The lights are dim, and the crowd is ready. It’s time for the wrestlers to enter the ring. This round’s competitors? A software-developing dentist — and an actual dog. But this is no dog fight.
The dentist and dog are among many local wrestlers pitted against each other in a Slamdown known as Party World Rasslin’. Party World Rasslin’ (PWR) is a group of local pseudo-wrestlers that meets every three months at different venues to do what they love: “rassle.”
The wrestling, sometimes choreographed, and more often not, takes place in a PWR Slamdown. A PWR Slamdown —a tournament that pits different actors in PWR against each other in a battle of improv and wrestling.
“It’s a theatrical event that involves wrestling style, action and a lot of crazy characters,” co-founder Chris Monica said. “It’s a comedy show, not a wrestling show. If some wrestling happens, sorry.”
Monica and co-founder Jared Blondeau, also an Austinite, manage upcoming PWR shows by seeking out local talent and new venues. Blondeau and Monica both have jobs other than PWR; most of the wrestlers do, too.
“Their day jobs are, like, professional video game artist, or, like, they’re programmers who do legit stuff,” Monica said. “[PWR] is a collection of broken geniuses who have kind of found a way to express certain things that were before not quite expressible.”
Blondeau and Monica created PWR based on a birthday party theme they attended, where guests were asked to come in costume and yell at each other while attempting to wrestle. Blondeau said the party’s success led the group of friends to form the show, which puts “comedy first, wrestling second.”
Blondeau said the gratifying feeling of watching people engage in his hobby is more than worth the time shows take to plan.
“It’s a communal thing,” Monica said. “Everyone chanting for a wrestler in unison gives them something to relate to. The end result is
Although they like incorporating new wrestlers, Blondeau said PWR strives to maintain a tight-knit community feel. He said the company’s close bonds and cohesion help ensure a comfortable and open environment where anything is possible.
Although most of the participants in the show are not experienced fighters, Blondeau said members are always trying to improve their fighting skills. He said only one wrestler has been formally trained. The focus is less on the fighting and more on the physicality and humor, Blondeau said.
“The entertainment has to be there,” Blondeau said. “Whether that be from something physical that is entertaining to watch, or it has to be funny. Preferably, [the show] is a mixture of both.”
Blondeau said people do not have to love wrestling to attend a PWR Slamdown. In fact, most audience members are not die-hard wrestling fans — they come just for the party wrestling.
“Wrestling is a discipline that has gone on for years,” Monica said. “Professionals can do it for 10 years and say they’re good at it, but this is party wrestling. It’s our own thing, and we’re the best at it.”