Body shaming by ESPW owner blows up
UPDATES: After you read this post, be sure to read the latest updates on this story.
Last night, Savannah Rae announced that she had been hired to join the broadcast team at Eastern Shore Pro Wrestling. Then today, she tweeted that would no longer be the case because off some text messages that she became aware of that were originally sent in the past by ESPW owner/promoter Dennis Wade. These texts included pictures of Savannah and body-shaming comments about them.
Some have questioned her comment that Wade is racist - you can see in the texts where he made a crack about which weave she would be bringing.
Here’s her original tweet today:
A follow-up by Savannah:
A statement posted on the ESPW Facebook page originally just commented on an ownership change due to code of conduct violations. There were even comments defending Dennis Wade and asking what was racist about any of the texts.
Due to breach of contract and multiple code of conduct violations within in the company. Billy Bailey and Anthony Truono will be taking the reigns of ownership until further notice.
They later posted a statement that mentioned the conduct by Dennis Wade and apologizing to Savannah Rae.
Below is the 2nd statement
On behalf of ESPW, we sincerely apologize to Savannah Rae for the derogatory and quite frankly, disgusting comments that were made by Dennis See. We do not condone any type of hate speech, including body shaming, and there is no excuse for this behavior. Dennis has been suspended indefinitely for multiple code of conduct violations and will not be representing ESPW. Please forward all inquiries to Anthony Truono or Billy Bailey and know that we are dedicated to ensuring nothing like this happens again. Thank you.
Billy Bailey is the general manager of ESPW and the best friend of Dennis Wade, from what I understand. Additionally, Anthony Truono is Mr. Wade’s brother as well as his tag team partner in the tag team The Frontline.
The original statement referred to an ownership change, which is not that easy to do with the Virginia Athletic Commission even when it’s to your brother and best friend. Additionally, looking at the LLC filings for ESPW, Dennis W. See (aka Dennis Wade) is the registered agent. That takes legal work to change as well.
That’s why the second statement just said that Dennis See would no longer be representing ESPW. This statement removed any claim of him no longer being the owner.
While ESPW’s Twitter account @shore_wrestling was deleted due to the incoming fire over the texts, their Facebook page is still online. Additionally, Dennis Wade See’s Twitter account and Facebook page are both still online. It looks like he was cleaning up his Twitter feed today to remove some political posts about the Bidens as well.
His personal Facebook account is active as well and he posted an apology at 4:47 p.m. - two minutes after the second statement was posted at ESPW’s page (likely also by him).
I would like wholeheartedly apologize to Savannah Rae, the team at ESPW, our sponsors and patrons for the comments I made regarding her physical appearance. Body shaming is never okay and I sincerely regret my words, actions and choices, and I have no excuse for them. In the interest of ESPW, I have accepted my suspension and will not be representing ESPW for the foreseeable future. I ask that our team, sponsors and patrons continue to support ESPW as a whole and hope that the planned 2023 shows will be a great success.
The apology itself is good, for what it’s worth. I’m not sure how the owner and registered agent of a LLC can accept their own suspension, except as a face-saving PR gimmick. Also, some of his Facebook friends are pretty insensitive in their reactions against Savannah Rae.
The reaction online against ESPW was hot and heavy, as I noted above about their Twitter account being down. Additionally, they are losing business or partners because of it.
Daniel Carlson, a wrestler and co-owner of a wrestling company, had the following to say:
1CW Pro Wrestling also put a statement out:
Locker room - the SACRED place of our Brotherhood ... and we will continue to keep it that way ... providing a SAFE POSITIVE working atmosphere is what any Promoter should be promoting ... PLEASE KNOW , WE WILL DO ALL IN OUR POWER to continue to do so at 1CW PRO Wrestling
As a wrestler, Dennis Wade has been a member of the 1CW locker room - this doesn’t appears it will be the case again anytime soon.
Savannah has had her supporters too. Here’s just one prominent example.
I talked to one insider who said the following:
It's sad , he is a good guy - just said bad shit. I mean , at some point in our lives we realize , you gotta keep that shit to yourself , I know we all have talked about someone but when it’s harmful and you’re joking about it , it doesn't sit well.
I first encountered Dennis after accusations were made against wrestler Beau Crockett back in December. ESPW had stripped him of a belt as had other companies, but they all made statements about it as well and Dennis hadn’t, apparently because Crockett was a good friend of his. I finally got a statement from ESPW that he gave me, but he didn’t seem enthusiastic to give it to me or to have it tied to any other post about the situation.
I met him earlier this year at another company’s wrestling show, and he was nice and echoed his invitation for me to come to one of his shows. I’ll add my name to the list of people passing on that for now.
I do think Dennis is a nice guy who made a big mistake. Maybe he will learn from it. However, the game playing with the statements and the claims of ownership changes and the other moves don’t look good for him.
I ruminated on this topic before I decided on writing it and what to write about. I ultimately decided to write this post because it’s the right thing to do and also because:
I know Dennis Wade and I have met him at another company’s show. If I don’t write about things like this when someone I know and have generally liked in the past does it, I have no standing to write about it when it happens with people I don’t know.
I am the father of a 10 year old daughter and she even met Dennis and was looking forward to going to Chincoteague for a show. I am totally honest with her and I told her what had happened today and she was pretty angry about the whole thing. I owe it to her and all the other women and girls to write about topics like this.
Savannah Rae is a veteran. We have talked about veterans issues on Twitter before, and I consider her and all other veterans my sisters or brothers. I owed it to her to write this as well.
UPDATES: ESPW has canceled their March 25 event and their Heavyweight Champion Ty Awesome has released a statement.