On top of COVID-19 and the current racial climate, there just had to be something else to make 2020 a tumultuous year and we’re just halfway through it.
I found out a few days ago #SpeakingOut was trending. I looked at what was about and I was so appalled. There have been multiple wrestlers (mostly female) who have been calling out various wrestlers, promoters, trainers, and other personnel for acts of abuse. These stories were hard to read as they detailed notes and in some cases evidence (screenshots of texts, DMs, FB messages, etc.) of abuse towards them. This is really disgusting and the people who really did those heinous acts need to be punished. Most of the suspects are involved in the BritWres scene whether in the indies or in major federations. As someone who got into that UK indie scene unexpectedly after reviewing the Eddie Dennis documentary back in 2018, this really made my heart sink.
There was one case among many that stood out to me partially due to a review I did earlier in June. It was from the Coventry-based wrestler Millie McKenzie. I’ve seen videos of her matches before in Riptide and Wrestling Resurgence. She specifically called out Travis Banks who is currently signed to WWE’s NXT UK program as well as being known for his tenure in Progress where he was a former world champion. McKenzie revealed that he psychologically abused her, stalked her, and they were in a secret relationship while she was Banks’s trainee when she was 17 and him being 13 years her senior. What makes this infuriating in hindsight was that Travis Banks makes some brief non-speaking cameos in my South Pacific Power Couple review since he was part of the larger South Pacific Power Trip faction where him and TK Cooper formally tagged together in the past. I know he only had a few seconds worth of total screen time compared to TK and Dahlia Black in the documentary, but that still made me uncomfortable reviewing something that involved such a scumbag in hindsight. Sure, I wrote the first draft of the review in May and posted it earlier this month before the allegations surfaced, but I can’t look at those minuscule cameo scenes the same way. Progress Wrestling wasn’t even helpful about similar situations despite suspending and firing people who have allegations against them at this time. I heard they just got new management, so I hope the new people in charge make positive changes not to let creeps work for them or around the talent. Worse yet, the match I originally linked to of TK Cooper and Ashmore was from Battle Pro Wrestling which was owned by Darrell Allen who was recently revealed a few days ago to have sexually abused another wrestler named Aleah James, so I replaced it with a match from Resurgence against Hari Singh instead (side note: Singh is a talented individual who also spoke out against these abusers).
For that review as well as my thoughts on Road Back to Malice, I have made edits mentioning this situation as well as revising parts of the review to call out those who did those horrible things even if they had tiny cameos in those two documentaries. Thankfully, there were wrestlers who have been featured in a few reviews or posts I’ve made who are in solidarity with the victims such as Eddie Dennis, Flash Morgan Webster, Chuck Mambo, TK Cooper and so on (not counting the several others who weren’t in those documentaries). Good on these moral ones for not going quietly. It’s really hard for me to separate the art from the artist and to say these are “harsher in hindsight” moments for me is an understatement. I do want to support the wrestlers and federations who are out there doing good things, but I really don’t feel like watching anything pro wrestling-related at the moment given the state of that industry even though I don’t focus on the bigger promotions as much.
I hope I did the right thing to raise awareness to this issue while supporting those who do right as well as condemning the actions of those who did wrong. Hopefully this was the right way of handling the situation especially with that SPPC review earlier this month prior to all of this toxicity being exposed now. I wonder if I worded this statement correctly, so I made lots of revisions over the past couple of days. The ones who really did abuse others are wrong. At the same time, I don’t want to punish those involved in those two documentaries who were innocent (the wrestlers interviewed or the directors) especially since those films mainly focused on them instead of those who did those bad things. I’m so conflicted and beyond frustrated, to be honest with you all. Would it be better to keep that review with the current edits addressing this situation or delete it entirely despite most of the people shown in that documentary aren’t those who are accused of these vices? I’m certainly someone who has a penchant for calling out deplorable things and people even in my other reviews, so I can’t stress enough that those who really did those things to the victims deserve to take responsibility for their actions.
I know I’m just one person and I don’t know how much positive impact I have, but I can only hope that this leads to a safer environment in the wrestling scene as well as outside of it. Abuse is wrong no matter if it’s emotional, physical, or sexual. I hope justice favors the victims and that these abusers face the consequences.
If you want to support Millie McKenzie, then you can buy merch from her from two different places:
If you want to support Aleah James, then you can buy merch from here:
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, then you can contact RAINN at (800) 656-HOPE (4673). They’re safe, confidential, and willing to help anyone who’s suffered.