Friday, January 23, 2015

Wrestling With Greatness

A ridiculous woman poses with things other people got her
Aww yeah, I got swagger, yo.
During the most formative years of my youth, I often enjoyed the pastime of watching grown men smash each other with feet, fists or folding chairs. If I was especially lucky, I chanced an occasion where a folding table and being dropped onto it was more the order of the day. Often my brothers and I would reenact these feats, spreading out a large blanket to act as "the ring" on which we would practice putting each other in head locks. My favorite role was that of the heel, playing my brothers against one another with some form of wicked deception, to emerge victorious myself. Those were the grandest of times. The skills I honed as a dramatic manipulator only continued to improve and now are amongst some of my greatest assets in my career as a famous person.

I viewed the WWF-then-WWE on television all the way through my college years. It was a wonderful aid in stress release in the midst of all of my harried comings and goings. Unfortunately, as time went on, I found myself less and less amused. The wrestlers spent entirely too much time talking, plotting strategy, trying to date an opponent's girlfriend, making deals with an opposing manager, etc. The actual number and duration of wrestling matches appeared to dwindle, and with it, my enjoyment. No one was bringing out burlap sacks with snakes in them anymore. Gone were the over-the-top glam looks and rock star histrionics. I had no interest in watching a wrestling soap opera. Of course I wanted to know some of the back story that drove the feuds, but when it took up most of the broadcast, and it was boring, I choked myself out from the tedium. I soon stopped watching altogether.

More than a decade went by when during yet another night with a terrible Saturday Night Live episode poisoning my brain, I had my manager change the TV channel. What we found while surfing was life-changing: the West Coast Wrestling Connection. My older relatives mentioned in the past that they had watched Portland Wrestling, but I had missed out. Now, I watched with glee as large, muscular men in colorful spandex flipped, jumped and clotheslined all over my screen, without a huge amount of dramatic frivolity. Oh, there were plenty of personalities and jibing, but it was in good measure. Even the crowd was an essential part of the broadcast, either arguing with the bad guys or high-fiving the good. As it is filmed in Portland, I knew I needed to be there.

Mikey O'Shea, Ashton Vuitton, Jonny Fairplay, Tito Escondito
Ashton Vuitton catwalks on Mikey O'Shea.
It took a few months to clear my appointments and sort my entourage, but then it was ON. My manager scored some complimentary tickets from a local radio station, and we attended a day of television tapings. I dressed to the nines in my typical fashion and looked slightly out of place amongst the others comprising the audience, but as I was in the first row, I needed to stand out even more so than usual. I was concerned at first that I wouldn't find anyone suitably fashionable to cheer for, but there was a gentleman in a blue striped suit, and one in a tuxedo onesie; I found them acceptable.

One young fellow walks the catwalk on the backs of his opponents, but he adores fur and fur is OUT this season. Tsk tsk. A lovely surprise is that one fashion forward gentleman was aware fanny packs are back in style and wears one unabashedly. I applaud you, sir. Well done indeed. My greatest concern is with the man with an old fashioned approach, because if he was fully dressed he would just look like another hipster and this town already has a major problem with that. However, he also likes to chug secret tonics to aid his endeavors, which I can fully endorse. I had to schedule extra visits with my life coach to sort out my feelings. My life coach indicated that perhaps my next career goal should be that of a wrestling manager and I didn't backhand her at the suggestion. I'll have my publicist look into it.

Hot Shot Danny Duggan
Danny Duggan sans fanny pack.
I attended another WCWC taping a few weeks later and enjoyed myself just as much. Unfortunately, they threatened my very life by offering me free pizza. I do think I have announced in every restaurant by now on this coast that I don't eat gluten so this was a shock, I tell you! My terrible manager devoured his and I fired him on the spot. I rehired him two minutes later because he had driven me there and I had no way to get home.

The venue where the filming occurs is currently under renovations so new tapings won't occur until March. Until then, I have to be satisfied watching the episodes on KPDX 13/49 on Saturday nights at midnight. I watch and live tweet each week, unless I pass out from exhaustion, and then I can still watch them a few days later on their YouTube Channel. I typically watch the last half of Ring of Honor Wrestling right afterward, as that is a fun program as well. In addition, I have recently been informed by one of my Twitter fans that another local wrestling promotion happens right down the street from me. I will have to go scope that out at some point and let all of my dear fans know what I think. Until then, dear ones, who are your favorite wrestlers from your youth? And which are your favorites today?

Maxwell Chicago
Noted penguin Maxwell Chicago wants the ref to shut us up.