Recently on Talk Is Jericho, AEW World Champion Chris Jericho welcomed AEW Women's World Champion Nyla Rose to the show. During the podcast, Jericho talked about the regrettable passing of his close friend, the late great Chris Kanyon.
According to Jericho, everyone knew the closeted Kanyon was gay and no one thought less of him. To 'Le Champion', this makes his friend's passing even more upsetting.
"There's a guy - God bless him - his name is Chris Kanyon, a wrestler," Jericho said. "And we always kind of knew that he was gay, but no one cared! He never came out. And then, he ended up taking his own life because of it and it's just one of those things. Like, we knew! We were all a gang with Disco Inferno, and Billy Kidman, and it's like we never saw him with any chicks. You know, but why be scared around your friends? And that ended up leading to him wanting to take his life."
Rose talked about developing a thick skin in her pro wrestling odyssey as a transgender woman through compassion and empathy for others.
"It's just kind of like I've been through so much, I've dealt with so much, and it's kind of like, I'm here. I'm doing this. I'm here for me. I can't worry about other people and what they're hung up on. If they're sour about something in their life and using me as a punching bag, which is what it is a lot of times, I get that. It sucks. Please stop doing that. But I get it, but I can't be hung up on that. You have to [have thick skin]. You absolutely have to. And I think a lot of that comes from empathy and compassion. Again, just kind of realizing that while I have been dealing with this for as many years as I've been alive, it is completely new for a lot of people, so they're kind of being thrust into the front and given all these things. It's very confusing and when people get confused, they get afraid, and when they get afraid, they don't like to get afraid, so they kind of lash out."
Rose added, "they want to understand, but they can't understand, so they push back a little bit, so I just try to be compassionate of those people and just talk to me."
During the podcast, Rose divulged that she began her pro wrestling training as a man. 'The Native Beast' shared that the first time she went out presenting as a woman was to take out her trash.
"I was there [at pro wrestling school] male presenting. I was there in boy mode, as they say. Yeah, because [male presenting] is what it was. I was playing a part, the biggest part I've ever had to play in my life. I was playing that part, and I was trying to get over, and convince everybody of something that wasn't true. But in my own time outside of when I was training for [pro] wrestling, I was Nyla Rose in my bedroom and in my own life. The first time I went out fully dressed [female presenting], I was taking the trash out." Rose continued, "it was such an accomplishment to walk the eight feet to take the trash out! But yeah, I was male presenting at [pro] wrestling school. They were just very confused about me. They thought I was just very flamboyant. Here I am, I would come in singing show tunes or just having feminine qualities, but looking like this macho playboy type."
Rose claimed she was unsure of whether there was going to be a place for her in pro wrestling after transitioning to a woman, but the pro wrestling community was quick to embrace her.
"It's really funny because when I reached that point of, 'I have to do this - I have to make the change,' I wasn't sure if there was a place for me in pro wrestling," Rose recalled. "But pro wrestling was one of the first places to absolutely embrace me and take me in."
Rose, who has faced her share of criticism for being a transwoman performing with naturally born women in professional wrestling, argued that some of her critics are hypocrites because they enjoy intergender wrestling with male and female competitors performing together.
"I think there's a lot of misconceptions and a lot of people conflate their feelings with actual facts, especially, especially with us being in [pro] wrestling because you look online, anytime I do anything, like if I tweet I woke up in the morning [and] it's going to be a negative thread, right? Anytime I do anything, people have everything in the world to say about it, but they don't keep that same energy for straight up intergender wrestling, right? I never see the hate. It's always like, 'beat her ass!' Like, wait a minute, wait a minute, hold up. Where's the same energy? Y'all are protesting me, but here's a man, wrestling as a man wrestling a woman, and y'all are absolutely okay with that." Rose asked rhetorically, "the women in the company don't have a problem with me. Why do you?"
Rose observed that some people are so blinded by their rage that they would rather double down on their ignorance than face facts.
"These people are so wrapped up in their rage they don't even pay attention to the facts." Rose professed, "this fake rage that a lot of people [have], they don't even want to hear the facts or learn the science. They're just comfortable in their little bubble and then they want to ride that out. Like, that's the weirdest thing for me. I love knowledge! Like, you tell me something and I want to learn everything about it, even if I don't agree with it, I want to know about it."
Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.