After my last edition of Dangerous Thoughts where I highlighted women wrestlers who are the ones to watch in 2023, I want to turn our attention to another wrestler who is making waves on IMPACT Wrestling and has made history there as the first openly gay male wrestler contracted to the roster. Introducing….Jai Vidal!
I first met Jai just before the Pandemic at the Disco took hold of the world. I was asked to work with NXT’s Zoey Stark in January 2020 (when she was still known as Lacey Ryan on the independent scene) and Jai was one of her training partners. He came storming into training like a beautifully chaotic gust of wind, immediately oozing that charisma that you see on screen or at a live show. Vidal, Stark, and their two other training partners hit the ring and all four blew me away. There was no doubt in my mind that I was looking at the future of professional wrestling. The foundation was there and solid and I and fellow SHIMMER athlete and former TNA star Cheerleader Melissa was brought on board to build off that foundation and polish everything up. Quick digression- Want your entrance to pop? Cheerleader Melissa is the best at staging to make anyone look like a star from the moment that curtain opens.
Jai Vidal the wrestler was born in Florida under the tutelage of former WWE wrestler, Gangrel. After learning the ins and outs of the business and cutting his teeth on the Florida scene, Vidal made his way out west to Vegas and that is when he really began to pick up steam. Grinding his way up and down the West Coast eventually led to some matches with AEW wrestling. Around the same time, IMPACT Wrestling was also booking Jai to do some extra work. In fact, he was able to do a quick program with the IInspiration (formerly known as the IIconics with WWE) Jessie McKay and Cassie Lee against the Influence and Kaleb with a K. Surprisingly, IMPACT passed on signing him full time and Vidal kept his dance card full with independent dates, previously accepted box within wrestling. Jai Vidal stayed true to himself and his hard work and dedication is now paying off.
One of the things that drew me to Jai was his unshakable knowledge of who he is as a person, a wrestler, and a gay man. I never saw him compromise his personality or make himself smaller to fit into some box that previous generations of wrestling established as a stereotype. He was never a side show, a cliche, or a joke that someone with zero creative juices tried to pigeon hole him into. Jai Vidal was a damn great wrestler and a star in the making. Jai knew this. I knew this. Our entire training family knew this. And soon the world would know it.
In late 2022 IMPACT Wrestling came through with a multi-year offer thus making Jai Vidal the very first openly gay male wrestler under contract in their twenty-year history. Teaming up with the gorgeous Gisele Shaw, who herself had come out as a transgender woman at the Pride Toronto event in June 2022 (hence blazing her own path in history), together they have created an unstoppable and very entertaining force at IMPACT.
While twenty years is way too long to wait for this moment, I am glad to see Jai, making history and opening the door for even more inclusivity in professional wrestling.
You can catch Jai Vidal on Instagram @TheJaiVidal and if you want to see a little more of Jai, find him on Only Fans at /jaividal. IMPACT Wrestling can be found every Thursday on AXS tv.