Jordan Blade talks Prime Time Pro, BLM and COVID-19
Jordan Blade is a new face from the D.C. independent scene. She was out of action for most of 2019 with an ankle injury but she returned in November as one-half of The Kings of the District with Eel O’Neal.
Philip Lindsey of Bell to Belles got a chance to sit down with Blade and discuss Prime Time Pro Wrestling, representation, Black Lives Matter, and more.
The Kings of the District have had success with Blade’s hometown promotion, Prime Time Pro, as the first-ever PTPW Tag Team Champions. “The Ankle Breaker” is from Richmond, VA. So, she talked about what it’s been like to be in the middle of an upswing in independent promotions in the DMV area.
“It’s been awesome,” she said. “You know when I started wrestling in, well I guess when I made my debut which was June 9th of 2017, I was kind of wrestling all over but there wasn’t like many places in Virginia. There still are one, two, or three places but I hadn’t really made a name for myself. So, you know, I wasn’t really wrestling at those places except for one place in Richmond, VA; Classic Pro Wrestling. But, you know, within the last year it seems like the DMV area, especially in the DC and Maryland, have just like had a resurgence after Prime Time came to fruition last year, which was great.”
“I was at the very first Prime Time show,” she continued. “I don’t know if you can see but I was still in a boot at the time recovering from my ankle injury and I was sitting right in front of the commentary table and my job was to keep people from standing in front of the commentary table. So, Jason, who is one of the commentators for Prime Time and also works for Flying V in Maryland, so check them out too, he was like hey this is your job. So, I was just sitting there and not many people knew it was me or whatever because obviously I wear glasses in real life and things like that. But yeah that was my first time at Prime Time. It was very funny and interesting and kind of full circle to come around and be like hey I was in the crowd at the first Prime Time show and now I’m one of half of the tag team champions with my brother Eel.”
It’s such an exciting time for fans and wrestlers alike, who didn’t see. themselves represented anywhere else. New promotions like Prime Time Pro and F1ght Club Pro work to highlight people of color and LGBTQ+ performers. Jordan briefly talked about being a part of these inclusive promotions from day one.
“I identify as a queer Black woman. I am bisexual. So, Prime Time, when they came along, especially with Butch vs. Gore this past March, they hit the nail on really representing the LGBTQ community and that was great. They also give a place for, you know, Black wrestlers and Black voices and other people of color to really stand out. But when F1ght Club contacted me, I’ll be honest, I had no idea that they existed and I looked at some of their stuff and I was like yo, this is pretty cool. When I went there to wrestle, which I think was a little bit either before or after Butch vs. Gore. When they started their show with spoken word, I like ok here we go. When they had an intermission and they were playing “Knuck if you Buck,” I was super hype. I was like here is another promotion where I’m represented. Here’s another promotion where I’m around like-minded people and that, especially my first one to two years in the business, was really hard to find because I was wrestling in a lot of places that made me feel uncomfortable; that made me feel unwelcomed. No one that I can remember, like any fan or anyone, ever really said anything to me but I wasn’t comfortable as a Black person. I wasn’t comfortable as a woman and I really wasn’t comfortable as a queer person in those towns wrestling in those shows. To be a part of Prime Time and to be a part F1ght Club, they gave me the opportunity to wrestle, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was 12 years old. They gave me that but they also gave me a sense of security. I can breathe. I can let my guard down. I don’t have to be on edge all the time, you know. So, that to me is just as valuable as the opportunity they’ve given me to wrestle in front of the great fans of the DMV area.”
At PTPW Butch Vs. Gore, Blade entered the event with the bisexual pride flag for the Kings of the District’s first title defense. Representing Black women and the LGBTQ+ community is important to her.
“Sometimes I feel like the B in LGBTQ gets overlooked and overshadowed because, you know, I’ll get comments all the time from people who will be like ‘Oh, you can’t pick one,’ you know, male or female, or ‘you must be going out on a lot of dates’ or things like that. I’m like I want to let you know I was dry for like 3 years so don’t even [laughs]. Don’t even think that was a thing. At least for me, everyone’s experiences are different but I’m married to a woman. My sexuality because I’m married to a woman does not change. My wife is also bisexual and she obviously feels the same way as I do. Her sexuality, because she’s married to a woman, hasn’t changed. We’re both still attracted to men and women. We are both monogamous.”
