More Wrasslin’

17 May

At some point, I had been hoping to post another story from my wrestling days on the blog, but nothing really came to mind. Then, last week, at an open mike, the host encouraged us to spend two minutes of our sets just talking off the top of our heads, and this came to mind: the time I wrestled at a biker run!

This was in 2008, one of those times where I was back in Florida, visiting from college, and trying to pack in as much wrestling as possible before I had to head back. My friend, training partner, and current NWA Florida and World Jr. Heavyweight Champion Craig “Classic” managed to get me and some other South Florida guys spots on two shows over that weekend. The first of those shows was up in Alabama for a promotion called AWE (which was fun but overall less interesting to talk about). The second one was in Brooksville, Florida, which was on the way back down from Alabama, so it worked out.

Bam Bam Bigelow, a decently famous wrestler from the ’90s, had passed away not too long before this, and it turned out this show in Brooksville was actually part of a memorial biker run in his honor put on by his brother Todd Bigelow. This was at the “Ramble Inn,” and when we got to the venue, all you could see was what looked like somebody’s house with a ring built in front of it, surrounded by bikers with their hogs, and a few booths set up by tattoo parlors and other things you’d expect at a biker rally.

Now, granted, back then, I was in much better shape, and probablymore capable of defending myself in a fight, but I was only 5’7″ and 160 pounds at best, so seeing your entire surroundings filled with beefor bikers who probably outweight you by 100 pounds was a little intimidating.

The “locker room” was inside what looked like somebody’s house. I don’t know if it was supposed to be a room in the inn or the innkeeper’s house or what, but it was definitely a house with the furnishings of a regular old house. At least we got a nice couch to sit on before and after our matches. This was supposed to be a show run by a promotion called ACW, but when we got there, it turned out, since it was a charity event and we weren’t really gonna get paid, barely any of their wrestlers showed up. There were only about three or four wrestlers besides the South Florida pack of me, Craig, Dan (a.k.a. Busta Ryan), Keith, and Chris. We were young and desperate for ring time, so it was decided that all of us would work two matches on the same show to fill up the card. Chris would work two matches, one of them under a mask he brought with him he used from time to time. I would work Craig, Busta would work another dude we knew named Dany Only, then later on we’d do a tag match of me and Busta vs. Craig and Dany.

Now, normally, I work as a “babyface,” or good guy wrestler. However, I will reiterate that this was a parking lot filled with pretty tough-looking, leather-wearing bikers who were holding competitions to see who could burn out their tires quicker, and MY gimmick looked like this:

(I’m sure you can guess which one I am)

So I decided that, instead of trying to put in the effort to making them like me, I decided to instead play a “heel,” or bad guy, because it seemed like that would be much easier. My first match on the card would be against Craig, which was after Busta’s match with Dany Only, so we decided to set up the tag match by having Busta help me cheat to win, then we’d both gang up on Craig and beat him up after the match, then Dany would come down and make the save, setting up the tag match. Keep this in mind, because it becomes important later.

So in order to firmly cement my heel-ness, as I come out for my match, I decide to take the old wrestling heel shortcut of “Ewww, you people are all filthy and I shouldn’t be around you,” sort of acting more effeminate, even though I’m already wearing a rainbow singlet. It worked, except that I noticed there were some actual children (lord help them if their parents were among the mass of bikers) near the ring actually cheering for me. There was one moment where I was putting the “heat” on my opponent (meaning I was dominating, building up the crowd’s anticipation of the eventual face comeback), I taunted the crowd, and one of the kids said, loud enough for me to hear, “No, we LIKE you!”

“Well shit,” I thought, “if I knew there were gonna be kids here, maybe I should have played face.”

But it was too late, and I continued down the path of villainy. The finish proceeded mostly as planned. Craig set me up on the turnbuckles for a possible superplex, but Busta distracted him, allowing me to get him with a tornado DDT and get my first and only win as a professional wrestler. Score.

As we discussed, Busta joined me in the ring, and we started ganging up on Craig, stomping a mudhole in him. From my viewpoint, all I see is Busta immediately get out of the ring, so I just follow suit, assuming Dany has shown up and it was time to play the cowardly heel and run.

However, when I get out and turn back towards the ring, I don’t see Dany, I see one of the bikers has gotten into the ring and decided to take justice into his own hands! Now, if some audience member gets into the ring, typically wrestlers end up beating the shit out of them to give them what they deserve, but in this case, this dude was bigger than ALL of us, so eventually, Todd Bigelow himself had to get in the ring and basically tell people “We’re glad you’re enjoying the show and getting into it, but please stay out of the ring.”

Despite that incident scaring me, I managed to get back out there and do the tag match with no incidents or further run-ins from the crowd. However, for the rest of the day we teased Dany Only about how some drunk biker stole his moment of face heat from him.

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