Thursday, July 3, 2014

WCWC: Bringing Old School Rasslin Back

Graphics via WCWC's Facebook
When people think of Portland, OR, they likely think of "hipsters", the Portland Trail Blazers, or the show Portlandia (which is sadly close to the truth of what this city can be). Yet what most people should think of when they think of the Rose City is the great history of professional wrestling that the city possesses, and how there is a small but loyal following of the local promotions. Since 1925, some of the finest wrestlers have made their home in the Pacific Northwest (albeit for varying lengths of time) and even though the dissolution of the Territorial Era did a number on Portland's prominence within the world of pro graps, there is still something going on here that is worthy of attention.

Taking into account that Portland was bred on the angles and in-ring style of the NWA, it is no surprise that the biggest wrestling company within the city is one that relies heavily on "classic" (or "dated", if you decide to see it that way) wrestling techniques. The West Coast Wrestling Connection is a relatively young promotion, but it has already established a reputation of bringing in wrestlers with name recognition among the wrestling fans who may only be aware of those who have wrestled for the WWE. Granted, the names that WCWC are able to bring in are not on par with the ones that wrestled in the territorial days (names like Roddy Piper, Andre The Giant, Buddy Rose, etc.) but being able to bring in guys like Gangrel, Matt Striker, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts to entertain fans and put over new local talent is still a nice coup.

PDX TV is the late night show that WCWC airs every Saturday/Sunday at midnight, and it is as low budget a show as one might expect. The shows are taped once a month in an old theater in Southeast Portland and the lighting and staging set up is simplistic. For those who remember what the old Georgia Championship Wrestling and Memphis Wrestling shows of the early 80's looked like, then this set up with a camera facing only one direction and handheld cameras on the ring floor will provide a welcomed bit of nostalgia. I absolutely find the production to be endearing and unintentionally hilarious as they do what they can with the small amount of money they are working with, and they should be commended for it.

Currently on PDX TV, the main story is an angle between local wrestling legend The Grappler, who made his hay in Mid-South Wrestling with the person that he is currently feuding with, the aforementioned Roberts. Their feud began two episodes ago when they got in an argument over who created the DDT (see what I mean about the "classic" wrestling angles?). If I had turned these episodes into a drinking game where I drank every time "The DDT Challenge" was mentioned, then my stomach would have been pumped. When taken out of context, the incessant references to this challenge are tiresome, but then when the lack of funds and name recognition of the WCWC are taken into account, then it becomes understandable and somewhat necessary.

The Grappler also has a heel stable called "The Wrecking Crew" and it includes a portly fellow that goes by the name of The Grappler III. He (kayfabe) injured his knee which allowed him to come to the ring in the latest episode with an "orthopedic boot." Main commentator Joe V has taken to calling it a "loaded boot." The footwear itself only has a different colored sole than his normal boot, but Grappler III uses theit to kick his opponent in the shin and then knock him out with a kick to the head (with interference by The Grappler from the outside, of course), yet another example of WCWC running ludicrous storylines that would draw heat from uninitiated marks in a bygone era. It succeeds, though, because the audience is brought back to a simpler time when grandmothers sat in the front row and swung their purses at heels, and the babyfaces were revered as conquering heroes who represented the common man. WCWC works because it gives all of the dirt sheet readers and self-professed hardcore fans in the audience (so basically the demographic that I am a part of) a chance to know what it was like to watch wrestling shows from the Territorial Era.

On July 5th, WCWC will tape their next month's worth of shows. A ticket is only $10, AND they provide pizza at intermission! I'll definitely be there to catch it live, and I will also be providing reviews of the TV show itself (which can also be found on YouTube for those outside of the market). If there is anything that WCWC needs going forward, it is to promote their old school company through a new school format such as blogging and I am happy to oblige. This show is worth watching.