In July 1996, Hulk Hogan shocked the world by becoming what oppressed him the most as a hero in the 1980s: he turned heel. As the garbage filled the ring, he told Mene Gene Okerland, “As far as I’m concerned, all this crap in the ring represents the fans out here. ” That year Pro Wrestling Illustrated‘s poll voted Hogan as the most hated wrestler.
I consider myself a heel. I have dark hair and dark eyes. And I’m usually up to no good. Catherine Kidd once asked me, after knowing me in Montreal for about a year “Are you nice?”
A wrestler can be a hero (babyface) or a heel. The fan also has two distinct entry parts into participating, that of a “smart” and that of a “mark.” A smart knows or can anticipate the swerves in matches and storylines. The smart knows, either through industry trend or instinct, how a match will end or a storyline play out. A mark is someone who gets caught up in the adrenaline of the match, and doesn’t see anything coming.
As a creative person I appreciate this fantasy structure, and as a creative person who rarely escapes his fantasy world, I enjoy living in this theatre.
In 2003 I wrote “Randy Savage’s Moustache” for Career Suicide! (DC Books, 2003) and it is loosely based on my rocky and violent relationship with my father. I also got to act this story out on ZeD TV (forthcoming this fall) complete with a video projection backdrop of my brother and I doing wrestling moves on each other.
As a character trapped in my own fantasy, I play off nice people, and this is a formula that works. All my collaborations seem to be successful if there is a typified nice person to be a foil to my heel qualities.
A similarly balanced drama played out in the world of wrestling at the close of the millennium: just as Ted Turner’s Atlanta-based WCW had threatened to destroy Vince McMahon’s family business, the WWE (AKA the WWF). As the ratings war of these two giants continued to battle through the second half of the 1990’s, Vince and his experts figured out a secret move to compete with Turner’s monopoly: sleaze. They allowed both their content and their audience to mature and degenerate single-handedly.
From hiring local strippers to parade in the ring with a pimp wrestler named The Godfather, to last summer’s stint with the one-legged Zack Gowan being tossed around the ring by a 7-foot wrestler and having his prosthetic leg thrown at him, to having suggestive hotel scenes with two women in their underwear, to Vince McMahon himself parading around with women half his age in the ring, and kissing them in front of his wheelchair-bound wife, the product erased any form of sports format.
Turner, owning a family-based company, couldn’t show suggestive material, or excessive cleavage or slutty soft porn-like storylines between women. But Vince McMahon didn’t own the network he showcased his programming on–he merely rented. So if he lost a sponsor, he’d convince another.
Same thing goes for me. If I offend someone, there is always someone I turn on. It’s Vince’s corporate blueprint that I found really satisfying. Why does it have to be isolated to an obscure sport? Imagine if we could make Can-Lit as crash and boom exploited as the WWE in promotional theory only not content? We’d be having launches at the Skydome instead of Church basements.
This coming Sat. July 24th in Toronto I’m celebrating my 30th birthday by beating the crap out of my real-life best friend Dragan Momchilo (complete with babyface blue eyes) in a wrestling ring. I’ll also be doing a reading, unless I’m rushed to emergency (we don’t know at this point who is going to win, but we will be hurting one another). Also, I have confirmed that two of the bartenders of The Chelsea Room will be in a match, as well as a few other guests appearances and installation pieces by local artists including Geoff Pugen and Scott Nihill who were supposed to wrestle one another for OCAD’s Trash event in April at the El Mocambo but chickened out at the last minute.
Regardless, I’m exploiting everyone that shows up and has agreed to participate in the event. It’s no real difference from having a conversation with me, and I get so bored sometimes, I really just want to call people into the ring and settle it like the uncivilized, underhanded brute I really am. I’m only being honest.
Since Nathaniel Moore is a heel, and has thousands of enemies, the location of NOTHOMANIA XXX won’t be announced until the day before the Saturday July 24 event itself. To be notified email him. All pictures courtesy of Notho Entertainment.