Perhaps the last arena where you can experience unbridled drama, pathos, thrills, chills and outright battles between the forces of good and evil in a family friendly environment might well be that of wrestling. This Examiner.com columnist was invited by Kris Sapolu a.k.a. the imposing wrestler known as the Samoan Sap to observe the wrestling event known as "Mass Destruction" at Rio Linda High School in the city of Rio Linda, California.
The world of professional wrestling has had a celebrated and sometimes, checkered past. Most associate professional wrestling with the stylized and very theatrical presentations that are televised. Wrestling has also enjoyed immense popularity in the Latin world and is more popularly known as "Lucha Libre."
There are many different organizations that cater to fans of professional wrestling scattered throughout the United States and the world. One such organization is known as the "Total Wrestling Federation." This particular organization is based out of the Sacramento area and has been active since 1998 where it began in the city of Tracy, California. The organization has grown in reputation and size since its humble beginnings and the events are aired utilizing YouTube.
Arriving at Rio Linda High, this columnist first noticed that the wrestlers themselves began to construct the ring in which they would fight six hours later. It was an amazing procedure that involved careful layering the base with wood and elastic material designed to offer maximum solid cushion for moments where high flying wrestlers would impact the floor. After constructing the ring, wrestlers retired to the gym locker room in preparation for the night's various matches. It was at this point where the wrestlers started to make their rounds in order to be interviewed for the YouTube recordings. Intimidating in height and musculature, the wrestler known as the Samoan Sap proved that you certainly cannot judge a book by its cover as the wrestler also doubled as the press liaison. Sap cheerfully explained the activities that the wrestlers would be involved with as the night progressed and decided that it was a good idea for the other media representative from the show, "N the Queue", Arlene Barshinger and I play the parts of paparazzi chasing wrestlers that would be arriving in limousine to the show!
As the night progressed, fans started to appear. The number of fans did not fill the school gym, but their vocal enthusiasm was very well received as the wrestlers were announced prior to each match. The introductions were punctuated by several familiar rock and rap songs that typically could also be heard on some of the more famous television wrestling show produced by the W.W.E. and others.
There is a distinct difference between watching a professional wrestling match live and in relatively close proximity than viewing it televised. Most assume that these matches are not "real" and that the danger and pain the wrestlers can receive are not genuine. Although this assumption has merit, the amazing amount of choreography and athletic prowess on display during all of the battles is astonishing to behold. Wrestlers are appropriately colorful in personality and style of clothing. Names such as the "Black Assassin", "Steel Johnson" and "Corporal Bogue" demonstrated their abilities to boldly throw themselves off of the ropes of the ring and follow a story-line that was fraught with a tale that would make the most outrageous of soap opera writers envious.
These kind of events will always save the best for the last. As each match was introduced-the level of over the top action began to escalate accordingly. The battle between wrestlers, Michael Johnson and Jonathan Martinez turned out to be the highlight of the night. A garbage can and a table became instruments of wanton mayhem as the fighters utilized these items to gain the upper hand in the match. It is always assumed that these items are designed to be used for these kinds of matches, but this columnist had the opportunity to examine the items and shockingly enough-they were actually genuine! Indeed, Michael Johnson's arm was evidently bleeding from the impact of being thrown on the table.
There is a tangible sense of drama on the level of a Shakespearean play that is seen in this stylized drama within the ring. One could argue that this sport is a clever way to reinforce a sense of human values such as camaraderie, loyalty and ambition. Is it any wonder that the sport continues to attract new and very vocal fans?