“Da Crusher” Celebrated in Milwaukee

Wrestling legend Baron Von Raschke, Larry Lisowski and “The Incredible” Kenny J stand with the life-size bronze statue of Reggie “Da Crusher” Lisowski at Crusherfest on June 8. (Photo from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, taken by Erik S. Hanley/Now News Group) Recently, the City of South Milwaukee designated June 8, 2019, officially, Reggie “Da Crusher” Lisowski Day, … Read more “Da Crusher” Celebrated in Milwaukee

Hacksaw Jim Duggan Comic Biography

This comic biography of Hacksaw Jim Duggan begins “in medias res” — “into the middle of things,” in a Royal Rumble. Like many mythical births, Hacksaw Jim Duggan was born special.  Consider the baby years of Paul Bunyan: Now I hear tell that Paul Bunyan was born in Bangor, Maine. It took five giant storks … Read more Hacksaw Jim Duggan Comic Biography

Alpha Vs Omega

Wrestle Kingdom 12 has come and gone, and New Japan Pro Wrestling picked up some new fans along the way.  This was largely due to interest in the Alpha Vs Omega dream match between Chris Jericho (Alpha) and Kenny Omega (Omega, obviously). The build for this match was beautifully done with the rivalry starting on … Read more Alpha Vs Omega

Breaking the Fourth Wall in Reverse

Mr_CanadaWithout a doubt, one of the proudest moments of my life occurred on January 29, 2013, when I made my professional wrestling debut in a tag-team match in a show co-hosted by American Pro Wrestling, an upstate South Carolina based promotion, and Wofford College, the institution that made me a tenured professor the year before. I wrestled that night as Mr. Canada, a masked, French-Canadian heel; my partner was Ben Wright, whom APW had named its 2012 “Heel of the Year.” We lost our match in fantastic fashion: after I “accidentally” broke my hockey stick across my partner’s chest, he was then demolished through a ringside table, while I was shamefully de-masked – and then powerslammed, superfly splashed, and pinned.

Mr Canada1I was 39 when Mr. Canada made his debut – not exactly in the springtime of my youth – and I often get asked how in the world I ended up in the wrestling ring and why I thought it would be a good idea to do so. After all, the career trajectory of graduate school to tenure track job to tenure to professional wrestler is not exactly the most common one in the world of academia.

I’ll begin this blog entry answering these how and why questions, and then I’ll move to the questions I pondered for months after my 2013 wrestling debut: what new lessons about pro wrestling did I learn when I moved from careful observer of professional wrestling to actual professional wrestler – when I broke the fourth wall in reverse (so to speak)? Did this experience give me new insights into a cultural form that I previously appreciated only as a fan and a scholar?

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