Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Hoodslam: THIS IS REAL

    Pro Wrestlers bring drama, athleticism to the live stage

    The Stoner Brothers, Rick Scott and Scott Rick, toss Jonny "Drinko" Butabi high in the air to set him up for a "Rizz Bomb," their finishing move.It’s a cloudy Oakland evening as the first of the twelve hundred-strong fans begin to form a serpentine line extending around a dimly lit building just outside of Jack London Square. 
    They chatter in the crisp spring air — some excited, discussing the matches planned for the evening with pride, nipping clandestinely at concealed containers; others apprehensive, having only heard of the madness that was about to ensue third-hand, awkwardly avoiding eye contact with their Tinder date and trying not to wonder aloud, “What have I gotten myself into?” 
    All are here for one purpose: to witness the monster that is “Hoodslam” be brought to life. 
    Drugz Bunny executes a face-drop on James C. during their grudge match for the Golden Gig.At promptly a little after 9 p.m., the house lights dim and anticipation becomes palpable as the band members take their places on the stage. Broseph Joe Brody appears from the darkness, spraying himself down with an XL can of Axe before grabbing the top rope with both hands and vaulting into the ring in one swift motion to greet the harsh spotlight and jeering fans, who brandish cheap beer and gleefully flip him the bird. 
    Brody, the voice of the show, is also a heel, or “bad guy” in the professional wrestling world. The audience loves to hate him. 
    Background Photo: Broseph Joe Brody sprays a cloud of whiskey on the crowd. “It’s first Friday at the Oakland Metro Opera House, so check your fucks at the door,” his voice booming over the crowd. “This is the accidental phenomenon.” The crowd has shaken off the cobwebs and voices begin to ride over the speakers, reciting the rhetoric not so much from memory but through a resonation in their collective unconscious. 
    “This is real! This is, say it with me bitches: MOTHER-FUCKING-HOODLSAM!” Brody yells, leaping onto his knees, punctuating each word as if to rile up an army before battle, and indeed the crowd seems ready to fight and die for him, as the cast members are willing to do for them. 
    Ian Hancement and Sage Sin force Jonny “Drinko” Butabi out of the ring in a Last Man Standing match.The rest of the night is a blur of moving bodies, gimmicks, cartoonish props and a heavy suspension of disbelief. Match after match flies into the night as the crowd gets rowdier and the performers more brazen. A dank musk forms in the air, ripe with smoke and sweat and speculation. The lack of ins-and-outs prevent the crowd from dwindling, lest they forfeit the spectacle entirely, so many stick it out to the bitter end — or at least until the last BART train whisks them back to their real lives. 
    Hero of Hyrule Link front flips onto P.O.N.G. Hoodslam has been running five years strong now, but only started to gather more than a cult following in the last year. Recently the show has been selling out the Metro, boasting crowds of teeming bodies packed to the rafters so they can “fuck you like no one else can fuck you.” 
    True to their word, standing ringside you’re just as likely to get to hit a blunt the size of your forearm or receive a shot of Jack poured down your throat as a face full of powdered sugar or cottage cheese. 
    The crowd is likely to burst out in chants of “FUCK THE FANS” whenever a particularly egregious offense against their own occurs, an homage to the close-up nature of the event and a reminder to not take themselves, or the show, too seriously.
    Drugz Bunny throws his arch nemesis off the top rope in preparation for an aerial maneuver.Hoodslam started out at the Victory Warehouse in 2010, a long-time venue for underground punk shows in West Oakland, where they still train and hold smaller shows for up-and-coming wrestlers to cut their teeth. 
    The phenomenon quickly grew out of its humble beginnings of sparse attendance and noise complaints and was invited to appear as an act during “Tourettes Without Regrets,” an underground variety show held every first Thursday of the month at the Metro. 
