I’m sure we’re all used to growing the Fringe brochure and seeing shows with enigmatic titles which tell you nothing about the eventual content. If only there was a show that told you exactly what to expect before you even step in the room. Welcome to
If you like the title, you’ll like the show.
In terms of material, the guys have a wealth to choose from. An acrobatic sport, requiring precise timing and where almost every moment is filmed, there are hours upon hours of ambitious but messed-up moves to laugh and wince at. Then there’s the promos - a bunch of performers who are definitely more renowned for their physicality than for their way with words, improvising threats to camera - a prospect doomed to fluffing. Finally, there’s the bizarre official marketing that the companies themselves have tried - from terrifying stipulation matches (‘Barbed Wire Electrified Dynamite Pool Double Hell Death Match’ anyone?) to cringeworthy merch opportunities.
Pretty much all are on show in this clip-show. We kick off with a mistimed-match featuring two 300-pound men acting as if poleaxed by blows whistling past them. We laugh at WWE stars Randy Orton and Vladimir Kozlov getting themselves awkwardly and painfully tangled in a table and the ring ropes respectively. We cringe at a massively-overhyped promo by bizarre Nineties characters the Nasty Boys, The Mountie and Repo Man (yeah, he’s a wrestling bailiff, obviously…), superstar Owen Hart threatening to ‘kick someone’s leg out of their leg’ and the hulking Sycho Sid admitting that, while he’s twice the man his opponent is, he’s got half the brains. We die inwardly at the horrendously-cheesy 80s video for Piledriver, title track of The Wrestling Album II.
Burns and Cabana are an excellent choice to lampoon these ridiculous moments (ably aided by Ari Schaeffer). Out of his mind on Monster energy drink, Burns is his usual loud, abrasive character, tearing into the acts on show while Cabana, as an experienced and talented wrestler still working today, has the authority to criticise the botches on show.
Cabana says, in a state of slight bewilderment, that they’ve yet to get less than four stars for this show and I can see why. Basic in structure, simple in premise and ad-hoc in execution, it nonetheless does exactly what it says on the tin and does it very well. As you might expect from a show starting at 10.45pm, your enjoyment will be aided by a few drinks as a well as a basic knowledge of wrestling but this is essentially fans entertaining fans - if you like the title, you’ll like the show.