WWE Returns to Louisville

A few random thoughts about last night’s visit from WWE to Louisville, Kentucky.

First and foremost: the Yum Center staff is amazing and accessibility for the disabled is great. I take a friend along who is in a wheelchair, and we had a much more pleasant experience here than at Freedom Hall. Wish the doors to the pedway from the parking garage had automatic door openers, but the Yum Center staff was so helpful I can overlook that.

WWE Shop Express was not available and that was disappointing. Made getting shirts super easy last time. We went out during an early match and got a shirt with no waiting but I liked shop express better.

AJ Styles and Tyler Breeze had a great opener. Breeze held his own with AJ and made his trainer Lance Storm proud. He also had more heat than anyone other than Sheamus and Kevin Owens with the fans. They were on him from the moment his music hit. Wish WWE would give him the push he deserves on the main roster.

Nice surprise to see Baron Corbin. He looks ready.

Goldust put on the make up for a house show run in. Another fun surprise.

If Alberto Del Rio is on a card, he will give you his money worth. Does everyone realize how good he is?

Kalisto is super over with the kids. Adults too.

Nice to see Summer Rae getting to actually wrestle as Sasha Banks’s tag partner. If you’ve only seen her on WWE you don’t know how good she is.

Sasha is a superstar on the rise.

Heel Sheamus has a lot of fans. Lots of cheers for him – until he got on the mic and riffed on Kentucky.

Louisville still loves OVW alum Mark Henry.

And your main event for WWE Louisville is… Jon Moxley vs. Kevin Steen. Who would have ever dreamed back 5 years ago this would be your main event at a WWE show?? Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens did not disappoint. They tore the house down, and they proved they are ready to be the top guys in the business. Owens got the most heat from the crowd, and Ambrose gets the biggest pop from the crowd. Matter of fact, he gets a bigger pop than anyone I’ve seen in Louisville except that one guy…

This is the first time in ages John Cena did not make an appearance in Louisville. Feels a little strange, because in all honesty, this is Cena’s town. There’s no split chanting for him here because of his legacy at OVW. No doubt he’ll be back and he’ll get the pop of the night when he returns.

Joelle Hunter: Hero in the Making

10407414_942319322477997_5475356699477839001_nJoelle Hunter’s story sounds like many other stories you’ll hear from the women in pro wrestling. “I was introduced to wrestling in my early teen age years by some of my friends. I mainly watched the WWE, and I would say my hero’s were definitely the Undertaker and Sheamus.”

Hunter decided she wanted to follow in Sheamus’s footsteps, so like many ambitious teens, she found a wrestling school that would admit her at the tender age of 16. Most wrestling schools in the States won’t take someone so young, of course, but Hunter isn’t from the States. She was born in Lebanon, and she was raised in Saudi Arabia. She now lives, trains, and wrestles in Dubai at the Dubai Pro Wrestling Academy, and she is the first female wrestler in the Middle East.

A year into her training, Hunter (whose real name is Gheeda Chamasaddine) is already working shows with more than twenty fellow wrestlers in Dubai, all of them men. She describes herself as a technical/submission wrestler, and though only 5’4″, she can body slam men twice her size. Trainer Caleb Hall was as tough and demanding with her as he is with any man who walks through the doors of his school, and that toughness has helped her earn the respect of the Dubai locker room. “My wrestling mates are all very supportive. They never treated me differently or made me feel less cause am a woman.”

Hunter has enjoyed the support of family and friends, and the wrestling fans in Dubai have accepted her as well. But Hunter knows that her dream – to see a women’s wrestling division established in the Middle East – will meet with a great deal of opposition in a region where women struggle for equal rights. “I have a lot of haters. There are lots of people who don’t accept what I do, but I can really say there is no overcoming that hate. You just need to not care about it at all.”

Hunter aspires to travel the world, to learn from other wrestlers and trainers, and pursue her dream as far as it will take her. She even has a dream opponent in mind. “I would love to wrestle Kharma some day, the woman who was in the Royal Rumble.”

Facing the legendary Kharma/ Awesome Kong would be a great accomplishment, but Hunter hopes to do more than win a few dream matches. She wants to inspire other women to pursue their dreams, even as she fights for her own. “I wanna show girls that it’s okay to wrestle and be who they wanna be. It’s a very hard task, but I will keep doing what I do and hopefully in time people will become more accepting of it.”

Joelle Hunter is a humble and gracious spirit, the kind of young woman who can be a positive role model for girls and women worldwide. She’s got an uphill fight on her hands, but fighting is her chosen profession. She’s already winning fans and friends in Dubai, and I have a feeling she’s going to make more friends all around the world.

You can follow Joelle’s pursuit of wrestling glory by following her on Facebook and on Instagram. The photo of her with Sheamus on her Instagram will bring a big smile to your face.

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