Before Ring of Honor: The Homecoming II last month, none of us had ever attended a pro wrestling event. While en route to the venue in the south suburb of Chicago Ridge, we each expressed our predictions and hopes for the night. The first hope—that we would feel a genuine sense of danger to our personal safety and ideally suffer a light injury—was fulfilled at the end of the evening when I tripped over some haphazardly-placed theatrical lighting.
Unsure of the protocol of such events, a member of our party called ahead to see if alcohol would be sold there. "No," they responded, "but we will have hot dogs and nachos and pop for sale." We debated whether we'd be able to sneak beer in, but since their response to our query made it sound an awful lot like a junior high dance, I predicted that the venue would in fact be just a well-lit gymnasium...which, we realized as we walked in, also turned out to be true.
The show took place inside a field house run by the local park district. We were greeted by a marquee outside that seemed more appropriately used to announce the date for the next Market Day.
Our initial excitement at having fifth-row seats was quickly diminished as we realized there were only six rows of chairs (not counting the general admission bleachers on one side of the gym), but we became instantly pumped up again to see a large man with curly blonde hair pile-drive a much smaller guy in one of the pre-show matches. The smaller guy writhed in pain as the ref called another ref to come and assist him out. Was this a legitimate injury or just showmanship? Like in a scene out of Jacques Tati's Parade, the line between spectacle and reality was hopelessly blurred.