Joe Pops His Cherry ... Live!
|Joe and Blake Arledge at the Pack House|
|My posse, Alex Avgerinos, Stoney Hooker, and Tommy Too Much|
|Konley on GOUGE light heavyweight champ Mickey Gambino|
|Gambino cornering Konley|
|Raleigh heavyweight champ Otto Schwanz|
|Schwanz on Goat|
|"Boogie Woogie Man" Rob McBride|
I have said before that I have been a wrestling fan for decades without ever once attending a live wrestling event, not even a high-school meet. Instead, I got my rocks off on TV broadcasts and dorm room roughhouse at first and then videos on VHS tape, DVD, and the Internet. Well, I can't say that anymore. Last night I popped my cherry. I went to GOUGE's Season's Beatings show in Raleigh, and I have to say that nothing beats a live show up close. My initiation was triply blessed because, before the show, wrestling photographer Blake Arledge approached me in the small (but viciously witty) crowd at the barroom venue and introduced me to some of my fighting heroes--including big favorites Stoney Hooker and Alex Avgerinos--and my friend Shane and I then benefited from up-close running color commentary by Georgia pro wrestler Tommy Too Much, who sat beside us at ringside, telling us how the holds were done, what really hurts and what doesn't, who's on roids and who's not, and more. Not only that, but there were Ring of Honor stars on hand, so I got to shake the hand of Cedric Alexander, chat a bit with Caleb Konley at the merch table, and watch Rhett Titus, Grizzly Redwood, Colt Cabana, and uber-hot "Man Scout" Jake Manning up close and sweaty.
All in all, a terrific night for me--and a defining one: These Are My People. If gay bars were more like the Pack House last night, you could not drag me out of them. I took pictures, but, stupid me, did not bring a spare charged battery, so the fuzzy pictures below are from my iPhone. But I figure if you're looking for clean, crisp shots of these matches, you will check out Blake's always excellent work if and when it gets posted on ringsidephotos.
|Hooker and Manning|
|Redwood on Hooker|
|Hooker and Titus double-teaming Redwood|
|Hooker on Redwood|
|Hooker snapping back at the wise-ass fans|
|Alexander vs GOUGE champ Jimmy Jack Funk Jr|
|Avgerinos getting checked out by the ref|
|Averginos fleeing the ring as Colt Cabana enters|
|Avgerinos cornered by Cabana|
|Avgerinos flees again|
|Avgerinos and Cabana|