Society & Culture:Relationships
Healing From Emotional Abuse: Wrestling Speaking Out: with BCP and Wiggy Wigowski
ROB: Alright ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to a very special edition of the BCP/Breaking Through our Silence tag team connection here as always with my partner and Marissa. We need it more than ever right now. She is Amazon award winning multiple time bestseller. My good friend Miss Marissa Cohen. Marissa, what's up over there?
MARISSA: Hey, it's snowed in Chicago yesterday, which really sucks.
ROB: That's crazy. Everything's been so crazy lately. There's a lot of drama in the Wrestling World. For me personally, this couldn't be a better time. Marissa, thank you as always for everything. And more importantly, we got to welcome our special guests at this time. She's a podcaster, shout out fellow podcaster. Known for the CZW Podcast also works with CZW. I'm very appreciative right now for Miss Wiggy Wigowski taking the time to talk to us about the Speaking Out Movement. Wiggy, how are you? Welcome.
WIGGY: Hey, I'm great. And I'm in Canada and it did not snow yesterday. So...
MARISSA: How did it miss you but hit me?
ROB: So you said you're a Maple Leaf's person but are you a Raptors first?
WIGGY: I'm not a big basketball fan. I cheer for the Raptors because they're Toronto's team.
ROB: It's all about the [inaudible 01:13] up there?
WIGGY: I'm huge Jays fan. So...
ROB: Okay, I got you. Good for you. But I've been to a Blue Jays game. That's awesome. And I can't wait till the world is back to normal and we can start and we can start going to these games and things again. But we thank you so much for taking a few minutes. It's very interesting to me because as we reach out to people, we talk to people about the speaking out movement, a lot of people are either like, yeah, I'm in like, let me know. And a lot of people are like, hey, no thank you, end of conversation. Which I get from both sides, and Wiggy you, from the get go have been very, like, whatever you guys need, let me know when, I have no problem speaking out about things that had happened, speaking out about things that happened to other people. Kind of just tell us your philosophy going into this because I know a lot of people have a lot of fear talking about things or being blackballed, which I completely understand. But kind of tell us your philosophy going into this.
WIGGY: Well, early on, when all the sisters were coming out I was kind of up in the air but telling my story. I talked to DJ Hyde, my boss, my very good friend, he owns CZW. He knew I had bad experiences with Chikara and I said, listen, other people have had these things, I want to back them up. And he was like, go for it. So I told my story. I like to think I held absolutely nothing back. Because personally, for me, I realized -- I take responsibility for this, this is one thing I tried to make very clear. I take responsibility for my actions. I made a lot of stupid choices, a lot of bad decisions, but they were mine. You know, I made them, I own them. And I was embarrassed about it, for a number of different ways. But then I kind of realized like, this is not my shame. So I have nothing to be ashamed of. This is shame for being the kind of person to do the things that he did. Are we naming names here or...?
MARISSA: Only if you want to.
ROB: Up to you, whatever you're comfortable with?
WIGGY: I mean, I already named it. It was Kobald from Chikara, Anthony Wilson. And so I kind of told my story and I realized nothing was going to happen to me. I'm much more peripherally involved in wrestling then wrestlers are and like you said, I very well understand the fear of being blackballed, or being on a show where your accuser is at, of just not being believed, which has been the case for so many years up until now. So I kind of realized, listen my involvement in wrestling, CZW they've got my back here. So nothing's going to happen to me. And I made the decision that -- I basically have the general life philosophy that if something shitty happens, you can just feel shitty about it and let it be, or you can learn from it and use it to do something good going forward. And one makes it worthwhile having happened and the other just leaves the shitty situation forever. So I decided, I'm in a position that I'm sure a lot of people wish they could be in to be able to speak up with what happened to them. So I publicly posted that anyone who has a story, but is afraid to tell it for any reason whatsoever, that I would be their voice. Send it to me, I will post it anonymously, I will make sure that people know what happened to them and they don't have to live in fear because of it.
ROB: That's amazing. And talk about that response. You mentioned not only speaking out for yourself, but speaking out for others who felt that they couldn't, which I've seen first-hand as Marissa and I move forward. Like I mentioned, a lot of people are very just like, hey, no, thank you. I understand the hesitation. So when you put that out there, you speak out for yourself. Now you're like I'm going to speak out for everybody else. What was the response you got from that?
WIGGY: Oh, it was very positive, it was very good. I very quickly received a couple messages. I saved everything. I still talk to some of the people. I have messages on Facebook and on Twitter. I got a couple early. And I posted them exactly as they sent it to me. What I did do, and I also want to be really clear about this is, I didn't post anything about anybody who hadn't already been called out. Because the sad thing is, and this is absolutely nothing against any of the people who did reach out to me, but there are people out there who will use a movement like this vindictively. And so I wanted to be very careful that I didn't falsely accuse anybody. So if somebody had already been called out, and this was merely verifying that, and just another person saying, yes. So we were all validating each other's stories. That's what I wanted to do. I didn't post anything that involved anybody else. I did have one incident where somebody had sent me a message that I believe involved like either four or six different people. I posted it. And I absolutely want to give him his props for being so kind with the way he reached out. Eric Corvis was an Indie Wrestler from New Jersey area.
