DENVER — Wrestling has long been a male dominated sport, but that's started to change in recent years on a national and local level.
In the past, women have been involved - just not as the main event. On Friday, female athletes from the Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling Academy will take part in what they say is Colorado’s first all-women's wrestling event.
9NEWS reporter Kristen Aguirre sat down with two of those women who say it’s their time to take the ring and they’re demanding a little respect.
Q. How did you get into wrestling?
Anna Powell/Bentley Powell: My dad. He was a wrestling fan since he was a kid. He got my brother into it. I got into it, just like everything else, I wanted to be just like him.
Alexandria Ortega/Allie Gato: I've been wrestling for three years. I first started training with my boyfriend, actually. He's the head coach now but I knew nothing about wrestling and he's like "babe let's just go try this place out." As soon as I saw it, I was hooked.
Q. How did you pick your name?
Bentley: We were just bouncing names off each other because we couldn’t really come up with anything and we kind of just both came up with Bentley and I don’t know why. I just thought it fit.
Allie Gato: I first came out as Allie Cat but there's a lot of other women named Allie and there's actually another wrestler in Texas with the same name. So, it was actually Mickey James, my role model who I look up to. She came out for a seminar and she's like "I like gato." So, I've always stuck with Allie Gato.
Q. How has women’s wrestling changed over the years?
Bentley: Those were the matches you would go to the bathroom and you would go get your popcorn. You didn't care. There was no storyline. They were just throwaway matches."
Allie Gato: I feel like sometimes a lot of the women matches, we get cut short or we take a back seat, "oh they're not as great as the men's wrestling," and I feel like back in the day that's how it used to be. Now, there's this whole evolution of women and it's just a really good time in the wrestling scene as a woman.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about wrestling?
Bentley: It's a sport. You have to be tough, mentally and physically. We all tell each other we're crazy for even wanting to do this."
Allie Gato: I absolutely love when my daughter is here and she gets to watch me wrestle, it's like the best feeling. She looks up to me as a woman that's empowered and strong, has fun. Once you step in that ring, you get that thrill and it just clicks.
Q. Why is Friday’s match such a big deal?
Bentley: Definitely for Colorado this is kind of the next step in the evolution of women's wrestling
Allie Gato: It's exciting to me because we get to put women's wrestling on the map in Colorado. It's all about us. We get to shine. We get to be who we are. Back in the day it used to be like, "oh the women it's all about the mud and the oil wrestling and it's all sexy and they don't know how to actually work. They don't know how to wrestle." It's not like that anymore.
Q. Anything else?
Bentley: None of us would be where we are without each other. I hope one day it's not women's wrestling, it's not an all-women's promotion, it's just a promotion.
Allie Gato: There's a lot of great women who have started this evolution and paved the way for the rest of us. We can be athletes, we can be better than some of the men. We can hang with the men.
Listen to the extended interview with Allie Gato below.