Last Saturday, an independent show called WrestleQueerdom, promoted and booked by the well-known TransGraps Twitter account, came out of Milford, New Hampshire. The show, which became the first wrestling card to feature fully trans talent, included such wrestlers as AEW star Sonny Kiss, Impact star Gisele Shaw, former AEW Women’s Eliminator tournament participant VENY and popular independent Kidd. Bandit.
But while the goal of the event was to showcase trans talent and introduce it to more wrestling fans, it has instead received notoriety for backstage issues, particularly related to transportation and lack of pay. The issues began to come to light on Sunday afternoon, a day after the show, when independent wrestler Max The Impaler responded to a now-deleted tweet from WrestleQueerdom with some advice.
“Maybe I’ll save the flex until after ALL the talent is paid,” Max tweeted.
Shortly after that, the floodgates opened, with responses from other wrestlers and promotions associated with the event, including New Jersey-based Pro Wrestling VIBE, run by LGBTQ wrestler and promoter Billy Dixon.
“Effective immediately, we[‘re] ending our working relationship with TransGraps/WrestleQueerdom after receiving numerous complaints and concerns from talent,” PWVibe tweeted. “Despite our shared vision of making this scene a better place, professionalism and doing good business must always come first.”
Another talent that spoke out was Cameron Saturn, who worked at WrestleQueerdom both as a wrestler and as a commentator. Saturn discussed the transportation glitch coming off the show that left several wrestlers stranded, forcing Saturn and other talent to step up.
“Don’t Die Miles and I drove over 30 hours, doing our best to pick up talent that needed transportation, and took talent to airports and bus stations several hours out of our way with the promise that it would be covered,” Saturn he tweeted. “I never got a dime and now I’m stranded with no gas money.”
“I don’t like to talk business,” Saturn continued, “but for us to do whatever we can to help and be told we can’t get paid because of money to clear, banks have holds and some hotel issues It’s an impressive number of excuses. We have even ordered much less just to get home and we can’t get it.”
In a subsequent tweet, Saturn revealed that he and Miles had received enough help to have everything covered so they could return home, prompting Saturn to thank fans.
Later in the afternoon, Max The Impaler spoke a bit more about why they didn’t appear on the show, while also showing his support for the talent that did appear.
“I didn’t say anything else earlier because I didn’t want to spoil anything for my friends on the show,” Max tweeted. “But I pulled out of WrestleQueerdom ultimately because I didn’t feel comfortable with the way they behaved. In addition to asking to wait to be paid. Initially, I was bothered by a bad tooth that I neglected due to injury months ago. Virtual Basement was pulling me out early. I tried to make it all work, but I wasn’t comfortable with the combination of those two things.
“I spoke to many people privately about my concerns. I just didn’t want to take the momentum out of the show. I know there were great matches, and even some dream matches for people. I’m proud of my friends for being awesome. NOT SURPRISING.”
A day after the controversy, the Kidd Bandit took to Twitter to address the whole thing, revealing some positive news about talent pay.
“After an exhausting test, we achieved the goal!” Bandit tweeted. “Most of the talent that needed to be taken care of has been handled (that sounds so sinister out of context). But we can breathe a sigh of relief that almost everyone who needed the $ was paid accordingly.”
Later in the thread about the show, Bandit noted that there were no excuses for what the promoter did, while also emphasizing that the promoter himself was still part of the LGBTQ community. They also revealed how much they owed themselves for the event.
“The show had to be good,” Bandit said. “It had to happen and sadly there were things that Sally did before and after the show that will ultimately cloud the legacy of the event. There are no excuses. Personally, I don’t think it was born out of malice, but you can’t sugarcoat the result.
“I will have to say that Sally is still part of the community. The mission is to create a platform that makes us stand out. I really think that was her goal and even though she screwed up a lot, I don’t think we should turn our backs on her completely (even though she owes me $4000).”
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