ROB: Yeah. I played him [inaudible 07:38] the ring.
WIGGY: Yeah. Oh, cool. Okay. He reached out and he said, I'd like to explain. And he was so awesome. He was like, the first thing he said in the message was, I'm not messaging you to attack you. Which I mean, bang on. That is a guy who knows how to handle a situation like this. And he said, I just want to let you know that the story that you're told, that my involvement in it is false. And he explained what was wrong with the story. And he gave me people the backup his version of it. And I was like, oh my God, I'm so sorry. I said, I had no idea. Four of the other people in the message had already been called out, which was the reason I posted it. Like I said, I confirmed that his involvement had been elaborated, and he was innocent. And I posted very clearly, I'm like, I am so sorry. I did not mean for him to get dragged in with these other people who had already been accused. He is entirely innocent, his story has been verified. I am so sorry. And he publicly liked it was, he was so kind with the way he did everything. And he didn't get defensive, he didn't get aggressive. And that made just all the difference in the world. He didn't come at me hot with anything. And that was that was the only instance. So other than that one, which as I said, the only reason I posted it is because four people had already been accused in it. But other than that, if somebody -- and there was a couple stories I didn't post because I couldn't verify that they were true. And I like I said, I didn't want to take somebody's word for it that I didn't know from like, the next guy. Because the only way that a movement like this works is if it's 100% honest. If there's false accusations or vindictive accusations, something like this is so fragile, because it's the first time it's happened where so many people felt comfortable coming forward with abuse allegations in various forms - physical, mental, emotional, sexual. It's such a fragile thing that it takes so little to damage the credibility. And once you damage credibility, the old school thinking comes in, like, oh nah, it's bullshit, just being made up. And I wanted very much to contribute to the good that this could do. And I wanted to make sure that I wasn't the person to accidentally bring it down.
MARISSA: That's awesome. And I'm glad that you took those extra steps to keep yourself and the survivors safe. And even on top of what you said, the reason for you not posting it was you didn't want the movement to be impacted. You could also having had no other accusations to that person have almost outed a survivor.
WIGGY: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And like that, I mean, obviously, that was like, the most important thing. And there were a couple of people who did reach out who wanted to be vague about their stories. They didn't want to take the chance of their story being recognized. And that's another key thing, especially if you're the only person who calls out a certain individual. And if it's true, and I mean, I have no reason to believe that it's not. Wanting to verify, doesn't mean I didn't believe them. It meant that I needed proof that it happened, it had nothing to do with not believing a victim. It had everything to do with I need somebody else to verify that this happened. I can't just post he said - she said. If you're the only person calling out calling an individual, it's going to pretty easy to guess who you are. And I mean, obviously, that would go against the entire point of what I was trying to do. If I'm trying to offer these people a little bit of protection, if I posted such a unique story, that outs them, well then, I mean, their story would get out there, but then at what cost?
MARISSA: Right, you could still be isolating that person anyways.
WIGGY: Yeah, for sure. I mean, and in some extreme cases, potentially putting them in danger.
MARISSA: Right. Would you be comfortable if I asked you to tell us your story? Or at least some of it?
WIGGY: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Like I said earlier, when it came time to decide if I was going to tell my story or not, I decided that I made the bad decisions, I made the bad choices but it wasn't my shame. It was his shame for what he did. So I had no reason to not tell my story if it would help somebody else. So yeah, my story involves Anthony Wilson, Kobald from Chikara. Obviously, not anymore, I don't think either exists anymore. The character, not the person. I invited him on my show. Besides CZW, my long running shows Pantsless Radio. And that's going, not consecutively. But it started in, like, 10 years ago, which is crazy to think that I wasted so much my life doing this. Joking, I'm joking. But yeah, Rob is kind of like, but yeah, I understand what you mean. So I invited him to my show, he was great. We started talking after that, we really hit it off. Shortly after that, Chikara had a show up here just outside Toronto. I went to it, I met him. It was really good. This is all entirely in character. He never said a word outside of his character voice. But then we started talking outside of wrestling and stuff, I had offered to help promote them. He was part of the Batiri [14:45] and I'm very, very clear about this. The other two members of the Batiri [14:39], who are Chris Peaks, and Louis Valley, they were fantastic to me then. And they have been even kinder to me now. They are two absolute stand up guys, and I could not be more thrilled for the success that they've had recently. So, anything I talked about, they had absolutely no knowledge of. They were like, completely sideswiped when all these stories came out. But at the same time, they were New York guys and he was a Pennsylvania guy. So they kind of made their own way to Philly shows and Jersey shows and stuff themselves. They only traveled together when they were outside of that area. So we started talking more and more, and eventually, we started talking on Skype, just as him, as himself. We got to where we're talking twice a week, and we really hit it off. And there was a lot of flirting. And I offered to make them a website. I was building websites at the time too. So I made them a website. I was basically like going -- anything I could do to help them I would do. And this was 2012. September of 2012 was king of trios. And over the summer, him and I, honestly, it really felt like we were dating. Just the way we would talk when we talked, he would compliment me, we had all these like little inside jokes and it just felt like a relationship. Neither one of us said anything, but it just very much felt like a blossoming relationship. We decided that I was going to come down for trios, and I was going to stay for, I think, eight days. And I was so excited. We were going to spend all this time together. Basically, it was going to solidify our relationship. And it was great. And a little bit before that happened, I had made a joke. We were talking and I made a joke about being single. And he goes, Oh, I'm not single. And it was like being hit by a truck.
