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Kid Sexy
The Show Wrestler as Martial Artist
Did you know, that in June 2002 in Baltimore a ‘minor league’ pro wrestler signed up to fight in a closed martial arts event, causing 4 of the other 8 registered fighters to dropout and the event to crash?
Yes, it happened, and I’ll get back to that. First let me provide some context by interviewing another ‘wrastler’ or ‘show wrestler’. I have avoided using the terms pro and amateur wrestler because these are already taken by professional show wrestlers and scholastic athletes respectively.
The last legit pro wrestling ‘shoot’ was in the 1930s. Americans don’t enjoy technical wrestling, so the bouts were from there after ‘worked’ for entertainment. Finally, circa 1990 one of the wrestling organizations actually asked that state athletic commissions stop labeling pro wrestling as a sport, but rather ‘sports entertainment’. Since then everyone has known that it is just a show. But people still wonder, ‘can these big athletic guys actually fight?’ Actually I think Ken Shamrock and Brock Lesnar have answered that question.
Now the minor-league guys call themselves something else entirely, and I’ll let the subject of the context interview below explain that.
Up until the advent of Kid Sexy on the Baltimore martial arts scene I had only been approached by a ‘wrestler’ twice. Permit me to regale you…
The BackYardian
Chuck and Dominick and I were sparring on the court at Riverside Park in South Baltimore when this young man approached me, the odd man out in a round-robin set. He claimed that he was involved in something called Darkon and something else called ‘backyard wrestling’ and wanted to know if we were interested in participating. I began asking him questions about these activities. Then he looked over my shoulder in apparent horror and said, “Oh God”, and began backing away.
I looked over and saw that Dominick had caved in the face-cage of Chuck’s new helmet which I had made from scrap, producing a bloody ring around his left eye. I immediately apologized for my poor craftsmanship and Chuck said, “No biggie”, and reached for a pair of goggles, which we had already determined were not safe for stick-fighting…
The Streets Have Eyes
On an earlier occasion in 1993 I was waiting for a bus at 9:45 on a Saturday night when a guy speeding down Route #1 in a black Toyota pickup skidded, slammed it into reverse, and zipped back to me, running his rear wheel up onto the curb, and yelled out the window, “Hey dude, where you goin?”
I said, “To East Point, to the supermarket.”
He yelled, “When do you have to be there?”
I answered, “Eleven.”
He whooped, “Then get in man! The Heavy Metal Marauder is breaking bad tonight.”
I then got in the vehicle of a self-described superhero who was dressed all in black and was wearing a black knit hat in June and somehow forget to tell my wife about it the next day.
The man’s name was Nelson, and he was in his mid-twenties, living in his deceased parents’ house, still obsessed with a high school sweetheart that had become a Playboy Bunny, was waging a guerilla war on the local rock radio station on behalf of some ‘underground heavy metal station’, and fancied himself a pro wrestler.
Nelson drove aimlessly around telling me his life story and of the waging of the Metal versus Rock war, and assuring me that I would be to work on time. He remembered how important a job could be. After all he had had one once upon a time.
Eventually we pulled up to a large seemingly abandoned frame house in Rosedale, a working class enclave on the city/county line on the East Side. It was early summer and the grass had yet to be cut. The shrubs had not been trimmed in years. He crashed through a makeshift backdoor and welcomed me to his castle, or should I say lair.
Nelson then began knocking back vodka and showing me the posters of his former girlfriend which she had even autographed—before she ran screaming for her life I suppose. Nelson showed me all the holes he had punched and kicked in the walls practicing Heavy Metal Combat, and then introduced me to a vast living room with a boarded up bay window. The floor was covered in old mattresses and he dove into the air, landing with a roll, and then demonstrated an elbow drop. Then he lay on his side and asked me if I wanted to wrestle. He was about 6 foot 200 lbs, in an altered state, and I was 5’ 8” and an emaciated 147 lbs and still clinging to my tenuous sanity.
Run! I thought.
But I had my dignity to consider. What would Robert E. Howard’s ghost think if I ran?
