Obviously, two of my true loves are country music from the 1950′s and 60′s, and pro wrestling from the 1970′s and 80′s. It’s true, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. In my opinion, the main ingredient lacking in today’s country music is substance. The classic songs of country music were traditionally always written by one person, in a vulnerable moment of truth, loneliness or despair. The music you hear on country radio today is written by “teams” of writers on Music Row, and at the very least, written by two people, up to as many as five. They are crafting songs for specific singers and demographics, and they are essentially producing songs that neither stimulates nor offends the listener. It’s safe, its predictable and most importantly it’s perfect for the radio format because it doesn’t provoke a reaction from the listener, other than complacency.
With that said, there is a similar element of substance missing in today’s pro wrestling. When I was a kid, the wrestling I watched on Saturday mornings was based centrally on the theme of good versus evil. Sure, it was politically incorrect (enormously incorrect, looking back), but there was a general message being relayed that good will prevail over evil. It’s a tried and true formula that is as old as religion. The wrestling I was watching was aimed at children and it had a comic book-slapstick feel that was partly truth, but mostly fiction. It’s my opinion that as the WWE evolved into the 1990′s and 2000′s it continued trying to appeal to those same kids, as they reached adolescence and grew into adulthood. As a result, cheesy gimmicks and cartoon characters were soon traded in for sex, shock, reality television and X-rated violence. The demographic changed and wrestlings time slot quickly moved from Saturday mornings to Monday nights. So, what are you left with when you remove the “good vs evil” template from pro wrestling? You end up with a shock reel of torrent behind-the-scene soap operatics, beer chugging, horrible acting, and middle finger waving ultra-violence. But most importantly, you lose all substance.
Sunday, I took part in a show by Victory Commonwealth Wrestling based out of Toronto, Ontario. I was reprising my “Oh Canada” number from the Mainstream Wrestling show I did a month back in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Sunday’s show was a matinee held at the MOD Club, a seemingly trendy lounge/bar on College Street in Toronto. From the look of the poster that promoted the show I had a feeling that the heart of this promotion was based on the kind of wrestling I grew up watching as a kid. Was I right? Yes! I was impressed enough by the show that I’m going out of my way now (unsolicited) to write to you about it. The show was an elimination style tournament and all of the wrestlers in the show were fabulous performers. Not only was the “wrestling” itself, fast paced, tradtional and entertaining but the entire production of the show had a flow to it which was quite impressive for an independent promotion. There were over-the-top managers, a sheik, a butcher, army dude, and the main event -a tag team match featuring two hillbillies against what looked to be a hybrid of the Road Warriors and Demolition, complete with shoulder pads, spikes, face-paint, and mohawks. Ringside there were color commentators, and a “president” presiding over the matches. There was a fabulous ring announcer, an authentic looking (and sounding) ring, and they even had a quirky looking country singer kick off the show with the national anthem…
The highlight of the show for me was the outcome of the tournament which now puts Goliath Ayalah (complete with a pair of “evil” Rabbi managers) against fan favourite ”Wild” Buck Gunderson, who looks like he might be the son of Bruiser Brody or Charles Manson. The two square off on June 8th in a STEEL CAGE match on a card that will also feature WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff, and surely plenty of other fine theatrics. While the promotion spotlights a number of gimmicks that are supremely politically/socially incorrect, they are served up with enough tongue in-cheek humor that it prevents them from wavering into the offensive.
The crowd was an interesting mix of college kids, rockabillies, grandparents, adults, and children. The MOD Club itself gives a very hollywood feel to the show with it’s multilevel layout and bombshell bartenders. My only gripe was that the domestic beer was $6.50 a bottle, and $3.00 for a small bottle of water. But then again, I’m new to Toronto, and perhaps that’s the going rate. At only a $15 ticket I wouldn’t mind shelling out a bit extra on refreshments.
In summary, what I liked most about Victory Commonwealth Wrestling (VCW) is summed up perfectly in their proud slogan ”This IS your Granddaddy’s Pro Wrestling!” I couldn’t have said it better. Good versus evil, and in my opinion it might just be fun for the whole family (depending on your family)!
You can check out VCW and find information on their upcoming shows at www.facebook.com/victorycwrestling
One of my favourite places to play in Canada. A real cool spot, with lots of dry humor and good music. Most nights John will even light the barbecue.
You can visit www.themoonshinecafe.com for more info or call John or Jane at 905-844-2655
Here’s a much nicer poster that Kelly Sloan sent me for our gig this Saturday May 4th at the Cedar Hill School House:
This Thursday evening we will be taping LIVE for the Candy Show in Halifax, NS. Want tickets? Email email@example.com We’re filming at the Olypmic Centre at 2304 Hunter Street. 6:15pm.
The Modern Grass will be my band!
The Candy Show | Entertainment by Candy Palmater – http://www.thecandyshow.com/
Also, a couple recent bookings popped up on the south shore for Friday and Saturday night at two super cool restaurants/pubs. These will be my last two appearances in Nova Scotia until mid July. Thank you for all the support on #WWD.
Ever wonder who would win a wrestling match between Hank Williams and Johnny Cash? Me neither, but that shouldn’t stop you from coming out to the Seahorse Tavern this Friday night in Halifax, NS for a wild musical tribute to Hank and Johnny featuring Burlesque performance by Miri Darling. I will be doing my usual ode to Hank Sr. while Chris Martin and the Whiskey Kisses will be offering up a mixture of Luke the Drifter and the Man in Black. Advance tickets available at Taz Records. See ya there!
While I don’t normally endorse the consumption of alcohol, I figured in the tradition of Wrestlemania Sunday, tonight would be a good time to unveil the official Wrestling with Demons Drinking Game. I’m not much of a drinker myself but did test the game out a couple weeks ago with friends in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. We were watching a few episodes of WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event from 1987-1988 using some locally brewed beer. We had a blast!
I will print up a few on shiny 11X17 poster paper and make them available in the store and at shows soon.
Remember, to always drink responsibly no matter how exciting the event. This game was designed for persons 19 years of age or over (18 in Quebec), and/or 21 years of age in the USA.