Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014

Recap: Extreme Midget Wrestling Brought Scripted Violence and Grinding Women to Turner Hall

By Jamie Lee Rake
extreme midget wrestling
Photo credit: Benjamin Wick
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"I can't believe how extreme this is!"

Be it ironic or an outburst of genuine enthusiasm over the choreographed faux brutality on display Friday as the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation took over the Turner Hall Ballroom for a few bouts of faux brutality, the above sentence was actually uttered loudly. Specifically, the exclamation was made during an extremely curious instance of a trashcan and other aluminum implements of quasi-pummeling appearing on the mat and being used with relish.

Though the diminutive grapplers may find themselves making their living in a forum existing somewhere between exploitation and empowerment, they're doing nothing new. Battlers of their physical stature have been an intermittent fixture on their (staged?) sport's circuit since at least the 1960s. What then, makes what they're doing so extreme?

The trash talking of what looked to be the federation's tallest-looking participant and only one given any real time on the mic, Skinny Timmy, would not have gone over on weekend syndicated TV's “All Star Wrestling” back when. Not only did he launch gratuitous F-bombs to describe the unworthiness of the opponent he attacked with the aforementioned refuse receptacle, he went so far as to deem the city hosting him as “a piece of shit hole” (sic), obviously setting up Skinny Timmy as the heavy—and loser—in that bout. That the winner of the match determining the league's champion would be named Baby Jesus ("From the heavens above!," beamed the announcer in back of the venue) could also be seen as an example of extremity on par with the assortment of hip-hop, post-grunge and nu-metal used for background music. The occasional blast from Kenosha's industrial-lite Christian rockers, Skillet, provided an object lesson in incongruity for those with ears to hear as well.

Then there's Grind On The Midget. It's the game where several female fans were invited into the ring to impress fellow ticket buyers and get a, erm, rise out of fighter Lil Rampage with moves at least as appropriate for amateur night at Silk Exotic or The Airport Lounge. The winner made spirited, inventive use of turnbuckles and ropes, perhaps fortified by the Miller beer whose logo highlighted her T-shirt. Whatever prize she may have received for her moves beyond the clamorous appreciation of the crowd and whatever may have been going on in parts of Rampage's anatomy clothed for the occasion wasn't made apparent before she returned to her seat with her doubtlessly proud companion. Less salaciously, Houston native Rampage bested Winnipeg's Mike Hawk in a billing positioned as a U.S.-versus-Canada battle.

A battle royale with all six of of the night's stars, with likewise height-challenged referee Steve'O caught up in the fray, ended the show in a manner gladly not so extreme: no blood, nor any injuries, feigned or otherwise. The entire event, absent much in the way of lag time, lasted under two hours, giving attendees time to take $5 photos with their favorite Extreme Midget and go on to further night life happenings during which they could recall the silliness of the athletic guerilla theater they just witnessed.


 Photo credits: Benjamin Wick

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