Women’s wrestling is without a doubt, the hottest it has ever been. Women headlined WrestleMania and broke down barriers in ways that would have been unheard of a decade ago.
Young girls can now dream of being a successful women wrestlers with role models that are true athletes and inspirations inside and outside of the ring.
There are all-women’s promotions worldwide that have been around for years. Stardom in Japan has been showcasing the best Joshi wrestling for almost ten years. The UK has Pro Wrestling Eve. Shimmer, RISE, Shine and many other companies entertain fans across the U.S.
The newest kid on the block is Empower Wrestling. What makes Empower stand out from all the other all-women’s promotions, is that it’s owned and run by a woman
Empower Wrestling is a New Jersey-based women’s promotion and the brainchild of Caitlin Statkus. Caitlin has been a fan of pro wrestling dating back to WrestleMania 3, so she knew wrestling would be part of her life in some fashion or another.
It may have taken her mid 30’s to finally make her dream become a reality. But Caitlin has been dreaming of starting her own company since she was a teenager.
The loss of a very close family member made her finally realize that life is short. She was going to start this promotion she had wanted for over twenty years. With a passion for wrestling and a successful career in television production, Statkus felt she had the formula to create something really special.
Empower is not only the name of the promotion but is also its mantra. “The company exists to empower women in this industry, Statkus said. I try to keep a very inclusive and diverse locker room. All ages, shapes, sizes, races, sexualities… everyone is welcome. “
Caitlin has goals for the company, and its performers, that isn’t about making money, which some promoters may focus on.
“I am a big fan of providing the content for free. I loved my last show where we just opened the doors and let people in. We streamed it free on every platform we could. I want people to see these women and how amazing they are. Maybe people are skeptical about spending money on a women’s show so they don’t come out. If people don’t see us, then what is the point of creating the platform. So far I have eaten all the costs of running these shows. ”
“We are actively looking for sponsors who want to help promote these amazing athletes, but until that happens, I will continue to fund it myself. In the short term, we are going into a tv studio and we are going to shoot 8-12 1 hour episodes and try to move to a weekly release schedule for content. I would love to sell my canvas to advertisers rather than airing traditional commercials.”
Being an owner of an all-women’s promotion—let alone a new one—comes with its up and downs. Empower is already facing jealousy and hate from fellow promoters, that just want to see Empower fail. Statkus has thick skin and won’t allow any of the negative aspects of the wrestling word get in her way.
There are so many stories we hear about women being mistreated or underpaid in this male-dominated business. Empower wants to change that, making sure to pay the talent more than other indie promotions. Additionally, they try to treat them special when they come to work the shows.
“I have been a big advocate of women realizing their worth and getting paid better rates and receiving better treatment. There have been several workers who told me their rates and my immediate response was, “You are worth more than that so this is what I’m going to pay you”.
“We have catering at all of our shows where we provide vegan and healthy food options. We also have tons of unhealthy snacks because who doesn’t want some fruit snacks every once in a while?! I do this because I want these shows to feel special. I want the workers to know that when they come to Empower, they are loved and respected. “
“We try, as best as we can, to keep out any of the drama that exists in other locker rooms. We try not to have any of the negativity that exists elsewhere. If we all work together to lift each other up, then each of us will be better off than we were yesterday.”
Empower just crowned there inaugural champion Kasey Catal at their last show, in the finals of a tournament where Catal defeated Nicole Savoy. Statkus plans to bring in women from the UK, Japan, and all over the United States. She wants to help showcase talent that may not get a chance anywhere else.
It takes passion and perseverance to succeed and Empower is without a doubt being led by a promoter with these traits. With only three months under its belt, Empower is destined to be a promotion that turns heads in the years to come.