Wrestling Is A Vampire

What is Billy Corgan doing starting his own wrestling promotion?
Share |
Look at this Hulkamaniac over here.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Excalibur Nightclub is a gaudy stone cathedral in the heart of downtown Chicago’s douchiest district. It's one block away from the former Rock n’ Roll McDonald’s, two from Sports Authority, and is visible from blocks away thanks to a freestanding neon “EXCALIBUR” sign stuck on the street corner. Until 1931, it was the home of the Chicago Historical Society, which gave it city landmark status and is probably the only reason the club’s name hasn’t been carved into the exterior in giant, glittering diamond letters. Stone gargoyles keep watch over the front of the building while a pulse of taxis drop off well-coiffed, well-coked, and otherwise well-to-do Chicagoans. Abrasive-bro music videos strut across the bar’s many, many televisions—Slipknot’s “Duality,” Kid Rock’s “Picture,” one of the INXS songs with the singer who isn’t Michael Hutchence.

Obviously, this makes Excalibur the best place to hold a wrestling show sponsored by Billy Corgan.

Several months ago, Corgan announced he was starting a wrestling company called Resistance Pro, to the general be- and amusement of many who’ve chronicled his post-Smashing Pumpkins career with pointed disdain. (This old Pitchfork headline, “Billy Corgan Finds Innovative New Ways to Embarrass Himself,” is particularly harsh.) That Corgan has long been a wrestling fan—when he was on top of the charts, Corgan was also showing up at ECW pay-per-view events—didn’t do much to mitigate the goof-on effect. To the common commenter, Corgan is the past-his-sell-by-date front man of a once-great band, and wrestling is the bottom-of-the-barrel-brow pastime of Waffle House regulars; it's all very FAIL for those inclined to see and grade things that way. To wrestling fans, Corgan might’ve seemed well intentioned, but naïve: starting a brand new wrestling promotion in a market dominated by one mean giant (WWE) and a host of indie federations was much more something an eccentric old rock dude would do than a reasonable business decision. The questions of who would or could give a shit about this, and what audience Corgan thought he would serve, haunted the usual snark.

The appeal of wrestling is easy enough to figure: dudes hitting dudes, with metal folding chairs when at all possible. There’s a complicated physical ballet to it, sure, and the best performers work a back-and-forth rhythm of escalating physicality and spectacle, but wrestling also speaks to—it yells at, it cuts spittle-y promos in the direction of—our basic appreciation of literal blood, sweat, and tears shed for our entertainment. Figuring out Corgan in this day and age is a little trickier, especially for a post-’90s baby like myself.

I wasn’t very sentient for roughly half that decade, but VH1 and Rob Sheffield have done their best to characterize the period as a utopia of authenticity made maximal; Kurt Cobain’s plaid overshirts killed hair metal and so on. For most of the people who lived through this era, that is probably a bit much, and it is all very easily parodied. And so is Billy Corgan.

But also: Billy Corgan was big, like Biggest Rock Star in America big, big enough that his silver pants and Zero tee and overall overstatement were seen as working aspects of whatever sonic revolution was or wasn't going on. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness sold about ten million copies and featured two of the era's definitive songs in “1979” and “Tonight, Tonight." Corgan, a Midwestern suburban boy, had always championed big feelings and grand statements, and when he bleated “We’ll crucify the insincere tonight,” he not only really seemed to mean it, but seemed also to have an army at his back, believing in him and awaiting their orders.

That type of spiritual and financial validation is not a good cure for megalomania, and the rest went more or less as you'd expect. Corgan spent the post-Mellon Collie decade chasing his creative impulses, lashing out at just about everyone who stepped in his path. When the Pumpkins finally broke up, Corgan openly questioned his bandmates’s sobriety and moral fiber. His first post-Pumpkins band, Zwan (shortened from True Poets of Zwan), only lasted for one album, and the post-breakup rhetoric Corgan leveled at his bandmates was even more vitriolic this time; he told the Chicago Tribune that his bandmates were "not very good people and not very interesting,” and added on LiveJournal, in a more LiveJournalistic fashion, that, “their filth is in their larcenous hearts.”

