Starrcast III was home to the Wrestling with Stereotypes 2 panel on Aug. 30. The panel was hosted by Andreas Hale and Kel Dansby and included AEW stars Nyla Rose, Big Swole (Ariel Monroe), Sonny Kiss, Scorpio Sky, Private Party, comedian Ron Funches, influencer Alexis Littlefoot, rapper Mega Ran, former WWE star Fred Rosser (Darren Young)
Full recap is below.
- Hale opens the show and references Cody's "colorblind" tweet. Hale doesn't want people to be colorblind. He wants to be seen.
- First time they saw someone in wrestling who represented them. Sonny - Jacqueline and Jazz. Nyla - Herself. Swole - Luna cause she's a bad bitch. Funches - Ron Simmons and Koko B. Ware.
- Sonny discusses the Jim Cornette situation. Says it didn't bother him because he has learned to ignore it and the fans made it a bigger thing. Nyla discusses being forced into a stereotypical role when she first started on the Indy scene and taking it just to make it. Swole says she's never been discriminated against or forced into a box because she "doesn't play that."
- Sonny talks about a kiss he shared with EC3 on the Indy scene, which was EC3's idea. That was the first time he ever compromised on that spot. Didn't want to be disrespectful by rejecting the idea but won't do it again.
- Sonny loved everything about Goldust. Didn't think too much of him being gay. Just liked the character. Nyla also liked the character and didn't personally find him problematic. Sonny says people thought he was holding back because he wasn't as over the top like Goldust. Swole's only problem with Goldust was other people breathing hard in her face. Funches also always loved Goldust. "He was a great ass character." Funches has more of a problem with a joke character like Eugene. The question is then asked "could Goldust ever be World Champion?" before talking about how long it took for a black man to hold the World Title.
- Nyla wants to be the first LGBTQ World Champion, which leads to a "heated" argument between Roe and Swole over being the first AEW Women's Champion.
- Swole says black women are not represented well, especially on the Independent scene. "There is this rule that there can only be one at the top." Swole took it upon herself to be the leader at the top.
- The discussion moves to the Nation of Domination and them getting boo'd by the majority of the fans even though black people were behind them. Funches says black wrestlers were grouped into two categories "either you introduced white panic or you dance." Funches says he loves The Rock because he had the foresight to create a plan to get to the top and then get out.
- "To get to the top as a minority, you have to be a heel," says Dansby. Sonny says he'll never be a heel then talks about colorism. "If you're a little lighter, you get more of a pass." Swole says he's not a heel, she just stands up for herself. Swole, Sonny, and Nyla are dismissed and replaced by Scorpio Sky and Private Party.
- First time they saw someone in wrestling who represented them. Scorpio - Muhammad Ali ("he was a wrestling fan growing up and idolized Gorgeous George."), Private Party - The Hardyz. But they hope to now be that representation.
- Private Party says Harlem Heat was before their team. Scorpio talks about Harlem Heat and says the pairing of the same color was always stereotypical. "What do we do with this black guy? Pair him with the other black guy!" Scorpio says SCU isn't the same color, they just have a common bond and get along. He hopes that's where wrestling is going. Funches loved Harlem Heat.
- Scorpio talks about joining SCU. Says he didn't want to be "the other guy."
- Private Party said they were originally supposed to be "The Young Thugs," a black version of The Young Bucks. They were torn because they wanted to get their foot in the door, but didn't want to be a copy of anyone so they did their own thing.
- Scorpio talks about signing with the Urban Wrestling Federation. Says they wanted to make him "more hood." They wanted him to say "Oh they jumpin him? It aint goin down like that." So Scorpio did his pre-tape in his regular clothing then sprinted to the ring in tights. The line he said was, "Oh, they jumpin him? It aint doing down like that. Lemme get my tights."
- Scorpio says we're getting to a point where people are less defined by their color and more defined by their personality. Funches says they always wanted him to read for the role of Gang Member. "As soon as I open my mouth and talk...it's not fuckin happenin." Funches' former agent told him "you're too black for the white kids and too white for the black kids." Funches says he's for everybody.
- Private Party says they will always be compared to black wrestlers. Isiah says, "When we got announced for AEW, we got compared to Shelton Benjamin, Lio Rush, Cryme Tyme, and Street Profits." Isiah says he's just being himself.
- Isiah says he was looked at different growing up when he says he wanted to be a wrestler. Says a lot of people doubted him until he signed with AEW, then they supported him from day one. Scorpio says he always wanted to be a wrestler and even though there weren't many like him, he was going to stick with it.
- Funches talks about growing up as a wrestling fan and how Netflix viewed him as "the wrestling comedian" and shot down his special. "Then I signed with Comedy Central and had their highest special in 4 years. Fuck you, Netflix."
- Favorite wrestler: Funches - Ric Flair, Scorpio - Bret Hart, Isiah - Jeff Hardy, Marq - Scorpio Sky (said begrudgingly because Isiah said Jeff Hardy). Funches, Sky, and Private Party are dismissed. Alexis, Mega Ran, and Rosser join the stage.
- Fred says he came out because he wanted to be able to bring his boyfriend backstage. Says CM Punk gave him a hug after he came out and told him, "If you have any problem with anyone backstage, I'll take care of it." Says Randy Orton was always supportive.
- First time seeing representation: Fred - Ron Simmons, Alexis - Jazz, Mega - Junkyard Dog
- Fred says he wrestled with being gay his entire life, he just suppressed those feelings. Says Cher reached out to him and thanked him because one of her friends, who is a wrestling fan, decided to come out after Fred's story. Says no represents the community inside or outside the ring like him.
- Fred believes an LGTBQ wrestler can be the face of a major company. Alexis says "minorities and LGTBQ make shit happen."
- Alexis says a lot of guys in the wrestling community attack girls for being a fan. Created WrestleBae's so girls could have a safespace to talk about wrestling.
- Mega says the ending of Triple H vs. Booker T reinforced the stereotypes that black wrestlers weren't good enough. Says he was deflated when Booker lost. "Triple H was right. And it hurt me." Thinks Booker's loss added to the excitement when Kofi won. Alexis thought the same thing was gonna happen to Kofi. Fred says he has a love/hate relationship with Triple H. Calls Triple H his favorite wrestler, but HHH took the Crossface Chicken Wing finisher from him and gave it to Asuka. You can find more on this story by clicking here. Fred says he loves Booker because Booker took down Batista. Says Booker still asks Titus "how is your boy?" because Titus O'Neil and Batista are good friends.
- Fred talks about his time with Titus as the Prime Time Players and how they clicked.
- The discussion moves to Hulk Hogan. Fred says he has empathy for Hogan and he was taught to be forgiving. Fred says Hogan will always be a childhood favorite and is glad he apologized. Alexis doesn't excuse Hogan because he said, "I'm racist to a point." Says she didn't watch Hogan growing up so she doesn't care. "He said 'I'm sorry' so it's okay? Sorry doesn't excuse racism." Mega starts singing Hogan's theme. Mega says it's not the "N Word" that got to him, it was the context. Mega isn't forgiving Hogan. "Personally, I think he thinks we're sub-human." Mega says he doesn't hate Hogan, he just no longer loves him. Mega wants Hogan to get in front of everybody and apologize. Alexis doesn't understand people telling her and others to "get over it."
You can order Starrcast III through FITE TV.