We learned a lot during the first run of our class. While we will drop the second round syllabus, and keep you up to date on our second run, we thought it'd be cool to share (with permission) some of the incredible work our students did in the inaugural class. Below we have some of the incredible work our students did over the course of the semester. We asked that they "build a wrestler" utilizing different aspects of the class. They showed up in a big way!
First things first, every wrestler needs a good gimmick, and we had a few incredible gimmicks. Here are a few examples:
Poyezd "The Conductor" Popova My wrestlers full name is Poyezd “The Conductor”, “The Love Machine”, “Russian Flower” Popova, born in the circus car of a train traveling through rural Mother Russia. She learned how to wrestle while living amongst and helping tame the animals that were shipped to zoos and circuses around Russia. She gained her muscle mass and physique from working on the train/shoveling literal tons of coal into the train’s engine, and by also pulling train cars together to create the train lines. She decided to join Pro-Wrestling circuits after wrestling and winning against the animals and fellow engine workers on the train, and truly wanting to be challenged more/conquer more, meaning she WANTS that Championship Belt (Heavyweight or not). Popova’s gimmick is definitely a Babyface Monster. Popova, I believe, fits into the Monster gimmick of wrestling because she is both physically enormous and intimidating. There is almost a supernatural/mysterious aspect to Popova and her stage presence both within and outside of the ring, especially for the audience. A Babyface Monster is pure impressiveness, allowing the audience to live vicariously through their strength and impact. Popova has an extremely Athletic body build. She stands at about 6ft 2in, 240lbs. She has very broad shoulders and a lot of muscle in her upper body, because of her past job/life. She is said to be able to lift a train car back onto its tracks, but in this case, she can easily lift up her opponents in the ring. Because of her size, muscle mass, and weight, she does a lot of picking up other opponents, stopping them in their tracks (lol), grappling, heavy punches/throws, hard gut kicks, bouncing back from the ropes and smashing into people, and throwing opponents as well. She doesn’t do a lot, if any high-flying things off of the corner ropes. She has a thick Russian accent, but is pretty eloquent when she can slow down and take a minute to think out what she is talking about and saying. Popova enters the arena to the song Kalinka, written by Ivan Larionov in 1860 (played extremely loud, and maybe bass boosted) https://youtu.be/T0KKsyBoz8c. I think that this song really fits the character of Poyezd for a few reasons: it is a classic and well known Russian folk song, and it is also a very positive and high energy piece of music that fits the personality of Popova. She would ride up to the ring in a miniature train that she can barely fit and get into with train sounds coming from it. She would park it stand and take off her train conductor cap, and place it on one of the corners in the ring, and when Popova enters the ring, she raises and whoops to the audience and screams, “All aboard!?” She is a crowd favorite both because of the sheer size and height of her, but also because of her attitude when in the ring and fighting her opponents: She is jovial and loud, she loves the spectacle of it all, and of trying to out wrestle the biggest wrestlers in her circuit. The crowd gets absolutely pumped, because that is exactly how Popova is feeling within the ring. Her ring wear consists of black heavy work boots (steel toed), a pair of striped train
coveralls that are stained with oil and covered in black dust from the coal of a train and torn here and there and on her knees. Underneath the coveralls she wears a black dust covered tank top. She wears a pair of black working gloves, fingerless or not. She has shoulder length blonde almost white hair, she wears it both down and up in a pony-tail. She has black engine oil smeared haphazardly on her face, and she wears a striped conductor’s hat that she deeply cares for, and never brings into the ring.
