I girded my teeth. I gritted my loins. I ventured out, bold and unafraid, into the strange world where art students meet wrestling and nothing is safe; where every entrance theme is J-Pop; where the heels are square and the faces are from Mars. I did it — for Johnny.
I dunno, man. It’s like wrestling, but they wear big Japanese monster suits made out of foam rubber. And it happens in my city. Like I wasn’t gonna get down to a show eventually.
Recap? Not so much. I mean, there were five matches, one unscheduled. There was a musical tribute. I am thinking that a detailed explanation of the latest developments in the Dr. Cube/Unibouzu feud might be a waste of time.
Kind of to my surprise, the wrestling was about as good as I’d expect from semi-amateur wrestlers inside very ungainly monster suits. Which is to say I wouldn’t expect to see any of these guys in the WWE any time soon, even without the suit, but I was not completely horrified either. Dr. Cube did make one leap from the top of the cage which made me want to scream “Down with backyard wrestling!” but otherwise it was all well within my tolerance for both safety and skill.
The key, and this is what really surprised me, is that the booking was out of sight. I am not kidding, here. The good guys won every match except the comedy match leading up to the main event, then the tweener beat the heel in the main event, then the evil heel conned the tweener into another title defense and won. It worked really well, and — more surprise coming up — whoever booked this stuff knew how to book both the storyline and the matches.
“Whoa,” saith I. “They’re building to a face comeback, and now they’re giving the fans hope, and now the heel is cutting out our hearts!”
Plus all the good bits like the heels getting arrogant and refusing to take the easy pins, and run-ins that didn’t last forever, and so on.
Also the announcer put his heart and soul into it while maintaining the personality you’d expect out of a guy named Louden Noxious. There were faces and there were heels and this guy spent a lot of time driving home that point. He made the show comprehensible and totally avoided the usual indie problem where people cheer for the heels and kill the drama of the match.
(He did play by play during the match. This turns out to be a really good idea, if you can pull it off. You need a good announcer.)
So by the end I was all happy and I bought a T-shirt. Also on my way out I saw a couple of guys in RoH T-shirts, indicating that I was not the only indie wrestling snob there. I will probably go again. It worked both as humor and as a wrestling show, which is the kind of dualism you need for good comedy.