In the Blood

Pottery-selling Satan worshipers and chino salesmen meet for fun and pain in the world of Denton's extreme wrestling

He finishes up with the rules for tonight. "Don't throw anything in the ring or spit at the wrestlers..." He pauses so the crowd can do its part of the routine.


"Because they'll put your head in a Hurricane Fence! Now let's get it on, because it's time to get Textreme!" The audience finishes the sentence with him. They know the drill.

Ryan Ridgway, above right, and his girlfriend Lisa Werst love Jacob Ladder.
Mark Graham
Ryan Ridgway, above right, and his girlfriend Lisa Werst love Jacob Ladder.
These girls from the University of North Texas love Keystone Light.
Mark Graham
These girls from the University of North Texas love Keystone Light.

That said, there's nothing much extreme--or Textreme, even--about the first match, a bout between Kit Karson and Lady Draven, except for Karson's prematch brandishing of a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire and the fact that it is a man fighting a woman. But it does serve as a microcosm for XCW. In one corner, there's Karson, a holdover from the days of wrestling at the Sportatorium in downtown Dallas. He gives XCW a sense of history, a direct link to the days when the Von Erich family controlled Dallas with an iron claw. In the other, there's Lady Draven, a woman in a man's, man's, man's world, representing wrestling's new era. And surrounding them on all sides is a sharp-tongued crowd eager to participate in the action and close enough to do so.

"Kick him in the fucking Rogaine!" someone yells as the two wrestlers lock up in the center of the ring.

Karson quickly grabs the upper hand, spiking Draven's head into the mat with a pile driver. "That's why you don't get chicks!" says a dude with long dreadlocks. Karson pulls down the straps of his singlet, baring his chest. A woman yells, "That's why you don't get chicks!" Everyone laughs. The match is over soon after. On his way backstage, Karson confronts a fan sitting ringside. He puts his hands down his tights and rubs them in the fan's face. Now that is extreme.

The rest of the card is similarly more extreme in attitude than action. It's not a surprise, since XCW's bloodiest show of the year is coming up soon. Incontrera and his friends go nuts for Bullman Downs, another former Sportatorium regular, chanting "Woods! Woods! Woods!" It's a nod to the Bullman's "hometown" in The Woods, at least as it's listed on the XCW Web site. When Drunk Adam comes out, Incontrera rushes back to the cooler for a special can of Steel Reserve he bought, hoping it would be the beer the skinny wrestler would drink ringside, part of his I'll-do-anything-cuz-I'm-so-effed-up gimmick. He doesn't, but they still cheer on his hard-core antics, including an attempt to whack his opponent with a steel chair; it won't fold up properly, so he ditches it in favor of a coil of barbed wire, which works even better.

Drunk Adam is a favorite of everyone here, because he's the smallest, craziest guy on the roster. He's had Everclear poured on his chest and lit on fire and didn't even miss any time. ("Back the next week," he says with pride.) He was torn to shreds in the aforementioned rose bush match and still went out drinking with some of the fans after the show. When BattleBox comes around in a few weeks, his face will be hidden by, as old-school wrestling announcers call it, "the crimson mask." He remains spotless tonight. He has to save himself.

But even though Drunk Adam represents the new generation of extreme performers, he values the addition of the old guard from the Sportatorium days.

"You learn in wrestling school how to wrestle, but these older guys will teach you how to be a wrestler," he says. Adam keeps the business side of wrestling as hidden as possible, never giving away any secrets or personal information about himself, at least not to the media. "They teach you a lot of the psychology and just how to behave yourself out of the ring."

By the time intermission comes, everyone is happy with the show. Except Blake.

"We haven't been called faggot once," he says. He seems stunned and maybe a little disappointed.

They get their chance during the next match, when former champ Action Jackson runs in from the back, interrupting the Brett Barnes vs. Gemini bout and causing a disqualification. Jackson grabs the mike and starts yelling at Barnes.

"It took three of y'all to beat me," he says. "You can't beat me one-on-one, you little short motherfucker!" Then he looks across the ring and gestures to Incontrera and his friends standing against the wall. "You got your little gay friends to prop you up." They are positively beaming.

The next match is the main event, a tag match featuring Spudz McKenzie and Jack Drastic against The Niggaz. Despite the name, one member of The Niggaz, Ricky Jackson, is white. He's the mouthy one of the duo, saying things like "This is for Kunta Kinte, bitch!"--his lack of pigment notwithstanding. He spends more time fighting with the crowd than with his opponents. Predictably, his ire eventually is directed in our direction.

"I see three dudes with no bitches," Ricky says, pointing at Incontrera, Blake and Clay. "Who's the fag now?"

The Niggaz win, and a postmatch brawl erupts, involving The Niggaz and a rival tag team, Gemini and Sidd Murder, who comes to the ring with a tire iron in tow, his weapon of choice. The fight spills over into the first few rows of seats, and eventually The Niggaz are chased from the arena. Gemini, Sidd Murder, Spudz and Jack Drastic celebrate in the ring while Lil' Jon & the East Side Boyz's "I Don't Give a Fuck" plays. Hunter, a little white kid with glasses who's maybe 6 or 7, jumps in the ring with them, shaking what little he has to prove that he also does not give a fuck. Drunk Adam comes out from the back and pounds beers with the audience.

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