Wicked wrestling invades Lyons
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July 28, 2010 | 08:30 AMLyons — A four-cornered ring. Stop signs. Barbed wire. Baseball bats. And don't forget scantily-clad girls with signs containing numbers.
How could these five things possibly have anything in common?
There's only one explanation — Wicked Wisconsin. The independent professional wrestling promotion, spear-headed by Linn resident Morgan Foley, 24, stormed into Bobby Rockets Friday, bringing its unique brand of entertainment.
Wrestlers battled inside the ring with several hundred people in seated rows on the cement surrounding the squared circle while horrorcore music (hip-hop combined with metal rock) blasted through speakers.
It was the real deal. There was an announcer table with play-by-play, a referee and a promoter calling entertainers to the ring one by one for matches. Along with several championship bouts, there was a raucous, 30-man, over-the-top battle royal, that resembled a good, old-fashioned brawl rich with stop signs, ladders, folding chairs, baseball bats and barbed wire. When Pit Stain eventually won the street fight, he challenged another wrestler to a match later that night. In doing so, he heckled the crowd, making fun of anything from someone's hair to how fat he thought one girl was.
It wasn't for the faint of heart, but was all in good fun and for entertainment purposes.
Despite all the glitz and glamour and constant cameras flashing that one may associate with professional wrestling, these guys are simply your average joes.
Insane Championship Wrestling champion Troy Walters won his match Friday over Justin Dredd, but Paul Fairclough, his real name, is just a regular dude.
A Genoa City native, Fairclough, 24, attended Brookwood Middle School and graduated from Burlington Catholic Central in 2004. In his senior season as a Hilltopper, he was 25-4 at 135 pounds but an injury ended his season.
He earned the ICW title only a month ago, but he started out at the bottom just like everyone else.
"It took me four years in ICW just to finally win the title," Fairclough said. "After I graduated high school, I googled wrestling schools and called three. Only one called me back, Badger State Wrestling. I have wrestled for Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Insane Clown Posse's brand. It took me a long time to win the title, I really had to work my way up."
Fairclough said a lot goes into being a champion. Since the matches are fixed outcomes, it depends on how well a wrestler can hold the crowd's interest.
"Training and work ethic are big," he said. "You have to trust the guy you're wrestling with. It's hard to call it fake, like many people do, because the injuries are real. I have scars all over my head. It's definitely entertainment. You must decide if the high you get from entertaining people is worth it. I want to give them a good show. You must show your personality and turn everything up in the ring. It's a bummer if the fans aren't appreciating it."
He added that the Internet can make or break you.
"You must always put your best foot forward," he said. "You never know when there are cameras around, and you never know what's going to end up online. The Internet is how I've gotten opportunities, though. Also, other guys have put in good words for me."
A 170-pound pure athlete, Fairclough's gimmick is the real athlete. He's a face, or fan favorite. In order to win Friday, he executed his finishing move perfectly, a Spanish Fly off the top rope, where he stood face to face with his opponent, grabbed him and flipped him backwards down to the mat and into the pin.
"I saw a wrestler do it in Japan, and I tried it out," he said. "You need a bigger move if it's a bigger match."
Fairclough turned down a committed, multi-month program in Philadelphia because of his other passion, personal training. He currently lives in Kenosha and manages a gym at the Kenosha Athletic Center.
Eventually, Fairclough hopes to move up the wrestling ranks to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotion, but he is staying grounded.
"I just want to stay healthy," he said. "Realistically, the WWE might now happen, so I just want to put on as many good matches as I can. It's hard to take a chance on something when you've got bills."
Lake Geneva native Bobby Beasley, whose stage name is Bobby Valentino, graduated in 2007 from Badger High School.
On Friday, he defeated former WWE wrestler Zach Gowen, the "world's only one-legged wrestler," with some help from his partner Justin Dredd.
Beasley differs greatly from Fairclough. Beasley is a heel, or a bad guy. Fans littered him with boos, unaccepting of his cheating ways and smug disposition. But just like Fairclough, Beasley developed a passion for wrestling early.
His brother and fellow hometown boy Scott Colton helped turn him on to professional wrestling. Beasley, 22, has been a pro since he was 16, and he has entertained crowds everywhere from Japan to California to Florida. He got his start with Mid-American Wrestling in Milwaukee.
"I grew up watching WWE and WCW (World Championship Wrestling) just like everyone else," Beasley said. "I started following the independent scene and met a guy down in Indiana that was formerly with WWE. We clicked right away. So he took me on wrestling tours, and I also do some standup comedy."
He currently lives in central Illinois, about "three and a half hours from here," and he works at Menards. He comes back to visit his mother in Lake Geneva every once in a while.
Beasley said the promotion chose the Burlington/Lyons area because they're trying to branch out from Milwaukee, southeastern Wisconsin's hotbed for the independent scene.
He hopes to one day possibly head back overseas.
"The biggest goal is eventually to reach the WWE," Beasley said. "But I'd like to go back and tour in Japan."
Beasley is a cruiserweight, or a wrestler weighing less than 220 pounds. He's around 175 pounds. But his high-flying aerial assault proves devastating for opponents.