I was like, what? And he said, I'm not single. I'm sorry. I don't believe he actually said I should have told you, he just said I'm sorry. So I was like, oh, okay, well, you're treating me like your girlfriend and apparently you have another girlfriend. So this is great, thanks. But I decided, okay, I'm going to go for my trip anyways. Basically, I couldn't cancel because it was all prepaid. If I had to cancel I would have lost all the money. So I'm like, okay, I'm going to go, I've got other friends who are going to be there, so that's fine. I got there on a Tuesday night, he picked me up at the airport, which was the first time I saw him unmasked. He drove me to my hotel. He held my hand in the car the entire way there. We talked and we listened to music, and it was fantastic. He came into my hotel with me, he helped me get settled. And I mean, this is like after midnight, by the time this all happened. When he left, he literally tucked me into bed, told me a bedtime story, and was like I'll see you tomorrow.
So I think you can understand why I was still confused to this situation. Like, okay, well, if you're not single, do you do this with all of your friends? Do you go to [inaudible 18:50] place at night and tuck him into bed and kiss him on the forehead? He very much kept things confusing. The next day he came over, we hung out in my room. He showed me pictures of his wife. Yeah, he had told me he wasn't single, he had not mentioned that he was married. I mean, I literally sat there as he was showing me happy pictures of him and his wife on his phone. And I thought I was going to be sick. I told him that I didn't want to see anymore because it hurt me and he got mad at me. And this is where the gas lighting started. And I didn't even know what gas lighting was, I didn't have slightest clue. He told me basically that you know, like, I shouldn't be jealous and he's so happily married, and his wife is a lovely person and basically like, how dare I not be a supportive friend to him telling me about her, and he left. Where I was staying, I was in Easton. So it was far from where all of my other friends were, plus it was through the week, so everybody's at work anyways. So he basically when he left me, I was left alone. I had no transportation, I didn't know where I was, I wasn't familiar with the town at all. And I wasn't in an area where I could just kind of go out for a walk. So he basically isolated me and he left me there for over a day with no communication. And I very much had a breakdown. I was contacting friends, I was hysterical. I was like, oh my God he's never going to speak to me again. I'm so stupid, I should have just shut up and looked at the pictures of his wife.
And eventually, he came back about a day and a half later, he came back over at night, and acted like nothing had happened. So I was like so relieved. But I mean, the message had very clearly gotten to me. For lack of better phrasing, don't cross him or he'll just ditch me again. King of trios happened. The first night, which is great, I got to meet up with a bunch of my friends at the show. After the show, a bunch of the guys, the Chikara guys and some other people went to a bar after the show, and went drinking. I went there with a girlfriend of mine. We got there late. I started drinking. I had a few drinks in a very short period of time. Again, my decision. I was very stressed so the idea of the idea of getting a little drunk was not a bad one at that point, as far as I was concerned. I hadn't eaten because I had been so upset from everything that had been going on. So I got really drunk really quickly. And he decided to play a really fun game of let's see what the drunk girl will do. He told me to make out with my girlfriend, who I went to the bar with. I did. We were there until closing. We left. There's another girl who I casually knew, he told me I should make it with her too, on the middle of the street, which I did. And there was a guy, and he was like, you should go kiss him. And I was like, no. And he goes, come on. He's probably never had a kiss in this life, just go kiss him on the cheek. So I did. I thought I was pleasing him. He then became furious with me for my behavior. I was horrible person, I had embarrassed him, I had humiliated myself and he stormed off. And I was so wasted, I had no idea what was going on, except he was mad at me again. I had screwed up again. Because he was mad at me again. My girlfriend drove me to a hotel, I sobbed in the car the entire way. I was like, how do I fix this? How do I fix this? I was like, who can I call to fix this? Maybe if I call one of the guys they could call him and tell him how sorry I am. I got to my hotel, I slept a bit that night and we had to go.
