I found Timmy Danger lounging casually beside a fire pit, drinking a dark beer. It was a Friday afternoon in the dying days of summer, and the man whose last name is “Danger” was looking decidedly docile. He greeted me with a warm smile and a firm handshake wearing standard street clothes in the realm of a button down and jeans. I could not help but think that this man was utterly delightful and a danger to nobody as we sat down to begin a conversation I had been anticipating for days.
We had convened to discuss the upcoming event that Danger is producing with BREW Bar Room Entertainment Wrestling and Punks for Presents. They are calling it RVA Rock and Wrestling, a joint charity wrestling match and metal concert at Hardywood Brewery. The world of professional wrestling is one that was completely foreign to me, so I wanted to hear straight from the mouth of someone deep in the tradition about why and how they started, what it means to them, and how it has led to this strange and wonderful event. Enter: Timmy Danger.
On how he got interested in the spectacle, it seems like the interest was always there, with Danger saying, “I grew up obsessed with wrestling. I went to boarding school, and I would sneak watching RAW during study hall.” From there, the urge to “join the circus” was in him, but Danger never considered it to be a real path. “It seemed unattainable, like being an astronaut, said Danger. Nevertheless, the interest took hold, and after some time Danger eventually met a local wrestler and all of his friends who were participants in the scene. After hanging around them for a while, and “pestering them” to let him in on the fun, they had him on the task of handing out flyers.
This started Danger on the path of what would be his lifelong passion, and he eventually made his way to wrestling locally in Richmond, and his passion for wrestling only grew until the day he decided to take it seriously. As Danger put it, “in 2012, I up and quit my job, I quit everything, to go train at [Ohio Valley Wrestling School] in Louisville, Kentucky.” A truly prominent wrestling school, the institution has been attended by such notable alumni as John Cena, among others. Studying under the direction of wrestling veteran Rip Rogers, Danger learned the ins and outs of the form. “After that, I was kinda up and running. I took it more seriously after that, and started looking at it as more of a job, instead of a hobby,” said Danger.
After years of grinding, driving up to eight hours sometimes to appear for a local or regional performance, Danger moved back to Richmond. The combined factors of several personal reasons, plus not wanting to stay in one place for too long, brought him back just as so many often feel that pull to return. Though there were a lot of opportunities in Louisville, Danger described the culture as “Spartan-like.” “It’s a much bigger scene out there, but there’s so much of it that the bigger shows are few and far between,” said Danger. Instead of going on the grind in one of the hubs of his niche, Danger chose to promote wrestling where he thought it needed it. “The local scene [in Richmond] really needed something, and I wanted to do something that was very authentic to Richmond, very punk rock, very DIY.”
I was struggling with what to refer to wrestling as, whether a sport or a performance, but Danger was eager to clear that up. “I consider it a show. I think the days of pretending this is an actual competition are over. If you want to see two guys have a UFC fight, you can find that pretty easily, but what I think people respect now is more the art of wrestling,” said Danger. This lack of pretense, in the modern day, serves to make wrestling much easier to understand and breaks down many barriers around what an adverse public might have towards an event they might not understand but are convinced it’s “fake.”
But that professional drive, the national stage, is that the end game for a wrestler like it often is for so many art forms? Well, according to Danger, those questions have changed over time. “If you had asked me that question ten years ago, I would have been like, ‘I must be WWE, I have to be in the WWE and be on camera.’ But, as you get older, no matter what you do, whether it’s music or writing or wrestling, your goals kind of change… I think for a lot of guys that is the end game, but now the business has gotten a lot better and you can go to [AAW Wrestling] to make money, or you can go to Japan to make money… It’s not make or break anymore… But now I feel like my goal now is to make Richmond a good scene.”
So what is happening at Hardywood Brewery on September 22nd? Quite simply, as Danger put it, “I’m throwing a big party!” A combination wrestling match and metal performance, Danger along with BREW Bar Room Entertainment Wrestling and Punks for Presents are coming together to have some fun and hopefully raise some money for charity. Punks for Presents is a local nonprofit organization aimed at helping underprivileged children who find themselves in the throes of disease. “It started in 2005 and it raised over 40K last year; all the money goes to buying toys to take to the children’s hospital at VCU, which they distribute throughout the year to the children and their families,” said Danger on the charity.
A noble cause to be sure, so why the metal music as well? “I wanted something that was hip and cool for the event. I’ve been on shows that have bands before, and they have cover bands, and it’s so cringy… I didn’t want to have that. I wanted to have something that is cool to go to,” said Danger. It’s not the WWE, so I wanted to know what Danger was hoping to accomplish with this event besides raising money for a noble charity. When asked, Danger said, “it’s more about the art and appreciation of wrestling, geared more towards a modern fan, than it would be towards a traditional wrestling show.”
Doors for the event will open at 6, and the first band will play at 6:30 pm. At 7:00 pm, the first matches start, and there will be about two or three before an intermission. During the break the second band will do a set, and then it’s two to three more matches before everyone goes home – a well-organized night of raucous fun in the back room at Hardywood. Tickets are $20 pre-order and $25 day of. It won’t just be Danger in the ring either, as he will likely have some administrative activities to be taking care of. Neil Sharky, another local wrestler, will be helping Danger take care of things. BREW Bar Room Entertainment Wrestling out of Hampton is also on the organizational side of things, and there will be appearances by Erica Leigh, Logan Laroux, Jordan Blade, Sledge Gibson, and Wes Rogers among many others. Murdersome and Hellion Child, two local metal bands, will be the entertainment during the downtime.
Danger was adamant about the event’s marketability, saying “it’s a good time cool event, and just a big party.” Absolutely sure that this is an event for everyone, Danger encouraged people who may not be in love with either wrestling or metal music to come on out. “If you’re not a wrestling fan, you’ll still have a good time, if you’re not a metal fan, you’ll still have a good time.” So if the idea of wrestling has always appealed to you, but you’ve been off put by it for any reason, there could not be a more accessible avenue for you to get your foot in the door, and all so that unfortunate children stuck in a hospital room will have entertainment on their road to recovery.
Photos by Andrew Bonieskie