Big Wavy Deconstructs Privilege and Racism

I just saw this impactful video done by British indie pro wrestler “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. In less than a minute, he really breaks it down on how privilege works without even saying a word and just letting a recording to emphasize this point. You can even do this real time by holding all your fingers up and seeing how many of them are still up at the end of the video. Major props, Big Wavy!

Also, he’s the main person responsible for Wrestling Resurgence’s Everything Patterned show which was their Black History Month project last October (that’s when the UK celebrates BHM as opposed to America celebrating in America). That show surprisingly inspired me so much with not just the matches, but the positive representation going on. What does that say when a small British indie federation did something more racially progressive in the context of pro wrestling than anything in America? Let that sink in. Recently, the proceeds of the Everything Patterned video ($3.23 to rent or $6.46 to buy) will go to BLM in solidarity with those against the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many more. Here’s a link to that show.

Also, here’s the match between Roy Johnson and Rampage Brown if you’re interested.

Double Neat! I was nominated twice for the Real Blog Award!

Here I go again with these delayed award posts! Sorry about that. Recently I was nominated by two different bloggers for the Real Neat Blog Award. They are AK from Everything Is Bad For You and Red Metal at Extra Life. Thank you so much, guys!

real-neat-blogger-award.jpg

Here are the rules:

1. Display the logo
2. Thank the bloggers for the award.
3. Answer the questions from the one who nominated you.
4. Nominate 7 to 10 bloggers.
5. Ask them 7 questions.

Here we go now, and I’ll start with AK’s questions first.

1) Is there a game, book, or other work that you’d like to experience but that you can’t because it’s untranslated, not ported, or otherwise inaccessible?

Good question. It would be cool to play Dance Dance Revolution Club Version for Dreamcast.

2) What’s one work that really affected you or stuck with you in the last year, and why do you think it did?

Since discovering Ousmane Sebene, his debut feature film Black Girl really affected me. As someone with a film background, I was angry not knowing about this director. This work was incredible as it had great metaphors about neo-colonization and some of the most realistic displays of racism with various dog whistles from the French people against the Senegalese main character and the story was so believable and still relevant despite being made in the 60s.

3) If you could revive one series of works that’s been abandoned or dropped by its creators for any reason, what series would it be and why?

Despite the stream of remakes going on over the past few years, I would actually like to see a remake of Shinesman. I know the manga went farther and the satire could still work especially with the glut of superhero media even if Shinesman parodies Power Rangers/Super Sentai. If that got dubbed, then need to get the original English VA cast for it if they can still pull off the voices.

4) When it comes to music, do you prefer songs with vocals and lyrics or instrumental pieces, or do you have a preference at all? If you prefer one type over the other, why do you think that is?

I don’t have a preference at all, actually.

5) When was the last time you bought a magazine, newspaper, or other form of print media?

This was months ago and I bout a book from Dr. Amos Wilson. I’m glad to discover his work on anti-racism and black psychology last year. I’m also not counting e-books, by the way.

6) Is there a holiday you don’t get to celebrate/take off because of family or work reasons but that you wish you could?

Depends on my schedule with work. I know I get Christmas and Easter off which is guaranteed. I’d say Juneteenth would be excellent having that off on so many levels.

7) If you had to create a new holiday, when would it be and what would it involve?

I would make a commemorative holiday for Black Wall Street. This will be a federal holiday where schools and businesses will close to honor those that were affected by that horrific attack. Next year will be the 100 year anniversary. NEVER FORGET!
Now for Red Metal’s questions:

1. What is your favorite variety of meat? Or if you don’t eat meat what is your favorite meat substitute?

Seitan. News flash, I’m a vegetarian! Most of you didn’t know that fact about me.

2. If you could permanently remove one installment from a series you like (which would erase its existence from everyone’s memory), which one would you choose?

I do like Ghost In The Shell. As much as I was disappointed in the GITS sequel and some of the Arise prequels, but at least they offer decent elements to the overall story. If there was one thing I could erase from that series, then (to the surprise of no one) I would erase that live-action remake. Shame on the directors and shaming on the casting agents who thought it was a good idea to let Black Widow play the Major. #Whitewashing

3. If you lost a bet, would you rather read the worst book, play the worst game, listen to the worst album, or watch the worst film that you know of?