Corgan never dialed down his persona or tried something different. He was Billy Corgan, after all. He dated celebrity-celebrities like Jessica Simpson and Tila Tequila, even getting re-involved with old flame Courtney Love. “He was so arrogant, it cracked me up," former Zwan-mate Dave Pajo told the A.V. Club in 2008. "He would constantly bring up the fact that he sold 25 million records, or that his hit song was played at the Super Bowl or something. It just made me laugh." In 2009, Corgan announced a 44-song concept album, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, that was supposed to be released one song at a time; about a quarter of it has come out. It's almost exactly the sort of ostentatious vanity project someone would make up if he or she was, for some reason, telling a joke about Billy Corgan. So is Resistance Pro, for that matter.


At Resistance Pro's inaugural show at Excalibur, on the day after Thanksgiving, Corgan is everywhere—on posters, in the weirdly backwards Geocities-meets-Matrix promo videos that flash on the monitors before the matches start. Corgan is also the writer of the night’s storylines, responsible for deciding who is good, evil, a traitor, and so on. He is not, however, actually in the building. Instead, we were told, Corgan was watching via Skype from Europe, where the reconstructed Pumpkins—Corgan is the only original member—are on tour. He is profoundly unavailable for interviews, but I wasn't the only one asking. Upon checking in, I spot representatives from the AP, Chicago Tribune and (strangely enough) Forbes at the event. For the first time in recent memory, Billy Corgan seems content to stay in the background. “I’m at the point in my life where he doesn’t have to be about me, you know?” he said in an interview with PW Torch. “In the Pumpkins world, I have to worry about everything, but this is a chance for me to just be creative.”

More surprising is that, for once, Corgan seems to have left some creativity for his collaborators. Almost all of the night’s wrestlers, from Chicago favorite Colt Cabana to former WWE star Harry Smith (son of the late British Bulldog) already have their own personae and signature moves and buffed-up brands. They know enough to improvise on their own, and Corgan—uncharacteristically, but wisely—let them do just that.

Which is good, because the wrestlers are pros, and know and do their jobs well. A massive “Holy shit” chant erupts when one of the Briscoe Brothers suplexes Gran Akuma off the second floor balcony, only eclipsed when Teddy Hart does a backflip off the same balcony onto both of the Briscoe Brothers. The crowd, too, knows its part—they chant Colt Cabana’s name and El Generico’s catch phrase, booing and cheering for the right heels and faces. The escalating violence has its casualties—at the end of their tag-team match, Teddy Hart sells a knee injury a little too well, and there’s a terrifying moment when he hocks up a mass of red phlegm—which looked very real—while screaming for help. When Hart runs out, the R-Pro handler gets a look on his face that suggests he has no more idea what to do than anyone else might if presented with a giant suffering from chest trauma, and Hart spends a few minutes on the stairwell massaging his chest and downing water. Considering that one of Corgan’s selling points for the company is increased safety it doesn’t seem likely that they’d fake such an injury, making Hart’s risk all the more unsettling.

As this is R-Pro’s first show, all the storylines and champions are being set up for the first time, which inevitably leads to some moments in which creative ambition outstrips execution. The women’s match, a six-way rumble, ends in "controversy" when after dominating for most of the match, fan favorite Cheerleader Melissa is dropped by a late entrant to the ring, Melanie Cruise. Cruise goes on a typically villainous rant about how the match had been terrible and how she was going to take over the company, but the crowd—which chanted and cheered for Melissa as she stumbled out of the ring—seemed barely to notice (Also bizarre: the presence of a mock-transvestite with a “Twin Peaks High School” cheerleading outfit and a pair of comically mis-sized breasts, who eventually gets stomped by all six women at once after intervening in the match. At least in terms of gender politics, Vince McMahon and the guy who wrote "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" seem to have a lot in common)

The other rookie-promotion blooper is more glaring, if similarly based in a cornball last-minute switcheroo. The evening's last bout is a semifinal between Harry Smith and Kevin Steen for the second spot in the first Resistance Pro championship match. (The first spot was claimed by The Sheik, the generic evil Arab villain who won the night's first match) Smith and Steen go back and forth for a while, the crowd more invested in Steen’s lascivious come-ons to random members of the audience than Smith’s paint-by-numbers good guy routine, though he is very big and good at what he does. Eventually, Smith locks Steen in a Sharpshooter submission hold, and that seems like it’s enough to end the match. Then, out of nowhere, the timekeeper’s bell rings, as apparently the match has hit its 20-minute time limit.

