Slammed: Inside Indie Wrestling

Slammed: Inside Indie Wrestling (2011)


Program for National Geographic Channel/NatGeo that depicts both Ring of Honor tryouts (led by an uncharacteristically sedate Jim Cornette) and preparations for an indie show at a VFW Hall in Manville, New Jersey by the promotion National Wrestling Superstars. Probably most notable for featuring a pre-TNA Shiima Xion/Zema Ion/DJ Z and former WWF Superstar Danny Inferno, the episode focuses on the familiar contrast of the hardships of finding fame (Xion) and regaining fame (Inferno) but I thought there were a few smaller, but more interesting aspects. Xion’s specific experience as a Filipino-American wrestler, and the pressures his career placed on his widowed, immigrant Mom was a slice of life I wish had been investigated more. Where Xion and his Mom pulled heartstrings, the relationship between promoter and commissioner duo “Dapper Johnny Falco” (half Jon Taffer, half Ed O’Neill) and Gino Moore (mulleted, wearing a windbreaker and a Bluetooth headset) was just bizarre. I’m at a complete loss of whether they were “real” people, or characters played-up for the audience. As usual, the business end of the operation neither seemed to enjoy wrestling, nor be making any money, and seemed to be propelled forward only by a hefty dose of masochism and contempt. The promoter and/or booker roles are such an incongruous aspect of wrestling, it was interesting to see some light shone on the local guys trying to put on the patchwork bingo hall shows. It was not necessarily a flattering light, but interesting nonetheless.

Other notes: small cameo from Anderson & Gallows as the big shot who can’t operate a GPS and drive the perpetually suffering Dapper Johnny Falco one step closer to a stress and corned beef induced heart attack.

Shits & Pieces: April 2015

George Ezra

I saw George Ezra’s appearance on Saturday Night Live a couple weeks ago, and now I am fucking smitten. 50% musically and 50% romantically. Dear God, he seems a little dangerous, that Gretsch-playing, blues-y, scamp. And that voice, such a deep whiskey-soaked voice oddly juxtaposed on a little baby angel face. I feel like a fifteen-year-old girl watching Elvis. I want to run away on a boxcar with him because our parents don’t understand us.

Sara Barron’s The Harm in Asking

This is the second of Sara Barron’s memoirs that I have read, and I thank God she apparently hasn’t learned from any of her past decisions. Her first book, People Are Unappealing, Even Me focuses on a broader scope of her life and more on her family and their relationships, while The Harm in Asking focuses mainly on Sara and her college and post-college years in New York as a struggling theatre major/Lillith Faire obsessive/wannabe lesbian (seriously.) These times are exactly as cringeworthy, awkward, and uncool as you imagine, verging on an Amy Schumer sketch level of oh-my-God-this-should-not-be-real-but-it-probably-is. Her experiences seem improbable, but never impossible. There is that last tiny thread of recognition, that every memory you wanted to forget was cranked up to eleven and lived through by Sara Barron, with even less grace than you managed to muster up. I LOVE embarrassing coming of age stories, probably because I am in beast mode denial about my own, so this book is an incredibly comforting presence in my life.

Here Comes Greatness (Matt Luem, Greg Fiering, 2002ish)

I’m on a serious hardcore wrestling binge, and this gem was the only useful suggestion YouTube has ever given me. It’s a short (~20 minutes) home video-y documentary about the hardcore backyard wrestling feds of California in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Interviews with wrestlers theoretically shed some light on why they choose to self-injure for no money and almost no audience, but the answer is either elusive or deceptively simple, entertainment combined with a drive to find the line between life and death and poke it with a stick. There is plenty of footage of these guys taking barbed wire and panes of glass in suburban backyards and a sand pit “arena” on the side of a hill, which sits so firmly at the intersection of glorious and bootleg, even the set designers of Mad Max couldn’t have dreamed it up.

Silver Linings Playbook

I read the book because I saw the trailer, then loved the book so much I’ve been holding off watching the movie for around 18 months. I was left with the overwhelming feeling I had no idea what had happened to two hours of my life. I think, had I had no prior knowledge of the book, I would have thought this was a great romantic-comedy. But I read the book and a romantic comedy seems against everything it stood for. I thought the book was a completely heartbreaking story of what happens when life gets in the way of your plans for it, and the illogical, flailing, desperate attempts we make in before the acceptance that everything you had planned for is irretrievably lost. I guess, in the nature of romantic comedies, the film went for the quick, happy, fix everything ending. No one is sad but no one really learns anything. It took something that was beautiful in it’s brutality and rounded all the corners and made it safe, and I kind of hate it for that. I hate that whoever optioned this was served a perfect story on a silver platter, and didn’t use it. It gave me the ultimate ‘I could have done that better’ fan response, that is constantly mocked/rejected by filmmakers. But now I’m thinking if you consciously choose to alter a story and it does not live up to the original, not only is that a legitimate complaint, but you’re kind of self-aggrandizing.

