Professional Gay Wrestling

Professional Gay Wrestling

While searching Amazon Prime recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find, of all things, episodes of Memphis wrestling in the video library. But there was even more content available for any connoisseur of both great wrestling and bad wrestling: a collection of death matches between Cactus Jack and Terry Funk, some truly awful-looking wrestling movies I’d never heard of, and something called, Professional Gay Wrestling.

My first question was, “Is this Safe for Work?”

But my second question was “Why gay professional wrestling?” (Or “professional gay wrestling”, as it’s called, which led me back to my first question).

I mean, if gay men want to watch guys with great bodies and revealing outfits grapple with each other, there are a number of other wrestling promotions out there – specifically, all of them.

Let’s face it – wrestling is a very gay sport, and has been since the days of the ancient Greeks. Those guys used to wrestle naked, which is just about the gayest thing two men can do short of having sex with each other.

Which they also did.

Actually watching PGW raised even more questions.

First of all, announcer Bruce Radel introduced Pro Gay Wrestling (or “Pro-oh Gay-ay Wrest-a-ling”) and claimed it was filmed in fabulous Las Vegas. This is partly true. It was filmed in Las Vegas, but it’s about as un-fabulous a set as you’ve ever seen.

Rather than taking place at, say, a gay night club or some other locale where the audience would give PGW a warm reception and a lot of energy, it instead takes place in what appears to be a warehouse with no audience whatsoever.

Even when AWA filmed in an empty studio in its dying days, the room was pink. PGW is thus, in a sense, less gay than the AWA.

Compare that to GLOW, which also filmed in Vegas, but had, you know, a crowd.

Speaking of GLOW, if I had to book a campy gay wrestling promotion, I’d basically copy the GLOW formula except with men. I’m thinking, SHOW: Stunning Homosexuals Of Wrestling.

Or GROW: Gay Renegades Of Wrestling.

But Professional Gay Wrestling doesn’t do that. Maybe, I thought, it’s trying to promote a more respectable image of gay athletes, such as The Gay Avenger, who fought for tolerance and respect long before WWE’s Be a STAR campaign.

But that wouldn’t explain some of the other gimmicks, which range from a fashionista (who was never actually seen wearing anything but his wrestling gear, meaning we’d have to take his word for it)…

…to an underwear model…

…to a stripper…

…to a party boy.

One look (and listen) at the impossibly swishy duo of “avid heterosexual” owner Francis Minks…

…and his “incredibly heterosexual” son, Montgomery, and I could swear the PGW was the most homophobic thing I’d ever seen in wrestling besides maybe all that stuff WCW and WWE did.

But then again, there were were a few other, less flamboyant gimmicks like the log cabin Republican Gregory Owen Peters, or GOP…

…and the all-American boy Tristan Titus, who, besides the fact that the announcers kept calling him “Tristan Tight-Ass”, was the picture of wholesomeness.

So maybe the target audience was gay men who could have some fun with all the stereotypes and archetypes within the gay community. What gay man hasn’t had a laugh at the Monty Minkses of the world, who are so obviously gay but so deep in the closet?

Or is that, “just barely in the closet”? Hey gay Wrestlecrap readers, how does that metaphor work, exactly?

Just when I thought I had PGW figured out, though, they threw in extended footage of Destiny, the lingerie model and valet of underwear model Esteban Santana. Gross! Who wants to see that?

I have to give PGW its due: its storylines are simple but for the most part make sense and flow logically from point A to point B.

Take Esteban Santana, for instance. It turns out, he’s only pretending to be gay so he can compete for glory in PGW (Let’s set aside the fact that PGW only has, like, ten wrestlers in it and isn’t anyone’s stepping stone to fame and fortune). His “sister” and manager Destiny is actually his secret heterosexual lover.

This makes things awkward between him and his naïve tag partner Tristan Titus, who wants a relationship with him.

When Tristan finally makes a move and kisses Esteban…

…the duplicitous Esteban goes into a rage and beats up his partner. This leads to a match between the two.

You don’t see Santana and Titus teaming with each other the next week as if nothing ever happened, or being sent to anger management, unlike in some promotions out there.

So there’s some logic behind PGW’s angles.

Let’s just ignore the fact that the team was called, “The Rainbow Warriors” – not because they wore rainbow clothing or anything, but because they’re gay. Of course, you might not have caught on by now, but everybody in Pro Gay Wrestling is gay.

And let’s also just ignore for a second the angle where their female interviewer gets kidnapped by the “Gay Maffia”, which is never resolved.

And while we’re at it, let’s also ignore the promotion’s lack of spell-check.

But what’s harder to ignore is that the humor wears thin at times.

Times like: every time there’s a match, and Montgomery Minks puts on his grating “insists he’s straight but acts super gay” schtick on commentary throughout the whole thing.

Times like: every time there isn’t a match, and investigative reporter Lydia Chambers makes the exact same jokes about “probing” the wrestlers with “penetrating” questions every single time.

The whole show comes across as a 5-minute skit that got stretched across six half-hour episodes.

And then there’s the wrestling.

Tristan Titus is a repeat offender, providing delayed bumps…

…unconvincing hardcore wrestling spots…

…and forearm shots that leave more daylight than the North Pole in July.

But Big Daddy is the worst of all…

….proving, against all odds…

…to be even worse in the ring that the real Big Daddy from World of Sport.

But the whole show so consistently refuses to take itself seriously that maybe it doesn’t even matter.

This promotion just does not give a flying concern

…whether it’s the slow motion replay of a weapon shot that didn’t even come close to connecting…

…or the obvious unintentional three-count that they couldn’t bother to reshoot…

…or the owner of the company calling the promotion by the wrong name

…or the use of a slew of handheld cameras of wildly varying quality…

…or the presence of the “Future Stars of Wrestling” logo in some shots of the studio…

…or the unexplained presence of a giant ladder for a TLC match that wouldn’t take place for another few episodes…

…or the fact that the tag belts are clearly just cheap WWE replicas with a different logo slapped on them…

(What kind of two-bit promotion would do such a thing?)

…or the constant boos and cheers and references to “the crowd” despite all the action clearly taking place in an empty wrestling school.

And with the way Smackdown’s live attendance has been going, maybe WWE could learn a thing or two from Professional Gay Wrestling.

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