Ronald “Ronny” Soiled Ronny hails from underneath the bleachers. Ronny’s gimmick is hardcore. He runs ‘risky’ moves that threaten serious injury, eager to bring in dangerous equipment or push for an insane stunt. He's booked to lose more often than not and often gives signs of serious injury. Though a misnomer, he lets other wrestlers know that his right arm and back are ‘double-jointed’. He uses this to help fake serious injuries, only to recover miraculously, like Alexa Bliss. Ronny is a newcomer in this championship, looking to make a name as a heel. My plan is to run Ronny as a slimy and yucky boy, who we would love to see get got. His hygiene is disrespectful, he smokes indoors, and often arrives sticky or slimy. Beside appearance, Ronny remembers when his combatants were humiliated and will spare no chance to remind them. He is overindulgent, easily lured away by his sweet tooth, and too single-minded for nuanced tactics or a strong defense. Perhaps his only redeeming quality is his loyalty to his fellow creepy-crawly siblings on this earth. My aim is for Ronny to take heat by being a pest: a fly who can’t be swatted easily, a mouse who evades their traps, a roach who keeps coming back when thought dead. By invoking dirtiness, other wrestlers can get on the audience's side by stomping him down, but may also find themselves ridiculed if bested by someone who’s first cousin to a roach. He can't do this on an empty stomach! In kayfabe, Soiled's meals comprise of the junk he finds underneath the bleachers after a game: Popcorn, beer, and corndogs. What his fans don't realize is the rigorous diet the wrestler has in order to stay t. Ronny eats 3000-4000 Calories a day, much of it carbs, in order to train up his cardio to stay strong in a long match. Both in and out of character, Soiled's favorite food is corn on the cob. He draws audiences to his matches by sabotaging the ring: greasing the ropes, booby trapping equipment, throwing down mousetraps, etc. Like a pest, he is easy to squash but difficult to kick out. His matches often involve him trying to toy with others, making fun of the audience, but inevitably to great comeuppance. My hope is that his matches bring ratings by cranking up audience heat without much sympathy. Ronny is small and lean for wrestling standards. Mr. Soiled’s measurements are 5’10’’ and 170 lbs, not unlike Sammy Guevara. He is quick, can leap o of the turnbuckles, but can’t pick others up easily and struggles against those larger than him. He’s primarily on the ground, making full use of the space in the ring. He will often hit-and-run, bouncing o the ropes to keep away from his opponent. Audience members are quick to jeer this as an act of cowardice. He is almost always set to lose, so this game of cat-and-mouse ends by getting caught in an impressive grapple. Due to his flexibility, other wrestlers can pin him with scary and seemingly painful moves without risking genuine injury. During longer matches or his rare win, Ronny will leap o the top rope with his aerial move, “pigeon king”: Ronny leaps into a grapple, where he places his arms around one arm of his opponent, moving his torso onto the opponent’s back, and locking their other arm inside his legs. He then pulls his opponent’s arms apart, forcing them onto the ground. This is similar to the ‘crucifix’ counter, but performed in the air. He wears tight leather pants, a torn up denim vest, and a necklace with rat teeth. He’s often covered in oil stains, and can sometimes be covered lightly with slime, oil, or gunk. When down the walkway, he often does a series of somersaults, only to be relatively dizzy by the time he stands up. Audience members may smell something foul emanating from his entrance. He is eager to shake the hands of or high ve the audience, despite their protestations. His theme song is Pistol by Modest Mouse, which I believe to be one of the worst songs created.
Caiman Con Caiman Con from an uncharted Amazon rainforest. Her gimmick is like a primal fighter/ survivalistic fighting for her own means, ideals, and enjoyment. After defeating the wild animals of the amazon she grew a desire to prove her strength against other fighters. She wants to prove she is the best. If she were to fit into a category I would say it's mostly a high flyer character with tweener tendencies. Neither face nor heel because she really just does whatever she feels like to best fit her agenda and fights to prove that she is the best around. She doesn't have a manager to speak for her, rather being verbal herself with who she thinks may be worthy challengers. She carries a club that she used to fight the beasts of the forest with. Because my character is a mixed high flyer she has a thinner build with an average height
yet still lean and packs a mean punch. Her style is compatible with larger characters who can pack a more powerful punch while she acts as the more sly and quick attacks. Prior to your suggestions I didn't really have wrestlers I gained inspiration from, but I did a little research on Jungle boy and I think I gained some great insight from his character. I'm thinking some thunder and lightning with a storm/ jungle like atmosphere, as for music I'm stuck between the idea of using a drum beat almost like a Tarzan vibe or a hard song that wound adds to the dramatic flare like something like Freaks by timmy trumpets... depending on that music I think I would crawl or kind of dance to the ring. Ring wear would use some leather that looked like a crocodile (Caiman is a type of crocodile in the Amazon ) with some furs, ropes and dreads. Caiman grew up with a younger sibling in the unexplored and uninhabited part of the Amazon after a plane crash abandoned them there at the age of 10. This brought out the survival instincts of the two kids. The first animal she overcame was a Caiman (crocodile) which led to her name as well as her drive to become strong and agile. They fought the animals of the forest through a very primal way of life. As they grew older Caiman grew an appreciation for the fight and began seeking greater challenges from other fighters. She wants to prove she is the best and will beat anyone's ass to do so.
The Stolen Soul He is a wrestler that has been possessed by a demonic spirit from the underworld, with his body just being a way to show the demons deepest desires. He was born into a cult for his sole purpose was to complete their ritual and become the body for which the demonic spirit will take over. He is a heel, mostly a monster, but also a high-flyer who’s only reason for existing within human life is to take over human souls in order to make each and everyone listen to his command. His goal is to make it to total world domination and destroy everything in his path for the underworld to rule again on earth.. This monster won’t ever speak into the microphone or to anyone else, it will have its own small servant to talk to all the peasants around him, and just help him concentrate on his one mission of bringing servants to his command. When “The South Side of Heaven” starts playing, he will rise out from the ground with fire surrounding him, like a demon being summoned straight from hell. Once he starts walking towards the ring, he will slap his chain behind him which is made from bones and skulls. He will be wearing a headpiece made from a black goat and leggings made from black goatskin with a small tail to mimic the symbol of the devil. His small demon servant will walk and clear the path for his master. His mask will be made from worn out black leather with only holes to see his pitch black eyes.
