Audible has launched a new investigative podcast, Ashley vs WWE: The Story of Wrestler Ashley Massaro.
The seven-part series examines allegations of abuse, and the events leading up to the wrestler’s eventual death by suicide in 2019.
Host, journalist Isobel Thompson investigates allegations made in a signed affidavit posthumously released by Ashley’s lawyer. Claims that throw Ashley’s career, and her previous employer, into a different light.
The investigation takes Isobel from the UK to Ashley’s home of Long Island, and into the world of WWE wrestling in the early 2000’s at a time when heavily sexualised storylines, including the infamous ‘Bra and Panties’ matches were a regular occurrence, all whilst power, influence and misogyny all played out through the characters in the ring.
In the podcast she spotlights a shocking claim that Ashley was sexually assaulted when on a ‘meet & greet’ trip to a US military base in Kuwait in 2006 and exposes the toxic culture of drug taking within the sport. Further highlighting how ‘under pressure wrestlers’ continued to conform and perform, even when battling injury.
Following an attempt to confront the WWE Executive Chairman, Vince McMahon, and new input from someone closest to Ashley at the time of the alleged attack, Isobel ultimately seeks to answer the true extent of the allegations – did the WWE play a role in silencing them?
Isobel said: “This was a really hard story to tell because it happened inside a theatrical, closed-off, incredibly powerful organisation whose identity is built on blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction.
“During reporting, though, it became increasingly clear that Ashley Massaro’s story offered a window into some of the hidden realities of working for WWE: the allure of stardom, and the struggles and the silencing that can come with it.
“In this podcast, I wanted to show how Ashley’s allegations point to a broader pattern of behaviour at WWE, and the devastating impact this culture had upon her – and the lives of many others. More than anything, I wanted to portray who Ashley Massaro was as a person rather than a wrestler and look at the legacy she left behind.”
Ashley vs WWE: The Story of Wrestler Ashley Massaro is available with Audible membership from today, Thursday 7 September.