Austin, Texas. One of America’s great cities and cultural capitals. It is the zeitgeist of art, food, and music two years ahead of everyone else. The progressive creative spirit in Austin is unmatched, which makes it an odd home for a wrestling company. The sport isn’t dead, but it’s been buried alive under outdated ideas, useless conventions, and nonsensical mores. The most popular presentation of it offers nothing to this generation that it didn’t offer to their parents. A Pro Wrestling company shouldn’t be able to gain any ground in the most youth driven city in the States.
And yet, Anarchy Championship Wrestling continues to thrive. It makes it’s home in the true heart of Texas, just two food trucks away from 6th Street (think Bourbon St. with no strip clubs, and somewhat better music venues). There are plenty of other things people could do on a Saturday or Sunday Night than spend several hours at a wrestling show. Yet, they come. In droves. Every month.
An ever-increasing collection of people (it would be presumptuous to label them all “wrestling fans”) make their way to the Mohawk to see the best wrestling Texas has to offer. There’s more women than the average wrestling show. Fans show up in band T-Shirts ranging from Metallica to MGMT to Mos Def to Madonna to Muse to Morrisey. There’s a section on the stage where lightly bearded hipsters hate the wrong people while the rest of the audience hates them. There’s die hard wrestling fans, and people who proudly proclaim they hate wrestling (but love Anarchy). The experience is unique, exciting, jarring, scary, damaging, uplifting, life-affirming, and so much more than just “wrestling.” In the past few months, it’s become even more than that.
Take last November’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. A three-day multi-genre music and art festival that prides itself on having the chillest homegrown vibe in its class. It’s Lollapalooza without the corporate bullshit. It’s SXSW without the hassle. It’s way, way too cool for wrestling. But there was a place Anarchy. ACW is the only promotion that could conceivably put on an extended weekend’s worth of suitable wrestling action in this type of venue without altering or compromising the product. They came out and put on a true ACW show that was enjoyed by ACW loyalists carrying hand-drawn signs, and the punk kids disappointed by Danzig’s meltdown, and the club kids trying to score before Diplo came on, and the kids who just realized there was a wrestling on the show on and wished they had brought their replica belt with them. There’s something in ACW for everyone.
I attended the 2nd day of FFFFest which featured two title matches. The first was a multi-tag-team match where the champions of Rachel Summerlyn and Jessica James began their end as a team (though we didn’t know it at the time). After months of taunts and attacks, The Lost Boys finally got their shot at RAJETT and won via blood-lust and pure savagery. Early in the match they opened up Highroller Hayze’s forehead and, yes, drank his blood before eliminating Team SEX. When it was down to just the Vamps and the Slayers, Jessica was isolated and put down for a definitive win. After the match Silver and La Crimosa threatened to bleed James out, but Rachel was able to save her at the last minute. The Lost Boys did all this, in spite of having to wrestle under the sun which, I quote, “doesn’t burn [vampires] but pisses us off incredibly.”
Speaking of people pissed off by the sun, music, and things normal people like, Portia Perez faced Angel Blue. The crowd hated both of them but, thankfully, America’s favorite referee Bryce Remsburg made his ACW debut that weekend, giving us all someone to get behind in this match. He called it right down the middle, didn’t take any crap, and got a number of chants (and cat calls) from the crowd. Blue won the battle of who could cheat more by cheating, of course. A hard-earned win over a much more experienced dick.
The main event of the show was an elimination match for the ACW Heavyweight title. ACH’s moveset was a bit too futuristic for the high-tech camera he attempted to mount on his head and it flew through the air farther than he did. The crowd of randomly assembled music lovers immediately responded to ACH’s athleticism and charisma, but he illegally taken out of the match by longtime rival Gary Jay. Fans were also way into Just Willie and Slim Sexy. Slim was able to feed off the love and came within a second of winning his first ACW title. Darin Childs, however, wasn’t going to let his brand new belt slip away just yet and retained with a huge Fall From Grace.
The show, though short, was completely entertaining and came off extremely well. It fit the vibe of Fun Fun Fun Fest without losing the vibe of ACW. On the contrary, it was an essential piece in the ever continuing story of ACW, with events that proved pivotal in the following months. This was captured ringside by a number mainstream photographers who went on and spread the word of Anarchy in various zines, blogs, and newspapers that would normally never cover a wrestling show.
When the wrestling was done for the day and the crowd dispersed, various Anarchists mixed, mingled, and partied with their fellow artists. Evan Gelistico performed a daring piece for the Air Sex competition, hosted by Chris Trew (whom I finally remembered I went to college with). Sometime after or before that, Rachel kicked it with Donald Glover (who did a wonderful comedy set but absolutely murder/death/killed the festival with a relentless Childish Gambino performance). Kris Wolfe tried to get Flava Flav to wear the ACW title as a medallion. Ryan Gosling floated from stage to stage filming a movie, dancing to New Orleans Sissy Bounce, having in depth conversations with ACW’s leading man Matthew Palmer, and being all-around magictastical.
I found myself at an afterparty having my id shattered by a band called Deafheaven (which you should listen to), ran into Lykke Li in the airport who looked good but really tired even though her set was 20 minutes late and cut short and ended around 8:30. The way things went, I can only assume she challenged Jessica James to a drinking contest, and lost. Anarchy ruled the world that weekend.
Here’s a collection of videos from Fun Fun Fun Fest from bands we liked. Also, a clip of Deafheaven that’s not from FFFFest, but is epic none-the-less.