During the Attitude Era women like Chyna, Daffney, Madusa, and Jacqueline won WWE or WCW championships outside of the women’s division. Chyna being the most successful of the bunch winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship and nearly being in the main event for the WWF World Championship at SummerSlam 1999. Chyna is likely the most well-known women to compete against men on a regular basis.
In recent years, there has been a movement to give women a chance in professional wrestling. For a long time, women had been regulated to working demeaning matches where they’d wrestle in a pool full of gravy, or only in their bra and panties. Women were used for sex appeal instead of for their wrestling ability. Some women thrived in that due to not being wrestlers, but women who learned the craft and excelled in the business were treated in the same manner.
On January 12, 2020, Impact Wrestling put their heavyweight championship on Tessa Blanchard marking the first time that a woman held a heavyweight championship for a wrestling company on television. While that may have been a first time ever accomplishment, a woman holding the heavyweight championship for a company has happened in the past.
Eleven months prior, Kylie Rae won the Freelance World Championship from Isaias Velazquez at Sleepless In Chicago. Intergender wrestling has become a popular match on many independent wrestling shows and utilized by some promotions on a regular basis. Rae winning the championship is notable for the fact that not many women have been put in that position. Rae joined Sexy Star and Kimber Lee as women who won a heavyweight championship that had previously been held by men.
I first became aware of Freelance Wrestling after watching Ethan Page’s vlog where he records his travel and wrestling experience. It’s a fun series that is similar to Colt Cabana’s Wrestling Road Diaries. I quickly became interested in a feud that Page was involved in with Kylie Rae. Usually with Reliving A Feud, I relive a feud from childhood, but this is a feud that I’m seeing for the first time ever.
Kylie’s run as champion started on February 1st, 2019 and after a successful defense against Priscilla Kelly, she would wrestle Ethan Page on April 19th, 2019 taking place in Chicago, IL.
Freelance World Champion Kylie Rae vs. Ethan Page – Freelance Burn After Reading – 4/19/19 – Chicago, IL
The fans absolutely adore Kylie Rae giving her a great ovation upon her entrance. Page is not welcomed warmly by the crowd. Rae is the hometown girl being from Chicago. Page is tired of Rae playing to the crowd and wants to fight for the title telling her to “wrap it up, bitch.” Rae has a orange bow for Page to wear as the bell rings. Rae puts the bow on Page, and he does’t look thrilled. The fans are chanting “you’re so pretty.” Page does the Rae taunt, but Rae goes for a quick rollup and Page doesn’t budge.
Page misses a kick in the corner as Rae ducks under and goes to the corner. Page shoulder blocks Rae and tosses the bow into the crowd. Rae comes off the ropes to hit a head scissors and a kick to the head. Page stops Rae with a running back elbow. Page tosses Rae with a gut wrench suplex. Page taunts the fans on the middle rope. Rae fights back with a few strikes, but Page stops Rae with a spinning backbreaker. Page drives Rae down with a delayed vertical suplex.
Page absorbs a few forearms and tosses Rae with another fallaway slam. Page brings Rae to the top rope from the apron and tries for a suplex, but Rae breaks free and hits a German suplex off the top rope! Rae delivers a boot to the face and a few forearms. Page tosses Rae away, but Rae connects with another head scissors. Page counters an arm drag, but Rae kicks Page on the back of the head and that sends Page to the floor.
Rae takes Page out with a suicide dive to the floor. Rae hits a second suicide dive. Rae manages to hit Page with a third suicide dive. Rae tries for a cover, but Page kicks out at two. Rae sends Page into the corner chest first and stuns Page with a wheelbarrow stunner. Rae continues with a side Russian leg sweep and locks in the Crossface! Page is trying to reach the ropes, but instead stands up and tosses Rae with an inside out suplex. Rae counters a powerbomb with a Code Red for a two count.
Page stops Rae in the corner and hits the Vanity Search out of the corner followed by a twisting vertical suplex for a near fall. Page has Rae on his shoulders and drives Rae into the corner a couple of times. Page heads to the middle rope with Rae still on his shoulders. Rae delivers a few elbow strikes to stop Page. Rae tries for a sunset flip powerbomb, but Page holds on. Rae superkicks Page and connects with a powerbomb for a two count! Rae delivers another superkick, but Page is fired up. Page drops Rae with a big boot, Rae pops up and superkicks Page. They trade a few kicks and Rae hits a cannonball in the corner.
Rae tries for another cannonball, but Page catches her and hits a release powerbomb for a two count. Page hits a swinging Rock Bottom and manages to get a three count to win the title. (****. The action here was fantastic. I really appreciate the fact that they didn’t start off with the usual 3-5 minutes of slow action and feeling out process. They went with big moves and hard hitting action from the get go. Page played the big guy role really well and Rae may be the best modern day underdog character in wrestling. The atmosphere with the crowd was fantastic and helped the match, too. All around, this was loads of fun.)
