Wrestlecon Issues Lukewarm Non-Apology For Transphobic Incident Involving Rick Steiner

by Brendan M. Allen

WWE’s Wrestlemania is big business, not just for the WWE and their performers, but for countless other businesses and conventions. Watch parties, signing events, and indie shows pop up all over the country on Wrestlemania weekend, hoping to pick up some of the scraps left by the McMahon dynasty on wrestling fandom’s high holy day. 

Wrestlecon is a convention that has followed Wrestlemania from city to city each year since 2013, hoping to swim in the wake of the WWE’s biggest annual event. They have an impressive roster of talent this year, from WWE Hall of Famers Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Bret Hart, and Arn Anderson, to popular up-and-comers like “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry.

Wrestling fandom expects a certain level of drama at these things, especially if The Iron Sheik is invited, but some of the events that took place on Friday at Wrestlecon have left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans. 

According to IMPACT! wrestler Gisele Shaw, she was subjected to loud, public transphobic hate speech at Friday’s Wrestlecon event, from none other than WWE Hall of Famer Rick Steiner. Steiner, half of the multiple time tag team champion Steiner Brothers tag team, reportedly shouted anti-trans slurs at Shaw as she passed his table on the way to her own table, then repeated the slurs when she returned to see who was shouting at her. 

Wrestlecon says that they have “addressed” the situation, but despite being called out by many fans in the replies, have not clearly stated whether Mr. Steiner has been removed from the remaining days of the event, or whether he will be booked for future events. 

Many fans have called out Wrestlecon for their confusing and lukewarm response to bigotry at their event.

The fact that Wrestlecon used Gisele’s name in their statement, but didn’t directly name Steiner, while giving no details about how they “addressed” the situation is telling. Wrestlecon has not yet responded to requests for comment.

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