I excused myself to go to the bathroom—meaning all the while to flee for my life. I had, like a witless German peasant in a Grimm’s fairy tale, been disoriented by the heaped trash and broken furniture, and lost my way. I got to a door at the end of a dark hallway and was then frightened more fully when a snarling, slathering, snapping of jaws and the clawing of nails and the crashing of heavy bodies sounded on the other side of the now trembling door.
Nelson’s hand then came to rest on my shoulder and he said calmly, “You don’t want to go in there. That’s the Heavy Metal Meat-munchers; Rotts.”
I remember thinking to myself, Oh yeah, they are the big muscular Dobermans with pit-bull heads…and there are no large bags of dog-food in sight—priority egress!
I put up a manly front though, “Thanks Nelson, I need to piss man.”
He walked me away from the Door of Doom, “The plumbing is shot. Let’s use the yard and then go on a mission…”
Yes, a mission! Why had I not thought of that reasonable alternative to psychotic mattress wrestling and a brief gory end as dog chow?
After doing a ‘raid’ on a local billboard by plastering his underground radio stickers on it as I fidgeted nervously in the cab of the Toyota among his promotional supplies, which—yes, I’m glad you asked—did include duct tape, he finally dropped me off in front of the store. Nelson gave me his phone number in case I ever needed a lift or just wanted to wrestle. I thanked him and donated some gas money to the ‘war effort’ and got out.
Big Rich the night captain was out front waiting for me and just looked on in amazement as Nelson finally cranked up the radio station he was so supportive of and drove off with eyes wild with excitement. Rich, who is incapable of communicating below a shout, of course shouted, “Christ Mo, smoke crack much!?!”
Well, Harm City readers may be disappointed in me, but this is the self-defense section, so I hope you discerning martial arts readers will forgive me for not heading over to that haunted house in Rosedale to interview Nelson. Instead I found a guy who does not talk in the third person nor draws explanation marks in the air with his fingers while he speaks to me…
Trent Farrell
“I grew up in the era [1990s] when the secret had gotten out. I already knew it was staged so I didn’t want to give it a chance. My brother kept trying to get me to watch and I would say, ‘Now, how could I possibly be interested in something that is patently fake’; particularly something that featured the slow sweaty brawling of fat hairy guys wearing not nearly enough? I had no pressing desire to see fat guys in speedos thank you!
“Finally he came to me and said, 'You have to see this, midgets!'
“So I’m intrigued and we watch these four Mexican midgets doing crazy flips. Seeing this ‘stunt’ show put on by these essentially handicapped people impressed me with the athleticism of it. I assumed the quality was a reflection of the midgets compensating, and that this was unique. Then one night my brother talked me into watching a tag-team match between [mid-size name wrestlers known for their athleticism] and I was hooked. I eventually joined a club and began training.
“We call it ‘Indie’ wrestling. Some of the top guys in some of the Indie organizations will move up to televised shows. For that you generally have to be buff; in really sick shape. You occasionally run into a crazy [like the guy with the staple-gun in the movie The Wrestler.] I have my own crazy guy story, the guy with the pool sticks down in Virginia.
“I train between one to three times a week. I used to have a heel [bad guy] persona. Now I’m a face [good guy] in Maryland and generally a heel in Virginia and Pennsylvania. I do about five shows a month, spread over three organizations in three states. I basically wrestle every Saturday and an occasional Friday. You don’t have a lot of latitude with your storyline. It is designed to be a show and whoever is running it has a storyline in mind. Basically you show up and the matches are posted in the dressing room, with the person that is supposed to go ‘over’ [win] circled. We basically get told what to do by the booker.
“As far as what actually transpires during the match we have a lot of latitude. But, if the booker has a big interference scheduled for the feature match he will probably tell you to nix your interference and work something else. Sometimes there is a specific storyline worked out by the booker. ‘Squash matches’ where the local guy that is being built up is going over and gets most of the offense would be an example.
