December 13, 2012

Off Beat: Club tries something a little different

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Midget wrestling appears to be making a comeback.

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Wrestler Alex Steele with Country Sex Appeal

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Bronx Thug

Additional Photos Below

LITTLE MANIA WRESTLING

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Club Texas, 150 Center St., Auburn

HOW MUCH: $15 in advance; $20 at door; $20 in advance for ringside

INFO: 784-7785; 576-6273

In an age when we are supposedly more sensitive to people's size, shape, color, etc., why is the spectacle of little people hitting each other over the head appealing?

Well, the short answer is that lots of restaurants have live bands with dinner.

"In this economy, in this market, where so many restaurants are offering entertainment, people can go to one place to eat and then see a show. So we've got to do different things to hold our share of the market," said Lance Robinson, manager of Club Texas in Auburn.

On Saturday, Club Texas will host an event called Little Mania Wrestling, featuring four New York-based small wrestlers who travel the country putting on wrestling matches as entertainment.

Apparently, bars and nightspots around the country are also going to great lengths to bring in different forms of entertainment, so the midget wrestling industry seems to be somewhat resurgent.

"Midget wrestling had died out in the 1980s, but now a lot of nightclubs need different kinds of acts, and my agency has seen a demand for midget wrestling," said Leonard E. Panaro of Media Promotions in Endicott, N.Y., who booked the wrestling event into Club Texas.

Panaro said he's been booking midget wrestling for two years, and even though there have been groups who voice opposition, he said the shows don't demean the participants.

In fact, he says, it gives them opportunities to make money.

"They have families to take care of," said Panaro. "They're really character actors in a choreographed show, and they don't do anything other character actors don't do."

All of the participants are about 4 feet tall or less, Panaro said, and the show at Club Texas will be staged "for entertainment" and not "hardcore" wrestling.

"It's sort of a miniature, comic version of wrestling you see on TV," he said.

The show will feature four participants. There are two good guys, who go by the ring names Marty the Pint-Sized Party and Alex Steele with Country Sex Appeal. The bad guys are more simply named Steve O and Bronx Thug.

There will be two one-on-one matches in a ring, then a tag team event featuring all four, said Panaro.

People will be selected from the audience to act as the wrestlers' managers and stand in their corners.

After the show, audience members can meet the wrestlers, get autographs, have pictures taken and even buy some of the things the wrestlers used to hit each other over the head with, including cookie sheets, garbage can lids and clipboards.

Club Texas began as a country music club with a mechanical bull. After a few years, the club had to start booking other types of music, and then other types of acts, to stay afloat, Robinson said.

Midget wrestling is part of that.

"So we've got to be aggressive and do a little bit of everything," said Robinson.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

 

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Additional Photos

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Marty the Pint-Sized Party

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