Wrestlepalooza XI Sells Out First Avenue For Night Of High-Flying Fun


Sometimes you just need a girls night. No boyfriends, no friends that are guys… just the girls, a little bit of gossip, and a whole lot of alcohol. Throw some wrestling and great punk music into the mix and you have a perfect Saturday night.

Saturday night was Wrestlepalooza and, out of all of the events I go to every year, Wrestlepalooza has to be one of my favorites. It’s a mix of amateur wrestling, some wrestlers that are actually good, punk music, and one too many Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys. I always invite my friends but, when I explain to them what it is, they are hesitant. I mean, I can’t really blame them as I was hesitant the first time but going that first time created a monster of me and that’s what I’ve slowly but surely been doing to my group of friends.

After a couple of frozen pizzas and maybe a couple too many drinks at my apartment, me and my five girlfriends loaded into an Uber and made our way to First Avenue. As I stepped foot into the venue, I was greeted by an atmosphere much like the atmosphere when I’m there for shows. Everyone was laughing, drinking, smiling and just having a good time. It may have been a wrestling show, but it definitely felt like a concert. I think that’s why I was hooked on this event with my first go. It had all of the elements that have me addicted to concerts and just adds men in spandex. I mean, let’s be honest– win win right there.

After claiming our spots right next to the stage and near the wrestling ring that was set up in the middle of the floor of the venue, the lights went down and it was off to the races. It was match after match of hilarious characters, high flying stunts, and interesting chants from the sold out crowd. I would by lying if I said I didn’t get into the wrestling matches. Although I’m not a huge fan of big name wrestlers in the WWE, I’m a huge fan of the wrestler Wildcat who is easily distracted by the ball of yarn that he carries around and his opponents often throw in order to get the upper hand. Cheesy? You bet. But it makes it easy for me to fall in love with the character.

Even with all of the joking and funny characters, there’s something to be said for the pure talent of these wrestlers. The way they are able to fly from the top rope of the ring and land on their opponents in what looks like a brutal way yet everyone ends up getting up and walking away is truly amazing to me. It’s theatrical in the way a dance is a performance and it’s impossible to take your eyes off of it. When you mix that performance with the way the crowd gets involved and chants throughout all of the matches, it’s impossible to walk away and not already be excited for the next Wrestlepalooza.

Although majority of the people that attend this event are there for the wrestling, I find myself super excited for the music. I’ve seen everyone from punk legends Dillinger Four to local hip-hop superstar Mike Mictlan perform at Wrestlepalooza. Saturday night was no different and I was more than excited to see Off With Their Heads perform. Having positioned ourselves right by the stage, as soon as the announced introduced the band, I swung around and found myself literally right up against the shoulder high stage. No barrier, no security in front of me, I was literally right there and my excitement level was through the earth.

Although they only played two sets of just a handful of songs throughout the night, I was able to get my fix. I was a bit disappointed to see that I was the only one near the stage singing along but that didn’t stop me from belting out every word to every song that the band performed. Even though Off With Their Heads is a Minneapolis based band, I feel like I don’t get to see them as much as I would like to since they don’t play out very often. Having seen them just a couple of weeks ago at The Entry, I knew that their set was going to be full of energy and, even though I was the only one going ape shit, it wasn’t going to stop me. I probably looked like a fool up there as I marveled at these musicians I have put on a pedestal and with the giant cheesy smile that had taken over my face but being that close to this band that has been a staple in my life for years was truly an unforgettable moment.

The second set that the band played (after a couple more wrestling matches) ended with singer Ryan Young announcing that he was going to play a couple of acoustic songs off of the acoustic album they recently put out. As soon as he started to get his acoustic guitar ready for the songs, one of the less favorable wrestlers of the night grabbed the guitar and made his way from the stage to the middle of the ring. After taking a seat in the metal chair that he had also brought with him, he began to talk shit on the band and acoustic music in general. It went on for a little bit until Ryan stole back the guitar and broke it over the wrestler’s back. Again, cheesy? Yup! Amazing and hilarious to watch? You betcha!

Saturday night was full of wrestling, music, burlesque, alcohol, and some of my best girl friends. It was definitely a night that will not soon be forgotten.