Wrasslemania

Here in the heartland of professional wrestling, some gifted amateurs give it their all

Amy Danielson

ODB stormed the ring to a barrage of cheers from the zealous crowd at First Avenue last Wednesday night during Downtown Championship Wrestling’s “April Apocalypse.” Her black spandex shorts, embroidered on the rear with the word “bitch,” do not disgrace her but rather act as a beacon. She is a bitch, but a bitch in a salutary sense of the word. She rises to the occasion of the term’s pejorative connotation while celebrating its endearing qualities. In any significance, she is a bitch who metes out her fury with aptitude and inspiration.

Kamikaze Ken Anderson, the heel of this match, awaits ODB’s malicious yet playful wrath. His previous win was an anomaly, and ODB prepares for his imminent destruction. Kenny struts down the stairs from the VIP Lounge wearing only miniscule black and white spandex shorts emblazoned with large “K”s across the front. His fit, muscular build fails to impress the crowd, however. Kenny has a reputation that he will not be able to disprove. To his consternation, as he approaches the ring, the sound system blasts the cherished dance club song, “Short Dick Man,” and Kenny all but loses his mind or what little bit’s left of it. Balancing on the ropes, he thrusts his midsection at the audience, holding the corner of the ring as if it were a horse’s reigns, riding his invisible animal ever so slowly. He grunts, spits and curses his opponent and the taunting audience, who chant, “Teeny weenie! Teeny weenie!” If this were not sufficient to anger the brute, ODB graciously presents him with a gift wrapped in a plastic bag. Kenny seizes the offering without resistance, yanking a foot-long sausage from the bag. He shakes the wiener in horror, defensively shouting expletives at ODB and laughing spectators. Then, our heel gets a little cocky. The sausage becomes an extension of his own member as he flaunts it as though it were a “personal” attachment. In a peculiarly masochistic display, Kenny takes bites from his sausage, swallowing some and spitting the rest. This display is the necessary prelude to that fanciful spectacle known by the simple epithet “wrasslin’.”

It is difficult to discern the bigger spectacle here. The pre-spectacle spectacle, the verbal-gestural psychological torment prior to the physical ring-thumping clash, often proves more entertaining. But mostly it serves to rile up the eclectic, cantankerous mix of folks who have formed strange cults around these entertainers. Among the most notable of spectators is an average-looking white, suburban male who wears a black T-shirt with the words “Straight Pride” printed in bold, white letters across the front. An obviously drunk, sloppily dressed woman, complete with mullet and explicit hand gestures tailored for each wrassler, takes center stage, with Mr. Homophobe trailing far behind on the audience freak-o-meter. She even goes so far as to collect the various debris of the match – a broken broom and a bent badminton racquet (props used by wrassler Detroit Slim) – that land outside of the ring. Later, as the crowd clears, she trips and falls in a drunken heap on the stairs out of the Mainroom, to be escorted out by First Avenue security. The remainder of the audience demographic includes a delighted pack of teenage Korean girls anxious to fondle and photograph their favorite wrasslers, and a group of young white boys with a penchant for shouting mundane chants like “Let’s go, De-troit!”

The trouncing eventually proves to be as riotous and crowd-pleasing as the pre-wrasslin’ teasers, however. Once ODB and Kenny start tearing into each other, it is a whirlwind of exposed flesh, backbreaking throws, unbelievably fake-looking kicks and leaps onto fallen opponents from the ropes. Kenny gets a firm grip on ODB’s G-string and pulls it so far that she could floss her teeth with the stretched material. ODB gets revenge by pulling Kenny’s tight spandex shorts over his round posterior. Kenny wrassles for a few more minutes, seemingly oblivious to her deed, and grabs his own behind in horror (with an expression rarely matched by the most esteemed actors) as he “discovers” his bare bottom. It’s a fiercely close match, but in the end, ODB reigns victorious and Kamikaze Kenny shrinks off to the VIP Lounge, dodging audience reprisals along the path to his refuge. Unfortunately for ODB, it is his exemplary performance that even she cannot match. And this is just the beginning of the madness.

The Coast to Coast Wrestling Alliance presents “May Madness Pro Wrestling” in the First Avenue Mainroom on May 21, (612) 332-1775.

Amy Danielson welcomes comments at [email protected]