Ethan Page is now the eighth Freelance World Champion and he’s grabbed a microphone to call Kylie Rae back into the ring. Page says that the match was about the world title and about two wrestlers competing for it. Page says he’s been grabbing hair of wrestlers for twelve years and dismisses a comment from a female fan in the crowd suggesting he’s a misogynist. Page tells Rae that she’s not the champ and needs to get out of his ring. Page is happy to see a frown on Rae’s face and glad she’s in the real world now, bitch! This will be known as the Era of Ego. Page says they finally a talent that makes the championship matter. Jesus, Page was fantastic on that promo.
Page would successfully defend the championship against Rickey Shane Page, Brett Michael David, and in a triple threat match against Rickey Shane Page and Swoggle. Meanwhile, Rae would win a handicap match against Frank The Clown and Robert Anthony, and a singles match against Isaias Velazquez. On October 25th, 2019, Rae would win a five way number one contenders match against Craig Mitchell, Kobe Durst, Rickey Shane Page, and Tony Deppen. That win would setup a rematch against Ethan Page on November 22nd, 2019.
Freelance World Champion Ethan Page vs. Kylie Rae – Freelance The Good, The Bad, and The Smiley – November 22nd, 2019 – Chicago, IL
They lockup and Rae has a go behind on Page leading to Page spinning around, but Rae holds on. Page backs Rae into the corner and runs into a boot. Rae tries for a tornado DDT, but Page holds on and tries for a vertical suplex, but Rae counters with a rollup for a two count. Rae takes Page down with a head scissors and a running uppercut in the corner. Rae charges the corner, and Page bails to the floor. Rae dropkicks Page to the floor and hits a suicide dive!
Rae plants Page with a tornado DDT on the floor. Rae is able to roll Page into the ring and delivers a few strikes to the upper back. Rae runs around ringside and nails Page with a running boot on the apron. Rae runs around looking to do it again, but Page stops Rae and delivers a kick on the apron. Page tries for a powerbomb to the floor, but Rae counters with a dropkick to the floor. Page catches a suicide dive attempt and chokeslams Rae onto the apron.
Rae forearms Page a few times, but Page nails Rae with a back elbow. Page stomps on Rae’s left leg to keep control of the contest. Page drives Rae down with a backbreaker. Page delivers another spinning backbreaker and taunts the crowd. Page sends Rae into the corner and misses a splash. Rae hits a wheelbarrow stunner to send Page into the corner. Page boots Rae and delivers a superkick. Page comes out of the corner to drop Rae with a shoulder block.
Page tosses Rae across the ring and Rae pulls herself up in the corner. Page shoulder rams Rae in the corner a few times. Rae drops Page with a tornado DDT. They crawl to the corner on the apron and Rae delivers a forearm shot. Page has Rae on his shoulders and Rae elbows Page to break free. Rae clubs on Page in a tree of woe. Rae nails Page with a superkick two times. Page flips her off and is met with another superkick. Rae hits a running cannonball in the corner for a two count.
Page drops Rae with a vertical suplex. Rae stops Page with a forearm on the top and a headbutt. Rae delivers several headbutts on the middle rope. Rae brings Page into the ring with a vertical suplex for a two count. Rae heads to the top rope, but Page boots Rae on the top. Page hits a delayed vertical suplex off the middle rope for a near fall. Page tries for the Big Boy Bomb, but Rae counters with a head scissors. Rae accidentally superkicks the referee in the corner. Page kicks Rae and tries for a powerbomb, but Rae breaks free and kicks Page. Page overhead tosses Rae into the corner onto the referee.
Page rolls to the floor with a smirk on his face. Page has grabbed a steel chair from under the ring. Page hits Rae in the face with the chair. Page wraps the chair around Rae’s neck and sends Rae into the top turnbuckle. Page misses a chair shot and hits himself with the chair. Rae hits a German suplex and a superkick, but the referee is down. A second referee slides into the ring and Page kicks out at two.
Rae tries for a superkick, but Page counters with an attempted Rock Bottom, but Rae gets a two count with a rollup. Rae locks in the Crossface and Page is forced to tap out to win the title! Rae is celebrating her victory and the crowd rains down support for her. However, the original referee has gotten up and says the match has ended in a disqualification with Ethan Page winning the match. Remember, Rae had accidentally superkicked the referee and that led to the disqualification. (***1/4. The Dusty finish is usually a tough one to do well, but they did the best they could here. They waited long enough into Rae’s celebration to prevent it from being an obvious choice for a decision. I’m curious to see just how well the third match does. Will this finish hurt the eventual third match or will it make for an unreal atmosphere? The action this time around was slower, but still a good match overall.)
Just a few weeks later, Kylie Rae would get her rematch with Ethan Page. On December 13th, 2019 they would compete in a best two out of three falls match.
Freelance World Champion Ethan Page vs. Kylie Rae – 2/3 falls – Freelance War Is Inevitable – December 13th, 2019 – Chicago, IL
Prior to the match starting, it’s announced that Rae has asked for a new referee and the crowd pops for that. The referee was the same one that reversed the decision in their previous match.
