a night at the wrestling

Quite randomly the moose acquired second hand free tickets to NZ Pro Wrestling’s latest extravaganza.


Now, when I was ten or twelve or whatever, wrestling was cool, and I thought it was real. (I still maintain that if it was real it would be the coolest sport ever.) So part of me gets it. And a few years back in a depressed nothing else to do on friday phase, I watched it briefly in a more ironic fashion, while lamenting for the sport, which fell from the artistry and atheleticism of, say, Macho Man Randy Savage vs Ricky The Dragon Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3, to a bunch of steroid abusers in masks slapping each other about in a tiny little ring and occasionally dropping large metal items on each other’s heads – the spectacle took over, in other words.

But anyway. The NZPW.

It had everything. Kind of. Grassroots. Packed into the tiny He Toa gym, which shook as the trains went by. Roof so low that it was impossible for anyone to stand up on the top turnbuckle. Lots of kids running around eating hotdogs. Foul mouthed mothers heckling. Actually, the crowd interaction was a real highlight, and almost indescribable.

I never really got aspects of wrestling before. Like, the gigantic pantomime angle, and just how silly it is when you’re there, and how absurd, and how fun the whole shenanigan is.

Technically, the wrestlers were okay: though the quality was a touch patchy, the enthusiasm and dedication went a long way; and, let’s face it, they ain’t the giant freaks and monsters on WWE. The storylines were echoes of the big budget equivalent, muted to suit the palpable reality, the rivalries and indignations subverted by a kiwi attitude. Blair Rhodes totally ate the mic in an endless stream of exuberant, excessive euphemism and wrestlettiquette erudition, though he could use a cigar chomping Jesse Ventura type colour foil. The bad guys were dumb and fun. The daft joke wrestler was funny rather than annoying. The champ actually had some impressive moves.

My co-pilot for the night fled at the half-way mark, unable to take any more. He missed the girl-fight, and the tag team. I had a fixed grin halfway between humour and horror the whole night. But it was cool. Kind of. Unique. Fun.

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