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Mauling It Over - April 1, 2023: No Tolerance in Tinsel Town

What should be a joyous occasion for Wrestling, the WWE Hall of Fame is again rocked with scandal before the ceremony started.

By Mark Mahler - 04.01.2023

I had this great column in mind this morning about how Konnan introducing Rey Misterio was one of the most exciting speeches the Hall of Fame has seen. Stacy Keibler is as humble as she is gorgeous. Tim White's brother is the spitting image of Timmy. The Kaufmans represented their brother, father, and grandfather proudly. The Great Muta finally stepping foot into a WWE ring.

Instead, it seems the Hall of Fame always gets marred with some kind of controversy. We've had Bret Hart getting attacked while accepting his second ring. We have stories leaking out about Ric Flair and his mile-high antics. We even have one former Hall of Famer stripped after being indicted for killing his girlfriend. Another just getting indicted.

But last night's show will have another asterisk mark placed next to it because we saw Rick and Scott Steiner in the crowd. What a lot of us didn't know is Rick went on a transgender tirade against Gisele Shaw at Wrestlecon. Gisele Shaw of Impact Wrestling took to social media to discuss what happened.

Here is Shaw's statement on social media.

I have been bullied all my life and have never stood up for myself because I’m scared that I would get beat up physically, mentally, or emotionally. The bullies in my life have always silenced me, but that ends today!

I was at an autograph signing event today at Wrestlecon and while I was walking to my table, I hear someone yelling “you’re a man” “you’re a dude,” “you’re a piece of trash,” “You are filth,” “get the fuck away from here.” I kept my head down and kept walking as I did not want to acknowledge that hate. When I arrived at my table, I spoke to another IMPACT Wrestling talent who was at the signing with me and mentioned the incident. It didn’t sit well with me and I wanted to know who was saying that because it’s unacceptable, so I decided to take a walk in that area and I hear that same person saying the same derogatory comments. I looked at the person and it was Rick Steiner saying those statements. I was shocked and could not believe that this was even happening. To have someone saying those comments who a lot of people look up to and consider their hero was quite shocking and disheartening. I was in disbelief so I asked him, “excuse me?!” He kept repeating those hateful phrases and started yelling at me in a public setting. It was inexcusable and unacceptable!

Another disappointing part about this whole incident was that there were other wrestling legends who just sat there, turned their heads away, did not want to get involved, or stand up for what’s right because it involved “one of the boys.” Judging from that experience, it was more important for them to watch something wrong go down as supposed to standing up for someone who’s being bullied and doing what’s right.

I am not writing this because I want sympathy. I am writing this because I am done being bullied to silence. Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility and I am standing up for myself and for other people who go through the exact same situation on a daily basis. I want everyone to know what kind of a deplorable person Rick Steiner is and that this cannot be tolerated. This keeps happening because people let it slide and do not take any action. If you do business with these type of people then I will not to do business with you.

I want to thank all my IMPACT peers who were present during the incident and tried to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately, a member of that same peer group was also verbally accosted by Rick Steiner being called a “faggot” earlier in the day. I am very fortunate to be working alongside such incredible people in a company that has no room for hate, bullying, or judgment. We’re not just co-workers, but a family.

The WWE has a very big problem with its Hall of Fame. Not just the fact that there is no physical structure. I believe fans have known this for years. Whether it's not getting women that stepped into the ring in, ignoring tag teams like Demolition and the Midnight Express, or putting in celebrities over people that contributed to wrestling over mainstream attention, doesn't matter. There is no code of conduct for these Hall of Famers.

Womanizing is unacceptable. I hate to break it to the WWE brass, but it isn't. Just look at Vince McMahon and his paying the tune of $17 million dollars for his extramarital affairs. This shows the problem starts at the top. But we've seen how it filters down. Dark Side of the Ring exposed Ric Flair and the flight from hell where again money was paid out to avoid lawsuits over behavior or a Hall of Famer. The same show also pointed at the WWE for covering up a murderer.

The WWE has money to keep stories from leaking, but they don't have the funds for an actual Hall of Fame?

Go figure.

Rick Steiner's attack on Gisele Shaw just shows even more ignorance that goes unnoticed. Now that the time of this writing, I'm not sure and cannot confirm if anyone in the WWE has acknowledged what happened or will acknowledge what transpired, but the longer this goes without any comment the worse this is.

Steiner is at the festivities this Wrestlemania weekend, one is in part is that the WWE invites previous Hall of Famers to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony. The other is to see his son, Bron Breakker as he competes in the main event of NXT Stand and Deliver. I really hope for Bron this doesn't affect him and that his dad's actions don't overshadow his weekend.

Gisele Shaw was just at Wrestlecon with other wrestling personalities to meet the fans, take some pictures, chat, and earn a living outside of the ring. Being barraged with hateful words has no place in this world, let alone wrestling. All we hear and see is how this one big community is like a family. Well, screaming derogatory remarks at someone for their sexuality is ridiculous. The fact that the "Boys Club" mentality continues to carry on is sickening.

Women of all shapes, sizes, races, and religions have helped ascend wrestling over the past several decades. We lived in an ERA with Chyna, Trish, Lita, Gail Kim, Stacy Keibler, Awesome Kong, Bull Nakano, Madusa, Molly Holly, Mickie James, Victoria, and Jazz. These women paved the way for Women's Evolution.

To the current crop of outstanding female performers: Bianca Belair, Charlotte, Rhea Ripley, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Britt Baker, Toni Storm, Jamie Hayter, Sayara, Athena, Jade Cargill, Deonna Purrazzo, Nyla Rose, Iyo Sky, Asuka, Kairi Sane, Roxanne Perez, Liv Morgan, Scarlett, Rosemary, Raquel Rodriguez, Dakota Kai, Nattie Neidhart, Sonya Deville, Tegan Nox, the list goes on and on. The diversity in women's wrestling is off the charts!

The saddest part of this is Wrestlecon. The list of legends that attend that event to meet and greet fans and the dead silence from people that witnessed this? Where the hell is there dignity? People just sat there and allowed Rick Steiner to go off like that and said and did nothing? That speaks volumes that the 'Boys Club' is alive and well in wrestling even with women trying to make all these strides.

Instead of talking about the Hall of Fame. Gisele brought to the forefront why we should talk about diversity in wrestling and what a Hall of Famer should stand for. We should be talking about acceptance in the community and not hate. Stacy Keibler last night said wrestling taught her grit and grace. Unfortunately, that missed Rick Steiner.

The WWE has a character problem with some of their Hall of Famers. Maybe it's time for Vince, Triple H, Nick Khan, and the others to stop worrying about who they are keeping out of their Hall of Fame. Instead of just allowing anyone in. Especially those who are so intolerant of others. Maul that over!


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