While we had a few other wrestlers in the class, we only have so much space! Once our wrestlers identified who they were, we wanted them to consider how they would interact. To do so, we asked our wrestlers to consider where they fell in terms of virtues and vices...
Poyezd “The Love Machine” Popova is the type of person, ethically, that most definitely acts before thinking, she is highly confident in her physique and skills within the ring, and that can work for or against her when she makes those types of rash decisions. When it comes to honor, Popova understands very well what her pro-wrestling status is: how good of a fighter she is, better than many others, but is also aware the she is not the best, and can improve in places (She stays in her lane, as the kids say). This, coupled with her rashness, can cause her to switch on a dime, and become pretty upset and angry if someone tries to put her in a metaphorical box. She is also pretty self-indulgent, not in her looks so much, but in her willingness to spend both her money and time on train paraphernalia and train trips alike. When she isn’t being boastful about herself and her abilities, she can be actually be very well spoken and witty. I would say she is more cantankerous than friendly, she finds that people tend to treat her certain ways, but given the chance she would be a pretty friendly person when not angered by others. She is extremely shameless, she spends a lot of time within the rings facing the crowd and having them chant for her or about her in a positive way, she likes to be seen as worthy fighter and she is always looking for the scrawniest/less built person to show off to the crows with. Again, she isn’t especially envious or self-loathing about her ability to wrestle, she wants to be the best, but she wants to get there in whatever way she can. Her rivalry with Ronny Soiled is especially telling of her ethics and personality.
Soiled’s character has been informed by his setting, his longstanding rivalry, and his zeal to push his body to its breaking point. Because he has become acclimated to living underneath the arena, salvaging corndogs and popcorn for food, and stealing whatever he needs, Ronny has lacked an understanding of how to use money. When he happens upon some loose change or stolen jewelry, he hoards it without an understanding of how he might spend it to better his condition. Other people have been Ronny’s largest obstacle in accomplishing his goals—usually being able to get his grimy hands on whatever he pleases and bullying the audience of his stadium. Because of this, he is quick to get angry at anyone who stands in his way and is eager to punish them without much concern for shame. His major source of pleasure comes from spite. He seeks out watching wrestlers get hurt or botch their moves. Perhaps by grace, however, Ronny has never felt the desire to kiss-up to more successful wrestlers, nor is he one to start unnecessary quarrels. Every other vice aside, he can be quite pleasant company.
My character is greatly built on the fact that she does whatever she feels like and is unapologetic about it. Her ethical standing is closest to an egoist I would say. Growing up mostly based on the idea of survival she does what would benefit her and her own personal sense of judgement whether that be ethical or not. Based on that basic idea is how I chose these alignments. Her rashness comes from her survival instincts and her desire to to as she pleases regardless of dangers. As for pleasure/ pain I chose temperance because she's even minded about it, does not go out of her way to lean on either end. For both getting/ spending minor and major I chose deficiency because of her history of living in the wilderness, stinginess and Illiberality are pretty much a given when you grow up fighting for your survival. She has a high honor so I put vanity because she's deep rooted in her own strength and her ambitions, but not to the point that it's empty vanity, because she has proper and meaningful ambitions and goals that all her confidence is aimed towards. I was split on the anger category because in my mind she seems the type that would get excessively mad and perhaps often, but it's not a given aspect of her character, mostly just when it's provoked. When she expresses herself it may look like boasting at a quick glance but really its truthfulness just with a lot of confidence. She was never very well educated or socialized so I chose her alignment to be boorish but friendly overall. Her overall character to do as she likes makes shamelessness a pretty obvious choice, you wouldn't do whatever you wanted if you were weary of feeling shame from others. Lastly her indignation I chose righteous indignation because it could go either way depending on the situation and person but overall I would say she falls into that category because overall she doesn't stand for mistreatment or insult.
The goal that I am trying to achieve with my avatar is to create a very evil but yet, smart mind and personality. I need to balance these virtues that will define how my character is and will develop over time. One of the main ethical traits that my character would have is being malicious. Being malicious will be a main part of him due to his end goal of achieving total power. His intent of causing nothing but harm really will make my avatar pull o that evil virtue. Pride will also be another virtue that he will possess. Due to him also being a sort of high royalty from the underworld, he needs to possess pride as well. Having pride will help with giving o this virtue of malice but also, having this sense of royalty which will also be with pride. He will not do anything that will hurt his pride which will demonstrate how much prestige means to him, but yet malicious. To contribute to his evil nature, he will also need to be insensible to the things around him, not feel emotion to the things around him because he needs to be able to do evil things to get to the top. He can not do that if he is a sympathetic character that cares about the well being of others. One virtue that will definitely play a big part to portray his royalty, which would be having this magnificence. This would definitely show how much royal power he has, while being this evil character in the ring. Not only that, but it will create a interesting backstory with having two characters of royalty in the same ring.
But what is a wrestler without a signature finishing move?
The final payoff was a social media feud, leading to a match!
We're thrilled with the work our amazing students did last year, and cannot wait to see what this year's group comes up with! Stay tuned!