Dear WILD Fans,
I come to you tonight not as Travis Leland, the storyline co-General Manager of the World Independent Ladies’ Division, but as Travis Leland, the very real owner/founder/promoter of WILD Wrestling. I think we are all aware of what I mean when I say that. I am writing this because the past few days have seen the upcoming WILD World Championship Match mired in a very real, non-storyline, controversy. We have been inundated with phone calls, e-mails and tweets regarding the matter. Although our initial plan was to make no statement whatsoever about these events, it has now become apparent that WILD Wrestling as a company and I as WILD’s owner and founder must address the issue in order to explain our upcoming actions.
In October of this year, I was contacted by one Gary Yap, a longtime friend and former wrestling promoter, who had decided to run his first card in a number of years. He specifically asked me if he could host the upcoming Winter vs. Terra Calaway match. I agreed, glad that we had the backing of someone who had our best interests in mind. Our initial conversations dealt with certain specifics, which I was not too fond of. At WILD, we try to “fit in” with our host promotions, to adapt our style to match the style of the host. When Mr. Yap told me his list of things that he wanted from the WILD match, I was hesitant, but not entirely inflexible.
With the match set, both WILD Warriors arranged their schedules to make it possible, and I began to promote the match in my usual way. Everything was fine until it came to my attention that Mr. Yap had publicly made some rather inflammatory statements. Mr. Yap had, in the past, told me that he was not particularly a fan of women’s wrestling, and that he felt that the scene was particularly lacking in Southern California, a statement that very much influenced the creation of WILD Wrestling. When I heard that Mr. Yap was planning to explain his thoughts on what was “wrong with the state of women’s wrestling in SoCal,” I tuned into his podcast radio show to hear him describe these women (most of whom are on the WILD roster) as little more than “clothed porn stars” to be seen as merely “stroking material.” To be fair, Mr. Yap claims he was not speaking of women’s wrestling in general, but the women of Southern California, specifically.
My past experiences with Gary Yap have led me to understand that, while he may have valid viewpoints on certain subjects, he tends to lose those points in hyperbole and while he was not discussing WILD Wrestling, the targets of his near-slanderous remarks included members of the WILD Wrestling roster, including a former World Champion and even one of the WILD Warriors involved in the match that he himself requested to have at his show on December 10th.
In America and other free countries, people are given the right to speak their minds and openly discuss things with which they have a problem. But Mr. Yap’s lack of forethought and tact put WILD Wrestling, and more directly myself, into a difficult position. Mr. Yap has claimed that his intent is to help WILD by giving the Warriors the motivation to put on an even greater wrestling match than what they would have. I disagree. The WILD Warriors routinely put everything they have into each match in which they compete. And if this was his idea of a wrestling storyline, I wonder what could be gained from portraying a match on his upcoming card in an extremely negative light. And why would he not tell me that he planned to do this ahead of time, to get my approval and input? I do not believe that his comments were meant to be the catalyst of a professional wrestling storyline. In fact, I believe he intended to use WILD Wrestling and the WILD Warriors from the very beginning to prove his mysoginistic point of view.
At one point, I strongly considered rescheduling the match for another date at another promotion. Then, Mr. Yap put me in (what I assume he meant to be) a no-win scenario. He began to publicly tweet that he felt we were going to cancel the match, and that he dared us to go through with it. So now, if we don’t do the match, Yap will say we were too afraid to do it. If we do the match, he will overanalyze it, picking apart any minor flaws and “exposing” the Southern California females as not being “real wrestlers,” and loudly proclaim that he was right. In other words, if we do the match, Yap wins, and if we don’t do the match, Yap wins.
After discussing this issue with both Winter and Terra Calaway, as well as other people high in the WILD Wrestling organization, we have come to the consensus that there is only one way to get out of this situation with our heads held high and our pride intact...
On December 10th, 2011, Winter WILL defend her WILD World Championship against WILD North American Champion Terra Calaway at EPIC Pro Wrestling. We made a promise to our fans and supporters that this match would happen, and so it shall. Although we are officially making this match under protest, we promise to do everything possible to steal the show that night, and prove that Gary Yap is absolutely and unequivocally wrong.
At WILD Wrestling, we seek to elevate the status of professional women’s wrestling in the public eye as well as for the fans of mainstream wrestling. We do this by using talented wrestlers, interesting storylines, unprecedented fan interaction and a unique business model that allows as many people as possible to see our product. We hope that you will continue to support the World Independent Ladies’ Division, as well as other all-female wrestling promotions like SHIMMER Women Athletes, Women Superstars Uncensored, Pro Wrestling EVE, Arenachicks, Ice Ribbon, REINA, SMASH and Femmes Fatales.