I’d say reading the worst book because I’d likely forget about it the most out of those options.

4. If you won a bet, what kind of punishment would be in store for your friend?

MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! If this was a good friend of mine, I would be a bit soft by making them do 100 pushups and then a mile run. Side note: I did 100 pushups a day all throughout December. If this was a frenemy, I would have them be a part of a pro wrestling match against “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. Here’s a sample of what would happen. #PounceParty

5. What is your favorite month of the year?

October. I’m biased since I was born that month.

6. What is a piece of obscure trivia you like to mention during social gatherings?

I’m full of obscure trivia. Hahaha! I think the ones I mention somewhat frequently are smart apartments in Kenya that use iPads to control the AC, kitchen stoves, ovens, lights, etc. It’s great mentioning facts that destroy stereotypes about Africa.

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? In this hypothetical situation, assume your choice would grant you complete fluency in the area’s official language.

Speaking of Africa, one place I would like to live would be Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. I have a bit of fluency in Lingala, but being fully fluent in that and the other Congolese languages would be sweet. I saw very fascinating things in pictures and video, it’s quite modern, and there’s lots of things to do in the country.

8. What is the longest amount of time you’ve ever driven a car or other vehicle in one sitting?

It was en route to Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. That’s a 4.5-5 hour drive despite being from the same state. I’m from the Northern part of the Land of Lincoln and Bushnell is a tiny farm town in West Central Illinois. The closest city to it is Macomb which is 20 minutes away and there’s nothing major besides Western Illinois University. Driving can be a bit easy once you get outside the Chicagoland area, but it can be tiresome seeing cornfields and farms for most of the scenery.

9. What is the most annoying fictional character you can think of?

I can think of several. Haha! I think a ton of the Disney Princesses are annoying to me with most of them being Mary Sues, spoiled brats, get helped by too many plot coupons/plot conveniences, and I can’t see how people can relate to them.

10. What is the most underrated fictional character you can think of?

Yugo Beppu from Yugo the Negotiator.  I like how he’s intelligent, culturally aware, and has an extraordinary level of toughness despite not being a violent person. However, there’s one superhero I want to check out called Mr. Terrific. I heard he is good in the comics and that his character was butchered in Arrow.

11. With the decade coming to a close, would you say this was a good period for films, comics, animation, music, literature, or video games?

It was good with the indie and international films I saw, more or less. It was the decade of mediocrity and a tremendous lack of originality in Hollywood with pointless sequels, prequels, adaptations, and of course…so. Many. Freaking. Useless. REMAKES!

Alright. Here are my 7 questions for my nominees.

1. If you’re favorite band’s lead singer quit, who would be a good replacement for them?
2. Who is a supporting character in a movie or TV series that should get their own spin-off? (this can be live-action or animated)
3. The world would be a better place to live in if…?
4. What was the biggest fact or story that really opened your eyes about reality?
5. Which language would you want to learn that isn’t an official tongue in your nation and which places would you visit that uses that language?
6. What is something that you wished never got ripped off or stolen?
7. If you can give great advice in just four words, what would they be?

Nominees:

Rodrovich
Al’s Manga Blog
Kreb
David Boone
Bill Ziegler
The Alchemist
Nesie’s Place

Representation Matters Pt. IV: That One Time When I Felt Inspired By an Indie Pro Wrestling Show Of All Things (Yes, Really.)

Here’s one of the most out of left field posts I’ve ever done regardless of my Representation Matters series. Feel free to check out my older posts with parts 1, 2, and 3.

This post might give some people whiplash if they know anything about me. I wouldn’t blame you if you raised an eyebrow. I’m actually going to talk about pro wrestling on this blog. Yes, even I’m shocked, too. Think about it, I, Curtis AKA Ospreyshire…an avant-garde spoken word artist/musician, film critic of random obscure international films/anime/documentaries, DIY author who writes deconstructive fiction, geography nerd, African history/culture enthusiast, and someone who likes a good amount of art that could be considered “highbrow” actually has an interest in the indie pro wrestling scene even if I don’t consider myself super knowledgeable about it. Before I get to the core of this article, let me clarify a few things.

