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Asian and Pacific Islander female wrestlers changing stereotyped tropes

By Erin Chew

WOW-Women Of Wrestling was established to match the changing needs of the sport. Traditionally, a male-dominated industry, and one based on not only fighting skills but also acting and performance, it has now evolved into a sport where there are more women wrestlers.

In more recent years, wrestling has become a big sport in Asia and the Pacific and hence the number of wrestlers from this cultural background has also started to increase.

Marketed as the premier all-female sports and entertainment property, WOW-Women Of Wrestling is owned by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jeanie Buss and David McLane. It is an action-packed saga that plays out at high-energy live events and in weekly syndication across the U.S. It features larger-than-life Superheroes and their in-ring rivalries.

Group shot of WOW Women of Wrestling competitors
WOW Women Of Wrestling photo

As the only all-female wrestling organization which has gone global, the female wrestlers of WOW-Women Of Wrestling show supreme athleticism, dramatic and inspiring stories, in the hopes of empowering and uplifting women and fans all around the world. A very interesting concept and one which breaks down ceilings and creates a safer space for female wrestlers.

In addition, with the increase of Asian and Pacific Islander female wrestlers in WOW-Women Of Wrestling, narratives have also changed from negative and sexualized stereotypes to one which are more positive and badass. Two of these wrestlers changing the stereotype are Asian Australian Genesis and Pacific Islander wrestler Tiki from Guam. Both were inspired to audition and to change the culture and demographics of the wrestling world.

In a recent interview with AsAmNews, both Genesis and Tiki spoke about their journeys and how it was their own personal struggles in life which pushed them to be different and become passionate about this sport.

Photo of Genesis in bikini bra and shorts
WOW-Women Of Wrestling photo. Tiki

“I was born and raised in outback Australia. Being the only Asian everywhere I went growing up, it was a struggle to be one with my identity, make friends and not be the target of bullying. I am trained in martial arts and weapons, specifically the nunchuck – which is rare in wrestling and is what gave me that competitive edge”, Genesis said.

“For me, I had issues finding myself and finding out what my dreams and goals were. When I heard there was an opportunity to try out, I thought I would try out as I have always been an adventure and outdoors person. I have both a rugby and combat training background, so stepping into the ring was easy for me”, Tiki expressed.

Being a wrestler is part sporting/fighting/martial arts skills and the other part is all about performance and how the wrestler brings out their personality and character to engage and interact with audiences. A lot of the performance part derives from the real life experiences of the wrestlers themselves, and for Genesis these experiences came from her growing up in a very isolated region of Australia and watching martial arts films. This was her starting point.

“There wasn’t much for me to do, or anywhere for me to visit and hang out. This is where I got into watching films with fighting and martial arts and saw all the cool things that they do. I knew I wanted to be one of these people to showcase my skills on center stage – I see this as finding the dragon within myself and that is how I perform – like a dragon”.

Tiki in a fighting stance
WOW photo. Genesis

For Tiki representing her Pacific Islander heritage in WOW-Women of Wrestling is her biggest pride and moment. In her performance on stage she shares her heritage and stated that one of her aims is to show how she breaks the stereotypes that Pacific Islanders and Asian women are quiet and timid.

“I love being from Guam and I love my Pacific Islander heritage. I see my heritage as my kindness, and I am here to break all negative racial stereotypes we Pacific Islanders and Asian women are subjected to. I bring a very fiery side to the ring, and I may be small, but don’t underestimate my strength when I have you in a hold. I represent my heritage, my family and my island of Guam”.

WOW-Women of Wrestling is on various TV networks such as the Pluto TV streaming service and AXS cable channel. There are also shows on other local TV channels. You can go to the website to check your relevant local showings.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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