Pure F'n Carnage - The biggest mistakes I ever made, contributed to, or observed with horror in wrestling: Chapter Two
Pure F’n Carnage
The biggest mistakes I ever did, contributed to, or observed with horror in wrestling
By Jake Carnage
Let me set the scene.
I had had a few matches at this point. My attire for these bouts had been the classic combination of shorts and t-shirt, worn in an effort to look like the grungy hardcore wrestlers I had looked up to growing up in the halcyon days of 90s wrestling.
I did not look like these wrestlers. I did not look like any wrestler. I looked like what I was- a lazily dressed, chubby, babyfaced (not like that…) ordinary looking lad.
I had none of the gear and even less of an idea.
But this time would be different. Not because I would have an idea (I’m not sure that ever came…) but I would get the gear. Proper wrestling attire. I would make an effort to actually look like a wrestler.
I looked up wrestling gear makers online. I ordered based on what I had seen wrestlers wear on the TV. I checked off my list.
Tiny underwear? Check. In a fetching baby blue, no less.
Kickpads? Oh yeah. Gotta love dem kickpads. Blue with beer bottles that look like bowling skittles from a distance, if you please.
I don’t know if I thought as soon as I put this gear on I’d transform into The Rock or Triple H or something. Needless to say, I didn’t.
Although I lifted weights, my physique didn’t resemble that of the wrestlers off the telly. Not only did I not take my “vitamins”, brother, my diet also consisted of copious amounts of alcohol and various forms of cheese. And as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin said once on his podcast “you can’t out-train a shitty diet”.
So, scene set, here we are. The debut of the gear (not like that…the attire not the aforementioned “vitamins”).
As I dressed in the toilets which were the “dressing room” for the show (British wrestling, everybody!) my ample doughy flesh rolled out covering my tiny (even tinier than I imagined…) blue underpants.
There was also another slight issue.
Unlike these days when I’m all about that sunbed life, I had at that point opted for a spray tan to complement the new gear.
But I had worn long boxers for the spray tan.
And did I mention that my tiny pants were really, really tiny?
My “tan” came halfway up my thigh and much more was exposed, so the effect was like I was wearing ladies’ stockings.
Chubby Frank N Furter, anyone?
Of course I had to accessorise, so I selected a long black trench coat. Of course I did.
After I made my entrance I opened my trench coat and it must have looked to the family crowd that were in attendance that I was a kinky flasher. Which wouldn’t have been bad if I were going for some Lucha Libre Exotico swagger or even some Naked Mideon…lack of swagger.
But I wasn’t. I was trying to be an ass-kicking rassler. And, for what I was going for, I couldn’t have looked worse.
Here I am, trying to snapmare my way out of a wardrobe malfunction... Image courtesy of who knows/cares
The point is that proper wrestling attire didn’t solve the issue I had with my look in the ring.
I wasn’t looking objectively at how an audience would perceive me. I hadn’t developed the self-awareness which, to me, is essential for a wrestler at any level.
Eventually I managed to get in better shape (by my standards anyway…) and I stumbled on a look which I am happy reflects who I am as a wrestler
But wrestling with wardrobe choices seems to be a common struggle for many in the mat game.
Perhaps part of the issue is that there is no prescribed uniform for wrestlers- no-one will tell you what to wear like they do for football or rugby. Nor should they- the lifeblood of wrestling is personality and the gear a wrestler wears should accentuate that rather than hide it.
This freedom of couture expression can of course, as it did with me, lead to some pretty funny consequences. When I was trying to ECDUB it up in my jean shorts and cut-off t shirt my tag partner for the match Ellis Barker (a still criminally underrated talent on the Yorkshire wrestling scene) told me in no uncertain terms “I’d better not get on Trash Bag Wrestlers because of you…”
Trash Bag Wrestlers was a now defunct social media page roasting (often hilariously) the wrestlers who, for whatever reason (usually some combination of outfit and physique), didn’t exactly look like wrestlers. The page was an explosion of redneck grandiosity, underfed juggalos and more Jeff Hardy clones than seems possible.
I bet the Pysco one is on shows in barns and everyone is drunk and it's awesome. Image courtesy of Trash Bag Wrestlers.
"Another me is what there will never be..." Keep dreaming, Jeff! Image courtesy of Trash Bag Wrestlers.
All you had to do to get someone on there was message the page with a picture of the offending ring warrior and there was a chance you would see the see the grappler up there for the world to pelt with jokes and ridicule. It could get a little mean spirited but, in my opinion, nothing compared to actually going out there and dealing with a raucous crowd, especially when working as a heel.
The real hilarity came from the wrestlers who couldn’t stand to be mocked. They would furiously type how they were ring veterans and didn’t deserve such treatment or how they were going to beat up anyone making jokes. If they weren’t sincere it would have been great heel shtick!
And of course no-one deserves to be bullied or victimised online. But if you’re putting yourself out there as a wrestler you need to have thick skin and you cannot take yourself too seriously. I’d wager almost all wrestlers have been “Trash Baggers” in some form at some point.
The look of a wrestler as much as anything else is all evolution (it’s still a mystery…).
To me, being a wrestler is about finding the side of yourself you can put in front of an audience in a violent situation and be compelling. Then, of course, you have to figure out what that side of you looks like. It’s all part of the fun.
And if we look a little embarrassing while we are evolving all we need to do is have a sense of humour and remember that “ridicule”, as Adam Ant once sang, “is nothing to be scared of”.