…And now I’m in the wrestling business (by Scott Kessler)
A few weeks ago, my friend Rene Martinez contacted me about an opportunity to do color and play by play commentary for a small local wrestling company called Kansas City Xtreme Wrestling (KCXW). The company holds shows once a month at the Alamo Drafthouse, and features young wrestlers just starting out, many still in training at KCXW’s wrestling school. After the first recording session, our individual characters began to emerge, with Rene representing the Babyface side of the commentary, as I represented the Heel contingent. As we work-argued back and forth, peppering the soundtrack with attempted zingers, we called the matches with a bit of confusion. By the end of the next session, we felt we had found our rhythm, and our dynamic
I’ve been a wrestling fan for over thirty years, and never imagined I’d be involved with pro wrestling at any level. I’d never confuse myself for “one of the boys,” and I’d never make assumptions about how accepted I am by the workers themselves. It’s simply surreal to find myself calling wrestling for several hours at a time, like the guys I watched growing up. I don’t mean the flat, boring, generic style of current ringside commentators like Michael Cole (ugh), JL (Gag), or David Otunga (Boring As Fuck), or the comically bad like Don West (Moron), or Ed Ferrera (God Help Us). I’m talking about Gordon Solie, Jesse Ventura, Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon, Tony Schiavone (Pre Ass-Kissing-WCW Drone), Jerry Lawler, and the great Jim Ross. I stole as much as I could from my memories of the above mentioned, punctuating high spots and stiff strikes with loud exclamations, like the sound effects in a comic book from the seventies. When the matches slowed down, we were instructed to build and put over the backstories of the guys in the ring, and we spoke about it as though we had been present to the entire angle. We helped to build the story, which in this case was the finally of a nearly yearlong program, and also helped it come to a thunderous climax, without the help of the very, very quiet crowd, who seemed unsure of what to expect.
Overall, the action in the ring ranged from decent to good to excellent, in terms of the main event (the undefeated Marksman vs. ROH’s Donovan Dijak). Rene and seem to have found…maybe even stumbled…into our own small corner of “The Business”. It’s very hard for me to say that. It makes me feel like an impostor…on the other hand, I won’t/can’t squander the chance to do this, and the chance to do my very best. Time will tell, and so will the audience.
Written by: Scott Kessler – FSKessler@aol.com
Edited and published by: Rene Martinez @_The_Knight_Owl