With no shortage of things to do in Las Vegas on a Saturday night—why not check out a night of pro wrestling action at the Silverton’s Veil Pavilion?
Future Stars of Wrestling is a Las Vegas-based promotion that has been running shows since 2009, and currently hosts cards in its own venue and at the Silverton. At the January 28 Silverton show, general admission tickets ran $15 each, plus taxes and fees. That is an excellent entertainment value in the shadow of the Strip, where a 90-minute show might run several times that.
For three hours of action-filled entertainment on all sides, the audience is just as much a part of the show as what goes on in the ring. It doesn’t take long to get the gist of the stories being told in the ring. (Tip: The good guys usually, though not always, bump fists with and smile at the crowd on their way to the ring, and the bad guys usually, but not always, glower at them.) Each match has, in varying degrees, athleticism, drama, violence and comedy. Participants range from FSW wrestling school students to wrestlers with substantially higher profiles, like current Ring of Honor star and FSW trainer Kenny King.
The kind of wrestling FSW showcases is so easy to get wrapped up in because it is mostly variations on a story that’s been told since days of epic poets: good versus evil, triumph and failure in the face of adversity. The crowd is happy when the good guys win, but if the good guys always won there would be no drama. So the bad guys do win, usually aided by outside interference or a clandestine nutshot.
Sharing in failure is therapeutic, because it helps us accept that sometimes good doesn’t win. Despite your best efforts, life hits you from behind with the title while your opponent’s valet is distracting the referee. There’s also the pleasure in righteously supporting the noble side in a losing battle. And, after everyone’s limped to the back, life goes on, with a chance for good to triumph at last—but you’ll only see it if you buy tickets to the next show.
The action last Saturday night kicked off with a six-man tag team bout that saw the fan favorite team of the Midnight Marvels (Spyder Warrior and Damian Drake) and Hyperstreak triumph. The matches were an even mix of what makes wrestling fun to watch: technical moves, sheer power, brawling, aerial acrobatics and comedy. The match pitting the Thrillbilly Silas Mason vs. local favorite Dave “Pain Train” Mazany was an interesting stylistic blend, with Mason’s look and moves owing much to classic pro wrestling and Mazany adapting his MMA skills to the pro wrestling ring: clotheslines and suplexes versus triangle chokes and armbars.
All of the matches, particularly the six-man tag main event, delivered action, but for casual fans the highlight might have been a tilt between the yoga master Tomaste (rail thin, flowing locks, shoeless and visibly reeking of patchouli oil) and Jakob Austin Young, the “strong style hipster” who occasionally paused his Japanese-derived hard-hitting offense to sip a latte. It’s hard to top that.
But something did top that: the crowd, and not in a smug laugh-at-people-of-Walmart way. Nothing beats the 7-year-old behind me in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt screaming with all his might to pep up his heroes and psyche out the bad guys. “You’ve gotta punch him! Come on, you can win this!” If any of us have someone sincerely wishing us that much success in our 9 to 5, we are lucky indeed. And just like hearing someone laugh from their core can make us crack up even if we haven’t heard the punchline, their passion becomes our passion. This is fun.
Bottom line: if you’re a committed pro wrestling fan, this is a chance to see some future—and current—stars of the squared circle close up. Even if you’re not, this is a night of good, high-energy performance theater, with stories being told suplex by suplex, nutshot by nutshot. It’s very accessible for the casual viewer, and, if more visceral than the usual showroom fare, probably more fun and infinitely more cathartic. You can marvel at the athleticism of a Cirque show, but you’re not going to nurse a hoarse throat the following morning from all the yelling you did.