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Out pro wrestler Dark Sheik’s Fearless event marks a return and evolution in the name of empowerment

Dark Sheik is ready to unleash her close-knit community of Fearless pro wrestling ‘superheroes’ to celebrate Pride.

Dark Sheik
(From left) Vipress, Dark Sheik and Ashton Starr
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It’s been 15 long months since the last time out pro wrestler and Hoodslam owner Dark Sheik ran a wrestling event, but that will soon be rectified as the High Priestess of the Church of Wrestling will revive Hoodslam’s Pride month event, Fearless, on Friday, June 25.

Fearless marks Dark Sheik’s return to pro wrestling promotion, something she knew very well prior to the pandemic.

Over its decade of existence, Hoodslam expanded from a monthly event that took over the Oakland Metro Operahouse every first Friday to a weekly event, often running multiple shows under the Hoodslam banner every week. The pandemic forced Dark Sheik into some much-needed downtime outside of several notable wrestling appearances, but that period proved to be bittersweet and introspective.

“There’s a little bit of responsibility, accountability and effort that goes into putting on one, if not two or three events, in a weekend,” Dark Sheik told Outsports. “Maybe you just want a Friday night sometimes to yourself or with a loved one. To be able to get that downtime, something that I never knew when it would come doing the show every week, it was nice. It sucked to lose my job, source of income and my passion, but, at the same time. I didn’t know when I was ever going to get a break like that ... I still get bummed every first Friday. In some ways every Friday.

“My life has been changed the entire time too. As has everyone’s life. The only constant is change. I hope to be able to adapt and define my place now because it was never my goal to do a show every week … it just kind of became my place,” she added. “It’s not my goal to rush back to somewhere I used to be. It is my goal to once more find where I belong.”

Fearless represents the first step in that process for Dark Sheik, stretching her promotional muscles once more to build anew after relocating to Las Vegas during the pandemic. Dark Sheik is quick to note that Fearless doesn’t represent the return of Hoodslam proper.

“I knew the first Hoodslam show back had to be in Oakland,” Dark Sheik said. Instead, the timing lined up perfectly to bring back Fearless after a two-year hiatus to showcase major names, rising stars and Dark Sheik’s own close friends in the LGBTQ pro wrestling community.

“I want to see Ashton [Starr] again. I want to see Edith Surreal some more. A bunch more that actually aren’t even on this show. I’m not made of money. I can’t fly the whole world into Vegas,” Dark Sheik chuckled.

But, much like the life changes Dark Sheik experienced, her motivations for hosting an LGBTQ Pride wrestling event have evolved as well. Hoodslam has been a bastion of LGBTQ representation in pro wrestling since its creation in 2010 without blanketing itself in such messages. It was just the status quo. But 2019 gave Dark Sheik added motivation for creating an event specific to the LGBTQ population.

“2019 was the year I came out,” Dark Sheik said. “My motivations now are a little different. Before, I wanted to bring in these people to the West Coast, like Edith Surreal or EFFY, that had never wrestled in the Bay Area. Now, I want to hang out with my friends again … I didn’t know everybody that well back then.

“We’re all really tight. There’s a bunch of us now, and it’s growing. There is so much love and respect between this community. I haven’t had that before,” she added. “To actually have a community that embraces me - that I can give back to in some small way through these events - it’s wonderful.”

This community, which Dark Sheik refers to as “a bunch of goddamn superheroes without mercy,” speaks to the meaning Fearless holds both in the event’s name and spirit. Dark Sheik invokes images of the Stonewall riots when discussing the event’s name, but also defines it by the power of coming out and overcoming the fear of living as one sees themselves.

She points to figures like Mariah Moreno and Pollo Del Mar as being trailblazers in this way for the West Coast’s LGBTQ pro wrestling community.

“[Pride month] is a time when a lot of people are really finding the community, energy and love to express who they want to be. That takes a lot of guts and courage. The name Fearless, maybe you can argue it’s the presence of fear that makes it courageous and I accept that,” Dark Sheik said. “I love X-Men, and there is a line Magneto says to Mystique: ‘How can you expect them to accept you, if you can’t accept yourself?’ That is what makes her just want to be blue all the time. It’s something that I tell myself all the time.

“It’s one thing to be myself at a show surrounded by people cheering me. It’s another thing to be myself and go to the supermarket, putting myself in a vulnerable place.”

She added: “I don’t want to tell anyone how to live their journey because it’s all valid and none of it is to be judged, but, for me, I want to be fearless. I don’t want to be afraid to be myself. Other people can’t handle who I am. That is more judgment on what they’re afraid of than what I am.”

That meaning will certainly translate to the in-ring action at Fearless itself, as West Coast wrestlers like Viva Van and Brittany Wonder mix with the heavy hitters of the LGBTQ pro wrestling scene. Perhaps no match symbolizes that more than the expected chaos when Funny Bone and EFFY battle one-on-one.

“I think a lot of people know Funny Bone but a lot of new people are going to see Funny Bone, and if you’ve seen Funny Bone, you know why that’s gonna be cool,” Dark Sheik said with excitement. “He’s your Demigod of Death and you didn’t even know it.”

No matter what, Fearless will be about empowerment for its participants, both in the ring and watching along, or, as Dark Sheik puts it, “This is a league of people that are going to take over the world.”

Dark Sheik’s Fearless streams live on Hoodslam’s Twitch channel on Friday, June 25, at 11pm ET/8pm PT.