By Chris McDonald The 2014 version of Fun Fun Fun Fest had Neutral Milk Hotel, Judas Priest, and its beloved taco cannon. And tucked away, there also was spandex, body slams, and a 300 pound man doing a backflip off the top rope. Once again, in addition to music, comedy, and skate ramps; wrestling made its presence known at the Auditorium Shores.
This year there were two separate wrestling promotions taking residency in between the Black Stage & skate ramp. Veteran, Anarchy Championship Wrestling, marked its fifth year as part of the festival. ACW runs monthly events with Transmission Events at the Mohawk so they have an established working relationship with the festival organizers. Owner and ACW wrestler Darin Childs calls Fun Fun Fun Fest the best three days of the year for Anarchy Championship Wrestling. Putting on a show for a festival audience as opposed to your typical wrestling crowd may seem like a challenge, but Childs doesn't see it that way. "It's like a three day commercial for ACW. We ramp up the violence, the high-flying, etc. The Fun Fun Fun Fest crowd is awesome."
And ramp up the violence they did. In the main event on Sunday, Darin battled ACW Champion Masada in a "Four Corners of Death" match. In this particular type of match, anything goes. And by anything, I mean ANYTHING. The grand finale saw Darin put on a Freddy Kreuger hand glove (complete with legit razor blade finger nails) and slice open Masada's forehead like paper mache. This was after I thought it couldn't get any more over-the-top than these guys using staplers and thumbtacks as weapons. Watching this while Deafheaven played in the background on the Black Stage made for a memorable Sunday.
The newbie to Fun Fun Fun Fest was new Austin wrestling promotion, Inspire Pro Wrestling. This company is an affiliate to the National Wrestling Alliance and has been in business for just over 18 months. This was their first foray into Fun Fun Fun Fest and ring announcer Brandon Stroud describes IPW as more "character & story driven" and they play on the history of Texas wrestling. The wrestling in IPW is not as violent as ACW (I didn't see anyone's flesh get mangled in barbed wire) but the matches were still entertaining and received a good reaction from the audience of mainly non-wrestling fans. The main event, which was the best match of the day, was a triple threat elimination match (three wrestlers all fighting in the ring at the same time) featuring Steve-O-Reno, Texas wrestler JoJo Bravo, and Davey Vega who came from St. Louis.
"You have to make a good first impression," Stroud says of putting on a wrestling show at a music festival. "We're next to the Twinkies but we're hitting people in the face. We go crazy every show. It's really exciting."