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, men and women 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. and was briefly #1 contender for the company's world championship. 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. 4 women briefly held the company's now discontinued Hardcore Championship: Terri, Mighty Molly, Trish Stratus and one of Gofather's Hos. The discontinued Cruiserweight championship as also been held by 3 women: Jacqueline (while under the WWE logo) Daffney and Madusa (the latter while the title was under WCW's banner).
Harvey Whippleman holds the distinction of being the only male in wwe's history to hold the now discontinued Women's Championship having defeated The Kat in a snow bunny match while disguised in drag as Hervina. His reign as champion was brief.
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. Although still commonplace on the independent circuit, WWE generally no longer holds intergender wrestling matches due to adhering to a PG rating for advertisers on TV, although it will on occasion have some of its tougher female competitors compete in the annual Royal Rumble event. To date, three women have competed in this event: Chyna, Beth Phoenix and Kharma. In a reverse of this, at Wrestlemania 25 wrestler Anthony Carelli (better known by his ring name Santino Marella) won a diva's battle royal while dressed in drag as "Santina Marella" (Santino's twin sister).
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).