The Smashing Pumpkins “Owata” Video Shoot Report:

When I first saw the photo of Billy Corgan and Cheerleader Melissa together at Cauliflower Alley Club reunion, I was ecstatic. The Smashing Pumpkins are my favorite band.  Cheerleader Melissa is one of my favorite wrestlers. Billy is a huge fan and supporter of Pro Wrestling, and I’d always joked about him coming to a SHIMMER taping. He did one better by actually putting on a show featuring SHIMMER’s most beloved athlete, as part of the video shoot for The Smashing Pumpkins latest single Owata (available now for free download, along with the rest of the ongoing Teargarden by Kaleidyscope album, at SmashingPumpkins.com). DDS Staff Greg (@BigZ38) and Chris (@ChrisC06) both attended the event. Here is Greg’s live report, and Chris’ photos, of the Smashing Pumpkins music video taping at the legendary Berwyn Eagles Club in Berwyn, IL:

First, here are the match results:

1. Knight Wagner defeated Gringo Loco
2. Shane Hollister w/ Miss Scarlett defeated Jordan McIntryre w/ Eryn
3. Dan Lawrence defeated AAW Heritage Champion Mason Beck to retain the AAW Heavyweight Championship
4. Alissa Flash defeated Shelly Martinez w/ Raven

There were about 100 people there with a good majority of them being Smashing Pumpkins fans and not wrestling fans. Relax, there was no war between the two sides. I would be surprised if half of the Pumpkins fans returned for AAW’s June event, which is what they technically bought tickets for. [Chris: The crowd was great, they need to bring Pumpkins fans to every wrestling show.]

The crew filmed some  B-roll footage while we were waiting in line and where still shooting as we went inside.

The setup was pretty similar to the one that AAW and SHIMMER uses with the entryway, guard rails, and ring. The big change was that they used a lot more lighting. They even used a spotlight for entrances.

A variety of cameras were used, one being  the “Red Epic” camera, which some of the bigger Hollywood releases have filmed with. There was also a traditional film roll camera that was used in spurts, and a DSLR camera that’s similar to the ones used by TNA for backstage segments.

AAW C.O.O. Kevin Harvey welcomed us to the show. He said that this wouldn’t be a regular wrestling show and, since this is a big time production, we may see parts of matches repeated in order to get the perfect shot. Other than that, he said to simply be loud and enthusiastic during all the matches.

The actual matches were a bit slower than what we’re used to, as they wanted to make sure each spot was hit successfully. Plus, the wrestlers spent a lot more time engaging the crowd than they normally would.

There were a lot of delays between the matches as they reviewed the footage to see if any retakes were necessary. They also wanted to make sure everything was set for the following match, and give our voices a bit of rest. This resulted in a lot of Stalling for Time Theatre, most of which was quite entertaining. Kevin’s Ian Rotten impression was brutally honest, yet hilarious.

Alissa Flash vs. Shelly Martinez is going to be the primary focus of the music video, so obviously it got the most attention. We had a guest ring announcer: former G.L.O.W. wrestler Little Egypt. She looked great, but couldn’t quite take Joey Eastman down as the Eagles Clubs’ top announcer. Shelly came out first with Raven. She was dressed in a revealing school girl dress and black top, and played up her sexuality throughout the match(es). Alissa came out with a SHIMMER Tag Team Championship belt. They would have used the singles SHIMMER Championship, but champion Madison Eagles had the belt in Philadelphia [Editor’s Note: Melissa thwarted again by Eagles]. This tag belt was Tomoka Nakagawa’s, as she didn’t take it with her to Japan. She was announced simply as “Women’s World Champion.”

Alissa dominated to start, until Raven got involved, and threw her into the guard rail. Alissa eventually made a comeback, following a ton of offense from Shelley. Raven attempted to interfere again and Shelley ended up accidentally drop kicking him. Alissa won the match with an Air Raid Crash. After the match (this might not have happened with all takes), Raven took Alissa’s belt away, but ended up eating a low-blow.

After that, we saw the same match again, complete with entrances. The director wanted the match filmed from the opposite side of the ring. The crowd had cheered for both women in the first match, so this time they told us that Shelly is an evil bitch and Alissa is awesome. With a better crowd atmosphere and match flow, the second take was much, much better.

Then, we got a third take as they wanted to film the match from inside the ring. They skipped the entrances, casually walked out to the ring, and redid much of the match. Some of the fans had left so the AAW crew, including some of the wrestlers, came out to fill out the crowd. Finally, they re-shot the match ending once more.

Obviously, it was nothing close to SHIMMER, but chopped up into pieces for the music video, it’ll look great.

The crowd was great during this, as they would save their energy until we got our cue, and then we would cheer and boo as if it were a 5-star main event.

Prior to filming the last segment, we had more stalling-for-time theatre, as the AAW crew began either dancing or doing imitations of various wrestlers while various WWF themes played. Then, in a planned B-roll shoot, Raven came out to ringside to sign for a dozen fans.

Unlike his memorable in-ring appearance at AAW: Epic, Billy Corgan watched most, if not the entire show from the seats with the fans. He did take time to speak to the crowd and say, “Thanks.”

