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The Augmentation of Women's Wrestling
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By Paul Herzog

ECW's Dawn Marie, a.k.a. Tammy Lynn Bytch, is at the center of one of professional wrestling's strangest situations. Shortly after Chris Candido left the WWF to re-join ECW, his wife Sunny behaved her way out of regular WWF work, and eventually was released to hook up with her husband again in the Philadelphia-based promotion. Since the WWF owns all usage and marketing rights to the name "Sunny," she resorted to using her real name, Tammy Lynn Sytch. In the following weeks, Candido's rival, Lance Storm, brought in a new valet, who went under the name Tammy Lynn Bytch. Catchy, huh?

The Internet gossip started when the rumor leaked that ECW's promoter, Paul Heyman, had requested that the new valet undergo breast augmentation surgery. Her character is one that works in the wrestling business. Her goal is to gain as much attention as possible, from the camera, other wrestlers, and announcer Joey Styles. She regularly gets stripped down to bra and panties when getting in the face of the other valets in the company, namely Tammy Sytch and Francine, the "head cheerleader" for the Franchise, Shane Douglas. Ms. Bytch isn't exactly flat-chested, but an increase in cup size would make those catfights more appealing to a large percentage of the ECW audience, and perhaps make it easier to portray her character.

So what's the big deal, you may ask? Assuming that ECW is now a national wrestling promotion, based on PPV and TV distribution, Dawn Marie is the only woman left on the national scene that has not had a breast enlargement. Well, I could be wrong about that. I don't have documented proof that Miss Elizabeth had the procedure. It's a little harder to tell, because she doesn't reveal as much skin as the other women in wrestling today. But after a recent length of time when she wasn't on TV, it sure looked that way to me upon her return. Either that or she bought stock in the WonderBra.

The most obvious example of the trend comes from the WWF, where Sable, Sunny and Terri Runnels (Marlena) all received major merchandising and on-screen time after enhancing and displaying their chests. I thought Debra McMichael looked just fine to me during her WCW run, but she debuted in the WWF with a new nose, new wardrobe, and a Barbie Doll physique. The WWF's other women, Jacqueline and Luna Vachon, both had boob jobs before joining the promotion. In keeping with the trend, it's hard to believe that either of them would have had any sort of exposure without them, regardless of either woman's history in the ring in other territories.

Vince McMahon has taken it one step further by passing Sable off as an actual wrestler, their Women's World champion. For some reason, I have a hard time picturing her defending that title against any of the current Japanese women. It's hard to fathom Sable locking up with the Judy Martins, Leilani Kais and Wendi Richters of yesteryear. It's hard to imagine Sable matched up with the Penny Banners of the generation before that.

Physical attractiveness has always played a part in the popularity of women in wrestling. That's obvious. But it was rarely was at the expense of those who worked hard at their craft, learning how to perform a match and entertain an audience with their abilities, not just their looks.

Sable is a small step above the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling promotion that Sylvester Stallone's mom promoted in the 1980s.

There are women wrestling on independent shows, such as Maleia Hosaka and Starla Sexton, who have invested the blood and sweat. Both are well beyond what I consider a minimum level of attractiveness, both are capable of in-ring action. Neither of them have a hope of breaking through in the current environment.

Please, anyone who's listening. Give some women a chance to get over based on the amount of determination, work ethic, and skills they possess instead of the amount of silicone or saline pumped in by a plastic surgeon.

Paul Herzog has spent far too many hours as a columnist for various Internet sources, and the Wrestling Lariat newsletter, over the past six years. He is a systems engineer at Tellabs in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and is lucky to have a wife that likes the wrestling business, too. He can be reached at grapsfan@aol.com.

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