PAWDWC’s F1ght Club Pro Wrestling Sets Out To Create Its Own History

Wrestling (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
Wrestling (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images) /

In an industry desperate for inclusion, F1ght Club Pro Wrestling represents a beacon of hope for People of Color and the LGBTQ+ community.

2020 has been a year characterized by great tragedy and an even greater call to action. Currents events have made it more clear than ever that Black people need to be heard and recognized as vital members of American culture. It’s important for others to empathize with their fear and anguish, but it’s also just as essential to normalize equality and inclusion.

Professional wrestling’s foundation is built on white patriarchy. Like much of the entertainment industry, it has been historically run by white men. As such, the representation and success of African American people are divvied out by white male creators and businessmen. This conundrum has led to the use of stereotypes and inauthentic depictions of Black characters. Moreover, it creates an environment where said characters can only achieve so much.

Now, this is definitely not a problem that only affects Black people. However, their plight is unique in the sense that their history in the wrestling industry is often written by someone else. Some People of Color have a rich lineage that can be tied back to promotions from their homelands.

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For example, Japanese wrestlers are world-renowned because of the legacy created by New Japan Pro Wrestling, Noah, AJW, and many other companies. Mexican wrestlers also have a wealth of history to draw on. Now, that doesn’t mean they don’t have struggles here in America as well, but they’re often respected in wrestling.

More importantly, they have an identity. They have values and prestige to strive to live up to. Also, they’ve created the framework for how to market matches featuring two wrestlers who share the same race.

Consider how rare it is to see two Black wrestlers promoted as a part of the main event or even a major storyline. That’s often because companies don’t know how to effectively present conventional wrestling storylines centered around competing Black opponents.

Yes, major promotions need to do a better job of highlighting Black stars, but companies ran by Black people are the next step. Statements are a nice gesture, but the power dynamic at new and notable wrestling companies must change to enact any real and lasting changes. As such, independent promotions like F1ght Club Pro Wrestling are a vital part of the growth and sustainability of the industry.

The DC-based promotion was established last fall as a home for its top prize, the Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Championship. In February of 2019,  wrestling enthusiast J.A. and his team created the title to represent Black wrestlers and fans. The belt is beautifully steeped in African American culture. It immediately feels prestigious because of its nods to the African iconography.

Last June, J.A. reached out to the Internet wrestling community and asked them to vote for the African American wrestlers they would like to see compete for the new championship. With over a thousand votes, he closed the poll later that month and set out to create a tournament to crown the first Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Champion.

In the fall, those plans came fruition as 16 participants were set and F1ght Club Pro Wrestling was born. Founder, Jonny Xross, and general manager, J.A., hosted the promotion’s first show on Oct. 6, 2019. The semifinals of the “Crowning of a Champion” Tournament took place this year during Black History Month.

On Feb. 15, a host of fresh faces vied for their chance to win the vacant title. Ultimately, the D.C.-native and Army veteran, Trish Adora, moved on to the finals and overcame the odds to become the inaugural Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Champion.

This title is important. It represents Black triumph in a place where it can flourish without fear that it will eventually be taken away because there are only a few select opportunities. This title will act as an enduring legacy for African American wrestlers, and that’s why it’s so monumental that a woman was the first titleholder.

Fans and other promotions need to see that a Black woman can be the face of their company. They need to see that Black men can assume a top spot, as well. However, it was pertinent to take this opportunity to elevate a woman in such a male-dominated industry. There will be other champions but history will always show that Adora was the first. That’s true progress.

Billy Dixon, a Black gay man, holds the company’s secondary title, the F1ght Club Pro Wrestling Chocolate City Championship. Dixon won the title, which pays tribute to the Black population of Washington D.C., when he defeated Chris Andino in a Falls Count Somewhere match at PUSH: A Champion is Crowned.

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F1ght Club Pro Wrestling represents a change that was sorely needed. No matter what the future holds for the new promotion, it has already made history. Hopefully, this will inspire more companies like it.

Be sure to check out F1ght Club Pro’s first two shows. They are both available on IWTV.