There’s a collective “Huh?” in the room as everyone tries to figure out when or if a time limit had been announced. A decision from “upstairs” allows the match to go on for another five minutes, at which point it ends in the exact same way (Sharpshooter into a draw). By now there’s almost no heat from the audience, whatever rhythm Steen and Smith had worked up derailed by the starting and stopping. This time, the match is given an infinite extension, only Steen says he doesn’t want to continue, setting the stage for a 3-way heavyweight match between Steen and Smith and the Sheik on January 13, only at Excalibur and with Corgan himself on hand to crown the champion. The audience files out quickly to the lounge area, where—in what’s both an indie-show staple and a coincidental nod to Corgan's rock and roll roots— they can buy souvenirs from the exhausted, now-shtickless wrestlers, who man their own merch tables.

The WWE can (and does) get away with its more asinine storylines—Oh no, The Rock lost his championship to Vince McMahon’s dog! The Undertaker got drugged and put on a plane to Antarctica!—because its two nationally televised shows a week allow for quick turnaround on every angle. The longest storylines may go on for six months, but there are multiple matches and interviews to work the tension in between. R-Pro doesn't have that luxury, and asking an audience—many of whom, if Twitter is any indication, flew into Chicago specifically for this show, for reasons ranging from superfan ardor to the relentless pursuit of WTF-ery—to wait two months for a conclusion seems either ambitious or foolhardy. The gamble is that fans will still care about the labyrinthine betrayals and caveats of the first show; the risk is that they'll have forgotten about the whole thing entirely.

A week after the show, Corgan retweeted a sycophantic follower who wrote, “Salient point on naked ambition—its been a long time since I heard a new band go for broke on the level of Gish.” Which is, of course, the type of thing only a total narcissist would retweet and therefore totally what one would expect from Corgan. But, in an odd and endearing way, Resistance Pro is not quite par for the Billy Corgan. If the appeal of Corgan's music was in part the way it elevated teenage emotions to world-historic scale, Resistance Pro does the opposite—wrestling's signature grandiosity is there, of course, but there's a leavening, lightening smallness, and oddly un-Corganic human scale to it. Corgan may well believe that the world is a vampire and that his feelings are bigger and more beautiful than anyone else's; given how thoroughly he seems to have taken those platinum records to heart, it'd be a shock if he didn't. But Resistance Pro's scrappy, sloppy exuberance, and the basic weirdness of Corgan pursuing this gambit at all, suggests that Corgan might be doing all this for the simplest and most surprising reason of all—because he likes it, and because it's fun.

Share |


Much obliged for setting aside an ideal opportunity to examine this, I feel emphatically about it and affection adapting more on this subject. social media marketing

Incredible data on your website, thank you for setting aside an ideal opportunity to impart to us. Stunning understanding you have on this current, it's pleasant to discover a site that points of interest such a great amount of data about distinctive specialists. Whatsapp Lottery Winner

hi!,I really like your writing very much! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL? I need a specialist in this area to solve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Taking a look forward to peer you. custom silicone phone case

Exceptionally fascinating web journal. Alot of websites I see nowadays don't generally give anything that I'm occupied with, however I'm most definately keen on this one. Recently believed that I would post and let you know. kbc whatsapp number

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information. kbc lottery fake whatsapp

This is my first time visit here. From the huge amounts of remarks on your articles,I surmise I am not just one having all the satisfaction right here! lycamobile lucky draw

I as of late discovered numerous helpful data in your site particularly this web journal page. Among the bunches of remarks on your articles. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing. kbc head office number

I have bookmarked your web journal, the articles are path superior to anything other comparable sites.. a debt of gratitude is in order for an extraordinary web journal! kbc lucky draw

I have bookmarked your web journal, the articles are path superior to anything other comparable sites.. a debt of gratitude is in order for an extraordinary web journal! For sale by owner flat fee

I have bookmarked your web journal, the articles are path superior to anything other comparable sites.. a debt of gratitude is in order for an extraordinary web journal! สมัครบอลออนไลน์

Efficiently written information. It will be profitable to anybody who utilizes it, counting me. Keep up the good work. For certain I will review out more posts day in and day out. 140194-24-7

Would love to incessantly get updated outstanding website ! . 예스카지노

I might want to say this web journal truly persuaded me to do it! Much appreciated, great post. 먹튀

Thanks, I’ve recently been seeking for facts about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve found so far. Remitano

Simply wanna input that you have a very nice website , I enjoy the pattern it really stands out. How to Cure Acne Naturally in 3 Days

