Mario, Sonic, Pokemon and Streetfighter: Pro Wrestling style


Mario would beat Sonic in a fight. I know this for a fact because I saw it happen this past weekend.

By my definition, a geek is somebody with a strong interest/obsession in a particular subject (which can be any subject.) I’m a professional wrestling geek and have been to shows across Britain and the US. One of my local promotions, ATTACK! Pro Wrestling likes to throw in a healthy dose of humor in its shows and has recently experimented with themed shows for Halloween and Christmas, the latter of which ended up with Santa Claus making the save before a singalong to the Fairytale of New York.

Their latest show, Press Start, took the theme idea even further, that them being retro video games. Taking part in both Cardiff and the intersection of a particularly geeky Venn diagram of wrestling and gaming culture, the matches featured performers tweaking their ordinary roles by adopting game characters. Wrestlers were introduced as “Player 1” or “Player 2” while the traditional ring bell was replaced with 8-bit era sound effects.

The opening match featured the Hunter brothers “playing as” Mario and Luigi (pictured, courtesy of ATTACK! Pro Wrestling) against Ryan Smile and Eddie Dennis, AKA Sonic and Knuckles. In an unusual departure from traditional crowd heckling, most of the audience interaction during the match involved discussion of the relative merits (or lack of…) of Luigi’s Mansion and Sonic & Knuckles 3D.

The highlight of the bout came when Knuckles gave Sonic a large silver star (looking remarkably like a combination of cardboard and tin foil), causing him to drastically speed up his offense. Sadly for the hedgehog, his team fell in defeat amid “Sega sucks” chants.

Next up came a Streetfighter battle with Mike Hitchman as Blanka against Mike Bird as Zangief, with the early action fought in side-scrolling mode, including some familiar moves:

Despite trying his spinning lariat, it was soon game over for Zangief.

ATTACK! wrestlers Sebastian Radclaw and Damien Dunne have a long-time rivalry and tonight would be choosing one another’s opponents. Radclaw came to the ring in the guise of Ash Ketchum, only to be interrupted by Dunne in a Team Rocket outfit. The Pokemon tie-in continued as Radclaw introduced Dunne’s opponent Mark Andrews who, in a sentence you rarely write in a wrestling show report, appeared in a Pikachu onesie. He was smart enough not to try to grapple in the outfit and took the win.

The second half kicked off with the results of an audience fancy dress contest, narrowly won by “a Sim” over “a block from Minecraft.” Among those not reaching the final shortlist was a woman who had come simply as “button A.”

The only two grapplers not to adopt gaming characters, Pete Dunne and Morgan Webster, appeared next, though their match was billed as a Donkey Kong ladder match. It was similar to a traditional wrestling ladder match (where you must grab a championship belt or other prize from the ceiling to win) but involved a wide range of different-sized ladders and an unconventional prize: Dunne retrieved Princess Peach’s heart for the win.

Finally Damian Dunne introduced Radclaw/Ketchum’s opponent JD Knight — or, thanks to a DIY-modded backpack, Blastoise:

The pair brawled over the building, which must surely have confused venue staff when they found blue handprints on the walls. Blastoise was disqualified for Bubble Beaming Ketchum through a table and he and Damian Dunne left Ketchum laying, only for Pete Dunne to revive him using a piece of cardboard bearing the message “1Up”.

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