As it has been just about every Sunday night for the past seven years, the North Portland Eagles Lodge just off Lombard is a sweatbox. A ring is set up in the middle of the room, and a Spandex-clad, face-painted wrestler named Meat is ascending the ropes, gearing up for a massive splash. Before he can hurl his 250-pound frame onto the mat, his opponent's manager climbs into the ring and hands his client a bag of frozen broccoli. Appropriate for a guy named Meat, the vegetables are his Kryptonite. He recoils in horror.
This ain't WWE. It's Blue Collar Wrestling.
Pro wrestling has a rich history in the Pacific Northwest. But BCW resides far from the glitz, glamor and high production values of the grappling seen on cable. It's a decidedly DIY affair. The costumes are cheap, and the props look as if they were pulled from a tool shed. But the drama is high, and the energy from the 200 or so fans who attend each week is electric.
The current champion of the league goes by the name Badd Blood. A digital marketer by trade, and a dad when he's at home, he has tortured his body every week for the past 26 years. He was recently asked to meet a fan for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and says that exact moment is why he's put himself through this. Sure, the action might be scripted. But the sense of heart and dedication to craft are real.
His challenger tonight is Pretty Boy. His heavy rockabilly look suits his name, as do the women in the audience cheering him on. He takes a lap around the ring, slapping hands with eager kids. He's met with presents, flowers—and a smattering of boos. Someone holds a hand-painted sign reading "You suck" in his face. The lights lower and the next match begins. CHRISTINE HEELEY.
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