Bronson slumps in the corner of the ring, his face dripping blood. The greasy heel, Ref Guido, multitasks—delivering back-handed smacks, while taunting the crowd and covering a splintery, folding table in barbed wire and fluorescent light tubes.

Suddenly, a surprise attacker whaps Guido in the back with a pool cue, knocking him into Bronson’s arms. The beefy hero hoists his detestable foe into the air and sends him crashing through the wood, metal and glass to win the match.

“It’s like all your favorite stunt movies mixed in with a live-action play,” says Anthony Trevino, “the man behind the curtain” of the Underground Wrestling Alliance, a burgeoning, locally-based amateur wrestling league. “The story is written out before the show starts, but the violence and the action that you’re seeing—they’re really kicking the shit out of each other.”

After 19 years of hosting thoroughly debaucherous matches in his backyard, Trevino and his roster of unhinged combatants are preparing to do battle in their new downtown home at the Ritz this Saturday.

It’s a big deal for Trevino and his grassroots wrestling league. Holding the rumpus at the Ritz, means he can advertise in print and online, which he expects will help grow his audience and legitimize his brand. Still, he promises that the intimate nuttiness of his backyard bouts will remain.

“We want to give everybody a little of everything,” he says. “We got comedy matches, the story-line heavy ones, the technical matches. But the crowd doesn’t really like the technical stuff, they’d rather see someone in a dress smack someone in the face with a dildo.”

The UGWA blends professional skill with amateur giddiness. Several wrestlers, like Ref Guido, have trained and performed at the highest level, making them masters of the subtle art of whipping a crowd into a frenzy.

The evening’s headliner is a Lumberjack match for the title belt. In a Lumberjack match, other wrestlers surround the ring, ensuring there will be no interference (in theory) when maligned challenger, Lockjaw, seeks revenge against the skullduggerous reigning champion, Holly Wood. It should be a doozy, especially since modern audiences come with proper expectations.

“I think in this day and age, the crowd is ‘in’ on it,” Trevino says. “It’s not the ’80s, when a bunch of dudes in mullets are trying to convince you that it’s real. Now that it’s in the open, we can get the bullshit out of the way. Everyone can have a good time and react however they want.”

Underground Wrestling Alliance
Jun 13, 8:30pm, $10
The Ritz