The shtick was thick last Saturday night as Capital City Wrestling held its second event at The Ville in Marysville. There were heroes. There were villains. And the fun was next level.
I should have biked. I should have bought a ticket in advance.
Those were my first two thoughts heading into last weekend’s wrestling show at The Ville. Pulling up about 15 minutes before the scheduled start time I found the parking lot full and all available nearby parking spots taken. I ended up having to make my own parking spot between another car and a utility pole, and hoped I wouldn’t come back to find a $50 ticket tucked under my wipers. It was a risk I was prepared to take.
After walking up the steps and making my way inside the building the possibility of getting inside the auditorium was looking pretty slim. It seemed everyone had bought tickets in advance. Seeing the lineup at the advanced ticket table and having just been forced to create my own parking spot in a lot stuffed beyond capacity, I felt like I made a mistake assuming there would be tickets available at the door. Luckily, there were a few remaining seats available. I was in.
A few weeks prior to the evening, I was catching up with an old friend who told me he went to see a wrestling show in Marysville. Capital City Wrestling held its first ever event at the school-turned-community centre on June 25. I hadn’t heard a word about it. But after hearing his description of the evening I decided I would have to see the action for myself.
The auditorium was packed. Completely sold out. The temperature inside was already riding somewhere around the 30 degree mark and the show was still a few minutes from starting. Outside of a few familiar faces, I didn’t recognise anyone in the room. There were children running about. Seniors attempting to secure aisle seats. Entire families waiting for concessions. Packs of teens and twenty somethings wandering around like feral cats looking for a perch for the night. And there was merch. Lots of merch. T-shirts. Hats. Stuffed animals. 8×10 glossies. Wrestlers posing for photos. Picture the FREX without the rides, animals (mostly) and trophy winning vegetables, stuff the whole thing inside a school gymnasium, and crank the heat. It was already awesome and the show hadn’t even started yet.
I scanned the room for a few good locations to take photos. That was a big part of my mission. I wanted to document the show on the odd chance this was just another passing fad and after that night local wrestling would disappear for another five or six years. That’s been the trend for as long as I can remember. Ever since the Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling of my youth fizzled out.
I would never consider myself a wrestling fan. But I do enjoy a good evening’s entertainment. I like shows, big or small. And I tend to gravitate towards events where I can see the budgets strained but the effort and enthusiasm peaking. That’s what I found on this particular night. It was all heart from the get go. A complete DIY venture. And it was easy to see everyone involved wanted to make the evening a memorable one.
The show kicked off with a series of promo videos broadcast on a large screen affixed above a makeshift entryway where I assumed the evening’s performers would make their entrance. As the pre recorded videos played, the audience seemed disinterested. Their chatter may have even increased. Or maybe I was just trying to hear intently for the first time since I walked into the auditorium. Can heat affect your hearing? Either way, it was hard to hear what these characters were spewing despite the obvious enthusiasm they were trying to get across. But then the announcer entered the ring and the room quickly quieted down. From there, it was all a blur.
Pat Perswayze, a wrestler whose shtick included a sponsorship from the Home Shopping Network, was the first fighter in the ring. After going corner to corner to gear up the crowd, he opened a gym bag and began flogging a number of branded products including the “newly improved and reformulated Pat Perswayze vitamin D system, Show Me Your D.” The tension was building. And so was the humour. Then, from behind the curtain, Perswayze’s opponent for the evening, the masked wrestler Fantana, rode in on what I can only assume was a hoverboard. From where I was standing I couldn’t see his feet but he appeared to be standing straight up as he floated around the ring high fiving excited wrestling fans from six to sixty years old. The evening was underway.
Throughout the night I watched as wrestlers threw each other to the floor and broke the “rules” when the ref wasn’t looking. Some fled from the ring in a panic to try and hide from their opponents amongst the audience. Others argued with the crowd. Someone in the audience held up a sign that read “You Suck!”
At one point I wished I brought a bottle of water instead of a thermos full of hot coffee.
Near the end of the show it must have been 40 degrees in that room. But no one seemed to complain. Everyone was drenched. Everyone was laughing. Everyone was yelling.
I can’t wait to go again.
Capital City Wrestling’s next show happens September 17. Follow them on Facebook and get your tickets early. Find additional photos from the night on our Instagram.