Wrestling With Sex Abuse
Chasyn Rance isn’t a name that comes to my mind immediately. I’ll admit to being a hardcore pro wrestling
fan. It’s one of those quirks I can never let go of. I’ll often find myself saying “I watched it during it’s heights but I don’t really follow it now.” Yet in the same conversation, I’ll tell you that Chris Jericho is the greatest performer of the modern era and that the WWE has squandered all of the work The Miz & Seth Rollins have done to legitimize the Intercontinental Championship by giving it to Dolph Ziggler. And rightfully you’d look at me like a nerd.
As embarrassed as I am to admit as such, I know a lot about Professional Wrestling. In fact before I partnered up with Royce Lopez to create ROTC Media, I was working on a web series that I wanted to film set in that world. I know a lot about wrestling. Even non-fans can name Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage…but I’m the kind of weirdo who can tell you how many world title runs Shane Douglas had. It’s 5 by the way.
I know a lot about the professional wrestling industry. And I can tell you this, they are still criminally behind when it comes to the #MeToo & #TimesUp movements. Eerily enough I even tweeted this sentiment out a few days ago without realizing what I would stumble across in the coming days.
Before ROTC, I was writing and developing a comedy show concept about pro wrestling. In doing research I learned that female pro wrestlers have legitimately the WORST stalkers imaginable. Next level creeps straight out of a horror movie.
— Mersh (@Mersh) June 28, 2018
— Kenny Omega (@KennyOmegamanX) June 30, 2018
Chasyn Rance: Wrestling Trainer & Sex Offender
Recently, a friend of mine I’d made in my research days contacted me. He is someone very well connected in the indy pro wrestling scene. He asked me if I’d heard about the recent faux pas by NJPW and Kenny Omega. I didn’t expect to find out that they’d hired a convicted sex offender to not only wrestle, but WIN, at one of their events. Obviously I was consumed in my attempts to find out more as the information unfolded on my small live solo show “Nightwave”.
It turns out that the wrestler, who goes by the name Chasyn Rance, is a well-connected professional wrestler in Florida’s indy pro wrestling scene. His company rents out equipment and ring crews to larger feds when they happen to be touring in the area, as renting equipment locally can often be much less expensive than hauling it from distant locales. Oftentimes these ring crews are upstart wrestlers themselves, looking to perhaps perform on a “dark match” in front of the audience before the main show.
The problem is they let a convicted sex offender perform on one of those matches. And the entire event was coinciding with a competitive video gaming event primarily attended by children. And for some reason, nobody is willing to take responsibility.
Guess who cleared out his account. pic.twitter.com/bAmeqo4nR3
— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) July 1, 2018
And in addition to renting out equipment and personnel these companies also generally specialize in other aspects of pro-wrestling, such as putting on their own shows and training newcomers who seek to learn the craft. Guess who these students usually consist of? Teenagers. The same age range of the young woman Chasyn Rance was convicted of plying with alcohol and drugs and then raping.
In addition to running his own training school called “I Believe In Wrestling”, Chasyn Rance has been most heavily associated with Team Vision Dojo in Orlando, a fairly prominent wrestling school. For me to know it off the top of my head is enough for me to understand it’s prominence, considering I’m not a wrestler. It’s clear that either due to negligence or innocent oversight, there is a lack of protections in place to keep sex offenders from remaining employed in an unregulated occupation that requires rolling around on the ground with teenagers in spandex.
Something needs to be done…
Pro Wrestling’s Sexual Assault Roots
As I covered in the most recent episode of “Nightwave”, child molestation didn’t suddenly make it’s way into the pro wrestling business riding on the shoulders of Chasyn Rance. Rumors have swirled for years about prominent wrestling figures such as Pat Patterson and Jerry Lawler. Some fans still believe the reason it took so long for the WWE to acknowledge “Macho Man” Randy Savage is because he once took advantage of an underage Stephanie McMahon, a rumor I still pray to this day is not true.
One of the more grossly under reported and specific instances of alleged child rape comes in the form of a son’s word against his own father. In an extremely dated shoot interview with Jamie Dundee, he implicates his father Bill Dundee in a shocking case of child rape. In the clip, he mentions that his father slept with The Undertaker’s first wife in 1983 when she was “13 or 14”. This places Bill Dundee, who proved regular foil for Jerry Lawyer (another creep) at 40 years of age at the time of this encounter.
The most disturbing part for me is when Jamie, an obvious victim of a dysfunctional household, refers to this as “a Southern thing that goes way back…”. Normalizing child sex assault is no way to cope with such trauma. No middle school aged girl is ever in a position to offer themselves to a 40 year old man sexually. Whether it’s 2018 or 1983. If you’re in Richmond Hill, Queens or you’re in Memphis, Tennessee…you don’t have sex with children.
