|Portia Perez about to be betrayed...|
Photo Credit: Brandon Stroud
One of the only downsides of my infant editorial power at With Leather is that I don't often get a chance to write about pro wrestling I love. It's hard enough to get over with a mainstream sports audience writing about WWE. If I wrote 10,000 words on Kenta Kobashi they'd call it "fake WWE". So of course I don't get to write about independent wrestling, which is where my bread has been buttered since Chris Benoit killed himself and WOW: Women of Wrestling went off the air.
That was a good show.
But hey, I'm lucky enough to live in one of the five or so cities in the country with a legitimately great independent pro wreslting company, Austin and Anarchy Championship Wrestling respectively. Yesterday they ran their annual "American Joshi Queen of Queens Tournament" in Live Oak, Texas, and because TH has become my straight up Bro Wrestling I'm going to give you an extremely truncated review of the tournament in "Best and Worst" style. If you want actual results, check out his weekend recap. I am not in the business of actually saying what happened on wrestling shows.
Best: Women's Wrestling is Awesome
I don't even really need the qualifier "women's" here, because it's not that women wrestling each other is good, it's that 1) good wrestling is good, and 2) it's nice to see women treated as normal, equal human beings who can do things without any real barriers or restrictions. Sure, ACW gets its share of horny woots and Dawn Marie "whore/crackwhore/herpes" chants, but someone like Rachel Summerlyn gets to be a popular wrestler because she's good in the ring and nice, and not because she's pretty. Although she's extremely pretty.
The tournament featured seven legitimately talented female wrestlers and Angel Blue. And what's great is that it didn't feature the same women you'd see in every other indy wrestling thing. Daizee Haze wasn't there, Cheerleader Melissa wasn't there, Sara del Rey wasn't there. I like those wrestlers a lot, but the Queen of Queens show did it right by throwing in some big names (like Serena Deeb and Daffney), pairing them with fresh, popular faces making a name for themselves (Christina von Eerie, Mia Yim, Rachel) and throwing in some people you'll be seeing everywhere in a few years (Athena, Amanda Fox if she keeps it up). And also Angel Blue.
So we got a cool show that worked as a statement on women's wrestling by being all about women's wrestling, but not really about being women. Does that make sense?
Worst: Angel Blue
I don't like to talk shit about indy wrestlers on the Internet, especially ones that are always hanging around down the street from my house, but Porita Perez hit Lillie Mae in the face with a wrench during the pre-match ceremonies and Angel Blue got subbed in instead. Lillie Mae is cool. She's unique, she's got a lot of personality. Angel Blue looks like that girl you knew in high school who got pregnant (you know the one, the one who wears blue eye shadow and smokes Newports and always looks like she's about to fall asleep) and she has "Angel Blue" written across her butt with a halo over it like she's a walking roll of toilet paper. And I think she called me "faggot" about eight times in one sentence. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "Unsatisfactory substitution."
Angel Blue: "WHAT"
Me: "Unsatisfactory substitution."
Angel Blue: "FAGGOT YOU SHUT UP FAGGOT I'D FAGGOT YOUR ASS IF YOU WERE SUCH A PUSSY FAGGOT."
...and I was like "ha, okay!" Then she lost about five minutes later. Homophobia is lazy, Texas wrestlers!
But Best: Literally Everything Else
The show was solid, even if ACW shows tend to run into the five and six and seven hour territory. I mentioned it a little on The Wrestling Podcast, but the talent in my local promotion is crazy. I grew up in a place where the biggest local wrestling stars were guys who shaved their heads and pretended to be Koloffs. Here we've got the crew from St. Louis (including ACW Champion Davey Vega, who put on a great match with Darin Childs, who deserves his own "best" for dropping 100 pounds), we've got guys like Masada flying in from Tournaments of Death to be there, we've got future stars like Matt Palmer and ACH (and I don't say that because they're guys I like locally, they are at least as good as anybody on the ROH undercard, and WWE should be driving trucks of money up to ACH's house and putting him on TV before he ages and his body stops working like that), we recently had Robert Evans, who is the talk of the...
Oh, wait, hold on.
WORST: Robert Evans Returns
I love Robert Evans. I went to King of Trios and ran up to Archibald Peck just to get a picture with him. I'm the guy in the crowd at Trios cheering like a mother for Peck. HOWEVER. His glorious return to ACW had to coincide with him turning on Porita Perez and costing her a repeat run as the American Joshi Queen of Queens, and no amount of understanding how wrestling works makes that okay for me. Maybe I'm doing it wrong by being the only person in the crowd cheering for Portia, but if that makes me wrong, I don't want to be right. Evans, you made me a sad sort of guy for the last half of that show.
Best: But Seriously, Rachel Summerlyn
Rachel is the best. She puts so much work into this thing, and she's always out there killing herself for it while it happens. She put on three good matches yesterday to take the trophy, and she delivered the closest thing I've ever heard to a sincere, humble thank you at the end. It wasn't Sean Waltman channeling Randy the Ram. It was somebody goodhearted having something happy happen to them. And that is cool.
Supplementary Best: Jessica James' Ankle Scrunchie
I don't think I have a picture of it anywhere, but Rachel's tag team partner Jessica is commonly barefoot, and she wears her scrunchie around her ankle. I don't know if I need to explain to you why that's great, but if I do, I'm not going to.
Worst: Portia Perez Doesn't Want My Money
It's my fault for deciding a shoot heel is one of my favorite wrestlers in the world. I've been a normal, sexually-nonaggressive fan of her work since Cleveland All Pro Wrestling, and I made sure to hit up an ATM before the show and bring cash for a t-shirt, an 8 x 10, and any number of miscellania she might've carried down from Canada in a gym bag. There was nothing. Athena had a new t-shirt, Christina Von Eerie had a file folder full of photos, Serena Deeb brought SHIMMER stuff. Portia sat upstairs. So I bought a Davey Vega shirt and went out for burritos after the show.
I am right here with my money and I want to give it to you. And you don't even have to be nice to me about it!
Best: Tip the Wrestlers
This is something a lot of wrestlers don't understand, and if you live in that Philly area where you get seven competing wrestling shows within a five mile drive every weekend you probably don't and can't do it, but if you go to an independent wrestling show and can buy something from a wrestler or pay them for a photo, do it. It's like a tip. They're probably getting a little money to be there, but it's not a lot. Think of it like a server's wage. Sure, the server is getting 3 bucks an hour to wait tables, so you don't HAVE to leave them a tip, but if you aren't the hole of a butt you see them working their ass off for you. Drop a couple of bucks every now and then. Skip the nachos or the second beer. Support independent wrestling, and do it for real. Because these are human folk, believe it or not.
Best/Worst?: Chris Hero
Chris Hero is supposed to be in Austin next month to take on ACH, and that is more or less the kind of thing that could make me dance around in happy circles. If WWE buys out the Kings of Wrestling and he doesn't show up, and Angel Blue ends up wrestling ACH, I swear to God...
Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!