1. I know it’s a pre-scripted and predetermined form of entertainment.
2. People have no right calling it “fake” when they watch reality shows let alone movies or other TV programs. Besides, even real sports events have had moments of being rigged/fixed like boxing and MMA at times.
3. It’s stage combat and one could make a case pro wrestlers are actors who do their own stunts with no chance to re-edit the videos if you really think about it.
4. I’m not a fan of WWE especially currently, and I’ll get into that later in this post.
5. Yes, I know there can be stupid stuff in pro wrestling which causes me to facepalm, but don’t act like your interests are lacking in idiocy at times.
6. I also have a small affinity for some real sports outside of this field, thank you very much.

My interests really are eclectic even if it seems random or partially contradictory, right? Hahahaha! 😛

My history with pro wrestling is a strange one. I wasn’t allowed to watch it when I was a child, and I grew up around the time when it was insanely popular with WCW and back when WWE was called WWF (The pandas would win against Vince McMahon in that lawsuit in the early 00s!). Some of the biggest names at the time were the NWO, Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin, DX, and The Rock long before he became a Hollywood household name. I knew the names of a bunch of them, but I never watched it. Of course, I also grew up during the time when Macho Man Randy Savage was in those Slim Jim commercials, so these wrestlers were everywhere despite not seeing these TV shows or live events. I had friends and eventually coworkers who were knee deep in that interest and they would tell me about a bunch of things even to this day, so I had some knowledge even if it was secondhand. Some online reviewers I used to watch made some videos about this subject from time to time, so I had a tiny bit of familiarity early in my adulthood.

For those who follow Iridium Eye, some of you might remember me reviewing the documentary Eddie Dennis: A 5 Year Old’s Dream last year. It was part of my portfolio of atypical topics I’ve covered in documentary form on the blog like how I’ve also reviewed Paralympic fencers (Beatrice), the Asexual community ((A)sexual), or an experimental band who uses faith-based lyrics while wearing matching nurse/doctors outfits (Danielson: A Family Movie) just to name a few. Eddie Dennis is a Welsh wrestler who used to work as a math teacher at a boarding school (I’m not making this up). He quit his job to wrestle full-time and he eventually got a contract last year. It was an interesting watch even though it wasn’t my favorite film, but it opened up a rabbit hole into this immersion of the UK indie wrestling scene AKA BritWres over the past several months where I was exposed to multiple smaller feds and indie wrestlers. That’s how it got started. I was then exposed to the Nottingham-based promotion Wrestling Resurgence in my research. They do all their shows in art galleries and museums. One of the owners is also a university professor who has an immense background in avant-garde art, ballet, and theater. I can’t make any of this up to save my life. I saw some matches from that company and liked what I saw. The thing that REALLY caught my eye involved just two words…

Everything Patterned.

Everything Patterned Picture

This was a show curated by South Londoner wrestler “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. Everything Patterned was a major event of it’s kind since it involved a majority black card featuring wrestlers from England, America, Jamaica, and Uganda. This was to commemorate Black History Month in the UK where it’s celebrated in October (How come they get more days than us in America who only celebrate it in February even when the UK has a smaller black population compared to the US?). It was considered a big marketing risk, but the event was sold out when it was hosted in Leicester. I bought a digital copy of the show from their Vimeo page (the link is above the poster image) and thought it was great by seeing this positive representation going on. The matches were fun. It was awesome seeing the Rhio/Blaze match and seeing two strong women who are talented athletes that don’t resort to ratchet behavior. The main event between Johnson and Rampage Brown (not featured since he was a last-minute replacement for the then-injured O.J.M.O.) was a great heavyweight match where it was two guys fighting and you can take them seriously. There wasn’t an ounce of buffoonery in the headlining match. The Omari/Warren Banks match was insane in athletic prowess and would put so many cruiserweights to shame. Both of them are roughly 6’4″ and can pull off moves that one would expect only shorter wrestlers to do. I know the bloggers who know about my taste in movies are going to notice this, and I’m going to say this right now. No! I surprisingly didn’t freak out when one of the tag team matches involved a team called The Lion Kings. Long story short: One of the members of the LKs actually thanked me for telling him about Kimba the White Lion or how bogus Disney was with the Hakuna Matata trademark when I emailed him and we had a great discussion about Africa. There were serious moments, some funny moments, and some good in-ring action. It was a breath of fresh air not seeing any racist stereotypes or shucking and jiving going on like multiple cases of mainstream wrestling. Vince McMahon wouldn’t have the balls to pull something like this off (Yeah, I said it!). I wish nothing but success to everyone involved. It would also be phenomenal if at least one of the wrestlers from the Everything Patterned show could start their own promotion/federation in the near future.

