Words and Photos by Carmen Macri
This was undoubtedly the best night of my life.
Imagine this: It’s a Friday night in the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida. You’ve endured a taxing workweek and all you crave is a weekend spent cocooned in your bed, binge-reading “Throne of Glass” until your eyes bleed. Your plan is foolproof until a text from your best friend disrupts your solitude: “Be ready in 10, I’m on my way.” In this type of friendship, questions are an endangered species. When they say be ready, you simply obey.
Ten minutes vanish in the blink of an eye, and suddenly, we are parking at The Bar at the Arena (albeit at the rather pricey Jacksonville Fairgrounds). Still going with the flow and avoiding inquiries, you start harboring doubts. Did she truly drag you out of bed to visit a sports dive bar Downtown? At that moment, you would’ve preferred your usual haunt (Pete’s, of course). But in her typical style, things are never what they seem, because on the side deck of the bar awaits a miniature wrestling ring.
Game. So game.
The crowd is exactly what you would expect for this spectacular event: a mixture of rowdy frat boys and seasoned gentlemen. Excitement fills the air as everyone eagerly anticipates the opening act, “Little Ozzy,” the renowned Ozzy Osbourne tribute singer (arguably the finest in the business). Although the show was slated to commence at 8:30, as we neared 9:30, the crowd grew both tipsier and more impatient, yearning for the micro wrestlers to kick off the show. A little unprofessional if you ask me (pun intended) but I am not here to comment on their shortcomings (pun also intended).
Micro wrestling, for those who don’t know, is a WWE-type event supported by an entire cast under 5 feet tall. Once the show got rolling, there was nothing that could prepare me for what I was about to witness.
Our starting wrestlers were Jamaican Joe coming in at 4 feet 4 inches tall and Hot Rod standing tall at 4 feet 7 inches. Much like any WWE wrestling match, there is a “villain” and a “hero.” Hot Rod was quickly deemed the villain when he entered the stage smack-talking our beautiful Jacksonville, heckling a few members of the audience and offering a few obscene gestures. After earning himself a plethora of “boos” from the crowd, he handed the mic back to the emcee who then passed it over to Jamaican Joe who, of course, wooed the crowd with sweet nothings and a “Duuuval” chant.
But let’s get into what we have all been waiting for: the fighting.
Jamaican Joe and Hot Rod wasted no time once Micro Jackson (the official Michael Jackson impersonating referee, standing at 3 feet 7 inches) gave the thumbs up. And from there it was a blur of colors and body limbs flying about. At one point, Hot Rod did a backflip off the ropes onto Jamaican Joe’s seemingly lifeless body, but the match wasn’t over then, not even close. No, because no matter how many times either opponent was on the floor on the verge of a tap-out, they miraculously got out of it. It went on for about 20 minutes until Jamaican Joe finally landed the finishing kick, knocking Hot Rod on his hot rod and being crowned the victor of the first round.
And the crowd went wild.
And the crowd continued to go wild as we welcomed our next wrestlers: Zach Presley, “Elvis Presley’s little brother” (do I even have to say it?) and Disco Dom. From my time in the crowd, I saw a few shirts with “Disco is not dead” and now I know why. Because Disco Dom was a force to be reckoned with standing at 4 feet 7 inches tall clad in skin-tight disco gear. Disco Dom was our “hero” of the round since Presley came out antagonizing us and poor Micro Jackson. One thing I learned, you don’t mess with Micro Jackson. There were even members of the audience (the drunk frat bros I previously mentioned) trying to hop on stage chanting, “Pick on someone your own size!” which, in hindsight, was f*cking hilarious.
The dance remained unchanged; both sides engaged in a whirlwind of kicks, punches, jumps, rolls and flips on the mat. There were more than a dozen instances where it appeared Disco Dom might emerge as the winner, only for Presley to miraculously spring back to his feet. However, in contrast to the initial round, the crowd’s beloved Disco Dom couldn’t keep his groove going and found himself down for the count, unable to rise again.
Just in time for a brief intermission.
Also just in time for the comedy show being held at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena to end. Now, I don’t know what was going through their heads when they turned the corner to see this interesting group of people, but a lot of them stayed. Luckily for them, the intermission was over and we quickly got back into the action, welcoming two brothers to the stage for the final round.
Lil Show the Redneck Brawler (Lil Show) and Baby Jesus. Baby Jesus was a man of very few words, no words, actually. He calmly walked on stage and was ready to rumble. Lil Show on the other hand came out for blood. A true heckler. He had a crowd member seeing red with how hard he was bashing on him — and for no good reason, either, but it was funny as hell.
Once Micro Jackson seized the spotlight to announce the brawl, well, that’s when the chaos tap-danced into town. Lil Show didn’t target Baby Jesus, oh no, he had his sights set on Micro Jackson. And let me tell you, it was a spectacle. Baby Jesus, in the spirit of “we’re all God’s children,” took it as a personal affront. Fists were flying, folks were flying, and Micro Jackson’s glove even tried its hand at escaping the madness.
The ruckus got so out of hand that Hot Rod, Jamaican Joe, Disco Dom, and Zach Presley stampeded the stage. Honestly, I doubt they even knew who they were supposed to be fighting for — Team Baby Jesus or Team Lil Show? It was a free-for-all, a brawl buffet. At one point, Lil Show made a strategic retreat, resulting in disqualification. That meant Baby Jesus, despite being thoroughly bruised by his fellow castmates, walked away with the win.