Nylons and Midriffs: There’s a Storm Coming (September 24, 2019)

Although many associate the cliched film line “there’s a storm coming” as a bad omen, in the context of the wrestling world at the moment, the storm in question could be stirring positive changes for women’s competition. The women’s matches at Clash of Champions were for the most part good, and NXT made its debut … Read more Nylons and Midriffs: There’s a Storm Coming (September 24, 2019)

AAW Windy City Classic XIII

Before the dawn of 2018, AAW Pro Wrestling had one more show to put on. Every year, the Windy City Classic (WCC) is AAW’s crowning show. It is meant to be their WrestleMania. Their Wrestle Kingdom. Their top notch show with big matches. The first AAW show I ever went to was Windy City Classic … Read more AAW Windy City Classic XIII

Interacting with AAW Heels

In this blog post, I explore the question: How much of the heel’s identity and success is dependent on the wrestler’s performance, and how much on the audience’s (re)actions? This question relates to the work I am doing on the co-constructon of kayfabe through the moment-to-moment interactions between wrestlers and fans. For this particular blog … Read more Interacting with AAW Heels

The Squared Circle and the Magic Circle

As part of the Works-In-Process aspect for the Professional Wrestling Studies Association (which you can read more about in Submissions and Contributions), I am submitting a piece I am writing on the co-construction of kayfabe between the wrestlers and their fans (which I have written about elsewhere on this blog, here and here), and how … Read more The Squared Circle and the Magic Circle

An Autoethnography of AAW

Two men enter the ring — the “squared circle” — muscles tense, skin already glistening with sweat. They circle the ring, calling out to their fans in the crowd to let their admiration roar and shake the building. The room still reverberates with the booming baselines of their entrance music, leaving the audiences’ ears to ring for the next day or so. The crowd responds in a frenzy, engaging in dueling chants and trying  to outshout the other side as their wrestlers finally step into the middle of the ring to meet.

They size each other up, stare one another down, and give the sense that they do not like one another. Even if they show the sign of respect and shake hands, everything leading up to that handshake and following it is thick with tension and the desire and the drive to overcome the other and win. They may be friends outside of the ring — and that friendship may be completely legit and not just kayfabe (i.e. performance) — but it doesn’t matter. Each man enters the ring to win.

Thus began every single match at the AAW Windy City Classic XI.

This was my first live event. As I have discussed elsewhere on this blog, I am new to this whole professional wrestling phenomenon. In terms of time, I have only been interested in professional wrestling for two years. The 2015 Windy City Classic XI was my first live show experience.

Read moreAn Autoethnography of AAW

The Communities of AAW

It takes a community to build a wrestling promotion.

We have been going to AAW shows now for over a year. We have been to see them in the various venues they use in Chicago — Logan Square Auditorium, 115 Bourbon Street, the Berwyn Eagles Club, and Joe’s Live at Rosemont. We have watched some video clips of matches that go back throughout the 13 year history of the promotion.

What amazes me is how often I see the same faces across these different venues and spanning that stretch of time.

As part of my ongoing series reflecting on my time with professional wrestling, seeing the loyalty and dedication of some AAW fans got me thinking about the role of community in this promotion. With any fandom, community is immensely important. One of the reasons people self-identify as fans is because they want to bond with like-minded individuals over the passions that they have. Seeing your passion reflected back by another helps to validate your passion and worldview. And knowing that you share the same passion helps you to geek out or squee (pick your term) over just how worthy that this is to geek out or squee over.

Read moreThe Communities of AAW