The following day was Saturday and there was a big like Fan Fest thing for the day. So I went there, I met my friends. I felt like just absolute garbage. Just garbage. And it was strictly emotionally from how upset he was. And I kept saying with my friend, but they wanted to go over there. And I was like, I stayed very quiet. I didn't want to make him any angrier at me than he already was. Finally, near the end of the afternoon, I was over by where they were. And my friends had walked away. And he leaned over and he said, you're lucky, I'm even speaking to you right now. And which, again, that was just another shot. You know, every time something like this came up, it was like just being punched in the face. I went to the show that night. I don't remember anything. I don't remember anything but I knew the three shows. I sat there staring and I just don't know what happened. Everybody was going back to the same bar that night. I didn't go, I hung out with three of my friends. Basically, because they knew that there was something very wrong with me and they didn't want to leave me alone. So they stayed with me. And I kind of told one of them a little bit what was going on. And he was like, I think we should go. I think we should go to the bar, and we'll all go with you. We will make sure that nothing happens. And I was like, okay, because at this point, I just wanted to go to literally beg his forgiveness. We went there, we walked in, and he was sitting at a table with his wife. And we were close enough, it was a very small place, he obviously saw me. Me and my friends, we kind of went over and he introduced me to his lovely wife. Who is, I'm sure, a very, very nice woman. She's very sweet, very smart, she was just wonderful woman. And I felt like the absolute scum of the earth. So I don't really remember how the weekend ended. But I was still there. Because I was there for another couple of days after everybody was gone. And I don't really remember a lot of what happened. It was very much a roller coaster of emotion. But things have gotten good enough again on the last day that we were there.
Oh, the last day before I was leaving, he was going to drive me to the airport. He came over through the day. And again, was all like touchy, huggy, acting like my boyfriend again. And my room had a big jacuzzi in it. And he was like, I think we should get in the jacuzzi before you leave. So, next bad decision. I hop in the jacuzzi with him. And again, in my head, I'm like, oh, he does love me, he does want to be with me. And I mean, he was all but saying these things, you know. And I mean, it took me a long time to realize but he liked stringing me along. He liked knowing that I was there at his disposal. So I mean, I'm just like, head over heels again. And I have leave that night. And so he drives me to the airport, we have this tearful goodbye. And that was probably the only, I think that was the only time in my life that I have ever been truly suicidal. I walked through the airport, crying non-stop. I couldn't stop. I felt like I couldn't breathe. And I felt like my world was ending. I went into the bathroom and I looked in the mirror, and I didn't recognize myself. And I stood there looking at myself thinking, you know, I should just die. This is too much, I can't do this. I should kill myself. And probably the only reason I didn't at that time is because I had no means to. I walked back out, I went to my gate, I sat on the floor, and I just sat there with my knees pulled up, my face buried in my knees, and I just sat there sobbing until I got on the plane. I came home and I was an absolute basket case. All I did was live to talk to him, live to have any sort of connection to him. And, I mean, if he had me hooked before that trip, he absolutely owned me after it.
And I ended up going back between September and February the next year. I spent an obscene amount of money going back down to see him as often as I could. I went back down in November, hoping to be able to -- because again, he kept making it seem like come down and we'll hang out. He never, ever mentioned his wife, never brought her up, which to me, kept feeding into we're a real thing. I went back down in November, I was expecting to spend time with him. I spend an hour or so with him when I first got there. And I didn't see him again for the rest of the weekend, except at the shows. So basically, I spent a shit ton of money to go down there and to be left alone in isolation again. And like I said, so many of these things I didn't realize until after the fact that they were all a means to control me. I just thought it was what it appeared to be on the surface. I was back down in December for a pay-per-view. And his Christmas present to me was taking me to lunch with his wife.
So that was, basically, I sat there just being like, this is the nicest woman in the world. I want to be her friend. And I am the absolute scum of the earth for what is happening here. And to me, it was all my fault. It wasn't what he was doing. It wasn't he was cheating on his wife. It was, I was doing it all. I was back down in February and it was just like, a pattern of the same things. In between seeing each other, he was just this super sweet boyfriend type person. And how much he cared about me whenever we talked. He'd be like, you look so pretty, I miss you so much, and, etc. I was back down in April for Wrestle Mania weekend. I was at Wrestle Con. I was actually working at Wrestle Con. He came in for the weekend, and he stayed in my hotel with me. He stayed with me first night, he slept in my bed with me, cuddling me. The night after the show, he got a message from his wife that he was very concerned about, so he had to leave right away. So he left me again. I'm looking at Rob's face during this and like the expression on your face are just, yeah! It's basically the same expression that I have now once I realized, oh, this is what actually was happening.
I was back down in June. So it was September to June. I spent over 10 grand going down to see him. June I was there, a friend of mine -- I think it was Chikara's first pay-per-view or second pay-per-view. It was a show where the company got fake shut down. He was going to stay with me again then. We were in Philadelphia. I had a friend who stayed with me Friday and Anthony was going to stay with me Saturday night. So it was fine. Friday night I was hanging out with my friends. Saturday we went to the show, the stuffs shut down.
And just for anybody who's wondering about the whole fake Chikara closing down business. They didn't know. Anthony had left the show early to take his merch and stuff back to my hotel, but the guys who were there, they didn't know that the show was going to be shut down. By the time I got back to my hotel, he was actually texting guys from the company saying, I don't know what's going on, but apparently we're shut down. So that was just kind of a fun side note. So he was very upset, I needed to be the supportive friends to help him through this. That night was the one and only time that anything physical happened between us. And again, I made that decision. I don't pretend I didn't. He didn't force me or anything. I made the decision to sleep with him.
