At Wrestle Queerdom in New Hampshire, trans wrestlers put on a one-of-a-kind performance
It turns out that this inevitability has a name: Mariah Moreno. Beginning by teaming up with “The Hardcore Homo” Angel, Moreno’s 15-year career has seen her perform in numerous independent promotions across the United States as the first trans woman to do so. But Moreno abruptly retired earlier this year, citing his deteriorating mental health. In June, Moreno withdrew from all upcoming matches, including the Paris Is Bumping Championship the week ahead of schedule.
That’s why his surprise in-ring appearance at Wrestle Queerdom is so exciting. Interrupting the end of a six-man elimination match, Moreno – who was initially billed only to receive induction into the ‘Trans Graps Hall of Fame’ – steps into the ring to a chorus of loud cheers, taking the mic to recall to everyone that she paved the way leading us to this precise moment. Moreno punctuates his remarks by sending the last fighter of the match, Kota Holliday, crashing through a wooden door. Collecting his bouquet of flowers, Moreno stands up in the ring one last time.
After the show, I run up to Holliday and ask her how she feels about taking a bump for you Mariah Moreno. “Fuck amazing,” she gushed, simply. “I grew up as a trans wrestler not being able to be myself, and just like in music, you find people who look like you, act like you, talk like you, who are you, and Mariah Moreno is the one of those people for us… Mariah Moreno came out of retirement to assassinate me! I did it!”
For Holliday, the blue-haired “princess of the piledriver,” wrestling isn’t just another job, but an inescapable calling. “Wrestling sucks, but I love it,” she thinks. “You don’t realize how much it sucks both in the ring and out of it until you do it, but it’s like a drug in the best possible way.” Holliday has only been wrestling for about a year and a half, but she knows she’s in it for the long haul already.
“I’m here to die every day, every time, because I love it even if it doesn’t love us,” she says. “This show had so many hurdles, but we overcame them all, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
And frankly? She’s right. During the four to five hours that I spend at Wrestle Queerdom, I just want to be there, surrounded by my people and watching my people perform crazy stunts and slapstick improv comedy and make our hearts beat in our throats. When the anime-inspired “Pro Wrestling Protagonist” Kidd Bandit strikes his finishing blow – a brutal-looking piledriver/neckbreaker combo they call the “killer angel– on the aptly titled Don’t Die Miles, they shout to the audience, “This is for everyone.” Maybe it’s corny, but I feel it in my soul.