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The Weird World of Underground Wrestling in Oakland

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On a dark street, and in an even darker club in Oakland, there are arranged fights happening for money.

joker

Photo Credit Gabriel Hurley, moredangerous.com

And these Oakland warriors are not playing basketball, they’re body slamming, clothes lining, and diving from turnbuckles in full character and costume, to delight of a fanatic crowd.

predator

Photo Credit Gabriel Hurley, moredangerous.com

The first Friday of each month, a bunch of East Bay freaks put on costumes and get weird in a ring. Under the bright lights their performance is a mixture of WWE, Comic Con, & Spinal tap. A combination of elements that simultaneously admires & lampoons professional wrestling. If you’re a stiff drinking hipster who had a secret obsession for the Ultimate Warrior as kid, Hoodslam is probably your wet dream. Nothing is taken too seriously, but everything has a little bit of an edge.

c

Photo Credit Gabriel Hurley, moredangerous.com

I came clammering into Hoodslam after pub crawling through many of Oakland’s amazing drinking patios. When I feel like talking to a diverse crowd of interesting people, I get on the BART and go to Oakland. Increasingly in San Francisco I find myself looking in the mirror whenever I leave my house, that is to say, everywhere I go I see white male, thirty somethings, with frumpy looks on their faces, and quite frankly I’m tired of seeing myself everywhere, its boring.

So I flee to where the sunshine and the artists live, Oakland. Now, back to Hoodslam:

drugz bunny

The wrestler “Drugz Bunny” is a common headliner. Photo Nathaniel Homen WeLikeWrestling

I entered the arena to sound of a crowd chanting “drugz! drugz! drugz!”. The big expanse of the Oakland Metro (Wear)House is filled nearly to the rafters with heavy drinking millennials all cheering in unison, smiling, and swaying in the heat. It’s definitely a plastic cup type venue, there’s no organized seating or programs, there’s just a big black ring, a stage for the band, and a very busy bar.

stoner

‘Virgil Flynn III’. Photo Credit Nathaniel Homen: WeLikeWrestling

Every month there is a new theme, like ‘video game characters’ or ‘America’, and the great soap opera that is ‘pro wrestling’ unfolds with different thematic costumes and characters, building and dropping rivalries and crowd pleasing with acrobatics and funny antics.

titty slam

A tag team of tits. Photo Credit Gabriel Hurley, moredangerous.com

The MC of it all is a ‘bro’ who actually does a nice job of making fun of himself and narrating the ringside action. He reminds me of one of those guys you meet at a ‘Senior Frogs’ type spot in Cancun, and despite his general douchebaggery, you find yourself saying to yourself, ‘when in Rome’ roll with the punches.

bro

‘Broseph Joe Brody’. Photo Credit Nathaniel Homen WeLikeWrestling: 

He’s constantly spraying Jack Daniels into the air and pouring it down the open mouths in the audience, in fact if you’re ringside at Hoodslam, there’s a good chance of getting free whiskey mouthfuls at any given moment.

music

Photo Credit Photo Credit Gabriel Hurley, moredangerous.com

There’s near constant action, live music, narration, crowd surfing – it’s definitely an experience with what appears to be a loyal following, having a great time.

Check out upcoming shows, merch, and other hoodslam type shit at www.birdswillfall.com
Facebook is a good spot to find out about shows: www.facebook.com/Hoodslam/

Photographers:
Gabriel Hurley: moredangerous.com
Nathaniel Homen of ‘We Like Wrestling’: Facebook.com/welikewrestling

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife (not so much nightlife anymore).

If you're a writer, artist, or performer who would like to get your work out there, or if you've got a great product or service to promote, we've got 120k social followers and really fun ways to reach them. We make noise for our partners, and for our community. alex at brokeassstuart.com

7 Comments

  1. Holdin27
    July 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I’m sorry you hate yourself, Alex. You should work on that.

    • Crystal Vielula
      Alex Mak
      July 18, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      that’s what you took away from this? lol

      • Holdin27
        July 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm

        I was kidding, sounds like a blast.

  2. Nate
    July 18, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Hey three of the photos you used are actually mine. Photos 4 (Drugz Bunny), 5 (Virgil Flynn III), and 7 (Broseph Joe Brody) are courtesy of WeLikeWrestling.

    • Crystal Vielula
      Alex Mak
      July 18, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Sorry about that Nate, we were misinformed : /
      Would u like your credit for 4, 5, & 7 to read ‘Photo Credit WeLikeWresting’ ?
      If you’d prefer your name in there just let me know in full, and were happy to put a social or url linkof your choice at the bottom of the article as well

      • Miz Mendelson
        July 19, 2016 at 5:38 am

        you could pay him.

      • Nate
        July 19, 2016 at 7:53 am

        No worries. You can use my full name ‘Nathaniel Homen’ and site Facebook.com/welikewrestling.

        Thank you for responding so fast and correcting this. I appreciate it!!