The popular image of a female wrestler is of a scantily dressed woman strutting around the ring looking more like a flashy swimsuit model than a fighter.
But not the women of Valkyrie, an all-women’s wrestling show returning to The Ludus Wrestling Center in Brooklyn for a second time on Saturday. For the promoters of the event, it’s all about skill, talent and training not looks.
“Sex appeal is pretty much the last thing we’re interested in,” said Kris Levin, one of the founders of Valkyrie.
Instead, he said, the focus is on matches that “have a continued dramatic narrative that pulls the audience in and makes for a good story.”
Valkyrie’s first show in May was hailed as a landmark event. The promoters claim it was the first all-women’s professional wrestling promotion in New York City since 1972 when the State Athletic Commission lifted a ban on licenses to women wrestlers.
There’s no official record-keeper for independent professional wrestling, so it’s hard to dispute that. But it’s rare to catch even a single match between women in the testosterone-dominated sport.
This Saturday’s half-dozen matches include “first-time” battles between LuFisto and Kacee Carlisle and Kimber Lee and Cherry Bomb. And “The Baddest Woman on the Planet” Jessie Brooks, a wrestler from Brooklyn, is matched with Samantha Heights, an up-and-comer from Ohio.
Brooks, 25, takes the sport as seriously as the promoters, perhaps proving her point that it isn't about sexuality for her by wearing a basic black leotard to matches. “It’s an art form,” she said, explaining how she once commuted from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania to train as a professional.
“I’d love to go to Japan,” she said. “They don’t have the same mentality. It’s an actual sport.”
The fans are also seriously passionate about what is, even they admit, a niche interest that can draw 100 or 150 people to a successful show.
Eric Shaffer counts himself as one of those fans. He’s been involved in professional wrestling for some 17 years now and even worked for New Wave Wrestling magazine. He said he traveled from his home in Pennsylvania to attend May’s Valkyrie show and came away impressed by the women.
“It’s not just a bunch of beautiful women on display,” he said. “It’s women who can actually compete in the wrestling craft.”
If you go:
The Ludus Wrestling Center, 133 29th St., Brooklyn
Doors open at 7 p.m.
General admission: $15 advanced, $20 at the door