This weekend, Wrestlepalooza XIII and XIV will take over the First Avenue Main Room for back-to-back sold out shows featuring some of the biggest independent wrestling talent, world-class burlesque performers, and face-melting live music.
$27/$35 at the door
It will also feature the Minnesota wrestling debut of David freaking Arquette. Yep, Dewey will be in the building this Sunday night.
The buzz about the bi-annual wrestling extravaganza has grown each year, with both wrestling superfans and curious casuals looking to immerse themselves in the madness. But what about the performers themselves? From local standouts to international sensations, the talent roster for these shows continues to get bigger and better each year. To help give you an understanding of what it’s like in the ring and behind the curtain, we asked a handful of Wrestlepalooza alumni to share their favorite memories from past events.
“The Anarchist” Arik Cannon
“This is a harder question for me to answer than most would think, but I'd have to say my favorite Wrestlepalooza moment was my match against Ariya Daivari from Wrestlepalooza IX in January 2017.
Ariya and I faced each other in the first Wrestlepalooza main event, and this would be our final match against each other, along with his last match at before heading to WWE. The WWE usually allows new signees to wrap up their existing commitments, and they graciously allowed Ariya do that as well. I can't even begin to explain to you how much this meant to me.
As if the crowd at Wrestlepalooza wasn't already electric enough, on this night it was something else. The bell rang, and we were off. Firing on all cylinders. It felt like only seconds had passed. The bell rang again. People were crying. The locker room cleared to wish Ariya farewell. We exchanged words, Ariya got to say goodbye to the crowd, and they said goodbye to him. We shook hands, hugged, I told him that I was happy for him, proud of him, and that I never wanted to see him at Wrestlepalooza ever again -- because I want nothing but success for him at WWE.”
“Wrestlepalooza is buck. I’ve never been a super wrestling fan, but I know the basics. When I got the offer, it was a no brainer.
I’d had zero experience in the ring, so to lose my virginity with a sold out show at Wrestlepalooza was… a heart attack. I remember waiting behind the curtain nervously -- and drunk, because how else you expect us to take the edge off? -- with Wonka while he pissed in a bottle at the last second. If you have ever performed on stage, or played organized sports, you know about the nervous pee.
Crazy thing is, this shit isn’t as planned as I thought it would be. I didn’t even really meet the guys until I was in the ring fighting them. But it was one of the best memories of my career and so much fun.”
“I was there from the beginning. I saw Wrestlepalooza in its beginning stage, and see what it has grown to now. I'm happy that Minnesota has something special, something unique. F1rst Wrestling and Wrestlepalooza gave Minnesota something different that it was desperately lacking, and the anticipation of the event alone brings people in.
To me, one of the coolest moments is being there to see it become such an awesome entertainment spectacle that isn't just wrestling but brings in all sorts of people who want to have a good time.”
“I've been doing F1RST Wrestling for a long time, but I think my favorite memory is from a match I had with Ariya Daivari where I was really able to tell that F1RST Wrestling made that ‘switch.’ The ‘switch’ is when you can see that a thing is ‘a thing.’ The crowd this night was so hot, rowdy and super into it. They just wanted to be entertained, and you could tell they knew they were either a part of something, or were dead set to make what they were watching ‘something.’
That was a real special night in terms of performance, but also to be a part of a moment in independent wrestling history where -- dare I say? -- you know you're a part of something.”
“Aside from getting to hang with amazing athletes and artists, and also meeting awesome stars, the fans that show up for this event are of a magical breed... I crack up backstage listening to the fans get into the matches.
Once I came out to perform, and I caught sight of a huge sign that a fan was holding up in the front row that said: "Sweetpea On My Face." I couldn't see their faces or tell who was holding it up. Seeing it made me grin; I thought it was hilarious that someone took the time to make it (with glitter accent, mind you).
After the whole show, I went up prepared to give the guy shit. I ended up taking a photo with the woman who made it and her husband, and then took the sign home as a souvenir.”
IF YOU GO:
Wrestlepalooza XIII & XIV
Saturday and Sunday
$27/$35 at the door