But at least Bill Dundee and his ilk are relics of the past…surely we won’t see people like that in today’s culture, right? Wrong. Like many other objectively terrible people still breathing, Bill Dundee enjoys a status reserved for people who are legendary despite their legacy beyond forever tainted with qualifiers like “it was a different time” or “things weren’t the way they were today”. And he just recently announced he’s starting a podcast. Good for him, I guess.
And the list goes on. Chris Benoit. The Fabulous Moolah. Jimmy Snucka. Luis Rodriguez. From “Dirty Dick” Slater attempting to murder his wife, to “Hardbody Harrison” running a sex slavery ring out of his home in Georgia, it seems as if Pro Wrestling has simply always had a dark side. And in another terrible scenario, there’s people like Andre Heart...who was arrested in 2011 for knowingly transmitting HIV to multiple women.
— Mersh (@Mersh) July 1, 2018
Chasyn Rance Arrested For Molesting Teen
According to an Orlando Sentinel article from 2010 after the arrest of Chasyn Rance, he was recorded by Orange County Sheriffs in follow up conversations with his underage victim. According to the Sentinel: “Rance told the girl that he thought she was “cool” and that he had been drunk during their first sexual encounter.
“I didn’t want to do that. I was waiting for a long time. I was going to wait until you were like 18.” Rance further told the girl that he didn’t think he had forced her to have sex with him, said she was attractive and mature-looking and apologized for hurting her.” This “attractive, mature-looking” girl was 15 years old and a victim of rape.
Chasyn has worked for prominent Orlando based wrestling academies including Team Vision Dojo. Some rumors on Reddit point to fans as young as 12 being trained around people like Rance on a semi regular basis, including a well known ELEVEN YEAR OLD fan of WWE superstar Bayley known as “Izzy”. He also publicly boast of his connections to wrestling legends such as Scott Hall & Larry Zybszko, the latter of which is rumored to be his roommate.
And the general consensus is that many like to talk and contribute to the rumors, but few take any action to stand up to these predators.
Sexual Predators In The Squared Circle
In the course of writing this article, several performers and fans within the world of Florida’s professional wrestling scene have come forward to speak out against Chasyn Rance. Sadly, as is the case in many tight knight performance based communities, too few are willing to speak out in condemnation of the matter in fear of being blacklisted or otherwise harmed in an industry known for getting ahead on word-of-mouth.
That same word-of-mouth is what informs many prospective wrestlers when deciding what wrestling academy to attend. And without peers willing to expose and speak out about the dangers associated with making the choice, many vulnerable young people are left to their own devices. Parents seeking to enroll their children in these types of programs should consider any and all dangers when selecting the trainer of their child.
And this issue doesn’t begin and end with Chasyn Rance or the state of Florida. Many other wrestlers continue to work under pseudonyms, working around and training underage children unregulated by any government agencies. Another example is Georgia based wrestler and trainer Rick Michaels (real name Raymond Luther Rawls) who has a charge for sexual exploitation of children. He was fired by the WWE after his arrest, yet in the Indy wresting scene he’s still working consistently. He even has a show coming up soon, according to this tweet from PWA in Georgia.
And let’s not forget the recent IPW scandal, in which owner Daniel Edler and several others are accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor. All one has to do to find a million stories is to search google for “Pro Wrestling” and “Sex Offender” and the list of stories will shock you.
Pro Wrestling Should Police Themselves Before They Are Policed
Despite being one of America’s oldest traditional forms of entertainment, professional wrestling has managed to remain one of the last industries to acknowledge it’s former skeletons and current scandals. Just recently the WWE has seen itself mired in back-to-back controversies with two poorly conceived events.
The Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal was set to be a celebration of the WWE Women’s Revolution. However as the highly promoted event grew closer, many millennial fans took to Twitter to express their unhappiness over an event that purported to celebrate women in the sport while simultaneously naming it after someone who has been accused of abusing and trafficking women. The event was retooled into a generic female battle royal event after the backlash.
After that debacle, the WWE decided to host The Greatest Royal Rumble from Saudi Arabia. The event was essentially a propaganda piece produced by the WWE on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government and broadcast across US platforms. The paid propaganda piece was intended to sell Americans on how far Saudi Arabia has come in it’s quest to become a tolerant, progressive nation that respects all people. The only problem? No women were allowed to wrestle or perform at said event. And as disastrous as it was for WWE, it didn’t turn out much better for the Saudis either.
The WWE claims to take many causes seriously, however they are simply virtue signaling as all companies do to generate what they feel is good publicity. If they really care about the issue of child sex abuse, now is their chance to step up and take a leadership role in a serious issue that has deep roots in it’s own history. An opportunity to capitalize on the missteps of their Japanese competitor lays bare in front of them by simply stepping up and taking a leadership role in this issue.
In the meantime…anywhere in middle America..the next Chasyn Rance is waiting to train your teenage daughter how to “wrestle”.
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