Out queer professional wrestler Jai Vidal made his Impact Wrestling debut on TV last night, but he’s been having an impact on both the LGBTQ+ and wrestling communities for several years now.
The inventor of the infamous "Power Bottom Bomb" (the wrestling move, not the post-sex bedroom disaster), Vidal is also known for his unapologetic identity in and out of the ring, complete with painted fingernails and Louis Vuitton gear. He spoke with Brian C. Bell of OutSports about his career and the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility and representation in professional wrestling.
“That’s why representation is so important, having somebody that you could look up to and say, ‘That person reminds me of myself,’” Vidal said. “I don’t think that it really clicks in my head until after I do a show and I see a trans kid or non-binary kid come over and, with a big smile on their face, like, ‘Oh, can I take a picture?’”
Vidal said professional wrestling often lacks that type of LGBTQ+ representation, and he wants to help fill that void.
“You look at the rest of the roster on the card, they really don’t got anybody who is as close to the community as I am,” Vidal said of the personal response he’s received from LGBTQ+ fans. “So they tend to come over and share experiences with you, connect with you. I think that even the fact that Impact had me on with my nail polish and coming in letting me be Jai Vidal speaks volumes to the positive direction that they’re going.”
In addition to his unapologetic presence in and out of the ring, Vidal is also known for his fearless (sometimes reckless) athleticism.
He’s wrestled in recent years on the Las Vegas circuit, and has appeared in several LGBTQ+ wrestling events in the past, like the recent “Fear the Agenda” event that featured a final “Last Daddy Standing” match.
He recalled for OutSports how he was “super-nervous about coming out” when he started wrestling in 2016, and stayed in the closet for two years until he was encouraged by a fellow wrestler to stop hiding and embrace his true identity.
“If you’re gay, it’s okay,” a fellow wrestler advised him. “Be yourself. No matter what, be yourself.”
Vidal took the advice to heart, and now he’s living both his dream and his truth.
“I do believe that I have a purpose in life, and I used to think that purpose was professional wrestling,” Vidal said. “What I love to do is professional wrestling. I feel like my purpose is to try and inspire people to be the best version of themselves and to comfortably be themselves.”
Sadly, Vidal lost his Impact debut, but he looked absolutely studly in the loss.
You can listen to the complete OutSports Brian C. Bell interview with Jai Vidal here.