Written by: Dylan Preston
Austin is an idyllic place. From the wildflowers in bloom, to the chug of traffic, to the playful shouts at Barton Springs and Zilker Park, the hum of the days here is music to many of our ears. But there are days when we crave something more sonic than the slow rhythms of Austin’s normal offerings. We want to go to a place where the roar of the crowd is equaled only by the energy of the heels in the ring, and where it’s okay to scream and shout with joy when someone uses a folding chair as a weapon. We want RASSLIN’! And the Glorious Ladies of Rasslin’, Y’all, or G.L.O.R.Y., which is putting on its first show just in time.
This wrestling group is run and comprised of all women, and they kick ass. I sat down with three of these ladies and longhorns, Shelby Bohannon, Julia Aikman, and Esme West, to ask them about the beginnings of Austin’s first all-women wrasslin’ league and their preparations for their upcoming show, “Plague of Blood 1.0”.
We wanted to join the circus, but we didn’t want to leave town.”
It all began last year, when Cheryl Couture and West set out to create a theatrical wrestling league, described by West as, “focusing more on storytelling and theatrics than wrestling,” where you can, “come and suspend your disbelief.”
As West says, “I’ve been there right from the start.” Bohannan and Aikman, roommates of West soon heard about it, and they too were on board. “We wanted to join the circus, but we didn’t want to leave town,” jokes Bohannan. “Yeah, and we wanted to finish our degrees,” says Aikman, laughing. West, a UT grad, pitched the idea to them and they thought, “we can wrestle too, and we can do it all on our own.” Soon, it was clear that more women were interested.
Doing things people do not normally think of as feminine like the construction of a ring or wrestling…that’s really empowering and important.”
They then focused on finding those willing to put in the work to create a wrestling league from scratch. When asked about the efforts put into the project, West said, “I’ve been doing a few hours of work a day for G.L.O.R.Y. for the past few months.” As a group, they started developing characters and creating stories, not to mention built a 12’ x 12’ wrestling ring in their backyard. The Passover/tax/Menstruation themed event certainly earns its name Plague of Blood.
“It’s really metal and dumb, but so is menstruation,” says West. But she stresses that, as a league, “we aren’t trying to shove feminism down anyone’s throats. That’s not what our stories are about, but by existing, it is feminist.”
“Doing things people do not normally think of as feminine like the construction of a ring or wrestling,” says Aikman about their influence on the community, “that’s really empowering and important.”
As for who will be stepping into the ring at the event, one can expect to see Rasslers like Potty Mouth – described by Aikman as a “city slicker from Ottawa” and a “dirty, poopy girl” – Her Menstrual Majesty Queen Cup, bicycle safety enthusiast Salvadora Bell, and many more.
“It’s going to be really bloody and fun,” says Bohannon. “It’s probably going to be the wackiest thing you’ve seen this year,” West says.
The Plague of Blood is set to happen on April 16th at 8:00pm at Midway Field House. Early Bird tickets have already sold out, but normal bird tickets are ten dollars, and it’s thirteen at the door so get ‘em early!