Professional wrestling is a male-dominant industry. Although the popularity of women’s wrestling is at an all-time high, the majority of the fanbase, talent pool, journalists, staff and executives are men. As such, women have to work twice as hard for opportunities, especially women of color.
In truth, wrestling can be even less inclusive to black people in general because they represent a smaller minority within the business. With that said, African Americans have contributed a lot to pro wrestling inside and outside the ring. Many companies and their fans don’t celebrate their achievements and hard work nearly enough though.
In particular, the contributions of black women consistently go unnoticed. They have a strong and expansive history in this industry dating back to the 1950s, but African American pioneers aren’t usually recognized among women’s wrestling legends.
Thanks to the work of journalists like Chris Bournea, we are finally starting to learn more about the first black women’s wrestlers. In addition, many talented and ambitious women have continued their legacy. These trailblazers deserve to be acknowledged, as well.
In honor of Black History Month, we would like to take this time to highlight five of the most influential black women in wrestling.