“I want people who look like me to look at me and say hey she’s comfortable in her skin and she’s doing the damn thing in a sport that is male-dominated, that is straight-dominated, that is white-dominated.”
There are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes around bisexuals. There is a prevalent belief that it’s just a phase for most people, especially women. In Jordan’s case, she knew she was attracted to men and women early.
“When I was in college, I heard, not specifically to me because I came out when I was in high school, you’re gay until graduation as far as women specifically who were in college and just experimenting with being with women or something like, which is their prerogative. There’s nothing wrong with that, at all. You do you. You experiment. I’m not judging you at all, but because of that, bisexual people, who are bisexual for their whole life or whatever the case may be, they get this stigma. People create this stereotype where it’s just a phase and things like that and I knew for me it was not. I knew I was bisexual when I was in kindergarten. I didn’t know what it meant. I didn’t know what it was called. I knew I was attracted to women and men, or boys and girls at the time I guess. Some people like they don’t realize that until later in life so I feel like I was actually really fortunate with that, as well.”
June is Pride month for LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s a time to spread awareness as it historically began with marches and demonstrations. This year, Black Lives Matter has become a rallying cry all over the world as people take to the streets to protest against the death of Black men and women. As someone who lives near Washington D.C., Jordan described her experiences over the last few weeks.
“I’ve cycled through so many emotions,” she explained. “and it’s tough because my wife is in the Army National Guard. It’s tough when people say things on social media and they will group the military in with the police and I completely understand why. So, I’ve been struggling with my emotions coming to terms with her being in the Army, you know. When we met, I knew she was in the Army. When I got married, I knew she was in the Army, So, I’ve been struggling with that and my feelings supporting Black Lives Matter and being a black person myself.”
“I will say I do like the conversation that it has sparked. I’ve seen a lot of positive conversations happening online. I’ve seen a lot of my non-POC friends be very incredible allies. That’s something, you know, you can’t put a price tag on and it really touched me. I really appreciated all of them and everything they do to educate themselves, to try to educate other people on these issues that are happening now.”
The response to these events has been unprecedented for many reasons. For example, the wrestling industry has been undeniably affected as several companies and professional wrestlers have released statements in support of Black Lives Matter. Jordan Blade gave her opinion on the response, so far.
“As far as the wrestling companies coming out with these statements, I don’t know all these of wrestling companies personally but to me, I can see which ones genuinely mean it, like which ones are like saying something every day about Black lives and even about trans lives and things like that. They’re going all in and I love that. Same thing for wrestlers that are coming out and they’re hammering it home every freaking day. That means a lot to me and so I’m hoping, and I may be overly optimistic, but I’m hoping that through these protests that this going to elicit change within the system and that this is going to elicit change within the wrestling community too and I hoping that a lot of overlooked Black talent, and a lot of overlooked queer talent too, get the opportunities that they deserve because I see, and I’m friends with,
a ton of amazing black talent. I’m tag team partners with one of them. I’m sorry. I just get really emotion. So, I just really hope that this sparks actual long-lasting change within the wrestling community. I think, sure, we will have change, as far as wrestling goes, for the first six months or so but what’s really going to show is how is this changing over time. How is this changing over a year, over two years, five years? Are we regressing back to where we were before these protests or have we evolved.”
Last week, IWTV aired a special as part of their mixtape series called The Best of Black Independent Wrestling. Video editor, J-Rose, curated a collection of matches that highlighted Black indie wrestlers like Jordan Blade and acknowledged the many victims who have lost their lives due to hate crimes or police brutality.
“That was surreal. So, I think I was getting ready to go to bed soon after it had gone off or maybe towards the tail end and I remember talking to my wife. I told her I opened my Twitter and I had like 20, 25 notification of people being like ‘Aye, that’s Jordan Blade’ or ‘Aye, Kings of the District,’ which is always going to be like a surreal feeling for me. But again, when I was watching it I was super emotional, especially with the graphic at the end. That got me. This was great, again, to showcase Black talent in wrestling that sometimes gets overlooked. So, it was just surreal for me to be in. I can’t say enough good things about it.”
Wrestler are dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and the current social-political landscape at home as well. Jordan is a mother with a seven-year-old son so like many Americans she has had to have some tough but important conversations.