And that was it. The shoot went close to four hour and, while  it was a bit exhausting, it was cool to be part of something like this. Raven, Melissa, and Shelley filmed a lot of footage on the previous day, so I’m very interested in seeing how the video comes out.

Greg Davis

Photo Courtesy Cheerleader Melissa

And because I can’t help sharing some SP love, here’s a rocking recent video of theirs you may have missed. It’s called G.L.O.W. How very fitting!

Update

First, thanks to The Smashing Pumpkins for linking us on their mega-popular Facebook page. It’s resulted in us shattering our previous view record! ChicagoVerseUnited posted this great picture of Billy addressing the crowd on Twitter. Also, Chris provided us with his perspective and additional info on this shoot. Check it!

Photo courtesy http://chicagoverseunited.com

As I walked up to the all-to familiar Eagles Club in Berwyn, Illinois, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had been there many times over the past couple years for events put on by SHIMMER and AAW but this time was for a music video shoot. While I waited outside for the doors to open, I recognized a few faces from wrestling shows I had attended, but there were several other people there just to be a part of a Smashing Pumpkins video. I’d say non-wrestling fans far outnumbered the amount of wrestling fans in attendance. I even overheard someone say they didn’t even know the video was going to have anything to do with wrestling. To be honest, I had some concern over how they would react, as I’ve witnessed the difficulty with suspension of disbelief people have when seeing wrestling for the first time.

The crowd grew a bit bigger as time went on and everyone slowly noticed that we were being filmed. It was amusing to see everyone silently start pretending they didn’t know the camera was there, hoping to preserve the candid shot. Eventually, we were asked to react as the crew walked through and people mugged and posed as they were passed (they got a clear shot of my Simpsons referencing “Smiling Politely” sign). When we were finally let in, I caught a glimpse of the crowd’s enthusiasm as we were told to gather up and then, on cue, rush excitedly to a seat.

When the “show” started and the matches began, it was very interesting to see how the crowd responded. People who weren’t familiar with the wrestlers learned from the AAW faithful who to boo and who to cheer, and they did so with zest. They would relentlessly jeer every bit of offense from the bad guy and rally around every move from the hero, getting louder when provoked. I can only give thanks and gratitude to the Smashing Pumpkins fans, many of whom knew next to nothing about wrestling. They were lively, loud, and definitely seemed to be enjoying themselves. At times, they were louder than the some of the bigger AAW crowds, and that’s with only a fraction of the attendance (normal AAW shows hold 200+ fans while the taping had about half that). At one point during a break, one of the music video crew members expressed to me an interest in checking out AAW’s show June 17th.

Photo Courtesy Shelly Martinez (@funtimeshelly)

It was very cool that Smashing Pumpkins front man, Billy Corgan, sat among the crowd, watching the matches as they were filmed. I realize it was his bands’ video, but after a couple of long days of shooting, he could have just as easily hung out in the back and offered his input on footage when needed. I took him sitting out there, watching thew taping with everyone as a sign that he very much cares about the outcome of this video and how wrestling is represented (as if his use of a little known local wrestling company wasn’t enough) .

The “main event” between Alissa Flash (whom I could not stop calling Melissa when cheering) and Shelly Martinez, with Raven, saw the hottest crowd response of the night. The second shoot of it was especially rowdy, and during all three recordings of the match the fans were on their feet. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it turned out on video, as the fans made it look like the Match of the Century. Casting Alissa Flash was a very smart move; she is striking in appearance, but still highly athletic and powerful. I have a feeling her popularity will rise a bit after this video debuts.

In the end, I found this experience was very fun and unique. I think that the video can do very good things for independent wrestling overall and the AAW promotion itself. It will show something a bit different than what most people see from wrestling. Just one look at Melissa’s curb stomp on Shelly could change the understanding of what women are truly capable of in the ring.

During the breaks, while the crew adjusted their equipment, Kevin Harvey hit the ring with a mic to keep the crowd entertained in whatever way he could think of. There was one thing he said when addressing the non-wrestling fans in attendance that stuck out to me. He talked about how it usually seems better to see in a concert in a smaller, more intimate “hole in the wall” than a huge arena where the people in the upper seats can’t tell if the performer on stage was “Elton John or Lady Gaga.” Obviously, he was associating that with professional wrestling; the spectacle seen in the big arenas doesn’t necessarily out do the quality and intimate experience of shows in small venues. It’s something I agree with and I sincerely hope that phenomenon shines through in the “Owata” music video.

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4 Comments

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  1. I didn't know Billy was a wrestling fan.

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  2. I’ve known for a while that Billy is a big wrestling fan. I seem to remember him first talking about it online in the late 90s. Personally, I’m not a wrestling fan, but to each their own. I know that a lot of people are. I wish the AAW the best and I’m glad that Billy is showing support for things he’s passionate about. However, I have to say that I’m not sure how featuring wrestling fits for a video for a song like “Owata”. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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    • John Hyperion May 29, 2011 — 3:26 am

      Well it’s not like the concept and song for, say, Zero would have necessarily seemed like it went together (Black Metal fop party?!), but it turned out great. Back in the day, no would have heard anything about the video until it actually showed up on MTV. I think SP has done such a great job with their videos we don’t really have a reason for pre-skepticism.

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