To say out pro wrestler Jamie Senegal has carved out a space in the mind of anyone that has seen her in the ring would be an understatement. Whether it’s her extreme athleticism, the spectacle of her crashing through a flaming door or sharing her gender identity journey in the ring, Senegal endears herself to audiences as one of the brashest and most loving faces of the LGBTQ pro wrestling movement.
That ability now has Senegal stepping into a place in history on Saturday. She will become the first out trans woman to ever wrestle under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) banner in its 73-year history at the company’s all-women’s event, NWA EmPowerrr.
Alongside her manager Pollo Del Mar, the first drag performer to appear on NWA programming, Senegal will enter the 10-women NWA Women’s Invitational Cup with a shot at the NWA Women’s Worlds championship at Sunday’s NWA 73 event on the line.
Senegal joins fellow LGBTQ pro wrestlers Kiera Hogan, Diamante and Leyla Hirsch on the card.
The significance of the moment isn’t lost on Senegal, even if it hasn’t sunk in just yet.
“I get a lot of highs and lows with it because I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is happening.’ And I’m like, up here. I can’t believe it. Then sometimes I feel like it’s a dream and I don’t even feel like it’s really happening,” she said on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring.
“When I hear other people talk about it, it sounds so crazy,” she added. “To be on a platform as a trans athlete, a trans sports entertainer, is the coolest thing ever. I don’t think I would want it any other way. I think that is the gift sent straight from heaven.”
Senegal has built her name over the past six years in all facets of wrestling, chopping it up with the technical practitioners while also becoming a common fixture in the no-ring deathmatch world of Orlando-based promotion No Peace Underground. But no matter what ring she's in, a common thread is her devotion to the Divas era of WWE - a mid-2000s period oft-derided by cishet wrestling fans, but has proven inspirational to countless LGBTQ pro wrestlers.
The Diva image inspires both Senegal’s in-ring ability and her gender identity goals.
“I want to be serving 2007 for the rest of my life,” Senegal chuckled.
That connection to the Divas era that Senegal shares with other LGBTQ wrestlers, including Candy Lee, Eddy McQueen and Cassius among so many others, makes her entry onto the NWA stage more personally gratifying.
Former WWE Divas and Women’s champion Mickie James is producing NWA EmPowerrr and personally selected Senegal to participate at the event.
“To have someone like Mickie James be able to be in the forefront and bring us all in, it totally solidifies and validates the fact that I am a diva,” Senegal said. “It’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
“Everyone always says that the Divas suck and they weren’t good wrestlers and stuff. Those women are gold mines - wealths of knowledge,” she said. “They know how to work the business. They know how to do everything and they wanted to learn how to do everything. For them to embrace the new kids with open arms and give us this opportunity because they believe in us is the most amazing thing ever.”
Connecting with James also brought Senegal closer to one of her favorite Divas and in-ring inspirations, Ashley Massaro. Senegal regularly embeds tributes to Massaro on her ring gear as a means of honoring her and keeping her memory alive following her untimely death in 2019.
“I found out about Mickie because of Ashley when I was a child. So, especially to have someone who worked so close with her, that’s so full circle,” Senegal said. “It’s very important to me that I keep Ashley alive.”
Most of all, though, Senegal wants NWA EmPowerrr to be a beacon for what a large portion of pro wrestling audiences already know: women’s and LGBTQ pro wrestling are legitimate.
“I really want to prove the people that don’t believe in us, think that we don’t deserve our own pay-per-view and think that women’s wrestling doesn’t make money wrong,” Senegal said. “I know every girl on that roster feels the same way … we are going to go down in history as one of the greatest, most historical women’s wrestling moments.”
NWA EmPowerrr airs live on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 8pm ET on FiteTV.
Listen to the full interview with Jamie Senegal on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring. Download and listen to new episodes every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other podcast services.