“So, my wife and I sat him down, he’s seven, and tried to talk to him in the most kid-friendly way that he would understand, trying not to use big words and things like that and trying to just over-explain to him what’s going on. ‘Hey so, there are protests in Richmond tonight,’ and you need to explain what protests were. Like ‘hey, there are some people that think because of your skin color that you don’t matter as much as other people,’ and he’s a very chill kid. You know, he didn’t cry or anything. He didn’t ask too many questions. He listened. You can tell he was listening. At the end, we were just like we just want to be honest and upfront with you and tell you what’s going on. He was like ok. So, he didn’t really say much but I do think it’s important. So, he is half-white, half-Mexican and he has two moms. I hope this never happens, but he may be subjected to some bullying or some things like that. I want him to be prepared and I want him to at least have an overall understanding of what’s going on and why this is especially important to me. Why this is important to his mom because she’s married to a black woman.”
With everything else going on at the moment, it’s easy to forget that COVID-19 was the biggest story of the year coming into June. Companies are slowly re-opening but most indie promotions are still on a hiatus. Jordan spoke about what life has been like in quarantine.
“So, I’ve tried to take it as a positive,” she said. “Like, I’ve had two surgeries in my lifetime, one because of wrestling. I knew I was like, ok I’m going to be doing my home workouts. So, here’s a chance for me to do more cardio; more cardio than I’ve ever done. I’m a powerlifter at heart, hate doing cardio. Well, don’t really have a choice right now. And to kind of heal up some nagging injuries and things like that but I’ve really enjoyed the time off because my wife and I are always kind of ripping and running. All three of us do jiu-jitsu and my wife and I lift, as well. So, you know, we’ll get off work, pick Jude up. We’re rushing to the gym. You know, we throw him jiu-jitsu. We’re working out. Then he’s done and we go into jiu-jitsu or something like that. By the time the weekend comes around, I have a show, my wife has a drill somewhere or something, or maybe he has to go to a babysitter or something because we’re both going to be gone, or maybe I’m taking them both to a show. So, we’re driving five hours somewhere. I really enjoy the downtime honestly and not having to rush to multiple places. And I know he’s enjoyed having both of us home more often too. So, I do miss wrestling. Don’t get me wrong on that, but this has put in perspective a lot of things for me as far as having quality family time. He’s at an age now that he’s going to remember this time and what we did or what we didn’t do.”
“As for wrestling coming back, I’m one of those people that I feel like we should be as cautious as possible and I know that’s not the answer a lot of people want to hear and I understand that. That’s not the answer I want to hear. You know, I want to get back to jiu-jitsu too but you know. My gym opened up at like 30 percent capacity, but I still won’t be doing jiu-jitsu anytime soon. That’s just me. I’m not judging anyone else for doing it. That’s just me and what I think. I talked to my friends about this a lot. So, I will say I think we should wait until the fall until it gets a little bit colder to see ok, is COVID going down. Is it dormant? Has it been dormant during the summer and is it going to spring back up in the fall and the winter, and is it going to be even more ravenous as before? Is it going to be stronger? How are we going to get through one year of COVID being in America? So, I think that’s the real test, and Lord Jesus, we’re only halfway through 2020. I’m like what else can we possibly get to. We’re done with the first half, we still have a whole nother half to play.”
On the other hand, Jordan Blade is excited for some new matches with Prime Time Pro and F1ght Club Pro once indie wrestling returns.
“I’m hyped to get back to Prime Time and F1ght Club, to be honest with you. I am excited for potential new matchups. I know Eel and I have been talking about some tag teams that we want to mix it up with and obviously, some singles that I’m hoping will happen.”
“Those are two promotions that I have felt the most at home in, that run on like a consistent basis. The crowds are amazing. They always sell out and it’s just a fun time with the other wrestlers backstage, with the promoters, with the fans. It’s just always a great time and it doesn’t that Prime Time typically runs in a brewery. I like beer so [laughs].”
As far as dream matches, Blade would like to face the inaugural Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling Champion, Trish Adora.
“Trish Adora already knows that I want to wrestle her and Eel and I want to wrestle Gym Nasty Boys. I think that would be a sick matchup. I’ve had a match against Kylie Rae as a tag team match at Fury Pro Wrestling in Maryland but I have not had a singles match against her. So, I really think that would be a test of my skills if I were able to get a match with her. Those are my three that I like here you go universe. Take these and make them what you will.”
Lastly, as she put it, “Black lives Matter. Trans Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. LGBTQ Lives Matter. You Matter.”