For those of you who know me as The Lady J, you know I’ve been a moderate presence in the IWC for almost a year now, my writing debut coming just before Money in the Bank 2014 over at Cageside Seats. Since then, you’ve seen me on-and-off, writing for a few other publications, most recently writing the NXT round-up for FightBooth. There’s plenty of mystery clouding The Lady J (and maybe a little mystery isn’t bad), but lately that veil of mystery has been a downright wall. So let’s get the skinny on where I’ve been (and how I’ve gotten there).
I became a wrestling fan in Spring of 2002. Just a high school freshman at the time, aimlessly wandering through the array of mindless television available to me on a Thursday night, I happened to fall on UPN9. And there, in all his glory, was Edge. I was at just the age (and hormonal peak) to fall head over heels for his cocky attitude and ridiculous attire. But when I tuned in again the following weeks, what drew me in was not just the pretty blonde boy, but the actual matches. I was not an athletic girl, skinny and weak, but I harbored a lot of rage, for a variety of reasons. Watching other people act out my aggressions was cathartic. But I was also raised by a particular Feminist mother who would never have approved of the way WWF (still transitioning to WWE) treated women. So I hid my new addiction, insisting on watching the program alone as it aired, never even daring to put SmackDown to tape for fear of getting caught.
As time passed, there were lulls in my favorite story lines and in early 2003, Edge was out for neck surgery. I found other wrestlers and story lines to obsess over, but as a teenager now ending her sophomore year, there were a lot of other things on my plate. By the time I was graduating in 2005, I was not longer up-to-date on the story lines, and once in college, I had dropped wrestling all together.
In spring of 2013, my boyfriend informed me that he would be attending Wrestlemania 29 in New Jersey with some of his friends. I was dumb-founded. Wrestlemania was still a thing? About a month afterwards, we were surfing through the channels on a Monday evening to discover RAW, which I had no intention of watching at the time. But there I was, ten years removed from falling in love with Edge, and I couldn’t understand who most of the people were. My questions came quickly and with no end in site: Why was Triple H wearing a suit? Who was the guy with the beard chanting YES? Where was The Undertaker? Where was Edge? (NOTE: I had been paying enough attention in 2005/watching the news in 2007 to know not to ask about Eddie or Chris.) I became infatuated with knowing what became of all my favorites, and it was not long before I was sucked back in.
Quick flashback to 2011: I return to my childhood home to care for my mother who suffers from a degenerative neurological disease known as Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. When she was diagnosed four years prior, she’d been only 54. Since my move back, I went from being someone who kept an eye on my Mom to being her full-time caregiver. During the peak of this time, I was stressed beyond words, feeling a burden so all-consuming, I was sure her illness would kill us both. But as I grew tired, resentful, and angry, I knew where to take my aggression: WWE. I found news ways to focus my passion for storytelling and for character development. By 2014, I was attending my first live event, Monday Night RAW, two weeks before Wrestlemania XXX. The following June, I felt I had bothered my friends via Twitter and Facebook with my wrestling rants and wanted to build a separate place for that passion. And thus, The Lady J was born. Mere days after bringing her to life, I found myself embroiled in a battle of wits with the incomparable Simon Gotch, and from that conversation grew interest. Who was I? Where had I come from? It was not long after that when I finally took my wrestling thoughts and put them down in words to share with other fans.
Now, almost exactly one year later, I have been embraced so warmly by the IWC. I am lucky to have developed lasting friendships with people who know me as J and who know my story. They check in with me, support me, and always let me know when Dean Ambrose is on their screen. The Lady J has evolved into more than just a pen name, she is my gimmick. Or maybe I am the gimmick, and Lady J is the real me.
Ove the past few months since Wrestlemania season, I have been missing from this world. I enjoyed Wrestlemania 31, much more than I thought I would. I was completely shocked by the violence of the following night’s episode of RAW, and momentarily reminded of the lonely 15-year-old girl who needed a place to channel her aggression, and the 25 year-old caregiver who needed the same. But after that, I felt disconnected from the product. I missed Pay-Per-Views, I stopped watching NXT. And then one day, last weekend, when I was feeling a little blue, I turned on the network just in time to watch Dolph Ziggler bust his head open on WWE Payback. Then I kept watching the tag match. And Bray Wyatt and Ryback. And then the “I Quit” match. By the time the show was over, I was not only happy to be back to my passion, but back to my family, the amazing little community of people from all over the world who were there right when I needed them.
I can’t promise The Lady J will never disappear again, but I can promise that she is back to stay for now. You can always find her here on this blog, on twitter, and maybe in the future some lonely girl will turn on her TV and find The Lady J cutting just the promo she needed to hear.
And, Simon Gotch, if you’re out there, thanks for challenging me to a duel. I’m coming to collect on it soon.