Why Jeanie Buss is investing her personal cash in professional wrestling

Jeanie Buss was an everyday highschool scholar within the Nineteen Seventies when someday, she was instructed she can be on the ladies’ golf crew. The difficulty was Buss had by no means performed golf a day in her life.

In 1972, Title IX was handed. It was a federal legislation that, amongst different issues, tried to even the taking part in subject between women and men in athletics. With no women’ golf crew, Palisades Excessive College within the Los Angeles space couldn’t have a boys’ golf crew. So, women’ golf turned a sport on the college — and, as a senior, Buss ended up successful a championship.

Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers proprietor like her father Jerry earlier than her, now needs to afford younger ladies a chance in athletics like those she as soon as obtained. In 2017, Buss hooked on as an proprietor of Girls of Wrestling (WOW), an all-female skilled wrestling promotion. Final yr, the promotion introduced it had scored a distribution take care of Paramount. WOW makes its broadcast return this month throughout Paramount-affiliated networks and the Pluto TV streaming app, extra far-reaching platforms than the earlier contract the promotion had with AXS TV.

Buss’ imaginative and prescient for WOW is another for ladies athletes to pursue after school when there are few choices on the skilled degree. She mentioned she invested her personal cash on this undertaking, which doesn’t contain the Lakers.

“What do you do for those who performed subject hockey?” Buss instructed ESPN. “You in all probability began once you have been 10, 11, 12 [years old] and sacrificed a number of your life and now you are simply going to hold it up? I wished to create one thing [where] feminine athletes would have a chance to carry out in entrance of a big viewers. Wrestling has all the time been very fashionable with the followers.”

Buss, 60, was by no means an expert wrestling fan till lately. She did not like how ladies have been portrayed as a “sideshow.” Her good friend David McLane was the creator of the famed Eighties cult hit “Attractive Girls of Wrestling” (GLOW), which has since been dramatized on Netflix. McLane launched WOW within the early aughts and relaunched it in 2012 as a modern-day successor to GLOW. But it surely took years of prodding for Buss to attend an occasion.

“I assumed it was going to be mud wrestling or Jell-O wrestling or one thing that would not attraction to me,” she mentioned. “After I ran out of excuses, I lastly needed to go see a present. As quickly as I walked in and noticed it, all of it made sense. I used to be a child who collected comedian books. I dreamed of being Supergirl or Surprise Girl.”

WOW has been doing tv tapings because the spring in Los Angeles. The concept, per sources, is to supply a present for each week of the yr. Buss and McLane introduced AJ Mendez aboard as an govt producer and shade commentator. Mendez, often called AJ Lee in WWE, was as soon as one in every of wrestling’s largest stars and a three-time world champion.

Buss mentioned she stays out of the storyline-creating course of — that is McLane’s position — and you will not see her taking any bumps within the ring any time quickly. Buss mentioned she cringes and appears away at occasions when the athletes try high-risk strikes. However she takes pleasure in being a fan and investor within the product, which she believes was picked up by the likes of Paramount because of the rising recognition of ladies’s sports activities and films starring feminine characters like Surprise Girl.

“Folks wish to spend money on ladies’s sports activities,” Buss mentioned. “It must be the proper automobile, the proper platform for ladies to shine. That is why I believe wrestling and girls athletes are an ideal combine. That is what I imagine in. That is why I will put my identify on it, put my cash behind it. I imagine in these ladies.”

Amberley Shaw, who wrestles for WOW below the identify Kandi Krush, is exactly the sort of athlete Buss and firm have been looking for. Shaw is a 2-0 professional boxer, however her Los Angeles fitness center closed throughout the pandemic. She determined to take a shot and check out for WOW — a spot the place she will mix her “athleticism and artistry” — and made it.

Shaw now believes the sequence of occasions was “meant to be,” and he or she will get a kick out of rubbing elbows with Buss. In an Instagram video Shaw posted, she and Buss are posing for a photograph they usually each began shadow boxing. The boxer-turned-pro-wrestler wrote, “by no means in my life did I think about I would be shadow boxing” subsequent to the “legendary” Buss.

“One in every of my favourite issues in life has all the time been to have the ability to empower different folks, particularly ladies,” Shaw mentioned. “Jeanie Buss is simply the most effective instance of that. She is all the things wrapped into one — magnificence, energy, confidence. She’s a real chief. To have the ability to look as much as her and know the legacy she has already been forsaking and all the things she’s completed, it evokes me to observe swimsuit and simply go after it.”

She mentioned Buss is simply attempting to pay it ahead, like the probabilities she obtained in golf and those handed on to her by her father.

“I do know my dad can be very pleased with me,” Buss mentioned. “He empowered me to be the most effective I might be at enterprise. The concept that I’m taking that and empowering the brand new era, this was who Jerry Buss was. He created an individual like me and it is for me to go on to the subsequent era.”

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