The Grand Prize championship, the highest honor attainable at the ballroom-meets-pro-wrestling event “Paris Is Bumping”, changed hands twice Saturday as part of a historic closing night at Pro Wrestling VIBE’s “Pride & VIBE Weekend” festival.
The third edition of PIB lived up to its “The Legends Ball” subtitle as the first title change came early in the night when Dark Sheik challenged inaugural champion Darius Carter. Carter entered the match just one day after defeating PIB creator Billy Dixon at “Cassandro Cup II,” sending him into retirement.
Sheik invoked both Dixon’s name and that of Mariah Moreno, who retired just days before her scheduled main event match at Saturday’s festivities, and avenged both of them, claiming the obscenely large Grand Prize championship trophy in the process.
After being inducted into the LGBTQ pro wrestling hall of fame — Paris Honors — later that night, Dark Sheik carried the championship into the first all-trans-femme main event in pro wrestling history. With the trophy on the line, Sheik, Edith Surreal and Candy Lee battled one another all over the building, much to the delight of the crowd and judges.
Candy Lee took advantage of the reignition of a long-standing rivalry between Sheik and Surreal to hit her stunning split leg drop from the top rope to win the title. Referee Crystal, who is a trans woman as well, made the count as a wrestling ring full of trans women absorbed the eruption of cheers and joyful tears.
As Lee vogued herself to the mat and back in celebration of the win (and the addition to her boat fund), Dixon entered the ring to give all four women bouquets and hoisted the transgender Pride flag behind the quartet, creating an image for those in attendance and watching live on IWTV that immortalized the power of trans individuals in pro wrestling.