SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The sweet smell of revenge tinged the air as angry Mike Modest and West Coast Wrestling Connection champ C.Q. Gallo defend their tag team title against the Shoot to Kill duo.
Bodies slammed against the ropes and the smack of flesh against the mat resonated loudly through Springfield’s Regional Sports Center.
The West Coast Wrestling Connection conquered the town with their 4th Anniversary Show last Saturday night.
“What you see out there basically is real,” explained WCWC Coordinator Jeff Manning. “Yes, people know that some of what goes on in pro wrestling is scripted, predetermined, but when you get through watching our show tonight you will understand that we are a little bit different.”
An amped up audience booed, barked and even squirted water in the faces of the so-called villainous wrestlers that entered the ring or moved the wrestling down onto the floor -- or out among the spectator’s seats.
Crowd interaction was encouraged; the wrestlers thrive off its electric energy.
Pumped up fans know that only in the world of professional wrestling is it okay to smash a chair over your nemesis’ head, body slam your opponent to the ground and trash talk about it when the fight is over.
The heroes and the villains took to the sweat-stained ring to defend their titles or gain more respect by winning their fight. Colorful spandex costumes paired with equally colorful stage personalities dominated the blue roped ring.
This is entertainment at its finest. Part theatrics and part athleticism, it’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline-filled excitement that permeates the event. Between strong clashing personalities, a rowdy crowd and matt slamming, chair-smashing, high-flying jumps the world of professional wrestling will no doubt rouse your emotions and get you cheering, booing and chanting on your feet.
And the crowd got what they came for. The night opened with a Battle Royal, in which nearly a dozen wrestlers entered the ring for a free-for-all match, the winner being the last man standing.
In brief strategic alliances, opponents and blood enemies paired up to toss larger opponents over the ropes to the hard floor below.
No move was too dirty, no body part off limits, and no one safe from brutal attack.
Toes were stomped.
Chairs busted over heads.
Of course it is exaggerated. Of course it is theatrics. Of course a hell of a lot of it is just plain fake. But that’s not the point. The point is it is all entertaining.
And besides, it doesn’t really matter how many times you practice being thrown out of a wrestling ring onto the hard floor 12 feet below: it has to hurt.
The pain has to be real, most of it anyway. Even if the staggering around the ring and numerous incidences of being knocked unconscious are, well, a bit hard to believe, it takes enormous athletic ability and near ballet grace to dive off the top of 10-foot lockers onto two grown men below without being seriously injured.
Do you want to get knocked head-over-heels by a 315-pound man in black spandex pants and green boots, even with practice?
The grand finale, a tag team match, delivered all the thrills the true believers and skeptics could have wished for from a night of wrestling.
Of course, to call it a tag team match is to use the sport’s lingo loosely. The head smashing, arm twisting, eye poking and double-flip-kick-you-in-the-chest-and-drive-my-elbow-into-your-throat action took place as much outside the ring as inside.
And it seemed that any interested wrestler could join in the mayhem if the mood hit him, chair bashing over the head optional. Even when the match was over, it wasn’t over. As the two victors raised their hands in triumph, they were blind-sided by two wrestlers who had snuck into the ring behind them, then proceeding to beat the victors senseless.
And the crowd loved every crazy moment of it, down to the last plea for mercy, bull roar answer, and demonic laughing taunt.
Any novice with no understanding of the sport could be excused for tallying up the carnage as three fatalities, six broken ribs, two serious spinal injuries, several cases of head trauma and at least a couple dozen felonies.
But at the end of it all, every single wrestler, including the ones who appeared lifeless just moments before, rose to the cheers of the crowd, like Lazarus in his cave. Having been miraculously resurrected, they’ll be back in a couple of weeks to assault each other with reckless abandon again.
Just as viciously.
And that’s the beauty of it all.