As a kid, 30-year-old Chelsea Green idolized the sexed-up glamazons she saw in the wrestling ring each week on WWE programming. “Maybe they didn’t feel this way, but they looked like the most confident women I’ve ever seen,” she remembers. “They were these sexy little things, but they were also all muscle. It was amazing.”
Green saw herself in these larger-than-life characters, and soon found herself wanting to be one. “I’ve always loved being the most extra, the most pink, the most glittery,” she laughs. “When I started wrestling, I wanted to be a diva.” (“Diva” was the term WWE used to brand its female wrestlers until it ushered in the so-called “Women’s Revolution” in 2015.)
In 2018, Green got her wish. After years of wrestling for independent companies and then IMPACT Wrestling, where she’s currently signed, Green joined WWE. The catch was that she signed during the aforementioned Women’s Revolution, an era when the promotion wanted their female performers to show off their athleticism, not their butt or boobs (this, of course, is a very good thing, just not necessarily for Green). “They wanted you to be a real fighter. But that’s not why I started doing this,” she tells me. And so, when she was released from her contract in April of this year, it seemed only natural for her to find new ways to share the glamorous, scantily clad photos she was already posing for.
First, she tried Patreon. But then, last month, she moved to OnlyFans.
Twenty-five-year-old Texan Jordynne Grace is among them as well. Known for kicking ass in the ring, Grace recently made history by becoming IMPACT Wrestling’s first-ever Digital Media Champion, an intergender title belt set to be defended mainly on the brand’s online platforms. As her follower count has crept up, she’s been dedicating more of her spare time to sexy weightlifting photo shoots in barely-there swimwear, an ever-popular content style she’s dubbed “bikinis and barbells.”
“I was definitely hesitant first,” Grace explains. “I knew the site got really popular with sex workers over the pandemic, so I associated it with that. Then, I started seeing articles about the site being open to content creators more generally.” It’s essentially an extension of her Patreon — with life updates and access to her “finsta” account, where she shares more detail of her personal life than she would on main — although she’s allowed to be a little more NSFW. “My account was flagged as 18+ on Patreon because I was sharing lingerie content,” laughs Grace. “I guess that’s a little too much for them.”
As for Green, she had two OnlyFans applications denied when a bot refused to accept the ID verification she sent. When she shared the news with her fans, they made enough noise on social media that an OnlyFans representative contacted her personally to approve her account. Soon afterwards, Green says the site began reaching out to other wrestlers to encourage them to join. “It’s probably not just me [that sparked the messages], but I think the site started to realize this could be a whole other market for them.”
Grace and Green are both transparent about not posting nudes, but other stars are more faithful to the horny blueprint that made OnlyFans’ reputation. “Original Diva” Sunny, a ring announcer and manager from the old-school days of 1990s wrestling, has shared plenty of hardcore content to her OnlyFans, and there are a small number of men on the independent wrestling scene that happily get naked as well. Dale Patrick — known for competing in brutal “death matches” for various independent companies — has a jerk-off video behind a paywall and a light sprinkling of ass content, whereas retired wrestler Rob James — whose bubble butt has made him a regular fixture on “phat ass white boy” gay porn forums — creates plenty of ass-centric videos and custom clips (but no hole or dick shots).
For many wrestlers, the reasoning behind joining the site is straightforward: cash. “The tough thing about wrestling is that we’re put on the grandest stage of all, which is television,” explains Green. “Yet most of our salaries aren’t worthy of that platform. Wrestling gear alone can cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000, and then you need a pair of $700 wrestling boots to step in the ring.” That’s on top of the gym memberships, spray tans, professional makeup and fake hair usually expected of female wrestlers in particular. “You’re expected to look like a star while you’re not on a star’s salary,” she continues.
Green doesn’t disclose her salary, but says there’s a huge income disparity in the pro wrestling industry. “Unless you’re with WWE or AEW, it’s rare that you make as much money as fans think you do,” she tells me. “That’s an interesting thing about wrestling — on the pay scale, you’re either way down or way up.” WWE salaries can creep up to six or seven figures, but the vast majority of wrestlers — male and female — make somewhere between $24,500 and $52,000 a year.
Moreover, WWE has recently barred its performers from using third-party platforms, OnlyFans included. “They’re trying to keep their wrestlers in a bubble, and I can understand that,” Green says. “That way they’re essentially untouchable, and [WWE] can shop them out and make money on them.”
Increasingly, this rule is becoming a dealbreaker for higher-profile wrestlers. “I think that’s why Adam Cole ended up signing with [new rival promotion] AEW,” says Grace. “They were trying to make him get off Twitch, and he probably makes a ton of money there. Personally, I’ve made more on OnlyFans in two months than what they were going to give me as a year’s salary.”
When it comes to women in wrestling, there’s a history of sexualization to contend with, too. For decades, WWE stars competed for Playboy cover contracts and fought in “bra and panties” matches — strip your opponent, win the bout (again, this was the “diva era”). WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus was famously forced to crawl on her knees and bark like a dog in a hugely controversial storyline with WWE owner Vince McMahon, and it wasn’t unusual for women to grapple inside giant vats of chocolate pudding to satisfy horny fans.
The legacy of the diva era lives on in thirsty wrestling forums, where dudes dissect matches in extreme detail, hoping for the slightest hint of a nip slip or a little too much ass cheek. It’s an attitude still espoused by some promoters, too. “I’ve definitely had weird situations where promoters would try to have me valet [a wrestling term for the hot babes that accompany guys to the ring] in sexy outfits,” says Grace. “I was just like, ‘No, I’m not going to do that!’”
Although plenty of wrestlers don’t use OnlyFans for porn, the vaguely NSFW photos they do share are at least created on their own terms. There’s no being pressured into weird, kinky storylines, or having screenshots of their mid-match wedgies shared endlessly by fans. Both Grace and Green praise the site, and Green believes more male wrestlers will soon see the appeal as well. “My fiancé [fellow wrestler Matt Cardona] was contacted by OnlyFans too, and he’s considered it because he has a Patreon for his business. I’ve been speaking to a lot of the guys at [pro wrestling promotion] Ring of Honor about it, and many of them are debating it.”
No matter how sexy the content, it seems inevitable that more wrestlers will join the site. Female wrestlers in particular have in-boxes brimming with messages from boned-up, sometimes creepily inappropriate fans — by adding a paywall, they’re at least getting something in return for the heightened sexualization that comes with their job.
“I’ve had two people that actually paid my subscription fee just to troll me,” says Green with disbelief in her voice. “It was really amusing — knowing that I could block them while still making them pay was honestly the most satisfactory feeling in the whole world.”