What had also been going on during this time, his father had passed away the previous winter. So this is like June 2013. And he was having obviously having a difficult time, which is 100% legit. He had told me that the only way he was able to cope with it was through sex. He had been seeing another woman who actually came out with her story and that was what actually spurred me to come up with mine. Because he had done the exact same things to her. He had been seeing her. She was up in New England and there were a lot of shows that he worked at through Raptor [36:32], so you would go up there for a weekend. And he would play house with her and her daughter. And he would tell me all about it. Every detail, and I had to listen because I was his best friend. And he couldn't tell anybody but me. So I had to listen to all the details of the sexual relationship that he was having with this woman. And it didn't matter how I felt hearing them. If I didn't listen, and let him tell his stories to me, then I was a bad friend. And he wouldn't be friends with me anymore. So yeah, and that actually kind of culminated with him... He told me at the time, it was absolutely an accident. But he had sent me a sexual snapshot of the woman that he was with. And I realized he wanted to make sure I knew that he didn't need me. He had somebody else. So if I stepped out of line that was it. And it's, so funny, because I mean it's so clear to me now, what he was doing. But at the time, I was just like -- I had just become such a complete and utter wreck that the only thing I thought for sure that I knew in my life was what he told me.
So after that weekend, when I did sleep with him, his wife called me. Again, I was just watching Rob's reactions. His wife called me and accused me of sleeping with her husband, which literally up until that weekend had not been true. And I was like, no. I was here with my friends. And basically he was like, you can't let her know. So I swore up and down to this unbelievably nice, trusting, sweet woman, that no, I did not do anything with her husband. It was not true, it was not true. And this actually went on. So much of this time period is really a blur for probably a number of reasons. There were a few phone calls from her, where I would just swear, like I would swear up and down to the ends of the earth that nothing had ever happened with us. Because even at this point, we weren't talking as much and things had definitely like -- I believe he basically told me he was going back to his wife. He had gotten all this stuff out of his system so he was going back to his wife. And so of course, I mean, my job was to be happy for him. And so we didn't talk too much and stuff. But even at that point, I was like so very much under his thumb. I had to protect him. I could not let her let her know what he had done. And by that time, I was just so completely and utterly ashamed that I couldn't possibly let her know that this was the kind of person that I was. And that that's what I truly believe. I'm like, I can't believe this is the kind of person I am. And I took 100% of the responsibility of everything that had happened.
It was still so raw after things had ended, that I didn't have the perspective yet to see what had really happened. And it's like my best friend, I had been telling him all this stuff through. And it actually got to the point that he said, and this was actually, part of the reason why I let things go with him was my best friend said to me look, he was like Wig he's literally driving you crazy. If you don't stop talking to him, I will stop talking to you. And that was like the shock that I needed to wake up enough to when he said he was going back to his wife to let it happen. I mean, it wasn't even like I would have tried to fight for him. I would have been on my like hands and knees groveling, begging for him to not cut me out of his life. And like I said, my best friend I love him to pieces. And I will always owe him for that. That woke me up enough that I could say, okay, I need to let this go. I need to let him go. And I guess for a very long time for years after that, I never said anything about it. Because at that point, I was -- once enough time and distance had gone by. I was just like, I can't believe how stupid I was. I was so ashamed of my behavior. I was so ashamed of how stupid I had been. It took a lot of years to go by before I realized, okay, you know what, they were my decisions. But to a certain extent, I was manipulated into them. That wasn't the kind of person I was before I met him. That's not the kind of person I've been since. And if that's the case, then there's really only one catalyst to what I did and who I became. And then, like I said to you guys, I kind of realized at a certain point that this is not my shame. I made terrible decisions but I'm not the one who should be ashamed of what I did; he is.
And like I said, when I saw that this woman told a story, I was like, I was reading this story and I was like, I know this. I know all of this. And I contacted her and I was like, he did the same thing to me. And she was like, I always suspected. And we started talking, and I told her, I was like, I knew every detail of your relationship, because he would tell me every disgusting detail he could, because it would hurt me and it would control me. And it's like, we just apologized to each other and we're like, no, we have no reason to apologize to each other. I despised this woman and she probably felt the same about me. Because he put us in direct competition for his affections. And then after we spoke, and more and more stories started coming out, we found out we were not the only two women he was doing this to, all at the same time. There were several others. Another one reached out to me on Facebook, she did not want to tell her story. But she said I want to tell my story to you. She said she needed to expel it. She needed to get it out of her head. So it couldn't hurt her anymore. And it was the same story. She said I can't go public. And I was like, I won't force you to. She goes but somebody else needs to know. And it was the same thing. He was just doing this over and over and over again. And the night of Speaking Out when this all first started happening, he emailed me and all it said was I'm sorry for everything. And I was like no, you son of a bitch, you're sorry we got busted.
WIGGY: So that's my story. And like I said it doesn't make me look good, I don't pull any punches, I'm not trying to protect myself or make myself look like a victim. I 100% made every terrible choice I did. I wasn't necessarily in the right frame of mind when I made them but I still made them. But that also doesn't make him any less of a complete and utter scumbag, or his misbehaviour rather.
ROB: I'm going to Zack Morris this thing. First of all, thank you for saying that, timeout real quick, virtual hug I know we're not in the same room but I'll hug Cane the big red machine for you.
WIGGY: I'll hug my coke, which normally I would do because I really love my diet coke.
