Island Packet – When I was young, in the seventh and eighth grades, I established a fantasy wrestling league with my brother and two friends, an equally violent set of brothers named Jon and Matt.
Establishing a fantasy wrestling league is, of course, an exceedingly geeky thing to do, geekier even than establishing a fantasy baseball league (actually, probably the only thing geekier than establishing a fantasy baseball league). It’s accepted — well, it used to be accepted — that at least some percentage of baseball is real, while pro wrestling is, of course, a big fake programmed trick featuring drugged-up men, fire and frequently thumbtacks (oh, sorry: SPOILER ALERT). As such, establishing a fantasy league around a sport that’s fictional to begin with is sort of a meta train wreck, like when you hold a mirror up to another mirror and can see into other dimensions. It’s certainly not something you bring up at the junior high lunch table much.
But we didn’t care about such existential matters, because me, Dave, Jon and Matt were concerned with just a few things in the seventh and eighth grades: violence, absurd role-playing games and figuring out ways to ensure none of us would learn how to talk to girls for a few more years.
Anyway, and I don’t want to gloat here, but our game was AWESOME. Had we patented this game I would be a very rich man right now, living on a yacht and generally being Lil Wayne, but instead of pioneering the fantasy pro-wrestling market I moved into newspapers, which is, of course, the only industry in the world with less long-term income potential than pro wrestling. (It’s also loads more fake.)
The game worked like this: Each of us invented a stable of original characters, and a series of dice rolls determined who beat the stuffing and/or tar out of whom. My primary character was called The Blade, and he came to his fictional ring to the sounds of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands On Me,” and listen, you can judge me if you want, but in 1988 Bon Jovi was pretty hardcore, especially if you were 13, and pathetic. The Blade held the Championship Belt, which was actually a belt, for a good long while, until it was stolen from him in a knock-down, drag-’em-out bout with Jon’s guy The Juvenile One, about whom I can remember nothing other than when portraying The Juvenile One, Jon wore Zubaz pants.
I am bringing this up because of pro wrestling coming right here to Bluffton via an event titled “Bluffton Blow-Out,” taking place tomorrow at the Bluffton High School football stadium, the first instance in recent memory, I think, of the glitzy, glamorous world of pro wrestling invading our quiet little arts-and-shellfish coastal hamlet.
The event is brought to you by the Carolina Wrestling Association, or CWA. The CWA, of course, is not the WWE, nor is it the WCW, nor is it anything you have ever heard of unless you work in the CWA, and even then you probably look at the letterhead every now and again and go, “What the hell?” CWA’s logo is designed to appear chiseled out of sheer granite, and there is lightning coming out of it, pursuant to Senate Bill 2433, which requires all professional wrestling logos to involve lightning emerging from creative fontography.
There also is a note on the Web site that indicates PARENTAL ADVISORY: VIOLENT CONTENT. What the site does not denote is DISCO CONTENT, which will come in the form of a man named Disco Inferno, who is pictured in the event’s promotional poster wearing my grandmother’s fluffy bathrobe. I’m not making fun — everyone needs a gimmick — but I’m just saying, he looks very much like a guy who would have gotten completely throttled by The Blade.