Intergender wrestling, also known as mixed wrestling, is a type of professional wrestling match between a man and a woman, and may also refer to tag team matches with both men and women on each team.
Intergender tag team matches are not to be confused with mixed tag team matches: there is a rule governing mixed tag team matches that restrict male and female competitors from attacking each other. If a tag is made, the other team has to automatically switch wrestlers, who should be of the same gender as the opposing team's legal wrestler. This type of tag team match continue to be popular in the present. On the other hand, male and female competitors in an intergender tag team match are free to wrestle and pin each other.
For most of its history, men and women would rarely compete against each other in professional wrestling, as it was deemed to be unfair and unchivalrous. Intergender wrestling was first popularized in the late-1970s/early-1980s by controversial song-and-dance man Andy Kaufman. Kaufman participated in several filmed staged matches of this nature and proclaimed himself the "Intergender Champion", issuing an open challenge to any female challenger who could defeat him. This is the beginning of a famous crossover feud between him and wrestling legend Jerry "The King" Lawler.
From the mid-1990s into the early-2000s intergender matches experienced a surge of popular interest, and were often introduced to the roster of events in major North American promotions such as Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. Perhaps the most successful female wrestler who competed in intergender matches was Chyna. Regularly booked to wrestle her male counterparts during the WWF Attitude Era, she was a three-time Intercontinental Champion, a championship traditionally only contested by men, and was briefly #1 contender for the company's world championship. Other women wrestlers who had notable wrestling feuds with their male counterparts, and even portrayed as their equals in the ring during that time period include Luna Vachon, Jazz, Jacqueline, Madusa, and Lita. Four women briefly held the company's now discontinued Hardcore Championship: Terri, Mighty Molly, Trish Stratus and one of The Godfather's Hos. The discontinued Cruiserweight championship has also been held by three women: Jacqueline (while under the WWE logo), Daffney and Madusa (the latter while the title was under WCW's banner).
Harvey Whippleman holds the distinction of being the only male in WWE's history to hold the now-discontinued Women's Championship having defeated The Kat in a snow bunny match while disguised in drag as Hervina.
A prominent intergender six-person hardcore tag team match took place on WWE at One Night Stand 2006, when the team of Edge, Lita and Mick Foley defeated the team of Beulah McGillicutty, Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer, after male wrestler Edge speared and pinned female wrestler Beulah.
This match-type continues to meet controversy across North America as matches often straddle the line between sporting events and pure erotic entertainment, and also allegations over the depiction of gratuitous physical violence against hapless women. Although still commonplace on the independent circuit, WWE generally no longer holds intergender wrestling matches due to adhering to a PG rating for advertisers on TV (and, to the extent, its action figure contract with Mattel in order to avoid women being overpowered by men on TV), although it has on past occasions featured some of their female competitors compete in the annual Royal Rumble event (a separate Royal Rumble match for women was introduced in 2018). To date, four women have competed at men's Royal Rumble: Chyna (1999 and 2000, the only one to do so multiple times), Beth Phoenix (2010), Kharma (2012) and Nia Jax (2019, the first since the introduction of women's Royal Rumble). In a reverse of this, at WrestleMania 25 wrestler Anthony Carelli (better known by his ring name Santino Marella) won a diva's battle royal while dressed in drag as "Santina Marella" (Santino's twin sister). There has however been few intergender matches after the PG rating was introduced, mostly in comedic matches; Lita pinned Heath Slater after he was attacked and left unconscious by several veteran wrestlers prior to the match on the July 23, 2012 episode of Raw. James Ellsworth was also involved in few intergender matches, notably losing one to Becky Lynch on the November 7, 2017 episode of SmackDown Live.
In Mexican lucha libre promotions, intergender matches are more common in tag team matches. However, both male and female wrestlers are restricted to attack those of their own gender. Some tag teams of this kind are siblings (such as Cinthia Moreno and Oriental), trained simultaneously with the same instructor, or even are on a real-life relationship such as boyfriend/girlfriend (Cibernético and Estrellita) or, as an exceptional case, husband and wife (Billy Boy and Faby Apache). Lucha Underground has regular one on one matches between men and women, and Sexy Star held the Lucha Underground title for a day, after winning it in an elimination match and lost it to Johnny Mundo in an intergender match.
In one extreme, a 2011 intergender match in Japan had Kenny Omega wrestle with a nine-year-old girl named Haruka. Video of the match went viral, made international news and led to Omega receiving numerous death threats. However, despite Omega ultimately winning the match he did it in such a way as to not harm the girl, and even allowed her to have most of the offense.
- The Anti-Comic by James Parker, The Boston Globe April 9, 2006
- WWE Raw Six Person Intergender Match, requires Windows Media Player
- Ashley Returns; Will Replace Candice At WrestleMania by Andy Steven, PWMania.com March 24, 2008 Archived April 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Inter-gender turmoil in Ontario by Mike Altamura, SLAM! Sports
- Lunney, Todd (2012-03-09). "Lunney: Losing to a 9-year-old-girl?". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
- "Girl, 9, takes on pro wrestler". The Sun. Retrieved 2015-12-30.