Effy has never been shy about letting the public know how he feels. Roughly four years ago, the fishnet-clad grappler took to the center of the Rise ring with a microphone and cut a promo that sent shockwaves around the industry. The event took place on the final day of Pride month, and Effy made it clear that LGBTQ talent should not just get booked one month out of the year.
In an exclusive Haus of Wrestling interview, now available on the Haus of Wrestling podcast feed, Effy recalled getting yelled at backstage right after the promo, only to receive an apology from “multiple people” the next day after his message had resonated on a wide level. In the years since Effy has taken his gay revolution all over the world with his Big Gay Brunch event, and there have been notably more open, LGBTQ talents on the independent scene. I asked him if he felt his message had resonated with pro wrestling’s largest two companies, WWE and AEW.
“I’m a believer that the only way you’re going to make people move is by showing them there’s a capitalistic way to do it,” he began. “I think in the past few years, we’ve shown that there is success to LGBTQ performers, there’s success to having inclusion, and I want to see it go to a bigger scale. I mean, Sonny Kiss hasn’t been on TV in months and months and months, and as she has sort of opened up about her gender identity and told us more about herself, and she does he and her pronouns and is a gender non-binary person, from the last time I spoke with Sonny.
“To see that, just the confusion, and the hands in the air of, ‘Well, we don’t quite know what to do with you here,’ instead of taking the risk and saying, ‘If you think this will work, we would like to take that risk on you.’ And it doesn’t have to come with the caveat of, ‘As long as it fits in our advertisers. As long as we don’t get a worded letter from some guy named Buck.'”
The lack of AEW TV time for Sonny Kiss is something that has been buzzed about by pro wrestling fans for a while now. After her initial debut, she was featured in a variety of high-profile matches but has since been lost in the AEW: Dark shuffle alongside former teammate Joey Janela, and current stable, The Trustbusters. The reason that popular characters like Kiss haven’t gotten more of a prominent push is something Effy believes he has unfortunately figured out.
“The reason is, ‘We found a formula that worked for wrestling, and we’re just going to run it until the diminished returns make it to where we can’t anymore.’ Instead of trying something different to reengage people who may have run away from wrestling, or may have never been a part of wrestling.
“And as long as we keep the sort of advertising and corporate system to television in play, they’re going to keep getting worse and worse and worse ratings because people have other places to seek out their entertainment, their talent, that doesn’t come with the little asterisk of ‘But it has to has to be okay for our advertisers.’ Most people are sick of watching ads anyway, stop being nice to them.”
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