Sunday was my boyfriend’s birthday. I really suck at picking out birthday presents but I knew exactly what to get him this year and that was a ticket to Wrestlepalooza. Even if you don’t like wrestling, Wretlepalooza is for you, and I was so excited for him to experience this truly amazing local event firsthand rather than just hearing me word vomit all over the place about all of the amazing moments that made up the event. Unfortunately, you all still get my word vomit but I will say this now and probably will repeat it by the end of this post— Wrestlepalooza (and really any event F1RST Wrestling puts on) is absolutely worth your time to go check out on your own. My words will never do it justice.
The event wasted no time getting into the meat of things and the night was kicked off with the battle for the Wrestlepalooza belt The fight was between local favorite and current belt holder Ariya Daivari and the one we all love to hate, Darin Corbin. Ultimately, Corbin ended up winning the belt and becoming the new Wrestlepalooza champion but it wasn’t without a valiant fight from Daivari. Kicking the night off with such an epic match definitely set the tone for the rest of the night. I promise I won’t walk you through each and every match but, just think about how amazing the night got if that’s the way it all started.
What I love most about these Wrestlepalooza events is the mix of entertainment. Sure, wrestling is the main attraction but there is also always burlesque and live music. Bring a “Pride Pre-Party”, they also brought some drag queens out to the ring to perform. I loved this as I was literally watching some of my favorite worlds collide in such a graceful and perfect way. Like I always say, Wrestlepalooza is for everyone and this was a great example of that. I think growing up there was such a “manly-man” attitude towards the sport but F1RST has put the kibosh on that and has absolutely made it accessible for anyone and everyone. Like their shirts said, Wrestling is for EVERYONE.
Although the devoted fans who were at this event were absolutely paying attention to every single movement happening in the ring, it was clear that we were all kind of holding our breaths for the “big announcement” from the ringleader of this whole event, Arik Cannon. Also a wrestler (although he didn’t fight on Sunday which was definitely a bit of a bummer), Arik is the one who thought up Wrestlepalooza and made it a reality. He took to the mat with a clipboard in one hand and a microphone in the other. He started the announcement by saying how many people had reached out to him just thanking him for everything assuming that the announcement would be his retirement. The way he joked about it was flawless but I honestly had my money on that. What happened next was well beyond what anyone could have imagined.
“This contract is about all of US!” “This moment is for US!” The vague comments had me super confused and you could feel the excitement in the air as the house lights went down and a video started playing. Images of the rotunda at The Mall of America were really all a lot of the fans in the audience needed to see to understand what was going on. I was a bit lost as I haven’t been following wrestling and still don’t unless it is the local legends but that’s when the flyer flashed on the screen– F1RST Wrestling Presents Saturday Night Nitro at The Mall of America on September 10th, 2022. The crowd instantly started in with their “Holy Shit!” chant but it had a different tone to it than it does after a killer move in the ring. This chant had so much heart, so much admiration, so much appreciation– although it wasn’t until I bumped into my friend (and local celebrity) referee Clark Feldman that I really understood the magnitude of this announcement. I’m not going to bore you with all the details but, long story short, this is a huge, huge deal and just gives some validation to F1RST Wrestling being at the top of their game regardless of the game they are playing.
The night continued on after the major announcement but the mood in the room had absolutely shifted to more of a celebratory party than anything else. Local rapper Sean Anonymous brought up some of his friends for his two short yet dynamic sets. The burlesque performance from Sweetpea and Emerald Eve were sexy as ever and drag performer Sasha R. Cassadine nailed it with her performance and looked hot as ever in her short neon dress. There wasn’t a bad performer or performance that took place on Sunday night but that wasn’t a surprise. Although Wrestlepalooza is always a fun time and typically too many drinks are had by all, the people behind this event are professionals and always pull off a flawless show in the end.
The night ended with everyone’s least favorite announcer (just kidding, John, we love you… sometimes) making a statement that really stuck with me. “The world is shit but sometimes there is cool shit to do!” Thank you F1RST Wrestling for giving us some really epically cool shit to do. Can’t wait to see you all at The Mall of America on September 10th!