La Rosa Negra takes Hania “The Howling Huntress” by the hair. All photos by Chris Ragalie.
Certainly women have wrestled in Brooklyn before, but not like this. On a balmy night in May wrestling fans packed the Ludus Wrestling Center to see history being made at VALKYRIE, the first professional women’s wrestling event in New York City. With female wrestling banned throughout the city for fifty years until 1972, it’s taken a while for female wrestlers to catch up to their male counterparts. VALKYRIE aimed to showcase the sport in a serious, competitive atmosphere the likes of WWE.
If Crossfit opened up a Coney Island location it would be the Ludus Wrestling Center. Nestled in the industrial section of Sunset Park, Ludus is nothing more than a narrow garage with a wrestling ring shoehorned in the middle. Walk inside and you’re punched in the face with Ludus’ grappling odor. A thundering boom sounds as bodies are slammed to the mat. Heckles from the crowd echo alongside the grunts of the wrestlers–a cacophony that builds and bounces off Ludus’ concrete walls. It feels like the event could unravel into chaos at any moment–like the moment right before a prison riot.
Onlookers who came to the Ludus Wrestling Center hoping to see dainty women catfight were sorely disappointed. The women of Valkyrie have all the wrestling skills and athleticism you’ll find in professional men’s wrestling. While some of Valkyrie’s wrestlers are fairly new to the sport, many are wrestling veterans who have achieved some level of fame on the independent wrestling circuit.
There was Hania “The Howling Huntress” versus La Rosa Negra, aka The Black Rose, and her unscrupulous manager Ejecutivo Jorge Estrella. Hania’s assortment of kicks were no match for The Black Rose and Estrella, who drew the crowd’s ire as he crossed the ropes to get a few stomps in as Hania could only howl in agony.
La Rosa Negra’s manager Ejectivo Jorge Estralla crosses the ropes to get a few stops in.
La Rose Negra on the ropes in preparation for a bodyslam.
Hania “The Howling Huntress” against the ropes.
Manager Ejectivo Jorge Estrella and his wrestler La Rosa Negra celebrating a victory.
Bonesaw Jessie Brooks “The Baddest Woman on the Planet” didn’t quite live up to her name as the veteran Japanese wrestler and mixed martial artist Sumie Sakai put her down for the count with her trademark Uranage Suplex.
Bonesaw Jessie Brooks “The Baddest Woman on the Planet” tortures Sumie Sakai’s fingers.
Sumie Sakai gains control over Bonesaw Jessie Brooks
The evening’s most crowd-pleasing moment came at intermission when male wrestler Kris Rex took to the ring to offer his opinions on women’s wrestling. He incited the crowd, telling them women should be doing housework and bearing children. Rex gloated in the ring as the crowd booed and screamed obscenities. Then, in an incredible turn of events, Nyla the Destroyer entered the ring. She slowly creeped up behind Rex as the crowd cheered. She faced him and delivered a series of devastating body blows. The crowd went wild. She continued to throw Rex around like a rag doll, unleashing a flurry of kicks and punches. Defeated and limp, Nyla finally grabbed Rex and tossed him and his archaic values over the ropes and into the past.
Kris Rex after being thrown over the ropes by Nyla the Destroyer.
The night was a milestone for professional women’s wrestling, which has begun to carve its niche in NYC. The history-making continues with VALKYRIE II: Rise of the VALKYRIE on July 19 at the Ludus Wrestling Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.