Punk rock and pro wrestling share a DIY attitude and community-building spirit, writes Marshall Ward
Three of my favourite things – pro wrestling, live music, and DIY craft vendors – will collide this Saturday, July 8, at the inaugural KW Punk Rock Slobberknocker.
The event, being held at Elements Nightclub in Kitchener, is the latest incarnation of the Punk Rock Flea Market, which brings together independent artists, performers, creators, and people from every facet of our community.
For the first time, professional wrestling will be part of the mix, featuring wrestlers from Kitchener’s Off the Ropes Studio, Canada’s first woman-owned wrestling training gym.
“We have always wanted to combine our love of music and wrestling into a singular event, and we believe we have finally met a like-minded entity with Off the Ropes Studio,” says musician Chris Walton, who coordinates the Punk Rock Flea Market with his wife Stacie Jones.
“I've always seen a direct correlation between the indy wrestling scene and any regional punk rock scene, and how there are so many mirrored ethics, principles and strategies between the two communities.”
Vanessa Douglas, owner of Off the Ropes Studio, wrestles across North America as “The Blood Countess” Sabrina Kyle, and on Saturday night she will do battle against Jeff Black (her real-life partner away from the ring). Although the action in the ring has the appearance of combat, Vanessa and Jeff run Off the Ropes Studio as a welcoming and safe environment for all, with classes for women, children, and all skill levels.
Bonn Park will be on hand at Elements for the event, filming for an upcoming feature documentary now in production (stay tuned for more on that soon!).
The organizers of the Punk Rock Slobberknocker expect that attendees might be happily surprised by the supportive community atmosphere at the event.
“In independent wrestling these days, there is something for everyone,” Chris told me. “There is an undeniable strength upholding this committed community of like-minded individuals who see the value in performance art -- this one just so happens to be one of the most action-packed forms of art.”
What: Punk Rock Slobberknocker, featuring live wrestling, music and vendors
Where: Elements Nightclub
When: Saturday July 8th, 2023. 7pm.
Tickets: $25, available here