like because I’m super friendly to a wrestler at the beginning of a show, like, oh my god, I like your ringer robe, or I like your scarf, or I like your gimmick, and they’re really nice to me. In the end I’m an innocent mind. Honestly, I have a potty mouth, but an innocent mind. I just think like, I think everybody thinks like me. Like, if you’re being nice to someone, you’re being nice to them. I’m not being nice to you, because I want to suck your dick for booking later. Pardon my French. But like I’ve been at a show where I was so excited to be there. And then afterwards, you know, we’re at a bar and we’re having drinks and then I find out later that they’re asking all these questions. And like two dudes, and they were asking me all these questions. And somebody was like, a week later, like, Oh, yeah, right after you have that dude, or right after you shook his hand, he was like, she’s going to suck one of our dicks later. And I just thought somebody was being nice. Yeah, that’s what happens when people fall for that kind of shit and that’s trash. Like absolute trash. And I don’t even think about those things but now people speaking up and you’re seeing these things. Like, holy shit. I was fortunate in that situation that day. That was one of the real first like, Five Guys days. And like Tommy was there and I think Pat was there too. I don’t know. But like, I felt protected. Like when I was with Five Guys at SWF, we would joke around and make fun of people and you do whatever, but not one of those guys ever made me feel uncomfortable. Like Vinny, and Tommy, and Preston, I never felt like somebody was, you know, they were being nice to me just because they want to get with me. They were all happy outside of work. If anything, I felt like they would hover near me to make sure nobody else would screw with me. I always felt very safe with them. And it made that run and wrestling very fantastic for me.
Marissa: So, I think you saying that kind of just, didn’t solve the problem, obviously, but kind of offered a solution to create maybe a small group of people that you trust and surround yourself with. You know, I know, it goes back to when you said before, that you don’t really know who you can trust because everyone’s kind of their fake persona. But what if, what if? No, there were like, almost clubs created, so that, you know, you have a group of people that if something happened to you, you know, you can go to and trust them, and they’ll give you the good advice, and they’ll take care of it. Is that feasible?
Linda: So that’s honestly, it’s like it and all sounds great. And what sad is, is that’s what you think from the beginning. Like what we said earlier, like, you’re supposed to trust somebody with your body from not break your bones, but you can’t trust somebody with your body to the point where they’re going to physically assault you. But I don’t know how to how to verbalize it. Oh, but um, I don’t know I mean, Rob, you probably have heard of her. Oh my god, I can’t even think of a wrestling right now. Damn. What the hell is her wrestling name?
Rob: Indie wrestler?
Linda: Yeah. Terra Calaway. Terra Calaway. She, I’ve noticed on Twitter and on Facebook and you know, we found one or two shows together. I think she’s a fantastic human. Her husband is Jeff Cannonballs. He is also fantastic. Two of the most genuine people, they like… She is super affected by this right now. And I’m pretty sure she’s looking to put a group together. I don’t know how they’re trying to look to it, I only just saw it briefly. I’m pretty sure she’s trying to put together a group. Like she had put it on Twitter. Like, if you are going to a show and you feel uncomfortable, I will go with you. I will read you on. I will make sure nobody hurts you. And I think after they got married, I think she stepped back a bit. I mean, she’s still doing wrestling with depression, she does fundraisers or with Dropkick Depression. She is fantastic. She’s very aware of mental health. And from what I see has a stepped up and he’s trying to make sure you know, either herself or a group of people will, you know, make wrestling safe again, or for the first time really.
Marissa: If you could connect me to her, that would be awesome. Because I could definitely work with her through my nonprofit to do something.
Linda: She is an A plus human. And she could probably also break anyone’s face.
Rob: And wow, this has been a great conversation. And I thank you guys again for a few minutes, I think we really tackled some things. You know, like I keep saying we did pull back that curtain, you know. There’s a, there’s a lot of good that that comes out of this Wrestling World. There’s a lot of charities, a lot of really, really good people that have certainly helped me in my career. And I’m so thankful for that this is all this stuff breaks my heart. And there’s also a lot of just terrible, terrible things that are just unacceptable that we don’t want to see. Let’s get rid of this right now. Promoters, it’s your job to make sure this stuff doesn’t happen. Veterans, you know, be a leader, you know, lead the right way. For the younger talent, you know, obviously, you’re growing up, you probably grew up really, really fast in this business as I’ve seen. You know, just be careful, you know, surround yourself with good people. You know, try not to be naive, you know, try to have a good head on your shoulders as best you can. And everyone else look out for those younger talents. Before we get out of here. Ladies, anything else that you just want to say to wrestlers or anyone in this business that may you know, find themselves in a bad situation, anything they can do to kind of just be safe.
Linda: I just want to say like, it’s not all bad. And what I what I fear right now is that people won’t follow their dreams, because they’re worried somebody might hurt them. I will point anybody in the right direction of the right people to train with. I am really inspired, like I said, by Terra. Like, if you need a mom to go with you, and knock somebody out or to make you feel safe, like I was talking earlier about the buddy system. Marissa, like, I’m all about that. Like, if I can get to a show, I will do it. If I can’t get there, I will find somebody who will make you feel comfortable because there are really good people in wrestling. There are people that care about your talent, they care about your success, and they care about you as a person more importantly. And I will do whatever I can and make sure the right people are running shows. The right people are working shows, because the last thing you want to have to worry about this. Like I mean not my oldest son is going to be 12 and in a couple of years, he’s going to be the same age as I was when I went to my first wrestling show with my friend. And if he wanted to go to a show, I don’t want to have to worry like, well, is he going to the right show with the right people or somebody’s going to take advantage of him? Is somebody going to hurt him? And like, the worst thing is, you know, fearing for your children’s safety at a place where they’re supposed to feel safe.
Marissa: And I think snowballing off that is to be situationally aware. Now, that’s not to say that sexual assault or rape or anything is the survivors fault, ever. It is never under any circumstance, the victim’s fault, or the survivor’s fault. It’s always the perpetrator that chooses to hurt the person; that makes the decision to offend. However, situational awareness goes a really long way. If something doesn’t feel right in your gut, don’t do it. Do what you need to do to stay safe. And if somebody is making you uncomfortable, or you’re alone in a room with someone and they’re approaching you, or scream. Do whatever you need to do to get out of the situation, and keep yourself safe. Don’t be intimidated, because they are a higher level or well-known. You know, just do whatever you need to do to be safe. And I know that you’re not always able to do that, but just whatever you need to do you situationally aware and keep yourself safe.
Rob: Wow, really well said. I think it’s got some, you know, had a great discussion here. Some powerful things said and hopefully, you know, this is the first of many steps moving forward. Marissa, I think we’re going to keep doing a couple of these if you’re okay with that. I think we had a great conversation here today.
Marissa: Oh, I totally agree. I’m down to do this as much as we can.
Rob: Awesome. This was great, Linda. Thank you again, so much. For a few minutes. You were the perfect first guest for this and maybe a little teaser here Maybe down the line. You know, maybe we’ll see a little Daisy Deville back in the ring again. I don’t know.
Marissa: I’ll come to New Jersey for that.
Linda: I’ll make it fantastic for you.
Rob: All right, guys. Everyone. Stay safe. Take care of each other. Look out for one another. And yet, we’ll see you guys soon. We’re out.
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