When you think of wrestling, images of big, hulky men smacking each other with chairs may spring to mind.

And, sure, in general, wrestling has felt like a very 'boys club' type of sport. But, things are changing especially in Michigan.

I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Davison Sarai, the new women's wrestling champion for Independent Pro Wrestling who is also a mental health professional, someone who plays a mean guitar, and a trans, queer woman.

While, as I mentioned before, wrestling is often viewed as a very male-dominated sport, Davison said that it's actually becoming much more progressive and open to queer people.

*This article will feature some adult language*

How It Started

Davison has had a passion for wrestling for a while but didn't step into the ring until 2020 when she was already in her 40s. Up to that point, she had a podcast with Mark Frankhouse called the Crucial Squared Circle where they covered everything wrestling and current events related to things like the pandemic and Black Lives Matter.

She also did commentary for Independent Pro Wrestling, a local company that does professional promotions and showcases unsigned, independent pro wrestlers in the Midwest, according to their Facebook page.

During the pandemic, when all of us found ourselves with a lot of extra time, Davison started training to make her debut in the ring and, as it turns out, she was pretty good at it. It became a matter of, not if, but when she'd be facing off with the area's top wrestlers.

How It's Going

Now, what I know about wrestling is almost nothing so, I'll do my best to get this right. But, as Davison grew her skills in the ring, she began to find her 'character'. "The bad guys are called 'heels'," she told me. And that's the style that Davison leans toward. Picture a lot of antagonizing, "smart-ass commentary," as she put it.

"I have a background in theater and I missed performing," she said. And that wrestling gave her an outlet for that creativity. "Plus," she continued, "We need more trans role models in the ring." And, I'm sure, in all aspects of life. Role models that show that you can be accepted and successful with whatever you'd like to do.

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Of course, being in her 40s and being a mental health professional, she had some valid concerns like, "will people take me seriously," and, "what if I get injured or even worse, suffer a brain injury that would, obviously, impact my career?" Because, despite what you might think, wrestling is a very physically demanding activity. Regardless, she went for it. And it paid off.

In October of 2021, Davison Sarai won the Independent Pro Wrestling women's title with a move she described as "surprise, bitch!" While I don't have a video from that exact moment, I'm going to guess it looked a little something like this:

Used with permission from Davison Sarai
Used with permission from Davison Sarai

Keep in mind, Davison is 6-feet-tall so, this would be quite an intimidating move. No wonder she won the championship.

She went on to be named the Rookie of the Year by IPW in December:

What's Next?

As the Women's Champion in Michigan and Rookie of the Year, what's next for Davison? She's looking for someone to challenge her so she can defend her title!

However, finding women to compete with in Michigan has proven to be difficult. That's why she made this video calling for anyone and everyone who might be brave enough to come challenge her in the ring:

Outside of Michigan, Davison said there are some potentially exciting possibilities on the horizon. Her coach, who she's been training with for 18 months, is someone who specifically helps people go "big time" as she called it. That means she could be competing in matches across the entire country.

One Last Thing

Inevitably, when people see someone who is trans competing in a sporting activity or, even just exiting in life, they tend to have some blatantly rude or discriminatory comments.

Davison had this to say,

Some people claim religion and will say that trans people are an abomination. I would like to say to them...which version of the bible are you referencing? In Leviticus, it says that eating shellfish is an abomination. That combining fabrics and having long hair is an abomination. So, which version of the bible are you looking at?

She went on to say,

I think a lot of this hatred towards those who are trans is a direct response to an internalized sexual attraction towards trans women or men.

While I'm not a mental health professional, like Davison, I believe that there have been studies done about those who never leave their small town and how that affects their perceptions of people and cultures that are "different".

For example, children that grew up in a densely populated area or a blue state were less likely to marry young. And, things like our perceptions, decision making, as well as what we focus on when presented with a certain problem or scenario can all be affected by who/what we are surrounded by. Read more here.

Again, I'm not a mental health professional. Heck, I'm barely a professional at writing articles but, as a fellow human, I would like to challenge anyone to first experience someone else's culture, way of life, or even just listen to their story before immediately jumping to a negative reaction.

For more information on the local wrestling scene in SW Michigan, upcoming matches, and more, follow Independent Pro Wrestling on Facebook or Youtube.

You can find Davison on Facebook and learn even more about her incredible story here.

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