• Wrestling Is Bullshit: Six Reasons Why Joey Styles’ Joke Was Fucking Awful

    Much like the majority of other non-shitty human beings who happen to be wrestling fans, I read the joke Joey Styles made at Evolve 72 and thought, “What an asshole. Why is he paid to be on wrestling shows?”

    A ton of wrestling fans expressed their disatisfaction for Joey’s character’s sexual harassment that came in the form of a sexual assault joke. A lot of vocal fans expressed their desire to see him fired. Gabe Sapolsky, not exactly the booker you go to for a history of presently women remotely well throughout his career, fired Joey after the show.

    Naturally, this caused a backlash from wrestling fans stuck in the stone age (ie: the 90s). I even set out to make a list of the dumbest tweets defending Joey Styles because I’m irritated at the moment due to our current President-Elect, and I figured such an activity would probably make me feel better. I made the list. I sent it off to Jonas Wakefield for editing and posting to Wrestling On Earth.

    In the meantime though, Mike Johnson acted as a stooge to defend Joey, Joey Styles himself sent out a dumb apology letter, two more wrestling companies fired him (Chikara and Beyond Wrestling), and a new wave of awful tweets from the wrestling world came out. It seemed like my silly list article was no longer needed or at least was now completely useless in its outdated form.

    I decided at that point that I actually needed to find the joke Styles made. While I could not imagine anything about the context would make the joke better, I didn’t really expect for the context to make the joke worse. I was very fucking wrong. This joke was awful and offensive in just about every way.

    1. The joke is awful because the joke was about getting Joey Styles over as an edgy wrestling personality. He makes clear to the audience that he is not allowed to make political jokes. Joey Styles cares about getting himself over though. He cares about presenting his personality as anti-establishment. He wants to be the Stone Cold of fucking wrestling play-by-play commentators. The fact that he thinks his job is to out-shine Stokely Hathaway in this scenario tells you all you need to know about what Joey Styles brings to professional wrestling in 2016. Not a fucking thing.

    2. The joke is then awful because he randomly brings attention to Joanna Rose for no discernible reason to give her a construction-worker-wolf-whistle-compliment. Awww, what a nice guy. Learn to take a compliment.

    3. The joke is then awful because he then needlessly makes Joanna Rose the object for the reference to Donald Trump bragging about committing sexual assault.

    4. The joke is then awful because the premise of the joke is that Joanna Rose would be sexually assaulted by Donald Trump because she looks beautiful. This represents one of the most insidious myths about sexual assault. Sexual assault is about power and control. It’s awful people exerting power (through force) over people they perceive to be vulnerable in one way or another. Joking about it in the context “You’re so beautiful that people will sexually assault you” is a disservice to sexual assault survivors everywhere.

    5. The joke is then awful because Joey Styles repeatedly emphasizes that he did not say “pussy” and thus should not get in trouble. Donald Trump saying “pussy” was crude and reminded everyone that he is often distasteful in his choice of words. (For a normal presidential candidate, that would have been a major issue.) Donald Trump saying “grab them by pussy” in context was bragging about sexual assault. That was the fucking issue. Not recognizing that reveals one’s own ignorance to the issue of sexual assault.

    6. The joke is then awful because Joey Styles then reveals that this labored setup for the joke was all so he could call Stokely Hathaway a “pussy” without actually saying the word. Joey Styles constructed this bullshit joke just to use a misogynistic insult that further reinforces the bullshit hypersmasculine, patriarchal, and sexist environment that way too much of professional wrestling resides in. What the fuck.

    I normally pride myself on coldly reacting to wrestling sleaze. There is too much of it to get worked up over, I tell myself. I’ll make my tweets about it. I’ll even write up something about it occasionally. I think incidents require more attention that they get unquestionably. I usually try to stay calm though. This made me angry though.

    It made me angry that fans defended him or the joke. It made me angry that indie promoters like Danny Daniels and wrestlers like Josh Alexander blamed PC culture for Joey being fired. It made me angry that worthless “star”-fucking “journalists” like Mike Johnson defended him and constructed bullshit articles to make it seem like what Joey said was not that bad.

    Fuck Joey Styles. Fuck anyone that makes excuses for his “joke.” Fuck anyone that thinks what Joey Styles did was not an issue. Fuck anyone that does not recognize rape culture.

    I’m tired of bullshit. I’m tired of hate. I’m tired of “humor” that punches down. I’m tired of excuse-making rooted in fear that one day you too will say something that makes people hate you. I’m tired of “political correctness” being confused for “not being a shitty human being.” I’m tired of people not aiming to be better. I’m tired.

    P.S. Dave Chappelle, a mere few hours later, succeeded where Joey Styles failed and showed how Donald Trump’s bragging about sexual assault can be used in a joke to point out how the election of Donald Trump can empower patriarchal values and people who commit sexual assault. That is punching up. Watch it below.