Exclusive Interview: LuFisto Speaks Out Regarding The Intentional Mislabeling Of CZW Women’s Wrestling Content
The Veteran Speaks Strongly About CZW's Inaction
Professional Wrestling veteran LuFisto has had a storied career, becoming one of the faces of the reemergence of women in North America being presented as athletes rather than arm pieces and divas. She was the first woman to compete in the Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) Cage of Death match at Cage of Death VIII: Coming Undone against John Zandig, Nick Gage, and Lobo. LuFisto is also the only woman to win a title in CZW after becoming CZW Iron Man Champion in 2006. She has also been a LLF Extremo Champion, NCW Femmes Fatales Champion, WSU World Champion, and SHINE Champion.
She recently spoke out calling attention CZW matches featuring female professional wrestlers being marketed as studio clip style custom matches by the third-party Stonecutter Media owned by Steve Karel, the organization that purchased the footage for distribution on Pay Per View (PPV).
“No, never.” LuFisto began her answer in response to being asked if CZW alerted her that they didn’t control over the marketing for the PPV content. “I wasn’t aware of anything until a fan tagged me in a tweet that said along the lines of “Labeling LuFisto Vs Mercedes Martinez as a sweaty catfight is disgusting”. He then gave me the link and that’s where I first discovered that we had be rebranded using words usually reserved to the adult industry and fetish websites.”
In response to a question concerning if she ever had issues with CZW management in the past (the company is currently owned by DJ Hyde, with Dave Marquez holding a partial ownership stake) she responded:
Never. I actually always saw CZW as a place where I grew as a performer and where I was allowed to push my limits and fight as an equal, especially during the John Zandig days from 2006 to 2009. Then, I worked with their female brand, Women Superstars Uncensored (later United) with booker Blake Thomas who constantly made a constant effort to promote the women with a lot of respect and to give them a powerful image.
The following video published by LuFisto is referenced in the next question.
The following response came after LuFisto was asked, “You mentioned in the video that it took numerous messages to even get a response from CZW management, why do you feel they’ve been silent about the situation?”
The day the fan reached out, I posted something saying “CZW, what the hell?” CZW reached out saying they respected me but couldn’t do anything about it despite trying. They had sold the footage and that’s how they wanted to rebrand us. We went back and forth for a few messages until I got tired of their excuses.
Out of respect for our past, I decided to wait a little before doing anything, hoping they would change their mind and advertise us accordingly on their upcoming PPV releases, When I saw they were doing the exact same thing, I decided to post the video calling them out because obviously, private messaged didn’t work.
“Definitely. It brings us back to us being an attraction only, a piece of meat instead of an athlete,” LuFisto said when asked if CZW’s actions are belittling the hard work those like herself have done in the past two decades to help women’s role in professional wrestling grow in North America. “As professional wrestlers, we showed up to CZW and WSU to be part of a professional wrestling show and agreed to be part of a sport-entertainment event. We gave them the OK to use our names and likenesses for this sole purpose only. Never did anyone accepted to be branded the way they did.”
LuFisto would continue, “Don’t get me wrong, yes some women are very sexy and selling revealing pictures but that is a personal choice of THEIRS. It doesn’t give any promotion to promote them as anything else than professional wrestlers without their consent to do so.”
CZW has briefly addressed the situation.
Combat Zone Wrestling's Official Statement on PPV Titles. pic.twitter.com/ikY9FLbjBm
— CZW Combat Zone Wrestling (@combatzone) May 19, 2020
The above reads, “Two years ago, CZW entered into a licensing agreement with a national media distributor to license CZW and WSU footage. That company has the right to utilize the footage without limitation. They have repackaged and renamed shows as it is their right to do so. Our athletes, regardless of gender, are just that, athletes, whom we are proud of and appreciate. We stand behind the ring action in all our footage.”
Conversations have begun surrounding a potential lawsuit against CZW regarding the promoted material through Stone Cutter Media.
*Neither CZW nor Stonecutter Media responded to requests for comment.