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Oh my Godddd. Everything has been breaking. My laptop battery died. The stove broke at 2PM on Thanksgiving. The power steering and both front axles broke on my Mom’s car, then a headlight burned out less than 24 hours after she got it back from the autobody shop. My unattractive-but-sturdy circa-2007 Canon PowerShot jammed its own lens for what is apparently the last time. My sister’s laptop exploded. My cell phone continues its slow flail towards death. My guitar is bowing.

Beside the fact we had to cook everything in a toaster oven/on the stove top/with a crock pot, Thanksgiving was nice. I love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love a parade I don’t have to stand outside to watch, but I feel like the parade is the last two hours you can breathe before the holiday season. By mid-morning you’ve started a month long cycle of cooking, cleaning, shopping, struggling to get into the holiday spirit, weight gain, suppressing the urge to assault your family members, more shopping, guilt, anxiety, mall parking lots, fury, panic, sleeplessness, debt, seasonal affective disorder, abruptly resurfacing family tensions, gift wrapping and feelings of inadequacy. That is why I need the parade. Every year I watch the first hour from the comfort of my bed, then I watch the second hour on the couch, in sweatpants, drinking black coffee while no one talks to me. And I love it.

I love the dog show too, despite being against everything the dog show represents. I loosen my morals for the holiday season because it’s the only way to not have an aneurysm. I would listen to the dog show’s podcast. I just want Mr. Peterman and that other guy educating me about bichons and exchanging soft-toned haughty dog banter for six straight hours. It’s so soothing. However, I’m convinced there is an anti-conventionally attractive (?) dog conspiracy. They’ve employed a reverse human pageant qualification system. Every year since I’ve been around ten I wait for my long haired chihuahua, or a pomeranian or a yorkie, or something fluffy with a teddy bear head and big eyes, and it never happens. The only winner I would have ever adopted was Banana Joe the affenpinscher from a couple years back, but that’s because he had a busted monkey face and I love an ugly little Ewok.

Dinner was quiet and nice even though my sister decided to use bringing up what we are thankful for as an opportunity to express her excitement at the recent downfall of Lena Dunham.

As an aside, I am not a cook but my one holiday cooking tip would be shove bourbon in it. You seriously cannot go wrong with bourbon. Is there anything that tastes or smells better than bourbon? No. I often think about the possibility of a liquor-based perfume, and am so sad the influx of fraudulent DUIs it would cause will never allow it to happen. Bourbon. I used this Bon Appetit recipe and fucked it up by not putting in enough maple syrup and had to pull it from the oven and feverishly start scooping filling out and re-mixing it and scooping it back in and it turned out fine, because MAPLE AND BOURBON.

I watched Comedy Central’s All Star Non-Denominational Holiday Special alone while drinking an entire bottle of sparkling cider (???) and it was lovely.

Other than that my family just watched a bunch of Netflix. We watched Three Stars which was about chefs/restaurateurs working under the Michelin system, which was “meh” as expected. It turns out that the key to getting your third star is no one knows what the fuck the qualifications for receiving your third star are. I thought most if not all of the chefs had interesting personalities and philosophies toward food, but there just wasn’t much to explore that I didn’t already assume. Some of the chefs embraced the system more than others (usually the ones with three stars, no surprise there) a couple outright rejected it, there was some discussion of bias and rigging in an attempt to win over new markets (Asia) and everyone agreed the expectations placed on restaurants with stars, or that hoped to receive stars, was intense to say the least.

The real winner was Tucker and Dale vs. Evil though. It was truly adorable and my whole family liked it, which is rare. The concept makes you want to kick yourself for not thinking of it, two hicks and a truckload of hot college students are vacationing in the same creepy backwater town, only the hicks are portrayed as intelligent, empathetic and tolerant while the college students are hysterical, judgmental, and vengeful. I’ve been meaning to watch it for years because Tyler Labine, who I’ve had a crush on since Breaker High, plays Dale, and Katrina Bowden, who in my opinion goes under-appreciated as Cerie from 30 Rock is the female lead. Not a defining criteria, but, you know, just throwing it out there, I also found the actor who plays Tucker incredibly attractive.

Apparently they’ve recently announced plans to make a sequel, so there’s another reason to get your shit together.

Sean Dunne’s American Juggalo

“We’ve got alcohol and we have explosives, let me show you how great we are.”

– unnamed Juggalo

American Juggalo by Sean Dunne, a short documentary on The Gathering of the Juggalos. I saw this a couple years ago and still think about it all the time.

via Twitter: @JohnGllgr