Professional wrestler Anthony Bowens, who is gay, says his recent championship win may serve as a reminder that hardships do get better.
On September 21, Bowens and Max Caster, a tag team in AEW (a WWE rival) known as The Acclaimed, won the company’s world tag team championship for the first time. The victory made Bowens the first openly gay wrestler to win an AEW championship.
Shortly after his big win, Bowens, 31, celebrated the milestone as he extended a heartfelt message for anyone struggling internally.
“I’m going to take a second to talk about something that I don’t really talk about much on camera,” he began in a video recently posted on his social media accounts, getting visibly emotional. “Some of you know, some of you may not know, but I never thought I’d be able to have a moment like this. I never thought that I would be able to live my dream because there was a time when I was very confused and didn’t know how to accept myself. But I fought those bulls—. I fought through all those bulls—. And now I cry because I’m a champion.”
“So if you’re someone, if you’re someone who feels like me, and it doesn’t even have to be about your sexuality; it could be that you are depressed, that you are bullied, if life sucks in general, just know that everything gets better. We are living proof of that,” she added. “Love you. we love you. But most importantly, everyone loves The Acclaimed.”
Bowens has been a forceful champion for the LGBTQ+ community, expressing the importance of inclusion.
Talking with him Asbury Park Press prior to his championship win, Bowens addressed his earlier fears of being potentially mistreated in the wrestling community for being gay.
“I struggled with my self-acceptance and identity, and that was always a big fear. ‘Will the locker room accept me? Will the national television audience accept a successful gay man as a professional wrestler?’” Bowens remarked.
Bowens added that while the wrestling industry has a long way to go to ensure inclusion, it is no longer burdened with its old fears.
“We still have a long way to go, but AEW has an extremely inclusive roster in the sense that I never have to worry about all of that,” he explained. “In fact, if it ever comes up, it’s in a very positive and supportive way. And that’s one of my favorite things about going to work, that I don’t have to worry about it.”
A day after winning the championship, Bowens celebrated on Twitter with a nod to his late grandmother and hailing his victory as a momentous moment for the LGBTQ+ community.
“When my Nana passed away in 2015, I promised her that I would be successful. Nana, I did it!” he said. cheep. “The first AEW Gay Champion. Most wins in pairs in AEW. The most popular team in wrestling.
On Twitter, Bowens’ emotional post-victory speech received messages of support, appreciation and pride from fans.
“Words will never explain how much this video meant to me,” a user commented. “I’m in one of the darkest moments of my life right now. AEW has been a huge distraction for me lately. Watching them win those titles was the biggest moment in Grand Slam for me. Keep it up bro! You inspire so many.” . !”