ROB: Yeah, but like good on you though, keeping it real, I'm very [inaudible 46:02].
WIGGY: I'm very sorry that that went on for so long. I've never actually spoken it like all out loud at one time. Oh, my God, I'm sorry. I'm putting everybody to sleep.
ROB: I apologize to Marissa every day for the same thing, please. But no, no, seriously, thank you for keeping it real. Thank you for opening up. Like what a roller coaster, I'm so glad to see you own everything, keep it real, speak out on behalf of others and really just like, I admire you for that. And it's good to see that you're doing so much better now. And you're so confident now. And the one word, and I'll throw this to Marissa because we've had a lot of talks about this, that comes to my mind is when you said everything is control. Marissa, I don't know if you want to weigh in but you know a lot about this stuff.
MARISSA: This is my expertise. So I want to actually backtrack for a second because I agree and I disagree with Rob. So thank you for speaking your truth and talking about what you endured. I mean, everything you said was heart wrenching and I just had like a million thoughts per minute. Like, I just want to give you so many hugs.
WIGGY: You know what's so funny, you pointed out a word that he said and I just focused on a word that you said, endured? At no point. Did it ever feel like something I was enduring? That was love. I wasn't enduring it, I was in love. And he loved me too. I just had to prove myself to him. I had to be the woman he wanted. We should probably leave this part out. But I don't know why, but his wife is in a wheelchair. She can stand, she can walk a little bit but she is in a wheelchair. And I always in the years since, I always thought he wanted -- this sounds horrible but he was trying to mold women into her, but who could physically do the things that he wanted. And he got big into BDSM. And his wife wanted no part of that. So that was what he was seeking with outside people. And it just always felt like he was trying to make me into his wife who he could do kinky shit with. And I realized that after the fact, but like I said to me during it, it was never something that I was enduring. I was in love. That's the way our relationship was. Funny, funny what perspective does to you.
MARISSA: I was going to say that's an interesting perspective. Because as a third party outsider who hears stories like this every day, my mind went to okay, so there was a system in place. He had his routine, where he would put girls or women in various categories, and he would do all these mechanisms and these systems to keep them where he needed them. But from your perspective, it was very different. It was genuine and loving. And so do you have the same view on it now? Do you still view it as well, he loved me but this was...
WIGGY: No. No. Enough time has passed, where I can look back and see things the way they actually were, not the way I wanted to see them. I wanted to see them in a certain way because I was in love. And despite knowing his wife and meeting her on a few occasions, in my head he had he had built this little bubble with me with this life of how we could be together. And he at no point ever said like, I'm never going to leave my wife. So by virtue of the things that he never said, he kept me hoping and feeling like there was a true possibility of him and I ended up together. Which I mean in retrospect, obviously, he was just stringing me along for everything and anything that he could get from me. At the time I was so head over heels in love with him it just seemed like, oh, well, this is just the way our relationship is. And that's actually quite terrifying in the fact because like a lot of women I have always said, oh, I would never stay in an abusive relationship. If a guy if a guy ever raised his hand at me once, that'd be it. And it's very scary to realize how easily you could have your heart played on and have your strings pulled, until you're actually making excuses for him. And I mean, he never hurt me physically but it's very scary to think that, I feel like I'm a smart, strong woman, I will not tolerate that bullshit. Except I tolerated that bullshit. It's like how did that even happen?
MARISSA: A lot of people will recognize abuse as physical abuse. If you’re not getting hit, you're not being abused. And that's a story and a narrative that I aim to change. Because most relationships don't actually hit the physical abusive part, they stay in emotional, psychological, and verbal, because those are the easiest to prey upon and the easiest to hide. And I truly believe that emotional abuse of all abuse is probably one of the absolute worst, because like you said, they prey upon your emotions, they manipulate you into thinking things are okay, that aren't okay, they make you believe them and then they control your actions like a puppet. So the part that I wanted to backtrack on and say that I disagreed with Rob on, was when he said, I'm glad that you owned up to everything. And on one hand, I'm glad that you admit everything that happened and see it for that perspective, but on the other hand, doing something under coercion is still not your fault. So even if he didn't force himself on you, he coerced you over the course of a year, and he was manipulating you and changing your brain and rewiring your biology. It's insane the systematic changes that people can make, just using words and actions on you. And so, to one point, yes, like you did agree to sleep with him. Yes, you did book those tickets and go see him and be that person in his life. But on the other hand, he was basically a puppet master, puppeteering your moves and keeping you in a box so that he could play with you when he wanted. It's awful.
WIGGY: 100% 100%. And it's like he knew my weaknesses, he knew my insecurities. He made me feel like everything that I was self-conscious about didn't matter but they only didn't matter to him. Anybody else, that's all they would see and they wouldn't want me.
MARISSA: That's such a horrible play. That's such like a low blow.
WIGGY: It really is. I've had weight issues for most of my adult life, and I fluctuated like, up and down. And at that point, I was bigger than I wanted to be. And he made it very clear, he didn't mind but everybody else would. He thought I was still beautiful, but nobody else would.
MARISSA: You're lucky I love you because nobody else will.
