This is a blog written by CM Punks Tag Team partner in the lunatic wrestling federation on its fourteenth anniversary. It has since past its 19th however its still a good read into what the “backyard” production was like.
It’s difficult to believe that it’s been fourteen years to the day that a group of imbeciles pounded four landscaping timbers into a suburban Mokena backyard, strung three layers of rope betwixt them, spray-painted a hastily created logo on the ground, and called it a wrestling ring.
For those of you not in the know, today, July 10th, 2007, is the fourteenth anniversary of Bloodbath, the first “organized” show in Lunatic Wrestling Federation history.
The term “backyard wrestling” conjures an assortment of horrifying images: emaciated teenagers in jean shorts attacking one another with cheese graters, suicide dives from the tops of garages and stacked garbage cans, gruesome injuries created for the sole purpose of entertaining the nine people present.
Our amateur fed was different. The focus wasn’t on the physical feats we had no business attempting. It was all about promos, acting, and characters. We knew that our actual wrestling sucked the high, hard one (show me a backyard fed that doesn’t blow in that respect). But I’d have put our characters up against anyone in any wrestling company. Ever.
And what a frightening new array of characters was unleashed upon the world that summer. Malice, the undead man whose head was covered by a black executioner’s style hood (complete with condom-like reservoir tip). Billy Whack, the master of ceremonies who seemed constantly befuddled and confused (although Whack would quickly become the on-camera glue that held the volatile LWF together). Mr. Smith, the “everyman” of the LWF, who beseeched his friends in Japan to “stay in school, because that’s what’s cool”. And his opponent for the first show, The Supreme Aryan, whose true intentions seemed in doubt until his first spoken lines (“Mr. Smith…you Jewish scum.”), despite the fact that he wore a hockey mask and shoulder pads emblazoned with the swastika.
And who can forget about the Gigolo (who had a problem, too many bitches, that was his problem)? Or Sgt. Army, the frustratingly vague hero of “The Army”, who would be drafted to “The War” moments after winning the World Title in one of the most heart-tugging LWF moments of all time? The drunken sot Filthy Willy Schlitz? The alien Ralf Wheels? The perpetually-injured Sublime? And that’s not even counting the core talent of the LWF, superstars such as The All-American Kid Mike Broox, the Chick Magnets (CM Punk and CM Venom), and the Mercenary (although it was never established who was actually paying the Mercenary to compete).
In later years, the roster would swell to uncomfortable proportions. Dr. Gimic, the sexual predator from the stars, would spread his own brand of disgust and horror across LWF rings (not to mention his band of equally repulsive clones). Burn Camp, the team of Roscoe (deaf) and Cletus (mute), who wore vinyl workout suits and face-blurring nylon masks. Brawn the Lumberjack, the hardcore specialist who would incite riots with a flick of his wrist. And the whole circus was lorded over by the immoral Saul Weinstein, who won the LWF in a crooked poker game. Weinstein was completely disinterested in the goings-on of his own company, instead immersing himself in his lust for Smirnoff vodka, underage prostitutes, and El Dungo cigars.
To this day, we consider the “backyard” days of the LWF to be legitimate. In the four years of the original LWF (1993-1996), we moved from a cramped backyard to a spacious plot of land in Elwood, Illinois. Crowds began as a meager collection of friends, but by 1996, had swelled to hundreds making the trek out to see the madness of the Lunatic Wrestling Federation. (By way of comparison, today’s Chicago independent feds would kill for bi-weekly crowds of over 400.) And secondly, our storylines and continuity transferred neatly when we made the switch over to a “true” wrestling business in 1997. There is a clearly defined history of champions and feuds from 1993 to 2004, because that’s what we did. It was all about character.
The transformation to a licensed company was a necessary step; we had reached the limits of what we could do in the current incarnation. Personally, I don’t regret making the switch; it was the next step in our evolution. And the tendrils of our influence are still felt today, over three years after closing our doors. One of our former mainstays is Heavyweight Champion of PCW. Half of Elite Pro’s locker room is filled with former LWF World and Tag champs. And although he’ll refuse to acknowledge any of his time with us (both as co-workers and friends), former LWF founder CM Punk currently plies his trade in the employ of Vince McMahon’s ECW.
In hindsight, my only regret is our sanitizing of the LWF upon “going mainstream”. Horribly offensive characters like the Supreme Aryan and Dr. Gimic were toned down to become more palatable. Supreme Aryan became “Supreme”, a maladjusted individual who yelled at people. And Gimic would make occasional appearances, managing teams like Zero and the Greek Goddess, and swaying his hips suggestively to the strains of Motley Crue’s Girls, Girls, Girls. Gone were the days when a drunken CM Venom and a sober CM Punk would challenge entire high school football teams to a physical confrontation, and walk away completely unscathed. Who knows how far we would have gone had we not worried about “political correctness”, and maintained the irreverence and attitude that brought us to the dance in the first place?
But the ring is still in storage. We’ve still got a modest amount of stroke in the Chicago scene. And if anything, we’re wiser than we were back in the day.
In closing, keep an eye out, jerks. You never know what tomorrow will bring.
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