Pro Wrestling Feelings #7
Zine, Ed Blair, ed., Holy Demon Army Distro,
38 pgs, $10 USD
You may already be aware of the thriving wrestling zine scene described by Amelia Ruthven-Nelson in Broken Pencil Issue 84. This zine is amongst those profiled. Feelings remain front and center in the entries collected by editor Ed Blair, which all somehow relate to wrestling. Hiromu Takahashi is a muse in several pieces. First, Amanda Traphagan unpacks his rivalry with Dragon Lee to examine Takahashi’s persona. In another piece, Angela Cosenzo looks at Takahashi in relation to El Desperado instead, arguing that these competitor-characters explicitly articulate the beauty of free expression in the wrestling ring.
An interview with artist Yewon Kwon discusses their wrestling-inspired prints and exploring vulnerability through the sport. Later, Blair laments the loss of much indie wrestling video footage, so often difficult to track down or buried under uncertain rights. To this end, Blair includes a data DVD of collected footage, though I couldn’t access it.
Knowing little about wrestling, I have to acknowledge that the significance of the characters covered in this issue is lost on me. But even I see how the emotional weight of wrestlers’ in-character interactions sustains the drama and appeal of the sport. Authentically leaning into that affective work can seemingly make a wrestler’s reputation. By projecting their emotional vulnerability, they offer fans a way to identify and grow with them.