We stand with Shazza
“In October 2010, during my 2nd year of wrestling, I was backstage at a Melbourne wrestling promotion where Mario Milano was also present. Out of respect, I approached Mario to introduce myself when he suggested that he put his signature abdominal stretch on me. While he had me in the hold, my arms trapped behind his leg and arm, he groped me in front of the locker room. This incident was not only degrading but publically embarrassing.
At the time, I was 22 years of age, fresh in the business and was told to keep my story private because “he was a wrestling veteran”. To add to the point, the wrestlers who saw this incident have laughed throughout the years at this because “what a great rib”.
This is not a rib. This is not a joke. This is sexual assault.”
This is the opening to a public post on Shazza McKenzie’s Facebook page who opened up on a sexual assualt she claims to have experienced in 2010.
Shazza is no stranger to us at FNX, we have been in contact for years and this is the first time I’ve heard this recount of an appalling action. It saddens me that a person I’ve known to be nothing but friendly, professional, and of outstanding character has experienced something not only so violating and repulsive but to be covered up by others because you “don’t wreck a legends career”.
That’s not okay, that’s not understandable. That’s enabling a sick culture that has been finally exposed by the #MeToo movement. That “excuse” is, for the lack of a better word: Bullshit.
I’m no wrestler. But as a fan, as a spectator, as someone that has been associated with the industry for as long as I have – trust is everything. There’s a fine line between a broken neck and a well executed spot in the ring – that comes from trust. The people you work with have to be trusted otherwise you don’t have this industry and it seems the line of acceptable and horrendous has been tested by people who assume self-warranted power because of the number of matches they’ve dealt. Without trust, we don’t have wrestling.
To be regarded as a legend in this industry it does not mean you get a free pass, if anything it means you have to work the hardest to exhibit all that is good in this industry. All eyes are on you, you represent the industry. To many people you are the industry. A legend status isn’t permanent, you must maintain integrity even in the years after your last match.
If Milano’s reputation is damaged, it is not because of a self-made female superstar who has travelled Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Malaysia and even earned an appearance on WWE’s NXT brand… it is his own undoing because trust is everything.
If you want to be seen as a respectable legend, be a respectable legend. Take responsibility, own your actions, live how you want to be seen and don’t expect anything because of status.
To Shazza: mate, you are a true legend, we at FNX have immense respect for you, your talent and workmanship. You didn’t deserve the assault, you didn’t deserve to be ignored by the locker room, you don’t deserve to be ridiculed for speaking out and you don’t deserve to be ostracised for speaking the truth on the matter – ‘legend’ involved or not.
To read her full post, click the link above or use the embedded post below.
- If this story has caused you distress and you wish to speak to someone regarding sexual assualt, domestic/family violence or counselling, please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit 1800respect.org.au
- Image Source: Shazza McKenzie’s Facebook Page