CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — When Paul “The Wrecking Ball” Isadora delivers a devastating body slam that reverberates through the Crown Room — or perhaps finds himself on the receiving end of one — it'll be best to have a good seat.
After all, it's not every day a professional wrestling extravaganza swings through North Tahoe.
Saturday, July 31, is an exception, as the Crystal Bay Casino is slated to host the 7-foot-tall, 300-pound “Wrecking Ball” and other top professional wrestlers at the Stateline Throwdown.
Credit Brad Wagner, a 2000 grad of North Tahoe High School who is producing and promoting the event.
“I've always wanted to bring a show to the Tahoe Basin, because I felt like it was the perfect place for a show and that the audience would be receptive to this type of entertainment,” said Wagner, a videographer and owner of ‘Til The Paper Comes Productions, based in the Bay Area. “So as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it.”
Wagner, 28, is working with Rancid vocalist/guitarist Lars Frederiksen and Kevin Gill, who's fresh off the road from touring with the Insane Clown Posse's wrestling league, JCW. Frederiksen and Gill will serve as the event hosts who introduce the athletes — guys like “The Angry Dragon,” The Millwall Brawl and, the biggest-name wrestler in the Stateline Throwdown, El Generico, who appears regularly on the Ring of Honor television program.
“People are going to have a great time,” said Frederiksen, a pro wrestling aficionado and commentator who also has done musical work with Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards, Dropkick Murphys, Agnostic Front and other punk groups. “For me, wrestling was always like an escape from what was going on in my day-to-day life, whether it was punk rock or whatever. And it's also a good time. It's a place where you can bring the family and be entertained for a couple of hours.
“We've got so many great wrestlers coming in for this show, it's going to be awesome.”
With the venue nearly splitting the state line, Wagner had an idea to pit California wrestlers against Nevada wrestlers.
“We booked a lot of California guys and a lot of Nevada guys, so each of these guys are going to battle for state wrestling supremacy,” he said.
There will be six matches total — two California-Nevada showdowns — with a showcase match between El Generico, who wrestles full-time internationally, and the winner between Shiek Kahn Abadi and “The Angry Dragon” Mike Hayashi.
These guys are no pushovers, either, and they're certainly not actors, said Wagner, explaining that there are no predetermined outcomes, as is the case with the better-known WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
“Once it gets underway, these guys do whatever they want. There is no controlling them,” he said.
And once it is under way, Wagner said the level of athleticism is impressive, with guys flying around the ring performing airborne wrestling maneuvers. They're serious about their profession too, with most of the athletes aspiring to get scouted by the WWE for a shot at the big-time, said Wagner, who likened the Stateline Throwdown to triple-A baseball in terms of competitiveness on a pro level.
“It'll be a unique form of entertainment. I think the crowd will be willing to open up and try to forget about their preconceived notions about what wrestling is and just get out there and have fun,” Wagner said. “These are really highly athletic contests between a bunch of high-flying competitors. This is not Monday Night Raw, this is not WWE, these are real guys going for it. It's a high-flying exhibition, is what it is.”