DETROIT – Last Friday, February 18, my son and I were looking for something to do. He gets bored easily, so an evening at the Ford Museum or a Pistons basketball game were out.

Instead we attended an indy wrestling card by HorrorSlam Pro Wrestling, held in Brownstown, Michigan, a downriver community, south of Detroit. I already had been invited to attend and had a flyer for the show… so we were all set, but first a smart photographer thinks it over, and makes a checklist:

  • Camera and lens. Check.
  • Plastic safety glasses. Check.
  • Rubber back support. Check.
  • Knee pads. Check.
  • Old black jeans. Check.
  • Old black sweater. Check.
  • Magnum combat boots. Check.
  • COVID-safety mask. Check.

And off we went to Brownstown. The show was at Hero’s Hall, which is a converted VFW Hall, primarily to provide support for veterans.

One might wonder why I had to check off such an odd assortment of “equipment” just to photograph a wrestling show. So let me explain — the two main events were Hardcore matches, where fans bring the weapons. That meant I expected light bulbs, thumbtacks, computer keyboards, cheese scrapers, chairs, and the hardcore staple: fluorescent light tubes. And of course, a staple gun.

The ring was a “low-rider,” meaning it sat just six inches off the floor so that no ceiling tiles or light fixtures might accidently get destroyed. Standing at ringside, I was virtually in the ring myself.

I’m only featuring two of the bouts here, but the rest of the show included: Donte Casson beat Justin Dream; Breyer Wellington won over Haizen Beckett; Isaiah Moore beat Solo & Damian Chambers; Silas Young pinned Dread King Logan; Big Kon (Konnor from Ascension) beat Jason Hotch; Dale Patricks defeated Brett Havoc; and LJ Lawrence, Top Gun, Iron Eagle, & Roadhouse beat Lamario Starr, Chinstrap Jesus, Kyler Coleman, & Forever Young.

The semi-main event was the Detroit Punks (Sean Lawhorn and Dirty White Boy Chuck Stein) versus Brutus Atwell and the legendary Mad Man Pondo. The four locked up at the same time and it may have been the only actual wrestling move done the entire match. Lawhorn and Atwell spilled out to slug it out amongst the crowd, leaving DWB alone with Pondo. I can’t swear who started it but suddenly light tubes were getting shattered. My safety glasses came in very, very handy. Lawhorn and Atwell came back in, so on cue DWB and Pondo bailed out. Who bled first I don’t know but I blinked and suddenly all of them were bleeding. (I kept my COVID mask on the entire time because I’ve read somewhere that those tubes emit some sort of gas when broken and it’s a safety hazard to breathe.) It’s hard to identify all the weapons so check out my photographs and see what you can find. I suppose just to make sure they got a good payoff, Pondo pulled his trusty staple gun and the fans began showering the ring with dollar bills … which then got stapled on various parts of wrestler anatomy. Somehow Lawhorn and Dirty White Boy were announced as the winners. And Pondo, to show what a good sport he was, shook hands with his opponents. He also told the crowd how grateful he was to hear his name chanted. He also thanked the fans for bringing the weapons, which seemed to include everything except a kitchen sink.

The main event had Hardcore Heavyweight champion Malcom Monroe III against another legend, Mickie Knuckles. In lieu of a kitchen sink, Mickie was sporting an actual hatchet, and to prove it was legit, she chopped a wooden table a few times. These two stayed in the ring but more light tubes were added. I believe they also used three wrestling moves — a piledriver, a sit out power bomb, and a pumphandle slam. If this was a shoot fight, let’s say Mickie held her own. The wily Monroe, a third-generation wrestler, pulled something out of his trunks (no, not what you think) and it turned out to be a rag soaked in chloroform. He used it to temporarily knock Mickie unconscious for the win, allowing him to keep his title.

I would say the fans got their money’s worth. We were entertained ourselves. When we got home I found dried blood on my pants, sweater, and had to brush out glass specks from my hair. Just a night out with my boy.