Wrestling is in a much different place now than it was even five, ten years ago. Effy is a big part of that.
Just a few years after WWE touted their first openly gay star in Darren Young (Fred Rosser), the independent wrestling scene has exploded with LGBTQ+ talent. As he told Fightful in an exclusive interview, Effy thinks that the representation has accelerated in recent years.
"Yeah, I think so. I’ve always been a believer that, and this is probably not the fairest way to put it, but everybody always says—because, here’s the thing. These promoters in the past, whatever, they’ve all had their own problems. But, if you are looking at wrestling as a purely capitalistic venture and you’re trying to sell tickets and trying to get people to stream, when you look at the 60s, 70s and 80s and the audiences were allowed to pay to go to wrestling shows and the audiences that were going to wrestling shows, that were selling the most tickets, they were of, probably, a little more of questionable belief and view system.
Because of that things like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, they sell more tickets. When you can make the black man dance in this time, a promoter knows it does that. When you put the little gay boy out there in a dress, a promoter know they want to yell out and cause ruckus. When you’re thinking of it in that aspect, they were just trying to make money, and it doesn’t forgive any of it and it never will. But, when you look now, what we have done as an LGBTQ community, I was talking with Billy Dixon about it this weekend, we have stepped to our side and said, ‘If no one’s going to do it, we’re going to force our way in and we’re going to do it for ourselves. We’re going to clear our own path.’
Now that that path is starting to clear, it’s apparent that a lot of companies are going to start gradually moving around. I always said the WWE didn’t do a lot more with the LGBTQ stuff wasn’t because they were against it. It’s really because they blew it with Billy & Chuck. They got way more negative backlash than they’re used to, and they love being in the press, but they never want it to be something bad. Instead of trying again and saying, ‘Maybe we should try again and say, ‘Hey, look, we messed up.[‘’] They were just scared to tip their toe back in the water ‘cause the first time they did it the water was cold. It’s not necessarily that they’re sitting around going, ‘We’ll never have a gay on this show.’ It’s them sitting around going, ‘We really don’t know how to do it and we’re scared to ask. ‘Cause the last time, twenty years ago, it didn’t work out so well.’
So, now, when they see us able to succeed and seeing these ideas come to life, and seeing that spirit in the LGBTQ community that is punk and we don’t need you and we’re going to do our own thing, it’s becoming a little more exciting for them. It’s a little more attainable for them and they’re seeing that it actually makes money. Now, with the ball back in our court, I hope over the next few years, that not only are we featured prominently, but that it’s not really that much of a deal any more. I think the big idea of Effy is that Effy doesn’t need to exist. That’s where I want to get Effy to. When Effy doesn’t need to be here and fuck with you and press the buttons and force the issues, then I’ll just disappear and I’ll help kids out in the back and I’ll do the other stuff I do and I’ll buy merch for new wrestlers so they can have a start. Let’s get to that point. We are not there yet.
But as we continue to be loud, we want to see the other companies copying us. We want to see them step to the plate. I joked with Jake Atlas, because we had a long conversation after our match and I said, ‘Look, I can yell at the building from the outside. It makes sense for me to do that. The only people who are actually going to change it are the people within the company who can force their hand and force their ear with their talent and their voice. I’m not in there doing that, so I ask of you to at least give it a try and do it your way. I’m not asking you to be me. That is a more important thing that needs to happen and we’ve got to force them to copy us. Because it’s apparent we have some pretty good ideas and they tend to use them in different ways than I would.
But, things show up and things happen that are a little pointy and I don’t mind it any more. I want them to catch up. If we have to force them in a capitalistic way to catch up, then we’re going to keep putting on the craziest shows. We’re going to put on the wildest talent. We’re going to show all the skills that you’ll miss out on. All the story telling you missed out on by not being inclusive for so long and you’ll have to just follow behind. I mean, you’re getting lapped right now even though you’re in a bigger, fancier, faster, more expensive car."
Effy will promoted the Big Gay Block of GCW Fight Forever from 10 am-Noon EST on January 30.
You can see our full interview with Effy at the top of the page, and follow him on Twitch at this link. You can see GCW's Fight Forever on their channel and on Fightful January 29. Donate to wrestlers who have had their bookings impacted by COVID-19 at this link.