Photography courtesty of Facebook.com/OldeWrestling
And Yet Another Extravaganza of Wrestling Exhibitions
Huron County Fairgrounds
Sunday, August 28, 2016
For the uninitiated, Olde Wrestling is a peek into a bygone era. The events consist of comedy matches contested by wrestlers who assume period-correct gimmicks. The shows are family friendly and highly entertaining.
The fourth installment of the Extravaganza of Wrestling Exhibitions was held at the Huron County Fairgrounds. Normally a sweltering building would be negative but in the context of the old-time theme of the afternoon, it was oddly appropriate.
A number of fans show up in their “Sunday best.” One couple rode up to the venue on a vintage tandem bicycle. Another gentleman cruised up on a penny-farthing high wheel bicycle.
There is a live ragtime band (Ragtime Rick) to play the wrestlers to and from the ring. The ring announcer uses a vintage ribbon microphone. A ring girl parades around the ringside before each bout with a chalkboard featuring the names of the participants of the upcoming bout written on it.
Australian Rules, Mixed Tag Team Match!
Nicholas Valentino/the Bearded Lady v. Felino de Rojo/Thunderkitty
Things start off awkwardly as the heelish Valentino attempts to upstage his fan favorite partner the Bearded Lady, who looks suspiciously like Ring of Honor’s Kelly Klein. The women start the match. Valentino gives his partner grief for shaking hands with Thunderkitty in a sporting manner. She then went over and crushed her partner’s hand with her vice-like grip.
When the girls finally lock up, Bearded gets the better of Thunderkitty. She tosses Kitty across her shoulders and does squats with her there.
Valentino encourages her to cheat.
Bearded Lady: “I want to win the right way.”
Kitty catapults BL into Valentino’s crotch while he was perched on the top rope. The two women then pile on top of Valentino for the pinfall.
The Bearded Lady then demanded her payment for the match from Valentino. He refused so she picked him up and dumped him on his head.
Winners: Felino de Rojo & Thunderkitty
“Loser Gets Tarred and Feathered” Handicapped Match!
“Big” Sue Jackson v. Inky Scoops/Rory O’Henry McHenry
Scoops and McHenry tease their opponent by tossing feathers as they make their way to the ring. The fans chant “tarred and feathered” before the bell.
Scoops is a turn of the century newspaper boy.
Jackson and McHenry square off. They pull each others’ mustaches. They then criss-cross the ropes in slow motion.
The three take turns blocking coconut crunches until finally the referee Jake Clemons gets involved and cracks heads with Sue. Sue throws a packet of flower in ref’s face. Sue crotches his opponents and the ref with a broom.
Eventually, McHenry knocks more powder into Jackson’s face and bulldogs him. Scoops jumped off the middle rope. Henry piles on for the pinfall.
Sue escaped the ring before his opponents were able to tar and feather him. His opponents chase him out of the building with the band plays music narrating the chase.
Winners: Inky Scoops & Rory O’Henry McHenry
6-Man Cyclone Contest!
The Jollyville Jeepers/Coach Frederick v. Jervis Cottonbelly/Marion Fontaine/Hobo
The Jeepers are like throwback college wrestlers. They do calisthenics in the ring while Cottonbelly shakes hands and hugs kids on his way to the ring.
Fontaine and Nasty Russ start the match. Russ tries to flip out of an armbar but can’t so he needs help. Too funny. T-Money’s reactions are at ringside are priceless.
Cottonbelly is tagged in. He makes “monster hands” and attempts to intimidate his opponents. He gave T-Money a rose, who crushed it and ate it.
Later, Frederick offers Hobo cash to take his punches. This works twice before Hobo wallops him. Coach tags in Russ with a smack on the behind.
T-Money dominates Fontaine.
The match heats up when Cottonbelly is tagged in. He gets triple-teamed by his opponents.
Cottonbelly gives T-Money a spinning gut, while Fontaine has Russ in an airplane spin. Hobo gives the big swing to Coach Frederick.
At this point, Big Sue runs from the locker room. He is still being chased by Scoops and McHenry.
All three heels charge at their opponents but hit each other instead. The faces execute triple sunset flips and simultaneously score pinfalls.
Super fun match.
Winners: Jervis Cottonbelly, Marion Fontaine, & Hobo
Women’s Wrestling Contest!
Heidi the Riveter v. “Kickin'” Kimber Lee
Lee, working a flapper gimmick, dances her way to the ring. Heidi, playing a WWII factory worker, is coughing like she has Black Lung.
Lee does a great spot in which she links arms with Heidi and forces her to do the Charleston. She follows up with dance kicks to her prone opponent in the corner.
(Aside: My phone buzzes during the match. A friend had texted to inform me of the passing of WWE legend, Mr. Fuji. It never gets any easier to lose the greats from a previous generation.)
Lee danced her way out of a reverse chinlock. She follows with a roundhouse kick.
Heidi is tripped off the turnbuckle and eats the mat face first. She then hits a stunner.
“I came up with this move!”
Heidi gets her pipe wrench and is looking to brain Lee with it. However, Lee connects with a Codebreaker for the pinfall.
Lee runs from the ring and hops into the back of a classic car that had quietly made its way into the building. The driver pulls away as she ways to her fans.
Great match! These are two talented wrestlers who weaved cheeky antics into an action-packed match. I respect the hell out of both these women.