    James C. gets his revenge by dropping Drugz Bunny on a folding chair, although he would ultimately lose the match and the Golden Gig, one of Hoodslam's most prestigious awards.Before long, Hoodslam had it’s own feature presentation every First Friday and was steadily drawing bigger crowds. Money made was often dumped back into props and promotion. The troupe continued fighting faithfully in front of an ever-increasing audience and sold out its first show in late 2014. 
    Sub-Zero from “Mortal Kombat” freezes Ian Hancement with an Ice Blast (Down + Forward + Low Punch).Since then the die-hard fans have begun arriving to the venue hours in advance of the first bell, and while it’s not uncommon to see the line wrapped two corners around the building, the tardy are often relegated to huddling forlornly out front with bummed cigarettes and dispositions, planning their next move.
    The thousand or so that get in, however, have just purchased a ticket to a ride they’ll not likely soon forget. If nothing else, it’s akin to seeing an adult themed, full-contact ballet, complete with house band. 
    They will also occasionally host guest acts such as Arnocorps, the 80’s-action-movie-themed hardcore band; the Oakland Opera and Symphony for Hoodslam: The Opera, a three-night stint preforming an American Opera written in the 1920’s for shadow-boxing and updated to fit the Hoodslam universe. 
    The plot lines at Hoodslam run deep — this is as much about aesthetics as it is about athletics, after all. There are ongoing feuds, changes of heart, backstabbing, and the ultimate battle of good against evil. 
    Every match, every character, is the physical embodiment of a daydream where a bored 12-year-old imagines what it would look like if two Super Heroes, Brittany Wonder and the Kellogg Corn Flakes mascot-tuned-vigilante named Cereal Man, teamed up against Zangif, the Russian guy from Street Fighter, and then the Camera Guy who was filming the match puts down his gear to power-bomb somebody. 
    You get to see Ken from “Street Fighter II” drop Link from “Legend of Zelda” with a well placed Hadouken, or maybe a gangster incarnation of Winnie the Pooh beat someone up with a pair of crutches. 
    Broseph Joe Brody pours a shot of whiskey into an awaiting fan’s mouth.There’s a 600-pound tag team made up of identical twins called the Stoner Brothers, and a pair of 1920’s gangsters, one of who is a cocaine-addicted rabbit-man (Drugz Bunny and James C) who used to be partners but now hate each other. 
    It’s been said that there’s a lot of things in pro wrestling that don’t sound cool unless you’ve seen it, but that never seems to be the case for Hoodslam. 
    Professional wrestling has been described as having “more to do with ‘Game of Thrones’ than the UFC,” making the ubiquitous chant of “THIS IS REAL” throughout the night both tactfully ironic and scarily apt. 
    While the event is not an actual fight, but rather a dramatic dance ABOUT a fight, the cast members do preform trained stunts that, if not done correctly, could lead to serious injury. 
    Hoodslam took the idea of pro wrestling as a performance art piece and ran with it. The event is a wild ride with twists and turns, betrothment and betrayal, spirits and medication (if you’ve got your prescription, that is). 
    THE Brian Kendrick continues his feud with Butternuts before beating the stuffing out and eventually decapitating him later in the match (R.I.P. Butternuts).Each month brings new storylines, fresh rivalries and stunning finishes, yet remains stylistically unique, a *mere mortal eschewing the alluring climb to squeaky clean Mt. BROlympus, but instead, staying below to entertain the hedonists.
    Just remember, when you see two 300-plus pound twins, blunts clenched firmly in mouths, toss a man who time-traveled here from the Sunset Strip in 1985 10 feet off the mat and guide his body with military precision back down to earth, that was real. 
    If the brothers use those powers to throw a man into a pile of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on the mat, burning his back and forcing him to discover that the only remedy is to apply Cool Ranch Doritos to the wound, that was real too. It happened, there’s no denying that. 
    The rest is up to you.
    Hoodslam
    Guido the Reffree sparks up some mid match medication as Anthony Butabi bumps and grinds with Trina Michaels.Every First Friday at the Oakland Metro Opera House, 630 3rd st.
    Doors at 8pm, first bell at 9
    More info available at: 
    birdswillfall.com
    ($20 at the door)

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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