Wham! Tattooed Adam Thronstowe, half of the tagteam known as "Reno Scum" hits the mat, thrown by a burly opponent. Before you know it, Adams bounces back and reverses the situation, bringing the pain with an elbow to the neck. The crowd roars.
"We call it the living comic book," said Dominick "Dom" Jerry, one of the impresarios bringing Fog City Wrestling to Blue Lake this weekend. "The storytelling is comic book style in the good vs. evil. And we try to go retro in some of the characters. We have Mexican wrestlers with the masks and the costumes, American-style with the tights like you see on TV. There's Japanese strong-style, which is tighter, more physical. We combine all the styles, blend them together."
You might remember Dom from his days in Humboldt as a musician and promoter. Dom married an Arcata girl, moved with her to the Bay Area. A few years ago he and a friend founded Fog City Wrestling to fill what he saw as a void: "There basically hadn't been a prominent [wrestling] promotion in Northern California in about 20 years. San Francisco used to be the Mecca. Our idea was to get the best talent and bring them to the city. We got the top guys from all the NorCal schools and went for it."
When he says "schools," he's not talking college wrestling teams. Pro wrestling has established schools where one can learn the moves. "This is Vince McMahon-style, WWE-style pro wrestling -- you have to learn it -- there are schools for it. Basically the old guys teach the new guys, passing down the tradition, teaching them how to fall, how to throw, how to jump, how to land. They call it boot camp. You really need a skill set to get involved. It's like gymnastics meets martial arts meets ballet -- in something like a play."
Friday night at the Sapphire Palace the playbill includes a head-to-head between Dana Lee, aka "Deadly Venom," and Sheik Khan Abadi (guess who's the bad guy in that comic). There's a "ladyz throwdown" with Nikki the NY Knockout vs. Morgan, and "The Dark Rift," Chicano Flame and Jesus Cruz, trying to take down the massive Alofa, the Samoan Tank, in a two-on-one handicap match.
It all leads to the grand finale with Thronstowe and his Reno Scum partner Luster the Legend up against Caesar Black Xperience, a tagteam with Brian Cage and Big Babi Slymm.
"I manage the bad guys, Caesar Black Xperience," noted Dom. "The WWE is looking at the Reno Scum -- they're this awesome punk rock tagteam -- they look great with an '80s vibe with mohawks and leather. We're basically like the AAA of wrestling -- from our level they can go on to TV if they're good."
Expect unrelenting rock 'em sock 'em action. As Dom put it, "Once we put our foot on the gas, we don't let up."
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 14, at the Blue Lake Casino's Sapphire Palace with a meet ’n' greet from 6 until 7. Ringside seats (rows 1 and 2) run $40; $30 gets you in rows 3 and 4; general admission is $20. Advance tickets available through the Players Club 668-9770 ex. 3281. Proceeds from the all ages event benefit the Blue Lake Education Foundation.