“We wrestle in a lot of fire halls, some night clubs, some venues like The Tall Cedars [a rented hall with kitchen facilities] and military bases. Military bases are the best because you don’t have to deal with the Athletic Commission. We have a strong commission in Maryland. [They take their cut,] and want an extremely family-friendly event. Anything that involves outside objects like chairs and weapons must be cleared through them. If anybody begins to bleed they must leave right then. They have a doctor to check you out before the show and make sure you are not going to die of a heart attack. Then he leaves. We do have a father of one of our students with some kind of medical background who sets up a little aid station in the back with gauze and stuff. Our organization is the only one that has that that I am aware of.”
Back in the Day
To add something to what Trent said here, I once interviewed a veteran of over 700 shoots at high school, college and masters level, who spent a week on a pro wrestling circuit in Georgia in the early 1980s. He and his partner [these are boxer/wrestlers who could bench press over 500 lbs, not some normal person] were basically brutalized by this old washed up TV wrestler from the sixties; ‘a fat sloppy Dusty Roads type of guy’. He confided in me that they had to get out of it because it was too brutal and sadistic. His partner ended up with a severely bruised spine from being slapped by the aging silverback; yes, slapped.
The Agon
Chuck and I and about five others were renting space at a martial arts school. When the owners announced they would have to close we offered to do an in-school closed tournament that would hopefully raise enough money to keep the doors open until September, when they could expect more new school-age students. I just had to sell 30 $30 tickets to raise enough money to cover the rent, and I put up $400 dollars in prize-money; $100 for each of the 4 winners. In retrospect this was pretty crazy. Chuck and I and two other instructors from the school would fight. Which meant I had to recruit at least 4 other guys. I lined up 4.
By May we had the 8 entrants [the bare minimum] listed by age, height, weight and art on a schedule board in the dressing room. The events were submission boxing [ancient Greek rules]; Pale [basically shirtless ancient Greek Judo]; kendo; and stick-fighting. [This sounds so messed up I’m now glad it didn’t come off.] I even invited senior USA Boxing judge Mister Frank Gilbert to see this!
On a positive note, during the course of calling all of the local martial arts schools in my search for fighters I learned a lot and, made some very good friends. The support for this effort far exceeded what I had expected.
Enter Kid Sexy
Somehow, this guy named Shawn, billing himself as the pro wrestler “Kid Sexy”, called me from Washington D.C. and entered. He gave his height and weight as 6’ 1” 240lbs and his art as pro-wrestling. He entered all four events, confiding in me that he really needed the money and he saw fighting as his last shot short of joining the military. Shawn even asked me if I would manage him and get him underground fights in the area so he could make ends meet.
When Shawn’s listing went up on the board 4 of the 8 other entrants dropped out, trashing the Agon. Chuck, Mark LaFond and I still met and Mister Frank showed up with his gloves and headgear and had us beat each other up. However, the Agon and the school were dead.
Shawn still wanted to fight. He took the train to Baltimore for a sparring session with Chuck. He was a hardworking guy and was the listed size. But he had some biomechanical issues, and I declared it would be six months before he was ready to compete. That was longer than he could afford to wait so he joined the Army according to the lady who answered his phone when I called.
I hope things went well for Shawn wherever he ended up.
Conclusion
Little did I know but the question as to how a show wrestler would fare in an MMA context was already being answered in Japan at this very time with a number of Gracies actually being manhandled by a converted pro wrestler of no great size. Perhaps the martial arts guys that dropped out of my strange ‘event’ had been watching Pride and thought they would be facing a local Sakuraba? Who knows?
I will tell you this: stepping up is the first half of the battle and Kid Sexy stepped up, generating a gut-check that 4 highly trained fighters failed to make just before they stepped down.
Skill isn’t everything.
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Add Comment
sean pregentMarch 14, 2016 6:39 PM UTC

thank you for your blog it is now 2016 i got hurt at ft benning ga. & came home then in 2004 i went back to wrestle for 1 year and called it quits since then i have been doing music still under the name Kid Sexy i have 5 CDS out on iTunes etc. & i am all over the internet as kidsexy === music google search my friends # to contact me because i just moved & i dont have my new phone # yet is 301 996 1594 his name is nick you can call us anytime your life long pal sean pregent