Winner: “Kickin'” Kimber Lee
Photograph courtesty of Facebook.com/OldeWrestling
“The Charlie Chaplin of the Chinlock” Jeff King v. Guy “Juice” Jennings
King addresses the crowd. He repeats multiple times in a gravelly voice that he is “mean.”
Jennings is out wearing a letterman sweater, wearing a leather football helmet, and carrying a football.
King is incensed:”I’M MEAN!!”
King marches over to the band to confront them. The drummer played a rimshot mocking him. King got in the drummer’s face and threatened him.
The piano player stood up.
“DON’T disrespect my brother.”
King sheepishly backed away to the ring.
The first segment of the bout is built around King trying to take Jennings football from him. Each time King would get it away, Jennings would easily get it back. They had some funny, clever bits.
Eventually, King connects a stiff elbow to Jennings’ neck. The match becomes a bit more serious after this.
Jennings misses a football tackle. Much of his offense is built around football practice drills.
Jennings scores with a big swing.
King works the bear hug, which gains him a win by submission.
The band plays him out as he marches over to confront them.
Both these guys played their roles to perfection.
Winner: Jeff King
As the crew starts to construct the cage for the main event, Scoops and McHenry had finally caught Jackson and escort him into the building to deliver his punishment. Jackson sits down as feathers are passed out to the numerous children that have run over. He is “tarred.” (The tar smelled exactly like chocolate syrup, so…) Jackson is then feathered by his opponents and the children. It is a fun moment that Jackson milks for all it’s worth.
First Ever Caged Match!
Prohibition v. Incarceration
The Lobbying Legislators of an Anti-Saloon Land (Agent Dick J. Lahart, Judge Hugo Lexington Black, Rep. Gavin Volstead, and Senator Cameron Sheppard) v. The Moonshinin’ Men of Appalachia (Jock Samson, “El Paso Kid” Greg Iron, “Burly” Bill Taylor, and Chuck Taylor
Referees Tom Dunn and Jake Clemons are assigned to the match. One man from each team starts the match. Every 60-seconds a member from one of the teams will enter the match. All the members of each team must either go through the door or over the top of the cage and have their feet touch the floor in order for the team to be declared the winners. The cage was constructed of 2x4s and chicken wire. (After the show I walked over and checked it out. It was better constructed than many steel cages I’ve seen used.) If the moonshiners lose, they go to jail. If the legislators lose, Prohibition comes to an end. (Talk about a stipulation!)
If the moonshiners win, Prohibition will come to an end.
Samson is first for his team. Sen. Cameron Sheppard for the legislators.
Sheppard: “This is the last chance to turn yourself in.”
Next: Gavin Volstead. He and Sheppard double-team Samson.
“Burly” Bill Taylor is in the cage to even the odds.
Dick Lahart enters. He has a cigar in his mouth while wrestling.
“El Paso Kid” Greg Iron enters and goes right after Samson.
Next up, Hugo Lexington Black. He is at ringside in a wheelchair and refuses to enter the ring.
“I can’t walk, you moron!”
“Do you think I want to be in this chair?”
Minutes later, Chuck Taylor, dressed in full black and white striped prison garb, snuck to ringside and poured a jug of moonshine over Black’s head. The “disabled” Black jumps to his feet. The referees force him into the cage.
With Taylor and Black in, the match is now in full effect.
It takes all four of the moonshiners to slingshot Lahart.
Samson escapes the cage.
Bill Taylor tried to stop the Senator from escaping but he tore a hole in the chicken wire on his way out.
Black is selling like crazy.
Bill Taylor escapes.
Iron tries to get out over the top of the cage but Black follows him up. Black goes down. Iron climbs to the top and hits Black with a gutsy flying bodypress. He rolls his way out to the floor.
It’s now Taylor v. Black and Volstead. Black escapes the cage.
The crowd is on fire. They are chanting for “Chuckie T.”
A shoe comes flying into the cage. Taylor goes to hit Volstead with it but Volstead crotches him.
The two are climbing the cage on opposite sides of the ring. Volstead jumps off the top to get the win but the moonshiners catch him, preventing his feet from touching the floor. Taylor climbs over and down to secure the win for his team.
PROHIBITION IS OVER!! Hooch for everyone!!
The Verdict: Huzzah!
Olde Time shows are fun in the same way that Chikara shows are fun. They exist in their own bubble with their own internal logic. They are family friendly and focus heavily on entertainment rather than in-ring performances. That’s not saying the matches are bad, they aren’t. But the matches are constructed around premises that are the prime motivator of the match.
I love how earnestly certain wrestlers approach their Olde Wrestling characters. Nasty Russ from the Jollyville Jeepers is on of the toughest guys on the indies. To see him ham it up and show some comedic chops was an unexpected treat.
I told my friend that “Heidi the Riveter” (AKA: Heidi Lovelace) is so good at the gimmick that she could probably get away with doing it full-time if she chose.
Jock Samson had some cool merch for sale. One item that would make a neat collectible is a tee-shirt packaged inside a moonshine jar. Next time I see him I’m gonna score one of those babies. If you want to buy one from him, hit him up on Twitter.
Derek Direction wasn’t on the card but he appeared at the merch tables in his barber persona offering free haircuts and combing. He looks perfect as an old school barber.
Olde Wrestling only runs a couple times a year. If you live near Northeast Ohio and have the opportunity to check one out, do it. They put on a heckuva show.