Mercedes Martinez Addresses The Gender Pay Gap In Pro Wrestling

In a new interview with Women's Wrestling Talks, former WWE star Mercedes Martinez opened up about the different experiences women have in professional wrestling compared to men. Martinez adamantly restated a point she has made in the past, pointing out that older women don't get booked the same as older men in pro wrestling.

"I just think, personally, that males and females are treated differently based on their age. It really is, you can see it across the board in any promotion," Mercedes Martinez said. "They put this time limit on females, for whatever reason, this age limit on females that after a certain age, you cannot compete. Why? Why is that; if you can go you can go, it does not matter your age. Some people retire at 25 years old because their bodies can't handle it anymore. It doesn't matter if you can go in the ring, and you can deliver, and you can do your job. Whether it's professional wrestling or sports entertainment; if you have a character, whatever you can do to keep your job. It doesn't matter what your age is, and that's the biggest thing.

"In professional wrestling, after like 30, you're considered a vet, it doesn't matter how long you've been, you're considered a vet like you're old now," Martinez added. "No, honey, I'm going to be 41 and I'm in the prime of my career, and I can still deliver with those 20/25-year-olds; run circles around them. It does not matter, if I can go, I can go. It's up to me to tell you when I cannot go. When my body says stop, I will stop. I will not keep going, I can tell you that. So, I think that's the biggest issue right now is everyone, you know, companies and promotions, it doesn't matter. Across the board and independents, doesn't matter where you are, they just put this limit on it."

The former WWE star and short-lived member of Retribution believes that there are increased expectations for women in the ring but, ultimately, they don't make the same money as men.

"I don't understand why you — if you can go, you can go, and you can deliver, you can do you, you can bring in those ratings and bring them in, does not matter your age. Because the men, I can tell you, whether they're 50 years old or not, they can still go, they're still making their paychecks. And we won't even get into pay because the pay differential is totally different for females and males. I'm telling you that they want more out of the females than they do from the men," Mercedes Martinez explained. "I don't know why but we get paid less. The gap is closing, don't get me wrong, the gap will close. But we really have to bring those issues to the forefront now because, you know, me going on 41 years old and 21 years in this business; I've been through it and seen it all.

"And no one's gonna tell me at almost 41 years old that you're done, you're going to retire; no honey, I retire when my body says I'm gonna retire. And you better pay me for the years that I put in this business and you better pay me because sometimes I can deliver ten times more in that ring than most men can. So it should just really depend on your talent really, and what you can deliver, and what you can bring to the table. Throw out the age, pay us what we deserve and what we know what we're worth."