Here are the videos that promoted the event as well as highlighting different perspectives of representation among other important factors in the context of wrestling.

Roy Johnson:

The O. J. M. O.:

Chakara:

Darius Lockhart:

Sugar Dunkerton [Context: Kofi Kingston was still holding the WWE World Championship at the time it was filmed]:

I found their insights to be quite fascinating and I legitimately never thought about those things in that realm of athletic entertainment. Sugar Dunkerton’s video about Kofi really hit it home when it came to why representation matters with that Ghanaian wrestler being the first (fully) black WWE World Champion. I’m not counting The Rock since he always hypes up is Samoan lineage constantly and only talks about his black side when he does a movie with Kevin Hart, but I digress (and this is coming from a guy who also would be considered biracial!). I know this is an unrelated video, but Dunkerton also made an awesome video with such brutal truth to it. If you’re black, then you will DEFINITELY relate to this video. If you’re not, then consider this a moment of learning and I’m not just talking about how the word “urban” can be a dog whistle term that’s offensive.

Suge D, you kept it so real. This also transitions into my point about how there’s racist crap that still goes on to this day in wrestling. Exhibit A: ACH FKA Jordan Myles. ACH is a black wrestler who made his career in the indies and eventually got signed to NXT (WWE’s developmental system kind of like a AAA minor league feeder promotion to make a sports comparison). He went under the name Jordan Myles and eventually got this T-shirt with his now former WWE moniker in 2019. Weeks after Everything Patterned, this T-shirt would prove Resurgence’s supporters and the wrestlers involved right in realizing why a show like this was needed…

View image on Twitter

DO YOU SEE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!?

That t-shirt just SCREAMS minstrel show imagery! The fact that they pitched this to a black wrestler by masquerading it in a white and gray design before publishing it in black is maddening. This is the same crap that got Gucci and Prada in trouble in recent years when they tried that with the racist blackface sweater and sambo figurines respectively. ACH blasted them on Twitter and eventually quit working for the WWE. I know that company knows better. While some could argue that ACH could’ve handled the situation better, he had every right to put the WWE on blast for doing such a stupid and bigoted stunt. I applaud him for standing up for himself even when that company shifted the blame onto him for the whole thing. It’s bigotry like this that made me sigh in relief that I never spent a penny on their product. Besides, I don’t even like Raw or Smackdown. I’m not even watching NXT or even NXT UK (Sorry, Eddie) because of this garbage. I’ll save whatever fun money I have on promotions treat their roster with dignity regardless of color/creed/gender/etc. and for various indie wrestlers.

Sorry that this was a strange post given what I usually talk about or the things I create. I wanted to let you know how I was unexpectedly inspired by a UK wrestling show of all things. I actually bought some merch from some of the people in Everything Patterned and not only that, but I even got into fitness far more often as an indirect result. My December goals in exercising have been working so far and I already feel healthier. If you would have asked me years ago that I would make a post like this anywhere on the net, then I would’ve called you insane.

With all that being said, I thought it was amazing seeing someone like me being taken seriously in this field. I’m getting healthier, I’m slowly gaining self-esteem, and my sense of well-being has improved so far. So what if some people would insult me because of this recent interest? This was something inspiring in ways I didn’t even imagine.

Thank you, Wrestling Resurgence and everyone involved with Everything Patterned.

I hope you liked my journey explaining the different facets of my Representation Matters series on the Ospreyshire blog. Thank you for reading this and my other posts on the subject.

All images and videos are of “fair use”.

The Everything Patterned videos are courtesy of Wrestling Resurgence’s YouTube page.

SUGE. Number 3. is property of Sugar Dunkerton’s YouTube page.

The photo of Roy Johnson is from Twitter and is property of Wrestling Resurgence.

The Everything Patterned poster is from Vimeo and is property of Wrestling Resurgence.

The Jordan Myles T-shirt is from Bleacher Report and property of the WWE.