CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. - Pain to entertain. It's a tradeoff in the business of professional wrestling. Because amid all those high-flying, skillfully executed wrestling maneuvers, some of them must really hurt.
Like when Arrogant A.J. Kirsch reached back and smacked Paul "The Wrecking Ball" Isadora across his bare chest, leaving a stinging red outline of a hand. Or when El Generico met the charging Sheik Khan Abadi with a high kick square to the face, dropping him to the canvas. Then there was the assortment of ring-shaking body slams, few of which could have felt great to the recipient.
Even the referees were subject to random beatings - all in the name of entertainment.
It was just part of the action at the Stateline Throwdown, a professional wrestling extravaganza that took over the Crystal Bay Casino's Crown Room this past Saturday night.
"The guys put on an excellent show," said Brad Wagner, a 2000 graduate of North Tahoe High School who produced and promoted the event. "I was happy that everyone who showed up had a good time."
Event host Lars Frederiksen of Rancid added a punk rock flare as he verbally ripped into fellow host Kevin Gill - and everyone from the state of Nevada - between matches. He was playing off the competition's California-versus-Nevada theme. And Melody, the special guest ring announcer and daytime DJ at Reno's KOZZ, 105.7, helped fire up the audience when she took the mic to announce the start of a tag-team match.
But the real entertainment took place within the confines of the ring.
In the final match, El Generico - an internationally known wrestler who appears regularly on the Ring of Honor television program - endured a thumping from the Iranian-flag-waving Sheik Khan Abadi before recovering to take the win.
Sporting the Spanish word "ole" across the cheeks of his red-and-black tights, the masked El Generico incited the crowd to chant, "Ole, ole, ole, ole!" as he gained momentum in the match, which eventually ended with a pin, followed by an even louder "ole" chant.
"I hope we get an opportunity to do this again," Wagner said. "I'd like to make this an annual thing."