Girl Fight Wrestling has granted Eat Sleep Wrestle total access to the roster for its second midnight show, Midnight Girl Fight 2: Howdy, Pilgrim! Today is part nine of this series, featuring referee Charlene McAnally.
Fans today are smart enough to know it makes more than two people to make a wrestling match, and from WWE to CHIKARA to even Girl Fight, the officials who call the matches in the ring are known and respected by fans. Charlene McAnally has been a part of Girl Fight from its beginning, and over the past several years, this groundbreaking young woman has earned the respect of many wrestlers, promoters, and fans.
Charlene didn’t originally set out to be a ref. She wanted to be a wrestler, but it didn’t take many training sessions for her to realize her talents were better suited wearing the black and white stripes. As tricky as it can be to break into the wrestler ranks as a female, she’ll tell you it’s equally difficult for a referee.
“Your male counterparts automatically think you suck and I love proving them wrong,” she says. “Or they think you are someone’s girlfriend trying to fit in. I have to work twice as hard to get better bookings because some folks don’t want to use me. That’s their business, and wish they did not have that mindset, but I made it my job to change their mind with my work so that someday myself and other female referees can show that we are just as good as the guys and in most cases better.”
As much as a struggle as it was getting into the business, Charlene has seen the business change, in part due to promotions like Girl Fight. ” I remember when I first broke in, sometimes I would be the only women on the card. Now that’s a rare thing. I usually see at least one women’s match on the card, and I see more and more all girls shows popping up all over the country. It’s a great thing to see. Glad I can be a small part of a true women’s revolution in wrestling.”
Charlene recently made some major history of her own. After taking over the reigns of Louisville’s legendary wrestling promotion, Al Snow shocked Charlene when he named her the new head official for Ohio Valley Wrestling.
“It was a huge honor. Some great referees have come thru OVW. Joe Wheeler, Goose Mahoney, Chris Sharpe. To be name on that list is amazing. I worked very hard to be in that group of men, and to be the first women to be named head official makes the achievement even better.
“I am bless to to be part of the OVW locker room. I grew up a fan of the product. Every summer I would come up to Kentucky to visit family, and my dad would take me to the Summer Sizzler shows. To now actually be a part of the promotion is pretty cool.”
Charlene makes Girl Fight a priority because of the opportunity the promotion gave her and still gives to women in the business. “What sets Girl Fight apart from other shows is that a lot of the girls are not big names yet. Most of the girls are just getting started, and most of the newer girls will wrestle a veteran. That’s a good thing because it shows those ladies early if they have what it takes. You see a lot of girls that are not a ‘name” yet putting on matches that could be at a show like Shimmer. Pondo discovers these girls before the bigger shows do, so when you go to Girl Fight you will get a top level show.”
So why come to the Midnight Girl Fight Show on the 21st? “The biggest reason you should come out to Girl Fight is to see the best women’s wrestling in the midwest,” says Charlene. “The other reason? It’s Thanksgiving Eve. Do you really want to be stuck in the house with family from out of town you don’t even like?
Fans can spend Thanksgiving Eve with Charlene and twelve amazing competitors at Midnight Girl Fight 2 on November 21 at the Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, 1416 Spring Street. Bell time is at 11:59 PM.
Photo credit: Michigan Wrestling Illustrated.