Picture by AEW.
The fictional world of professional wrestling, specifically the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) company, is often characterized by campiness, exaggerated theatrics, and larger-than-life characters, which further complicates the impact it has on the real world. It is challenging to identify a unified message from AEW Wrestling Elite All, as it often diverges in different directions. The company has two tag team champions, who are considered the top contenders in the wrestling industry.
With exaggerated excitement, Anthony Bowens emphasizes his recurring joke about cutting with scissors every time they make their way to the wrestling ring. The team’s signature phrase, displayed in vibrant pink letters, “Scissor me, Daddy Ass,” is currently the second most popular AEW T-shirt this month. Max Caster consistently flirts with AEW’s prominent male antagonist and occasionally provokes his opponents by insinuating that they engage in homosexual activities. On a regular basis, Anthony Bowens, one of the team members, produces video clips for Pride Month, sharing his perspective as a queer Black man in a culture fixated on violence and masculinity.
Each time the punchline involves same-sex intimacy among women.
On each occasion, the audience — mostly consisting of men, heterosexual individuals, and individuals who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth — bursts into laughter. In a seemingly provocative manner, either Caster or Bowens jumps onto an opponent who is lying on their back, hitting them in the groin with a high-heeled shoe and crossing their legs suggestively. The Acclaimed even honored this move with a name: the “Scissor Me Timbers,” to ensure that the joke was unmistakable.
I do not have any accurate readings of myself. It’s rather amusing how the context of my upbringing may affect my perspective on sex. Regardless of the context surrounding sexuality, these words such as “Ass Daddy” are considered humorous because of their amusing nature. Perhaps it is amusing because it involves two cisgender men who are obviously not engaged in a lesbian sexual encounter. There are indeed readings that can be seen as charitable:
Bowens, as wrestlers, and I, as fans, both embody and highlight the LGBTQ+ community’s entanglement with wrestling. The acclaimed existence of queerness is played up as a joke, perpetuating a male-centric view of lesbian sex. This male gaze produces the most commonly pictured methods of lesbian sex, from artsy movies to porn. According to therapists, one of the least common ways lesbians have sex is through scissoring, which is strongly associated with lesbians.
The Celebrated are guiding lights of Black happiness and queer happiness, beyond the make-believe realm of wrestling — the realm where all the match results are preplanned and the personas are grandiose.
During Pride Month, Anthony Bowens, a queer professional wrestler, spoke about the importance of being open about his queer identity and how it contributes meaningfully to the slow progress of acceptance within the LGBTQ+ community. As a lesbian, I personally understand and deeply resonate with the fact that not all wrestling spaces are necessarily welcoming to women and queer fans. However, as a genuine fan of professional wrestling, I truly appreciate the efforts made by Bowens to make every person feel accepted and valued, highlighting their fights in front of a colorful backdrop and through a montage of matches.
Trans wrestlers face the derogatory shouts of a homophobic person in the cheering crowd, while discussing the significant difference between the acclaimed world of wrestling and the world of queerness. It may be a joke made in good humor by a queer man who is deeply familiar with the harms of homophobia, but the joke itself may target the sexual experiences of lesbian individuals. In an environment deeply rooted in homophobia, pointing out someone else’s queerness becomes a revolutionary act for a queer man. AEW’s Pride Month segments in the last month highlight and continue to celebrate queer sex, with Bowens and Caster wrestling in a match every time. However, Twitter, which is a hub for wrestling networking, can be a subject to hate speech from certain groups, posing a detriment to anyone involved. As a lesbian white wrestling fan, I have experienced prejudice compared to the highly visible queer Black wrestler who has been showered with hatred. He also opens up about subjecting himself to torrents of hatred.
Anthony Bowens, a professional wrestler, fears that his dream of realizing his true sexuality could be hindered by the predominantly anti-queer environment in the wrestling industry, which is known for its long-standing negative associations with queerness.
The Acclaimed’s alternate catchphrase is, “Everyone adores the Acclaimed.” As a queer woman, I desire it were less accurate. Specifically, I long for it to not be true about myself. Nonetheless, I am unable to resist the charm of the Acclaimed: the evident fondness they exhibit, the manner in which Max Caster devises a distinct rap for each entrance, and the way Anthony Bowens effortlessly seizes the spotlight simply by informing the city of the week that the Acclaimed have arrived.
The Acclaimed gained popularity and support from the people due to their title, storylines, and prestige. They became the first gay man in AEW to hold a title, with mass chants, crowds, and homemade giant foam scissors. The audience, who are funny and think AEW is funny too, also helped The Acclaimed make a sensible choice to be booked for a predetermined championship win. Despite all their faults, their jokes about scissoring are humorous.
Individual any of regardless exist would that prejudice — casual homophobia turning, Bowens manages to reduce discrimination in the world of wrestling by queerly performing as himself, becoming a symbol of support.
The world of professional wrestling, both real and fictional, is taking a step towards moving out of homophobia and towards supporting queer Black individuals, inspiring mass support. Even though wrestling may be predetermined and fictional, it has an impact on the real world, based on the foundation of lesbian sex jokes, even for queer Black men.