A week removed from the onslaught of mayhem brought into North Texas by Vince McMahon, Stone Cold, Roman Reigns and the World Wrestling Entertainment's Wrestlemania, it's easy to forget that for some people, stage-dives, body slams and crowd-taunting turnbuckle gestures are a year-round life. While a hundred thousand fans gathered last Sunday at AT&T Stadium, less than a mile down the street VIP Wrestling set-up for an after-Wrestlemania show at the Arlington Knights of Columbus.
Keith Lee, along with his tag team partner, Shane Taylor of the Pretty Boy Killers, took to the ring in front of 500 fans who made the short late-night trek to watch independent wrestlers from across the state put on a show devoid of major pyrotechnics and Snoop Dogg performances, but with just as much gusto and danger.
Dubbed "TEXASMANIA," VIP Wrestling's local showcase featured an array of up-and-coming wrestlers, journeyman faces and heels and a few big names — like WWE Hall of Famer Jake "The Snake" Roberts. The show, which included a 50-person battle royale, a title defense of a Japanese tag team title, and several high-precision jumps into the stands, didn't start until well past midnight and lasted over two hours.
Before and after the show, the scene was much more of a fan convention with the wrestlers set up behind tables to sign autographs, share stories and sell merchandise — a sharp contrast to the celebrity-focused exclusive event down the street. And while the venue may have been smaller and less bright, for wrestlers like Keith Lee and the Pretty Boy Killers, the fight was just as high-flying and real.
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