Intergender wrestling, also known as mixed wrestling is a type of professional wrestling match between a man and a woman, and may also refer to tag team matches with both men and women on each team.
Intergender tag team matches are not to be confused with mixed tag team matches: there is a rule governing mixed tag team matches that restrict male and female competitors from attacking each other. If a tag is made, the other team has to automatically switch wrestlers, who should be of the same gender as the opposing team's legal wrestler. This type of tag team match continue to be popular in the present. On the other hand, male and female competitors in an intergender tag team match are free to wrestle and pin each other.
For most of its history, women and men would rarely compete against each other in professional wrestling, as it was deemed to be unfair and unchivalrous. Intergender wrestling was first popularized in the late-1970s/early-1980s by controversial song-and-dance man Andy Kaufman. Kaufman participated in several filmed staged matches of this nature and proclaimed himself the "Intergender Champion", issuing an open challenge to any female challenger who can defeat him. This is the beginning of a famous crossover feud between him and wrestling legend Jerry "The King" Lawler.
From the mid-1990s into the early-2000s intergender matches experienced a surge of popular interest, and were often introduced to the roster of events in major North American promotions such as Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. Perhaps the most successful female wrestler who competed in intergender matches was Chyna. Regularly booked to wrestle her male counterparts during the WWF Attitude Era, she was a three-time Intercontinental Champion, a championship traditionally only contested by men. Other women wrestlers who had notable wrestling feuds with their male counterparts, and even portrayed as their equals in the ring during that time period include Luna Vachon, Jazz, Jacqueline, Madusa, Sable and Lita.
This match-type continues to meet controversy across North America as matches often straddle the line between sporting events and pure erotic entertainment, and also allegations over the depiction of gratuitous physical violence against hapless women.
In Mexican lucha libre promotions, intergender matches are more common in tag team matches. however, both male and female wrestlers are restricted to attack those of their own gender. Some tag teams of this kind are siblings (such as Cinthia Moreno and Oriental), trained simultaneously with the same instructor, or even are on a real-life relationship such as boyfriend/girlfriend (Cibernético and Estrellita) or, as an exceptional case, husband and wife (Billy Boy and Faby Apache).
Modern mixed wrestling
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Now active mainstream wrestling organizations like World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling rarely feature women wrestling men directly, or even portraying them as equals. Instead, mixed tag team matches which first began to take place in the 1980s, are still common and very popular in the industry. However, a few smaller independent promotions such as All Pro Wrestling, IWA Mid-South and Combat Zone Wrestling still feature intergender wrestling matches, featuring performers such as Cheerleader Melissa, Mickie Knuckles and LuFisto who regularly compete with men in athletic regular matchups, and even in violent Hardcore matches and Deathmatches.
Certain adult entertainment companies produce staged mixed wrestling videos in apartments, incorporating erotic elements, and later sell them online or at adult stores.
Mixed wrestling is often an arrangement between a man and a woman in private. This is also referred to as session wrestling. Ladies who provide session wrestling often have a martial arts or athletic background. Female bodybuilders frequently offer wrestling sessions. Their power enables them to overpower some men. The sessions vary from light fantasy wrestling to full competitive wrestling. The difference is the amount of resistance the man exerts during the wrestling session. Women who provide full competitive usually have extensive training in a martial art such as judo or Brazilian jiu jitsu. The common outcome in such a match is the woman prevailing over the man. This is accomplished through joint locks, leg scissors or pins.
- Chyna - 2-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, former no.1 contender for the WWF Title, first female to participate in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring.
- Daffney - 1-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
- Madusa - 1-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion
- Jacqueline - 1-time WWE Cruiserweight Champion
- Luna Vachon
- Beth Phoenix - 1-time FNW Cruiserweight Champion, second female to participate in Royal Rumble match.
- LuFisto - 1-time CZW Iron Man Champion, 1-time Stranglehold King of Death Matches Champion (2006)
- Mickie Knuckles - 1-time IWA Mid-South Tag Team Champion with Ian Rotten
- Shelly Martinez - 1-time EWF Tag Team Champion with Threat
- Trish Stratus - 1-time WWE Hardcore Champion
- Traci Brooks - 1-time AWF Heavyweight Champion
- Cheerleader Melissa
- Rena Mero
- Katie Lea
- Daizee Haze
- Sara Del Rey
- Mickie James - 1-time ICW Super Juniors Champion, only female to participate in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match.
- Mercedes Martinez
- Molly Holly - 1-time WWE Hardcore Champion
- April Hunter
- Jillian Hall
- Jennifer Thomas
- Falcon - 1-time current SSW Diamonds Champion