WIGGY: Exactly, and it's funny, because I will admit this really, I've never really completely understood the impact of emotional abuse up until that point in my life. And it always seemed like, well, I don't get it, how bad could it really be? But looking back, I realized it affected every single aspect of my life. It affected my friendships to the point like I said, my best friend said if you don't end things with him, I will stop talking to you. It affected my work life because I was always so stressed and worrying, and it's like, if he messaged me, I had to make sure I was available. My mom, who was my best friend she knew what was going on. Not by what I told her but what she observed in me. And I've lied to her so many times that there is nothing going on between us. And that's probably what I hated myself the most for. But it's like the perspective, from now being able to look back, his bullshit touched every single part of my life. And so I get it. I really get it now, just how deep emotional manipulation and abuse, it affects you like nothing else.
MARISSA: And it affects you to the core too. I mean, like I said it actually shifts your biology. Our brains they're a muscle, they move and they function and different parts will be stimulated and whatever. And when you are enduring or when you have endured emotional abuse, it actually changes the amount that -- your brain releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which will impact your happiness levels on a day to day basis. Like it really impacts your whole life. It impacts weight gain and weight loss. It impacts stress levels in cortisol, it impacts everything and we don't recognize it until it's too late. I'm happy, I'm so happy that you had that friend that kind of gave you that push, that nudge that was like, if you don't stop, I can't be a part of this. Was that like the make or break for you?
WIGGY: Oh 100%. 100%. He was my rock. He still is. I mean, at the time, he'd been my best friend for seven years. And it's 16 years now. But yeah, that was just like... The idea of losing him that was my final line in the sand. I can't do that. I cannot do that. And I mean, granted, it was kind of helped along by his decision shortly afterwards, or right around the same time, I don't even remember honestly, that he was going back to his wife. But like I said, at the same time had he not told me that I would have been begging, crawling after him trying to get him to not cut me out of his life. So it really like... He all but single-handedly pulled me out of that situation.
MARISSA: It's amazing to have a friend like that. I'm going to throw it back to Rob because I totally hijacked this interview.
ROB: Oh, no Marissa you're the best.
WIGGY: You are.
ROB: She is legit, real deal. But I wanted to ask you this. In wrestling, taking it back to just the general world of wrestling again and kudos to you for like using your platform to speak your truth, turn a negative into a positive, give others the platform as we've seen in recent weeks. I mean, let's be real wrestling, everyone has a name and everyone has a wrestling name. Everyone has a persona and all that, I'm all about that for the entertainment value. And that's what's it's all about smiles on faces, and entertainment for the fans and people accomplishing their dreams and whatnot. But like I said, let's be real people have personas. And I've learned the hard way, people hide behind charities. Yeah, it's crazy people. There's con men and there's people who just completely -- like who I've confided in friend, mentor or whatever, and just stuff comes out. And you're just like, you never should have been here. You never should have been around people, never should have been there. If there's ego, people hide behind charities, you see it more and more. And it kills me, it kills me. Because I've been invested in wrestling over the past year when I was going through my own stuff, and the wrestlers, the talent, the promoters have all been there for me. And then I'm very appreciative of that. But you know, the more you get behind the curtain, the more the negative stuff comes along with it. And that's not everywhere. There's a lot of really, really great people that I hold in high regard and hopefully they don't break my heart. But it's been just crazy, very eye opening and I think true colors always come out. So moving forward, what can you say to speak to that about, how we can make this business better, you know, starting on the independent level, and moving forward.
WIGGY: I mean, the simplest thing which is probably the hardest, is to listen to somebody when they come forward. Listen without bias. Listen and instead of assuming right off the bat they're lying, give them the benefit of the doubt. So many people don't come forward, because -- it's got to be the number one reason pretty much across the board, they don't think they're going to be believed. And until there is, like, a consensus throughout the sport, throughout the community, that we will listen to you, we will not judge you, we will give you the opportunity to prove what you're saying is true. Until that is there, things really aren't going to change. The fact of the matter is, you can't just come forward and say, so and so did this. You do have to be able to prove it, because like I said, it's very unfortunate but it does happen, that people use things like this for vindictive means. And that's just a sad fact. But that doesn't mean we can't work around that fact. Be open, listen to people, give them the benefit of the doubt, give them the time to prove that what they're saying is true. But don't just brush away an accusation or a story, because it's a friend of yours, or because it's somebody you're a fan of, or because it's somebody you just don't want to believe that about. Because, like you said, that the fact of the matter, and I mean, this goes from WWE all the way down to Schleps like us. There's Wiggy and then there's Debbie. And you might think, you know one. You know one, that doesn't necessarily mean you know the other. There's Rob, and then there's Rob.
ROB: Pretty much. Yea, you hit that one on the head.
