Win­nipeg wrestler’s in­jury called de­lib­er­ate

Mex­i­can star feels wrath of wrestling world after go­ing off script

Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS - RYAN THORPE ryan.thorpe@freep­

HE fight got a little too real for a Win­nipeg-born pro­fes­sional wrestler at a ma­jor Mex­i­can wrestling event Satur­day, after she was in­jured in what many are call­ing a ma­li­cious at­tempt by her op­po­nent to hurt her.

The in­ci­dent has left the wrestling world up in arms and sparked cov­er­age in publi­ca­tions as far rang­ing as niche web­sites to Rolling Stone, with many sug­gest­ing the per­pe­tra­tor of the at­tack could be black­listed from the sport en­tirely.

Holly Letke­man was born in Win­nipeg in 1983 and en­tered the world of pro­fes­sional wrestling in 2008, where she cur­rently fights un­der the name Rose­mary.

Over the week­end she was in­volved in the TripleMa­nia XXV event in Mex­ico City, which is the one of the largest an­nual shows in the coun­try.

She was fight­ing in a four-way women’s match for the “Queen of Queens” ti­tle, when all of the sud­den one of the wrestlers be­gan to go off-script.

At the end of the match, Mex­i­can wrestler Sexy Star (real name Dulce Maria Gar­cía Ri­vas) placed Letke­man in an arm bar hold that was dan­ger­ously real.

Video from the event, which was seen by more peo­ple than usual since it was streamed by an Ama­zon-owned com­pany, shows Letke­man yelling in pain and re­peat­edly tap­ping out as her el­bow is hyper-ex­tended.

De­spite the ref­eree call­ing the match and the fi­nal bell ring­ing out, Star con­tin­ued to hold Letke­man in the arm bar. About eight sec­onds after the match fin­ished the ref­eree fi­nally man­aged to pry open Star’s grip on Letke­man’s arm, only to have her reap­ply the arm bar and hold it for a few more sec­onds.

The in­ci­dent left Letke­man rolling around in pain as Star walked around the ring in cel­e­bra­tion of her vic­tory. It was a short lived win for Star, how­ever, as the wrestling world quickly turned on her and some of her fu­ture book­ings were dropped.

“If you take lib­er­ties with some­one’s body when they are giv­ing it to you and trust­ing you to keep them safe, you are not tough. You are an ass----. And you don’t be­long in this busi­ness,” Letke­man wrote in one of two pub­lic state­ments she has made since the in­ci­dent.

An out­pour­ing of sup­port for Letke­man was posted to so­cial me­dia by well­known fig­ures in the wrestling world, while Star was the tar­get of many vit­ri­olic com­ments and de­nun­ci­a­tions.

When An­drew Shall­cross, pro­moter of an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional wrestling com­pany in Win­nipeg, first viewed the video, he couldn’t be­lieve what he was see­ing.

“I im­me­di­ately won­dered if it was ac­tu­ally true or if it was an elab­o­rate sto­ry­line,” he said.

“When I re­al­ized it was true, I was shocked and dis­ap­pointed. It’s com­pletely un­pro­fes­sional and cow­ardly. It would not be ac­cepted by any wrestling pro­mo­tion in the world.

“I would never book that per­son again. We’ve seen peo­ple die or be par­a­lyzed in the ring. It can hap­pen. This is a dan­ger­ous sport. And you have to co-op­er­ate and trust your op­po­nent. Ob­vi­ously, that trust was vi­o­lated.”

Jackie Lee, a multi-year pro­fes­sional wrestler liv­ing in Win­nipeg, agreed with Shall­cross and said he wouldn’t be com­fort­able get­ting in the ring with some­one who had a doc­u­mented his­tory of pur­posely in­jur­ing an op­po­nent.

“It takes two to tango and you have to put your trust in your op­po­nent be­cause you’re tak­ing care of their body and they’re tak­ing care of yours. It’s like go­ing in a car ride with your friend, where you trust them to drive safely, be­cause you’re putting your life in their hands in a way,” Lee said.

While ini­tial re­ports on the ex­tent of Rose­mary’s in­jury have var­ied as to its sever­ity, she now has said she has a “strained tri­cep/bi­cep with swelling around the area” and will be kept out of the ring un­til a doc­tor al­lows her to re­turn.

In that state­ment, she made it clear she would no longer be ad­dress­ing the in­ci­dent.

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Win­nipeg-born Holly Letke­man (left), a.k.a. Rose­mary, had un­flat­ter­ing things to say about the way Sexy Star (top) dealt with her in the ring. Above, a screen grab of Rose­mary (right) be­ing held down by Sexy Star dur­ing the TripleMa­nia XXV event in Mex­ico City.

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