PWG - Underground Wrestling
It was a night that after a series of random events brought us to a part of LA that Angelenos refer to as “The Valley”. But not so much the cookie cutter suburban part with picket fences, above ground pools, and Prius's. We were headed for Reseda.
Unassumingly tucked in between a seasonally deserted Howard Johnson Motel, and a retirement home severely deprived of elation lies an inconspicuous little building that normally serves as a local community center. Though, once a month the purpose of this building becomes rather unorthodox. Thats right, we’re talking about Underground Wrestling!
When we arrive its only 5:30pm, but a long line has already formed and it snakes around the jet black parking lot. Doors open at 8:00pm, people slowly walk through the lot with their hands in their jacket pockets and clouds of warm breath pushes through the cold California air.
There won’t be a bad seat in the house but, there’s a front row. The place for the vet’s. 8:00pm hits and doors poke open and allow the first frost bitten but electrified crowd inside. The ramshackle room fills up within minutes yet somehow the line looks unaffected. People instantly know their spots, they find their corners, and take their seats. EVERY show sells out. Finding a ticket offline has proven to be hard, if not impossible. PWG (which stands for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla) could easily expand their venue but the charm lies in the run-down building, the ten dollar pitchers of beer, and the animated crowd chants, laughs, and yells in complete unity.
As much as the wrestling is the main event, the crowd is just as mesmerizing as the show.
The sound of bodyslams and deafening screeches of “pain” hit the wrestling mat and it creates a chemical reaction in the shape of a unified roar: THIS IS AWESOME!
These wrestlers aren't widely known. They aren't wealthy. The way they help support themselves outside of their regular day job is to sell merchandize between the fights. People line up to shake hands, take a picture, and buy a shirt. PWG reserves the exclusive right to video tape each fight, so they can sell DVD’s throughout the years. A worthy request from a grassroots organization.
Larry, he has the back office. He runs the place.The door slides open and a thick cloud of cigarette smokes seeps out. Throughout the night, you’ll hear him yell at someone for doing something stupid. To be honest, without Larry this place would lose a huge part of its soul.
I think it’s pretty safe to say this is not an evening of the mundane. It’s an evening of the most unexpected energy and that oh-so entertaining event they call underground wrestling. Or “P-dubb-G” as the fans howls out between every other fight, or while they quaff down beer straight from the pitchers.
And if you never been to one of these events, don’t think you’d be interested, or understand the point of wrestling. All I have to say to you is: GO.
Yeah. The perception of the attendees of an event like this might be steered towards the kid that lives in his/her parents basement. But honestly, its just an amazing group of people that are all there for the same reason, and that is to have a good time. With that, I can honestly say that all the fighting is inside the ring, so its actually pretty safe to bring your kid there (even though the show goes on for over three hours). We’ve seen plenty of fathers and grandfathers bring their seven or eight year old kid to one of these matches. Even if your 70, or eight, you're going to have just as much fun. So, if this has sparked a little bit of interest and you’d like to find out more, please make sure to go online and get some tickets asap. Because they will sell out fast.