A unique experience made possible through Xcitelife, this author went behind the scenes at a recent Hogtown Pro Live Wrestling Event in Toronto; myself and an open minded gal watched the October 1st 'Socktoberfest' event with all-access passes which let us hang out with the wrestlers and basically wander wherever we wanted to go inside and outside the venue. My lady even helped set up the chairs in the VIP area just so she could snag a spot underneath the announcers.
Hogtown Wrestling is a Rogers cable TV show and the two announcers give 'ring side' live narration during the match which is one of the only ways people who don't follow the stories can figure out what's really happening at the live event. Each wrestler has a back story and the announcers know all the dirt - they tell their listeners who double-crossed who and all the duplicity of the drama that unfolds onstage.- so people sitting nearby their banter can benefit from hearing and learning the wrestlers' back stories.
Raymi the ring girl with Bamborough Attaborg, I think his name is.. I was out in the back alley behind Super Wonder Gallery at six thirty pm and snapped these shots of the performers as they began showing up in disguise. wearing civilian clothes. Dressed in normal garb they're almost unrecognizable as the heroes and villains of Socktoberfest, transforming themselves with colourful spandex suits and soft leather boots in the dressing area just inside the backdoor.. Below is Jaxson, aka The Professional as he arrives and is welcomed by his 'second family'.
Hutch Henries seen above and below formally announced the wrestling league name change at the top of the bill. He did so while making reference to the freshly printed Hogtown Wrestling banners and the vinyl 6x6 media wall which nicely illustrated the name change to the live audience and in the Rogers TV show being filmed on this special occasion.
The wrestling match started with seditious storytelling by Nick Watts against the Champ and the administrators - he began his match by boasting about his prowess and below you can seee he's affecting to listen for dissent - of which there was plenty. Cheered on hy his detractors, a contender appeared soon after and the performers squared off in the ring. Their argumentative jibes and rebuttals are perhaps the oldest form of storytelling; they set up a 'conflict of being' that's very effective at contrasting ideas. This strange sports combat theatre suddenly becomes a philosophical arena where archetypal characters test constructive versus destructive concepts.
Toronto Guardian covered the action in an featured article about Hogtown Wrestling Socktoberfest in Super Wonder Gallery. In the first match, a wrestler known as Nick Watts, an unscrupulous athlete whom we heard both announcers describe as a bully, represented the antagonist, and on some level, an evil force. His opponent, The Hacker was the protagonist in this first match and it gave the audience a great deal of satisfaction to see him struggle and defeat the villain, and thereby advance in the rankings.
The Hacker is a rising star who was chronicled on Dumpdiigers blog because of his collectible broken glasses gimmick. Let me explain, a big part of the show is the wrestler's character drama and this is heightened by all manner of collectible kitsch. If one performer wears taped up / broken glasses or has an over-sized mustachio than these items will be sold in the front of the room so young fans can more easily adopt the look and persona of their heroes in the ring.
In the next match four more wrestlers with different emotional stories to communicate stepped into the ring and told the next chapter in their character's stories and the story of the wrestling league. Above you can see Raymi Toronto doing her job as ring girl, desperate to stay out the way of the cameramen and the performers but still be present to fetch and hold ropes and gear.
The drama reached great heights and the action was entirely unpredictable. Sometimes the wrestlers provoked the crowd, and at other times they seemed to be taking inspiration from the audience and following their group chanted instructions.
Above and below, these shots show The Lover and his manager Saki San taking on Eddie Sapps and Joey Valentyne in a match filled with suspense. The winners will face-off with current Tag Team Champions, the dreaded From Russia With Rage, later in the night for the titles.
There was $2 pizza squares from Amicos late night pizza in Parkdale and the beer was five bucks a bottle. It costs fifteen or twenty dollars to get in the door (depending how you buy tickets) and the next #HogtownPro live wrestling event in Toronto is Nov 11th 2016 and its called the Need for Speed, and its also being held at Super Wonder Gallery. Xcitelife works directly with Hogtown Pro to provide a behind the scenes experience for aspiring wrestlers. Learn more here on their profile.