It’s difficult to find knowledgeable individuals for this topic, nevertheless, you could be seen as do you know what you are talking about! Thanks coinswitch

cheers for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, could you mind updating your blog with more information? as it is extremely useful for me. exterminators

There are a few fascinating points soon enough here but I don’t determine if I see every one of them center to heart. There is certainly some validity but I am going to take hold opinion until I take a look at it further. Good write-up , thanks therefore we want much more! Included with FeedBurner also binance

his is the excellent blog page for anyone who wants to know about this theme. You recognize a lot its virtually difficult to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You absolutely put a fresh spin on a subject matter thats been published about for many years. Wonderful things, just excellent! binance

After research a couple of of the weblog posts in your web site now, and I actually like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and shall be checking back soon. Pls check out my web page as well and let me know what you think. 32red

You ought to be a part of a tournament first of the finest blogs on the web. I’m going to suggest this site! lucky31 bonus

I have read your article, it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it.. Whois History

thanks this is good blog. customised canvas bag

Great post, you have pointed out some excellent points, I as well believe this is a very superb website. Putting Contest

We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in our neighborhood. Your site provided us with valuable information to help us get started|.You have done an impressive job! tree services long island

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon! www.essaymission.com.au

Great write-up. I’m a normal visitor of your site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I’ll be a frequent visitor for a long time. cd dvd duplication services

Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this site needs a lot more consideration. I’ll more likely be once more to see much more, thank you that information. Womax

Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers? Resin Bound Gravel Diy Kits

Labor party talking heads are on claiming the meeja is agin’ them. Umzugsfirma Berlin

Hello! I just now would like to offer a huge thumbs up for the wonderful info you might have here on this post. I am returning to your website for additional soon. Exotic Kenya

Thanks a ton for finding the time to line all of this out for us. This kind of posting has been quite helpful if you ask me. Thika escorts

I would really like you to become a guest poster on my blog.*”*: Smart Cricket Live streaming online

Regards for this marvellous post, I am glad I found this web site on yahoo. Westlands escorts

Merely wanna input on few general things, The website design is perfect, the subject material is rattling superb : D. Psl 2019

I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a step like this. I am able to at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the expert and effective guide. I will not hesitate to suggest your web site to anyone who should have assistance about this issue. 메이저놀이터

Hello! Nice post! Please do keep us posted when we can see a follow up! Buy website Traffic

I am constantly thought about this, thank you for putting up. Lavty Cleaning

My wife and i got quite excited when Edward managed to deal with his investigations from the precious recommendations he had when using the web site. It is now and again perplexing to simply choose to be giving out secrets and techniques which usually most people have been making money from. And we realize we’ve got the website owner to appreciate for that. All of the explanations you made, the simple web site navigation, the friendships you can make it easier to instill – it’s got all awesome, and it’s leading our son in addition to the family know that the theme is satisfying, and that is exceedingly fundamental. Many thanks for all! visit my site here – alternative medicine institute day pass huatulco

Perfect just what I was searching for! . termite programs

I think youve made some actually helpful factors. Not as well lots of people would actually feel about this the best way you simply did. Im genuinely impressed that theres so much about this matter thats been uncovered and you also did it so nicely, with so considerably class. Fantastic one you, man! Definitely terrific things correct here. Vivienda Vacacional

Hi, have you ever before asked yourself to write about Nintendo or PSP? https://parallel-profits-review-bonus.sitey.me/

I am trusting the same best exertion from you later on too. Truth be told your experimental writing abilities has roused me. neck pain

I am trusting the same best exertion from you later on too. Truth be told your experimental writing abilities has roused me. neck pain

I precisely desired to thank you so much all over again. I do not know the things that I might have tried in the absence of those basics documented by you https://guidoandangelina.com/parallel-profits-review-best-parallel-profits-bonus

some cheap softwares does not offer good online technical support so i would caution about using them;; cherry casino

There is noticeably big money to understand about this. I suppose you made particular nice points in features also. leovegas

I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this website. Studying this information So i’m satisfied to convey that I’ve a very excellent uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I most unquestionably will make certain to don’t omit this website and provides it a glance a continuing. Online Shopping in Dubai

Decent to peruse your article! I am anticipating sharing your undertakings and encounters. online gaming payment processing

Pleasant to be going to your web journal once more, it has been months for me. Well this article i've been sat tight for so long. I require this article to finish my task in the school, and it has same theme with your article. Much appreciated, awesome offer. damp proof membrane