Indie Promotion Criticized For Leaving Talent Stranded Without Pay

This past Saturday, an independent show called WrestleQueerdom, promoted and booked by well-known Twitter account TransGraps, ran out of Milford, New Hampshire. The show, which became the first wrestling card to entirely feature trans talent, included wrestlers like AEW star Sonny Kiss, Impact star Gisele Shaw, former AEW Women's Eliminator tournament contestant VENY, and popular independent up-and-comer Kidd Bandit.

But while the event's goal was to showcase trans talent and introduce them to more wrestling fans, it has instead received notoriety for backstage issues, particularly involving transportation and lack of pay. The problems began to come to light on Sunday afternoon, a day after the show, when independent wrestler Max The Impaler responded to a now-deleted tweet from WrestleQueerdom with some pointed advice.

"Maybe save the flexing until after ALL the talent is paid," Max tweeted.

Shortly after that, the floodgates opened, with responses from other wrestlers and promotions associated with the event, including the New Jersey-based Pro Wrestling VIBE, run by LGBTQ wrestler and promoter Billy Dixon.

"Effective immediately, we['re] terminating our working relationship with TransGraps/WrestleQueerdom after receiving numerous complains and concerns from talent," PWVibe tweeted. "Despite our shared vision to make this scene a better place, professionalism and doing good business must come first always."

Another talent that spoke out was Cameron Saturn, who worked WrestleQueerdom both as a wrestler and as a commentator. Saturn spoke about the breakdown in transportation coming out of the show that left several wrestlers stranded, forcing Saturn and another talent to step up.

"Don't Die Miles and I drove 30+ hours, going out of our way to pick up talent who needed transportation, and took talent to airports and bus stations multiple hours out of our way with the promise of it being covered," Saturn tweeted. "Never got a dime and now stranded with no gas money left."

"I do not like talking about business," Saturn continued, "but for us to try our best to help and to be told we can't get paid because of money needing to clear, banks having holds, and some hotel issues is a stunning amount of excuses. We've even asked for much less just to get home and can't get it."

In a later tweet, Saturn revealed he and Miles had received enough help to have everything covered in order for them to return home, leading Saturn to thank the fans.

Later in the afternoon, Max The Impaler spoke up some more regarding why they didn't appear on the show, while also showing support for the talent that did appear.

"I didn't say anything more prior because I didn't want to ruin anything for my friends on the show," Max tweeted. "But I pulled from WrestleQueerdom ultimately because I did not feel comfortable with the way they conducted themselves. On top of asking to wait to be paid. Initially, a bad tooth I neglected from an injury months ago was bothering me. Virtual Basement was flying me out early. I tried to make it all work but did not feel comfortable with the combination of those two things.

"I spoke with many people privately about my concerns. I just didn't want to take momentum out of the show. I know there were great matches, and even some dream matches for people. I'm proud of my friends for being amazing. UNSURPRISINGLY."

A day after the controversy, Kidd Bandit took to Twitter to address the whole ordeal, revealing some positive news regarding talent pay.

"After a grueling ordeal, we accomplished the goal!" Bandit tweeted. "Most talent that needed to be taken care of has been handled (That sounds so ominous out of context). But we can breathe a sigh of relief that almost everyone that needed the $ got paid accordingly."

Further in the thread discussing the show, Bandit noted there was no excuses for what the promoter did, while also stressing that the promoter themselves was still part of the LGBTQ community. They also revealed how much they themselves were owed for the event.

"The show had to be good," Bandit said. "It needed to happen and unfortunately there were things Sally did before and after the show that will ultimately muddy the legacy of the event. There are no excuses. I personally don't think it was borne out of malice but you can't sugarcoat the outcome.

"I will have to say that Sally is still part of the community. The mission is to create a platform that will spotlight us. I genuinely believe that was her goal and even tho she fucked up badly, I don't think we should fully turn our backs on her (even tho she owes me $4000)."

As of this writing, both the TransGraps and WrestleQueerdom accounts are listing their tweets as protected. It is unknown if they have released a statement regarding the issues with the event.

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