Hot stuffWhat to do Memorial Day Weekend in NYC Coney Island kicks off summer season this weekend
Valkyrie, an all-women's wrestling show, returns to Brooklyn on Saturday
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-womens wrestling show returning to The Ludus Wrestling Center in Brooklyn for a second time on Saturday. For the promoters of the event, its all about skill, talent and training not looks.
Sex appeal is pretty much the last thing were 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.
Valkyries first show in May was hailed as a landmark event. The promoters claim it was the first all-womens professional wrestling promotion in New York City since 1972 when the State Athletic Commission lifted a ban on licenses to women wrestlers.
Theres no official record-keeper for independent professional wrestling, so its hard to dispute that. But its rare to catch even a single match between women in the testosterone-dominated sport.
This Saturdays 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. Its an art form, she said, explaining how she once commuted from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania to train as a professional.
Id love to go to Japan, she said. They dont have the same mentality. Its 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. Hes 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 Mays Valkyrie show and came away impressed by the women.
Its not just a bunch of beautiful women on display, he said. Its 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