Pro-wrestling enthusiasts belong to one of the oddest fandoms in all of nerd culture. We are die-hard about it generally to the point of almost being religious, yet we always seem to have to put an asterisk by our enjoyment of it. No one asks people why they would bother watching Star Trek, but pro-wrestling fans are constantly scrutinized and offering up explanations for their inexplicable love of sports entertainment.
Because of this, wrestling fans are constantly looking for outside validation. It's uber-exciting any time a pop-culture entity acknowledges wrestling in a positive way, or a celebrity like Jon Stewart admits to being a fan. We can point to them and say, “See, you respect this person and they love it, so respect me and my love for it as well.”
Enter Wavves, the indie/punk band led by singer-songwriter Nathan Williams. The latest closeted pro wrestling fan to come out to the media, he explained to Rolling Stone that he's been a fan for 20 years and still holds parties at his house for wrestling events on TV. That adoration has spilled over into his music too. On “Way Too Much,” Wavves finds themselves shifting more heavily towards New Wave than ever; a lot of their familiar noise and distortion has been toned down in favor of B-52's riffage. It's a side they've always possessed, but it shows Williams's growth as a pop songwriter.
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Meanwhile, fitting or not, they have filmed a video for the song in which they play at an extreme-wrestling event. It has little to do with the song itself, but the pace of the action matches the driving force of the rhythm pretty well.
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However, one of the coolest parts to me, both as a wrestling fan and a fan of quality music videos, is that Williams and his crew didn't stage any of the wrestling action. Perhaps it's their DIY roots coming through, but they didn't hire anyone for this. They just went to an Underground Empire Wrestling event and said, “action!”
Underground Empire Wrestling itself is a hardcore federation, similar to '90s fed Extreme Championship Wrestling or more recent ones like Combat Zone Wrestling. In his interview with Rolling Stone, Williams specifically mentions watching a wrestler named Max X, who appears in the video, getting thumbtacks removed from his head while smiling about it, which sounds about right.
The whole thing is an excellent gift to the wrestlers, who are getting more exposure, and to fans of Wavves and wrestling. The two don't sound like a match made in heaven, but it works. You can watch the video now, and catch the real thing live when Wavves plays at House of Blues on Sunday night.
Wavves performs in House of Blues' Bronze Peacock Room Sunday, October 11 with special guest Steep Leans. Doors open at 7 p.m.