The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast welcomed Effy recently ahead of his Big Gay Brunch show at GCW’s The Collective. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman and Effy previewed the card, and one match they highlighted was Dark Sheik vs Still Life With Apricots And Pears. Effy gave some backstory to their match.
“So this to me, there’s more to this match than people understand, and I think it’s good to get the story out. People who aren’t familiar with Dark Sheik, Dark Sheik is one of the founders of Hoodslam,” Effy said. “Dark Sheik transitioned, I believe, around 2011. She now still runs Hoodslam.
“Literally, before COVID, it was four weeks a month so every single Friday, the Oakland Opera House was running packed shows for Hoodslam, and it was something where if you knew about Hoodslam, you knew about it, but they didn’t care if anybody knew about it. But for the longest time, she’s been this sort of secret of the west coast and kind of like the west coast godmother of this alternative wrestling.”
Effy continued speaking about Still Life’s backstory and their history at CHIKARA. He noted how similar they are coming from promotions that featured eccentric characters, and he also noted that this first-time match-up should have happened at Hoodslam but didn’t mind that the match will happen at his show.
“And now I have someone like Still Life, who I’ve been able to follow their career for a while,” Effy stated. “And seeing Chikara fall apart and seeing how much work all those kids were putting into Chikara and seeing that pulled out from them, I mean, this is where they were training, where they were doing shows, where they were trying things out, where they were learning so much about their characters.
“To be able to kind of pull them aside and say, ‘hey, you’re good. Do your thing. Keep going, keep doing this and keep being weird’ and to see that continue to pay off and have these new opportunities, it’s a real east coast-west coast — I don’t want to say they’re both kind of visionary in a way, but they definitely have a very different way of looking at wrestling than most people and what a lot of people don’t know is Still Life is very very inspired by Dark Sheik. They became good friends, and so this a first time match-up that probably should have happened at Hoodslam, but I got to steal the scoop on it.”
Hausman and Effy moved on to talk about CHIKARA and it’s closure after #SpeakingOut allegations came to light regarding CHIKARA and owner Mike Quackenbush’s alleged history of systemic abuses towards female staffers and trainers. Effy encouraged former CHIKARA talent to continue to use their gimmicks even if they do not own the copyright, noting he may even end up in court against Quackenbush.
“I was upset more, and I don’t want to dwell on this too long,” Effy said. “I was upset more because finding out how creative was handled and finding out what Mike was kind of holding back from them being able to do and understanding that it was his flaws that were keeping them from going to the next level because if I was in charge of CHIKARA, day one, what am I doing?
“I’m calling up every elementary and middle school and saying, ‘can we host a positive wrestling thing in your gym to teach kids about bullying, to teach kids about being kind [and] to teach kids about standing up for themselves. I would work into that because you have a children’s program, and now looking back on it, you go, maybe he was just trying to not get his handle any closer to families and children.
“And maybe that’s what the deal was. But I look at the CHIKARA kids and technically, Quackenbush owns all their rights. I told every single one of them, and I’ll probably end up going to court for it, I go, ‘f–k him’. Use every bit of what you have, use all of it and make him fight you on it because he has no place here.”
Effy, an openly gay wrestler, is not afraid to speak about LGBTQ issues in the wrestling industry especially regarding how LGBTQ talent are treated. He referred to a promo he cut at RISE Wrestling calling out all wrestling promotions for only booking LGBTQ wrestlers during Pride Month or as Effy said in his promo, “it only happens when the gays are allowed to be celebrated.” Effy discussed on the podcast what creating a safe space for LGBTQ talent can do for the industry.
“Beyond even the performers, it’s really good to have that spot for the performers and it’s been over a year now at that last RISE show in June last year. They had that Pride RISE show,” Effy recalled. “I cut a promo that basically said, ‘hey, you’re booking these people for Pride Month, and I get it, but if you don’t stop, we’re going to take over and ruin your business financially. And I think a lot of people thought, ‘oh, you must be doing a run-in. It must be a work,’ but what I knew was, we’re not going to participate in this anymore.
“We’re going to make sure people know that you’re bad people. We’re going to make sure people know your views, and we’re going to take that money away from you if you can’t at least act like decent human beings or at least give the opportunity to people. Some people misconstrue it and say, ‘oh, well, he only wants LGBT people on cards,’ and it’s like, no, but I would like them looked at in the same regard that a cis-white male athlete is looked at to at least set the playing field even and give those chances.
“And when we can’t get those chances, we’re now looking back at these other places and going, look what you missed out on. Look at how many people got behind this. When you create a safe space, financially, you can benefit. You’re not losing fans by being more progressive or more liberal or whatever it may be. You’re actually opening the door for these people that would have never stepped foot in wrestling.”
Hausman asked if LGBTQ talent have seen any momentum lately similar to how Women’s Revolution and Black Lives Matter have created some change in the wrestling industry. Effy said that it would have to take a LGBTQ wrestler to succeed outside of the cable television space to show bigger companies that their platform is not the end all and be all for talent.
“You know, I thought about it, and what it really needs to take is not necessarily just saying, ‘OK, we have a gay person on our show,’ but I think we need to go around what the expectations of companies are because I think if the company sees someone who is an LGBT wrestler, and I’m not talking about myself, I don’t care if it’s me, whoever it is, to kind of crossover without the necessity of a cable television show or without the necessity of a larger wrestling company behind it,” Effy explained. “I think that would at least show these bigger companies that, ‘oh, the thing we were afraid to do, which has pissed people off, is actually financially responsible,’ and it might take that sort of punch in the face to see something they missed out on because they thought they couldn’t handle something different or new.
“Seeing that make money when they could have had that opportunity, I think will wake people up because it’s the only thing that speaks anymore me. Why do you think WWE’s in Saudi Arabia? It’s not because they love the culture in the region. They’re getting a f–k ton of money.
“If we financially force them into a position to use us, we’re going to have the leverage. I don’t just want to be given permission. I want to leverage back on you and go, ‘look you messed up’. It’s not vengeful, but now the pricing has changed and you could have gotten in on the ground floor.”
Joey Janela has spoken with Wrestling Inc. in the past where he discussed how GCW is different from any other wrestling company. Effy discussed on the podcast what it means to him that GCW is supporting him and the causes that he promotes.
“I think with GCW, the reason they stayed so ahead of the curve is at no moment is GCW afraid to change directions or move towards something different if it’s picking up steam or if it’s hot or if they think it can be something that people would be entertained by,” Effy said. “There’s a lot of death matches in GCW, but there’s also a lot of comedy and there’s a lot of work rate and there’s a lot of high flyers.
“When things are cool and over with people, it’s easy to categorize them, but GCW doesn’t necessarily do that, and they’re sort of trying to say, ‘hey, here’s all these different weird things we all like about wrestling. Here’s stuff we saw that we thought was cool, and we’re going to now put it together.’ It’s very collaborative.
“It’s not one person going, ‘we’re going to have the gay show. You’re the face of the gay show, and here’s who you’re going to use.’ Its Bret going, ‘how do we bring a show like this to the community? Who do we need to include? Who do I not know about?’ And letting him learn and he’s going, ‘it’s a financial risk for me as a promoter to put people I’ve never heard of on here, but I’m trusting you as talent because of what I’ve seen from you and because of what you brought for me to show me a world that I’m missing out on.’ And having that trust in your talent, it’s an incredible thing that you don’t get everywhere you’re working in wrestling.”
Effy’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.