Inter-gender wrestling can be somewhat of a hot topic among wrestling fans. Some have claimed that such matches glorify violence against women, others say that it's the inevitable direction that pro-wrestling is heading towards. Today we look at an example of intergender wrestling via the now defunct Lucha Underground as Pentagon Dark takes on the Black Lotus Triad.
During this write up I will be using the more well known names of the Triad members. While Lucha Underground gave them new character names, the group wasn't around that long and the members are more well known by other alias. The Black Lotus Triad consists of Kairi Sane (Doku), Mayu Iwatani (Yurei), and Io Shirai (Hitokiri). This match is gauntlet style as Pentagon will face each member of the Triad in succession.
Pentagon vs. Kairi Sane
Pentagon gets the majority of his strikedowns against Sane. Her selling is exceptional and Pentagon looks strong from the opening. Sane does manage to hit her elbow drop finisher but gets overly confident when she goes for a second. This second attempt is countered by Pentagon who turns it into his arm-breaker finisher which ends the match. Pentagon never goes for a pin during the course of all three match-ups, since his arm-breaker results in referee stoppage. It's interesting to note that the total offense that I scored resulted in a tie (42 for both Pentagon and Sane).
Pentagon vs. Mayu Iwatani
Iwatani starts off strong delivering a battery of strikes to Pentagon. Weapon attacks come into play as Iwatani uses the ring bell while on the outside. The ending comes about similarly to the first segment as Pentagon reverses Iwatani into a package piledriver to set up his arm-breaker. The score for this round was Pentagon 48-Iwatani 68 (those strikes of hers added up).
Pentagon vs. Io Shirai
Oh boy. Shirai wastes no time in hitting Pentagon with a trio of dives and is relentless in the opening moments. The storytelling is solid as Pentagon is on his third match while Shirai is fresh. More weapon attacks as both fighters use a chair. Shirai hits a massive dive from the top of the office to the outside of the ring where Pentagon is. This spot is stunning in the trust that Shirai is giving Pentagon. If he's out of position she's easily crippled. The finish comes when Shirai hits a Canadian Destroyer on Pentagon for the win (yes! The destroyer can finish matches, it's not just a transition move!). Score for this third round is Pentagon 44 - Shirai 71
Points: Strike = 1, Weapon Attack =2, Strikedown = 3, Grapple = 4, Dive = 5, Submission = 1/5seconds, Finisher = 10
The workers in this match have all gone on to varying degrees of success. Pentagon is probably the most well known as his star power has carried over to Impact Wrestling (where he was briefly champion), AAA (where he is tag champs with Fenix), and of course AEW. In AEW I could honestly see him as one of the guys that could conceivably take the TNT Championship from Miro, a statement that really only applies to one or two other wrestlers. Kairi Sane had a run in WWE where she found the most success as a tag team with Asuka. Eventually she returned to Japan where she still is affiliated with WWE as a trainer. Mayu Iwatani may be the least known in the United States, but she did work with ROH for a time (winning their women's title) and has had success in Japan while working in Stardom. Io Shirai has a career trajectory that feels like the best is yet to come. She is (as of this writing) working under the NXT brand where she holds the women's tag team championship with Zoey Stark.
This match illustrates that inter-gender wrestling can work but it is dependent on a couple of key elements. These elements are foundations of professional wrestling and they are trust between performers and believability of the booking. Pentagon showed here that he can work well with female competitors. Pentagon worked this match like a three act play, the first segment he was mostly in control, second segment cracks begin to show, third segment was the conclusion. Shirai's win at the end didn't feel cheap. It was the natural progression of the story being told that night (one person being worn down by three).
As for the booking, intergender works when competitors are paired together in ways that make sense. Riho vs. Powerhouse Hobbs probably wouldn't be fun to watch, but Kamille vs. Marko Stunt would be equally lopsided. The independent scene is ahead of the trend as Leyla Hirsch vs. John Silver and Orange Cassidy vs. Jordynne Grace from Beyond Wrestling are great bouts that are worth checking out. Take that to AEW and imagine the potential match ups. Statlander vs. Starks, Marko Stunt vs Diamante, Big Swole vs. Serpentico, Peter Avalon vs. Red Velvet, the potential combinations are numerous. One of the fun things about AEW right now is they can create new matchups thanks to their large roster. That may eventually reach a limit where inter-gender matchups may be required to create new feuds. This isn't something that should be shied away from in my opinion.