So James The Tech Guy tweeted this link at me and probably wasn’t expecting that it would piss me off. Which it did. James, to his credit, was of course thinking: “MGK likes wrestling, MGK lives in Toronto, this is wrestling in Toronto, QED.” (I mean, I assume that’s what he was thinking. James can tell us if I’m wrong.)
But my problem with this outfit is not that they are unserious or quite clearly trying to have a laugh with professional wrestling. I mean, just this past weekend was National Pro Wrestling Day, a live-streamed free event put on by the various wrestling promotions that sprung up when CHIKARA Pro “ended”, and which featured, among other things, an Estonian frog-man with the power of Thor knocking an entire ringful of wrestlers off his feet with his mighty hammer, a formerly evil man pretending to be a giant ant turning his back on his corporate masters to remain alongside his new friends who are also men pretending to be giant ants, a pair of evil ice cream cones being hypnotized by a funky dancing Pharaoh, three men time-traveling to the present in a DeLorean to heroically attack the aforementioned evil corporate masters, and two lifelong enemies hugging it out, who are an evil football jock and a heroic marching band leader. And National Pro Wrestling Day was fine and good, wonderful in so many different ways that you just have to stare at how good it was, both in spite of its inherent silliness and because of its inherent silliness -just like so much of pro wrestling. (See also Dragon Dragon or the Chikara baseball game or, in the “majors,” anything involving Santino Marella – such as the snake charming bit.)
This Indiegogo campaign for a crappy hipster pro wrestling event in Toronto is not that thing – it has in it a lot of the amateurism that made 90s backyard wrestling so dangerous (and occasionally so cynical), although it doesn’t appear to be as dangerous because from what they show of the matches they’ve taken out everything exciting about pro wrestling, which is probably for the best considering if you don’t know how to take a bump, even a simple bodyslam is very dangerous. But generally speaking, the lack of a damn given is pretty evident, and the one thing that makes indie wrestling so wonderful is that everybody present, fans and wrestlers and referees and staff all alike, give very much of a damn indeed. Even when indie wrestling isn’t particularly good as wrestling per se, it’s still people who care about a shared community and craft, and this thing doesn’t have any of that. It’s like somebody standing next to a cellist playing Bach’s “Six Suites” and making armpit fart noises and saying it’s the same thing because A) they’re being “creative,” B) they’ve managed to find fans who like it, C) technically they’re both making sounds so come on. But it’s not the same thing.
And I think it’s great that they want to promote queer and feminist identities. But, if you ask me what would be best to promote feminism in a wrestling context, I’m gonna go with SHIMMER or Team Sendai Girls fearlessly taking on the Young Bucks and Mike Bennett or anything Manami Toyota. Because those are all awesome because of passion and dedication – and yes, passion and dedication matters. It matters more than anything, and that’s not just me being a humourless fanboy because when I say that I’m not just talking about wrestling but about everything. Because pro wrestling might, at heart, be a big joke – but it’s our joke, and these people haven’t learned how to tell it yet. And that’s kind of a problem.