WIGGY: You know what people put out there. Like I said, right from WWE all the way down, if you know what people put out there, that doesn't necessarily mean you know who they are. And it doesn't matter what your job is. There's shitty people in all aspects of life unfortunately. And just because somebody is in a position that you like, you respect, you're a fan of, doesn't mean that it's not possible. And I mean, for so long, I think that's been part of the problem. It's like, well, you're on my TV, you couldn't possibly be a bad person. Oh, okay because it's not like a television or movie star has ever done anything back. So much of it, I think, is just listening, and being willing to believe. I mean, not believe blindly, for sure but giving people the opportunity. Letting them feel safe enough to come forward. And I very much understand why so many people don't feel safe enough for a number of different reasons. But that, I think, is the one thing that needs to change. People in positions of power need to be willing to listen when someone comes to them and says, listen, this has been going on. And it shouldn't matter if they're your friend, it shouldn't matter if they're your top draw, it shouldn't matter how big your social media following is. Any shitty person can be all of those things. We need to as a community, we need to accept that these terrible things happen. I think the first step is letting -- I don't like using the word victims because I feel like it's almost putting down. They're survivors, I like that word much better. Survivors of these things, they need to know that there will be people there who believe them, who won't judge them and who will accept them. Despite these things having happened. And I really think that's the first thing that needs to occur.
MARISSA: Rob, are you okay? You're kind of grimacing,
ROB: No, I can't take much more. This Wrestling World so crazy, it's been so great to me. But as you see, there's a lot of...
WIGGY: Well, exactly like I feel very much the same way.
ROB: You know it better than I do. Yeah. You know it better than me, I'm still very new to this. Like, it's a circus. It really is.
WIGGY: It is. I started Pantsless Radio doing wrestling stuff in February of 2010. My co-host at the time was One Pineapple Pea, Sugar Dunker.
ROB: Oh, really?
WIGGY: Yeah. Sugar and I go way back. I have so many interviews, like 10 years of interviews and stuff, and I love this. I have done this -- I have been very, very little money off of it. I do it because I have come across some really good people. Honest, genuine people. And if I can get them some publicity, if I can get people knowing them a little better, get some eyes on them, that can maybe somehow advance their career or their dream, or you know, anything. Like, I want to do it. Like, I love wrestling. I've loved it since I was a little girl. And just being able to be involved in any way, it's amazing to me, it's absolutely amazing to me, but at the same time, it's sad. It makes me really sad. But something like this, like speaking out, it makes me so happy because it gives me hope that maybe one day, this community of all of us can be a positive place. That it can be better, that we can make it better. And that gives me a lot of hope for the future. Whether it ever happens or not.
ROB: Very well said, very well said Wiggy. It's crazy but I get what you're saying. Like I posted something yesterday, let's do better for some of these kids that want to be wrestlers. Let's be better for the people that are doing it now moving forward, I think we can all do that. I think like Marissa always says, having a conversation is a great place to start. And we know there's some organizations coming about, guys, let's get some background checks going. Let's do our homework, let's have the conversations. And Wiggy before we get out here, just last one for me.
Let's get that shameless promo. Tell everyone where they can follow you on social, all that good stuff. And honestly, if they want to reach out to you, and they have something they want to say, and they want you to be the voice.
WIGGY: Oh, yeah. 100%, absolutely. Just because it's not still June, it doesn't mean that you can't still speak out with your stories. And if you need a voice to do that for you, well, I am a loud one with a Canadian accent. But I will happily, happily do that for you. I'm on Twitter at Wiggygator. I used to do a show with a weekly wrestling podcast and my co- host used make fun of the way I spelled my Twitter name. Because it's very sing-song like. So it's W-I-G-G-Y-G-A-T-O-R.
ROB: Yeah, it is.
WIGGY: Like Rob's head is kind of bopping along too. I'm on Instagram at the same, you can find me on Facebook Wiggy Wigowski, my 100% real name. If you have anything, I'm very happy to talk about this stuff. I think it needs to be talked about more often, for too many years people were told to shut up. And the more people talking about it now the better. And like if you have a story that you need to get off your chest, even if you don't want it to be public, if you just need to get something out of your head, so it stops having that power over you, please 100% hit me up. My email is email@example.com. Pants with an S, not pant less because that's just wrong on so many levels. And just keep speaking out when you feel you're able to, find somebody who will do it for you if you can't, and let's just get rid of those people. We have managed to exile so very many of them who were some of the worst offenders but there's countless more out there. And I have a four year old little nephew who loves wrestling and I want independent wrestling to be a place where I can take him to his show. He can go crazy over everything that's happening and I don't have to worry about the people he's going to meet, the people he's going to be exposed to, to one day having to tell him why he can't see his favorite wrestler anymore. Let's think of it that way and let's just make it better.
ROB: Wow! That very well said I think that's a perfect spot to end it on. Thank you so much Wiggy for coming on, opening up, keeping it real, turning a negative into a positive, and you really are an asset to this business. Thank you so much for taking the time and stay safe out there. Continued success moving forward. Alright.
WIGGY: Thank you so much. Anytime! Anything I can, like I told you I told you in that first message, I am so in and anything I could do to help this movement you guys know where to find me? In Canada, where it's not snowing Marissa.
ROB: Yeah, there it is.
MARISSA: Don't remind me.
ROB: Alright, guys, but like we always say here on the DCP Breaking through our Silence Connection, I want you to stay safe. Stay positive. Take care of each other. We out, peace!
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