Travel through time and immerse yourself in the 1920s wonderland of Olde Wrestling’s annual Speakeasy Spectacular this Friday. Presented by El Carnicero & Beardology, the family-friendly promotion returns for a night elbow smashin’ wrestling.
Scene spoke with Olde Wrestling founder Justin Nottke, who (shhh…don’t tell anyone) wrestles as the mustache twirling pugilist Marion Fontaine, about the upcoming show.
“I had always had the desire to put on a wrestling show since I’ve been around the scene for so long, but because there various promotions, I knew I wanted to do something different,” he says. “The ’20s were such an interesting time to be alive with prohibition, fashion, mobsters, sports, etc. So many icon celebrities and characters come from it and we thought let’s give it a shot!”
Olde Wrestling is less of the WWE style of sports entertainment many fans are accustomed to seeing, and is more of a theatrical display of wrestling performance art. As Nottke told Scene, “I wanted to create something that wasn’t appealing to just diehard wrestling fans, but to any and everyone. I wanted to show non wrestling fans just how fun and entertaining this form of entertainment could be.”
With high-flying luchador cats, corrupt legislators, knee-cap busting mobsters, bearded ladies, riveters and rum-running moonshiners, Olde Wrestling’s characters are wildly different than the Hulkamania wrestlers of yesteryear or the John Cena types of today.
“I wanted to break any stereotypical idea of big muscular guys beating on one another, swearing at each other,” Nottke says. “And that involves making it appeal to a variety of ages. Making it an enjoyable experience no matter who you are.”
The participating wrestlers typically perform year round as different characters, with Olde Wrestling a yearly chance for them to play someone a little different. Most notably, the greasy heel “Heidi the Riveter” of Olde Wrestling has since gone on to perform as Ruby Riott on WWE’s SmackDown brand. Wrestlers commit heavily to the performance and remain in character the entirety of the show. Even well-known performers like Chicago’s Colt Cabana refuse to acknowledge their alter-ego.
It’s important to note that Olde Wrestling exists as if we were all living in the 1920s. To help keep the gimmick going strong, Nottke assists wrestlers in finding a character that would translate best into their 1920s persona.
“Some characters like Thunderkitty (a throwback hard-nosed women’s wrestler) and Dasher Hatfield (vintage baseball hurler) are already kind of close,” Nottke explains. “So it wasn’t a huge stretch, but for a number of others I tried to pull something relevant in their current characters and take it back about 90 years. Like, Jock Samson as a moonshiner or Supercop Dick Justice as one of the Untouchable agents.”
The Speakeasy Spectacular takes place at Mahall’s 20 Lanes on Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m., doors opening at 7 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in anything close to the 1920s for the ultimate Olde Wrestling Experience. In addition to the physical feats of fancy, Pinch & Squeal will offer a live performance in addition to hosting the show. According to Nottke, “Babe Ruth will probably show up too!”
Tickets are available by visiting here.