Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gay Is the Way

James Long, who plays gimmicky gay wrestler Paredyse on Ohio Valley Wrestling, identifies himself as straight on his MySpace page. Little do his fans seem to care. Preceding last Saturday's match against professed homophobe Brandon Espinosa, who purportedly agreed to wrestle Paredyse only reluctantly, fans created a Facebook page called "Support Our Gay Wrestler Paredyse," in which they urged fellow fans and members of the Louisville gay community to show up in force and "ward off all the bullying that has transpired the last few weeks ... COME IN FULL RAINBOW WEAR [...] we need to teach these people that you can be gay and do anything without bullying." 

The vocal fan support for Paredyse, formerly the Kamikaze Kid, caught the attention even of Pro Wrestling Insider, whose reporter Trent Van Drisse commented, "Wow. Never have seen that before, pro Gay signs at a southern pro 'rasslin show." And Van Drisse caught the irony that Espinosa, who may have now invented the "homophobe gimmick," entered the ring "in pink trunks, that had a heart on it with shiny silver beads around it," not to mention a zipper over his crotch. Could this be a deliberate wink to the fact that it's often sexually confused (and confusing) self-professed straights who most vocally oppose GLBTQ rights?

Maybe I'm reading this all wrong, but the impact of Paredyse, who started as a more or less conventional gay-gimmick heel a couple of years ago, is worth paying some attention to. Writing for ROHbot Report, James Bullock might have raised a prophetic question in late 2010 when he noted that "Paredyse is a great, flamboyant character influenced by all the hated gay wrestlers from the past. Come to think of it, has there ever been a gay babyface?" 

After Espinosa attacked Paredyse prematurely "before he was finished with his elaborate entrance" (Van Drisse), he crucified the sissyboy on the tree of woe, twice, but Paredyse clawed his junk ("groinular region": sic, Van Drisse) and then finished Espinosa with the spinning neckbreaker. Post match, Espinosa acted the sore loser (sore, undoubtedly) and threw a tantrum until Paredyse reentered the ring to scare him away, more than likely setting up an eventual rematch between the two. (And if Espinosa at last "comes out," eventually together as tag partners?)

Perhaps the OVW fans have got the right idea. Show up at the next wrestling show in town dressed up as gay as Christmas and cheer for the gay heel. Bring your friends and build a wall of support that can turn the detested gay heel into a fan favorite. First, you may want to read this giddy, but slightly panicked report from last May on OVW's own site, and decide for yourself whether the gay gimmick can ever be a force for good in the wrestling world. And then read the blurb for Paredyse on the web site's roster: "Fabulously flamboyant and fiercely tap-dancing on the edge of reality, he fights for truth, justice, and low-priced, yet high-value lip-gloss for all ... especially his Paresytes!" Or you check out the wrestler's personal website here.

(Photos: Pamela Barnett)

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