I will probably post later about what Andy Kaufmann brought to wrestling but I wanted to get this off my chest first. I'm apologize for again moving towards the modern day as it's not fair to those guys who are actually trying to discuss the readings from the past.
I had forgotten the specifics of Andy's Intergender Champion angle, specifically him saying that he respected women as they had the upper hand in "peeling potatoes, washing carrots, and making babies." He would then beat up every woman wrestler he faced. This played out as a big heel move, just as much as the rest of his antics did.
Fast forward to today at TNA. The most recent angle with Christy Hemme and the Voodoo Kin Mafia is almost an exact reversal of this. Hemme for the last several weeks has clamored about how women wrestlers are not treated as "real wrestlers" by fans or by TNA. This would eventually be followed by Kip James telling her that women were only good for servicing him sexually, and every so often throw in a kitchen reference. Both of these sentiments appear to be heartfelt: Hemme really does want to be considered a wrestler and James really is a giant tool. Even more so, the bookers allegedly intended for Christy's angle to turn her good and for Kip's angle to turn him bad. Except it didn't work that way. People kept booing Hemme and loved Kip's "suck on this" replies. Also note, TNA is filmed in Orlando, which is not exactly as Deep South as Memphis.
I don't have much else to mention except my frustration. A number of TNA fans are embittered smart marks who yearn for the golden days of wrestling to return again - those very days of The King and Kaufmann. Treatment of women may not be TNA's biggest problem, but trashing potentially half your audience is never a smart business decision (just think of the makeup of our class).
The next time a TNA fan wonders why their brand can't catch on, they may want to look at the gender makeup of that late 1970s crowd calling for Kaufmann's head.
-Brian the Virginian