Once again, bodyslams and suplexes were put alongside comedy, music and tacos at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin. Local wrestling promotions groups Inspire Pro and Anarchy Championship Wrestling set up their ring in between the blue and black stages and were each allocated one hour of wrestling per day.
Wrestling at a music festival may seem like a strange if hilarious idea, but at Fun Fun Fun Fest the wrestling shows have become a staple of the festival. This is Inspire Pro Wrestling’s second year at FFFFest and ring announcer Brandon Stroud sees the relationship as mutually beneficial. Since their first dip into the Fun Fun Fun pool last year, Inspire Pro has seen their promotion grow along with the festival.
“Inspire Pro at this festival is a super big deal,” says Stroud. “We have really become a part of the culture and it’s really nice.”
And while the crowd at a music festival isn’t made up of your typical wrestling fans (Stroud says that most haven’t even watched wrestling since Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold were in the ring), both ACW's and Inspire Pro's wrestlers love performing for it. Austin-based wrestler ACH has competed at several Fun Fun Fun Fests and he loves the challenge of competing at a non-traditional venue for wrestling.
“The fans here may not be familiar with pro wrestling,” explains ACH. “Our job as entertainers is to give them a proper introduction into what we do. That’s the important thing at the festival and that’s why I love coming to Fun Fun Fun Fest.”
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There were all sorts of matches from both groups during the weekend. Fans were treated to hardcore matches, inter-gender bouts, and even an Over-the-Top Battle Royal for the “Fungressional Medal of Honor" — all in the name of fun. Veteran wrestler Teddy Hart was even accompanied to the ring by “Wrestling’s Greatest Cat," Mr. Money. (I later learned that Hart trains cats on the side.)
With Wrestlemania coming to Dallas next spring, independent wrestling’s popularity in Texas is on the rise. While the Mecca of wrestling is still over five months away, the excitement is already building.
“It's like wrestling Christmas,“ says Stroud, who has already purchased his tickets. “One of the cool things about Wrestlemania for independent wrestling is that so many promotions will come together. It's a chance to see your friends and every cool wrestler from around the world. “
Although Inspire Pro and ACW are nowhere near the behemoth that is WWE, the action at FFF felt like many of the performers' personal Wrestlemania. There may not have been 100,000 wrestling fans in attendance, but wrestling next to a taco cannon and a stage of metal music is still a damn good time.