The wrestling landscape has continued to evolve through the years, becoming a more accepting community that includes personalities of all different shapes, sizes and types. But that doesn't mean there still isn't an ugly underbelly that reveals itself routinely.
IMPACT Knockout Gisele Shaw reported that she was verbally harassed Friday at an autograph session at WrestleCon by WWE Hall of Famer Rick Steiner, who apparently made transphobic comments toward the wrestler.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Shaw wrote that she was walking to her table when she overheard someone yelling, "you're a man," "you're a dude," "you're a piece of trash," "You are filth," and "get the f*** away from here." Shaw said she kept her head down and kept walking to her table, but then reconsidered.
"... I decided to take a walk in that area and I hear that same person saying the same derogatory comments. I looked at the person and it was Rick Steiner saying those statements. I was shocked and could not believe that this was even happening. To have someone saying those comments who a lot of people look up to and consider their hero was quite shocking and disheartening. I was in disbelief so I asked him, "excuse me?!" He kept repeating those hateful phrases and started yelling at me in a public setting. It was inexcusable and unacceptable!"
Shaw said she also was disappointed that none of the other wrestling legends who were nearby stepped in or spoke up, saying they "just sat there, turned their heads away, did not want to get involved" in the incident.
WrestleCon and IMPACT Wrestling both put out statements afterward showing support for Shaw in light of Steiner's transphobic comments.
Thank you to the millions worldwide who have read Gisele's statement and showed full support for her. Particular thanks go to the organizing staff of Wrestlecon as well as the IMPACT roster and crew who all handled an ugly situation with the utmost professionalism.— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 1, 2023
Shaw has been an active wrestler since 2015, competing for Revolution Pro Wrestling, Progress Wrestling and IMPACT, where she has performed off and on since 2018. The Quintessential Diva unsuccessfully challenged Mickie James for the IMPACT Knockouts Championship last month.