Transgender professional wrestler Gisele Shaw has alleged that industry legend Rick Steiner hurled transphobic insults at her during their recent attendance at WrestleCon 2023.
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A male-to-female transgender individual who currently competes in Impact Wrestling’s women’s division, Shaw claimed that on March 31st – coincidentally the same date as the ‘International Transgender Day of Visibility’ – “I was at an autograph signing event today at WrestleCon and while I was walking to my table, I hear someone yelling ‘you’re a man,’ ‘you’re a dude,’ ‘you’re a piece of trash,’ ‘You are filth,’ ‘get the f*ck away from here!'”
“I kept my head down and kept walking as I did not want to acknowledge that hate,” the wrestler further recalled. “When I arrived at my table, I spoke to another IMPACT Wrestling talent who was at the signing with me and mentioned the incident. “It didn’t sit well with me and I wanted to know who was saying that because it’s unacceptable, so I decided to take a walk in that area and I hear that same person saying the same derogatory comments.”
It saddens me to have to write this but I feel it must be shared. #InternationalTransgenderDayofVisibility pic.twitter.com/XMrDMJTgGv
— ⋆𝕲𝖎𝖘𝖊𝖑𝖊 𝕾𝖍𝖆𝖜⋆ (@GiseleShaw08) April 1, 2023
According to Shaw, it was then that she supposedly discovered that the one shouting insults was none other than WWE Hall of Famer and one-half of the legendary ‘The Steiner Brothers’ tag-team, Rick Steiner.
“I was shocked and could not believe that this was even happening,” said Shaw. “To have someone saying these comments who a lot of people look up to and consider their hero was quite shocking and disheartening. I was in disbelief so I asked him, ‘excuse me?!’ He kept repeating those hateful phrases and started yelling at me in a public setting. It was inexcusable and unacceptable!”
“Another disappointing part about this whole incident was that there were other wrestling legends who just sat there, turned their heads away, did not want to get involved, or stand up for what’s right because it involved ‘one of the boys,” she continued. “Judging from that experience, it was more important for them to watch something wrong go down as [opposed] to standing up for someone who’s being bullied and doing what’s write.”
“I am not writing this because I want sympathy,” Shaw then clarified. “I am writing this because I am done being bullied to silence. Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility and I am standing up for myself and for other people who go through the exact same situation on a daily basis. I want everyone to know what kind of a deplorable person Rick Steiner is and that this cannot be tolerated. This keeps happening because people let it slide and do not take any action. If you do business with these types of people then I will not do business with you.”
Drawing her statement to a close, the wrestler declared, “I want to thank all my IMPACT peers who were present during the incident and tried to diffuse the situation.”
“Unfortunately a member of that same peer group was also verbally accosted by Rick Steiner being called a ‘f—-t’ earlier in the day,” she concluded. “I am very fortunate to be working alongside such incredible people in a company that has no room for hate, bullying or judgement. We’re not just co-workers, but a family.”
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Following Shaw’s publication of her statement, Impact Wrestling announcer Gia Miller backed up her account, declaring via Twitter, “For the people that demand witnesses? Fine. I am the other talent she spoke to. And I walked with her, arm in arm, and looked straight into Rick’s face as he called her an ‘freak’ and an ‘piece of trash’ and ‘a dude.'”
“I am only ONE of the people that saw this happen,”said Miller. “What would this beautiful, talented woman who already has a fulfilling career have to gain from holding someone accountable? This isn’t about canceling anyone, it’s about not letting crappy people get away with being hateful to other humans.”
“And let it be known,” ultimately asserted the announcer,”I do not want this situation to be made about me. I am a cis woman that has never had to experience the struggles, discrimination, and hate that trans women experience on a daily basis. Gisele is my sister. I will always stand up for her.
Likewise, AEW star Chris Jericho asserted in his reply Shaw’s sharing of her story on Instagram, “Hey! Don’t even worry about this. #RickSteiner has always been a bully and has gotten away with so much because he is a ‘Steiner.'”
“Makes me laugh cause I fell for the same s–t when he bullied me, Eddie, Chris, Oscar, Juvie, etc at World War 3 1997!!” said Jericho. “I got your back Gisele Shaw …and if Rick has issues with this, I’d love to discuss with him anytime. It’s 2023 dude…grow the f–k up!”
Eventually, Shaw’s account of the incident would go viral, prompting the WrestleCon organizers to try unsuccessfully to make contact with Steiner.
However, though they were unable to get in touch with him, WrestleCon made it known that the father of current WWE NXT superstar Bron Breakker had been banned from all of their related events.
“WrestleCon regrets the events that took place at yesterday’s convention and apologizes to Gisele Shaw,” wrote the event organizers in a statement shared to their official Twitter account. “We aim to promote a safe and inclusive environment for all LGBTQAI+ members of the wrestling community. The issue has been addressed and we hope the remainder of the convention can be a positive experience for all.”
WrestleCon regrets the events that took place at yesterday’s convention and apologizes to Gisele Shaw. We aim to promote a safe and inclusive environment for all LGBTQAI+ members of the wrestling community. The issue has been addressed and we hope the remainder of the convention…
— WrestleCon – LA March 30-April 2 2023 (@wrestlecon) April 1, 2023
As of writing, Steiner has not commented on the accusations leveled against him by Shaw.
Additionally, there has been no conclusive evidence provided by any party which confirms that Steiner was in fact responsible for the comments directed towards Shaw.
As noted above, Steiner, along with his real life brother Scott, were once known in the world of pro-wrestling as the legendary tag team ‘The Steiner Brothers’, having won multiple championships the world over with various promotions such as World Championship Wrestling (WCW), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF/E).
The pair were eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1st, 2022, with Rick’s son Bron Breakker – who lost his championship defending match to Carmelo at NXT’s Stand & Deliver shortly after Shaw’s allegations against his father went viral, though it is unknown if they had anything to do with this development – presenting them the honors.
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