Rae hammers away on Page in the corner with forearm strikes. Page runs out of the corner to deliver a big boot, but Rae no sells it and forearms Page several times against the ropes. Rae hits a tilt a whirl and switches to a Crossface, but Page rolls to the floor. Rae doesn’t let go and Page drives Rae back first into the guard railing a few times. Rae hits a suicide dive and rams Page into the railing back first a couple of times. Rae runs around the ring and delivers a kick to Page’s face. Rae runs around the ring a second time, but Page tries for a chokeslam onto the apron. Rae avoids it and kicks Page from the apron.
Page stops Rae with a chokeslam onto the apron. Page kicks the middle rope into Rae’s throat. Page sends Rae back first into the corner. Rae delivers a few forearms, but Page elbows Rae. Page tries for a vertical suplex, but Rae counters with a side Russian leg sweep. Rae locks in the Crossface, but Page stands up and powerslams Rae to the mat. Page stomps on Rae’s right leg to keep control of the contest. Page drives Rae down with a backbreaker.
Page has locked in a Boston Crab and stands up after grabbing Rae’s arm. Page swings Rae’s head into the bottom turnbuckle. They go to the floor where Rae forearms Page, but is sent into the railing. Page kicks Rae and drops Rae face first onto the apron. Page rolls Rae into the ring and puts a chin lock on Rae in the middle of the ring. Page switches to a sleeper hold, but Rae doesn’t stay down. Rae stops Page with a jawbreaker followed by a superkick. Page dropkicks Rae for a two count.
Page continues to work over Rae in the corner with shoulder rams. Rae elbows Page on the middle rope and tosses Page to the mat. Rae leaps off to hit a tornado DDT. Rae goes for a cover, but Page kicks out at two. Rae tries to get Page onto her shoulders, but Page counters with a butterfly suplex. Page has Rae on his shoulders and drives Rae into the corner a few times. Page goes to the middle rope, but Rae elbows Page. Rae has Page on her shoulders and plants Page with a TKO for a two count.
Rae heads to the top, but Page crotches Rae on the top rope. Page tosses Rae over head to the mat managing a two count. Page sets up for the Big Boy Bomb, but Rae counters with a hurricanrnaa and ducks a big boot. Page is able to counter Rae and hits the Big Boy Bomb to earn the first fall. Page: 1 – Rae: 0
Page stomps on Rae in the corner to keep control of the contest. Rae forearms Page in the corner and continues to deliver strikes. Rae hits a wheelbarrow stunner and delivers a superkick in the corner two times. Rae sits Page on the top turnbuckle and tries for a superplex. Rae goes to the top rope, but Page manages to scoop slam Rae off the top to the mat. Page hits a top rope Swanton bomb, but Rae kicks out at two. Page tries for a swinging Rock Bottom, but Rae pops out at two.
Page goes under the ring grabbing a steel chair. Rae low blows Page and gets an inside cradle to earn the second fall. Page: 1 – Rae: 1.
Rae hammers away on Page in the corner with several forearm strikes. Page boots Rae in the corner followed by a superkick. Rae delivers a superkick, but Page drops Rae with a running shoulder block. Page grabs Rae and looks for the Big Boy Bomb, but Rae counters looking for a backslide. Page breaks free, but Rae superkicks Page and puts a chokehold on Page. Page runs into the referee to knockdown the referee in the corner.
Rae keeps the chokehold on Page while the referee is knocked down and they fall through the middle rope to the floor. They slowly return to the ring as they stand on the apron. Rae hammers away on Page followed by a headbutt. Rae superkicks Page on the apron. Page blocks a second superkick and delivers one of his own. Page hits a cutter from the apron into the ring for a two count as the referee that had been replaced slid into the ring.
Rae arm drags Page to counter a Rock Bottom. Rae nails Page with a running cannonball in the corner. Rae tries for the move again, but Page catches Rae and tries fro the Big Boy Bomb, but Rae rolls through and locks in the Crossface! Page is forced to submit in the middle of the ring! Rae regains the championship! (***1/2. I thought this was a solid match and a fitting conclusion to the rivalry. They had a few callbacks to their previous matches and I always appreciate that. Kylie is a great underdog face and Page’s work as a dick heel was done very well.)
Each match felt different, which seems to be a rare feat in professional wrestling these days. The first encounter was hard hitting and non-stop action that had probably the best crowd reaction of the three matches. The second match was a little slower, and relied on the Dusty finish to bring us to the third match. The final bout was the strongest in telling a story as they went back to various spots throughout the previous two matches and it was able to complete the story in a fitting way.
I consider the first match the best mostly because of the pace of action, which was just constant from the bell. The crowd reaction and presentation of the match. It’s hard to keep the same level of intensity or interest over the course of several matches, especially when some spots are used in each meeting.
All three matches are entertaining and done very well. I had honestly never watched anything from Freelance prior to this, but the crowd atmosphere was fun to see while watching some quality wrestling matches.
I’d suggest getting IWTV and watch these matches, at the very least. I’m more inclined to checkout Freelance Wrestling after watching these matches. As a reminder, you can watch some backstage videos and discussion about these matches on Ethan Page’s Youtube channel.
Also, Ethan and Kylie compete for Impact Wrestling, who are holding empty arena shows during the pandemic. Impact airs on AXSTV and is available on Twitch.
Thanks for reading.