I couldn’t tell you who the wrestlers on TV are these days. Hell, is wrestling even on TV anymore? Growing up, I had no interest in wrestling. I didn’t get it and someone ruined everything for me at a young age and told me it was fake. Now that I’m older and more mature, I get the allure. I mean, come on, ripped guys in spandex getting all sweaty and rolling around on the ground- Why aren’t more women into this?! Regardless, last night was one of those nights of the year that I always look forward to. Wrestlepalooza is a can’t miss full of wrestling, drinking, live music, drinking, burlesque and, you guessed it, drinking. I know I say that about a lot of shows throughout the year but this is seriously something that my words will never do justice.
Last night was the thirteenth installment of this now giant event that will be taking place yet again tonight (and yes, of course I’ll be there). Each time this event happens, you get a chance to see wrestlers that you may have fallen in love with over the years, wrestlers that you may have never heard of before, and even legends. It’s truly a magical event that has gotten a bit too big for it’s britches due the way it is flawlessly executed by everyone involved. From the staff at First Avenue to the people behind F1rst Wrestling who puts it on, all the sponsors local and national– absolutely everyone that has had a hand in this event had produced world class talent and an event that leaves people talking about it for weeks.
Being the first year with two nights of sold out wrestling, music and burlesque, things got a little weird. Saturday sold out within just two weeks so they added a Sunday show. As time got closer, announcements started coming out for Sunday night– actor turned wrestler David Arquette would be the special guest and music would be provided by a personal favorite of mine- Dillinger Four. Unfortunately details for Saturday night were sparse and I was afraid that they may have let Saturday kind of drop off the radar as they tried to sell out Sunday.
Whether or not that was the case, the musical guests for last night’s performance were amazing but didn’t have the big name star power that a band like Dillinger Four may have. Also, where most of the guests in the past few events have been punk bands in the vein of D4, last night’s guests were local rap and hip-hop guys. I was definitely stoked to see what was being billed as “Dimitry Killstorm Live!” but I could understand why people used the live music portion of the night to grab another drink or head out for a smoke. Regardless, I stood my ground and ate up every second and every beat that Dimitry and his friends pumped through the speakers with a giant smile on my face. Joined by DJ Snuggles, Haphduzn, Sean Anonymous, Metasota and other guys I am not familiar with, Dimitry’s short sets of music that were sandwiched in-between matches were high energy and full of life. The people in the sold out audience that didn’t head to run their mid-night errands (you know, the run to the bathroom which turns into a trip to the bar with a stop by the merch booth in-between) were clearly captivated by the group’s heart and soul that was being poured out onto the stage and through the speakers.
Things moved fast and the music was replaced by more wrestling which was replaced by burlesque dancing by both Joy Koy and Sweetpea. The fast pace of the night definitely adds to the excitement. Sure, some of the matches seemed to last longer than they should have and I wish the two music sets had lasted a bit longer but the non-stop variety of the night had me super confused when the final match came to a close and I was being dumped onto the streets of Minneapolis feeling like I had just gotten there. Again, a great event run flawlessly, Wrestlepalooza is one of those things that I wish never had to end.
The wrestlers for Saturday night’s show were on point. I got to see some favorites including The Anarchist Arik Cannon and the reigning champ Air Wolf (who defended his title against both Arik and bad boy Darin Corbin). I fell in love with DJZ who came into the ring wearing an impressive outfit that was full of lights and I found myself cheering for The Rascalz who lost in a tag team match against LAX. The Great Sasuke (a super famous wrestler from Japan) was super fun to watch as he fought with Shane Strickland using his mind powers and almost zen like approach to wrestling. I could tell you who won each match and tell you who’s moves had me laughing and who’s high flying stunts had my jaw on the ground but if you weren’t there, me telling you all of that just kind of seems like I’m rubbing it in your face.
I head back to a sold out First Avenue tonight to see night two of the hilarity that is Wrestlepalooza and I honestly can’t wait.