WrestleMania has become a cultural phenomenon; growing from a one day event to an entire week full of conventions, hundreds of matches, meet and greets, and an all around place for fans to convene from around the world and revel in what they love. WrestleMania, and the WWE in general, have become known territory. Like the town you grew up in, you know and are comfortable with what it has to offer but it’s not pushing any boundaries. I believe it will always be known as “WrestleMania Week” as an ode to what made this all possible, but it’s no longer the highlight.
Occasionally you see something that feels like it could change things. This WrestleMania weekend I saw one of those things, it was Joey Janela’s Spring Break. I’d never heard of the “Bad Boy” until I saw a YouTube video called “Six Months Later”, about a seemingly down on his luck Janela wandering around attempting to raise money to accomplish the centerpiece of Spring Break: to wrestle Marty Jannetty. This wasn’t your standard video package, this had humor, a storyline, special effects, and an iconic guest star (which I’ll leave unspoiled for anyone who hasn’t seen it); right off the bat I was impressed and already expecting this to be one of the highlights of WrestleMania weekend. Boy would that turn out to be an understatement.
This was a live event for die hard wrestling fans. It didn’t start until midnight in Florida, and you could feel the drunken Spring Break energy in the audience full of Hawaiian shirts and board shorts. The amount of talent brought to the show was incredible. Aside from Janela vs Jannetty there was Sami Callihan vs Kyle the Beast, Andy Williams (of Every Time I Die fame) and Penelope Ford vs Allie and Braxton Sutter, Matt Tremont vs Eddie Kingston in a bloodbath for the GCW Championship, the Spring Break Clusterfuck, Lio Rush vs Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle vs Dan Severn. A completely stacked card, featuring some of the biggest names in wrestling’s past, present, and future. The all encompassing entertainment of this event is what truly blew me away. Every match was fantastic, but a few moments stood out for me.
The Matt Tremont Eddie Kingston matchup was a hardcore battle waged across the event center. Doors were used as tables, there was a fork used to turn Tremont’s forehead into a plate of spaghetti, at one point the cameraman had to zoom in on the phone of someone filming in the crowd in order to get a shot of the action going on in a pile of folding chairs, and the off the ropes Death Valley Driver was an absolute brutal finish to a stunning match. Both men put their all into this match and it was evident at the end.
The Clusterfuck was another match that left a strong impression. This was a 16 contestant royal rumble featuring special guest entrants Glacier and Dink the Clown. This match was fun and irreverent from start to finish. Some entrants came out to old WCW themes, Jimmy Lloyd came out to the menu song from WWE No Mercy for Nintendo 64, and there was a Mortal Kombat spot featuring Glacier. A particularly memorable moment from the match happened after The Invisible Man made his way to the ring. Absolutely everyone involved in this lengthy sequence blew me away with their ability to successfully, or not so much, go toe to toe with a literally invisible man.
Then we have the match that brought this all together, Joey Janela vs Marty Jannetty. I can’t say I had high hopes when I saw Jannetty hit the entrance ramp. He truly looked as if he had no clue where he was. His eyes were glossy and his smile wide and dopey, his movements erratic, and I think he may have caught a TJ Perkins match earlier in he day because it looked as though he’d just learned how to “dab”. After a lengthy entrance Jannetty was ready to rumble and these two men truly brought it to one another. Joey Janela showed a complete willingness to destroy his body in the ring if that’s what it was going to take and looks of joy were written across the faces of both men for the duration of the match. This was truly the old guard and the fresh blood getting one another over for nothing more than the enjoyment of the crowd.
With professional wrestling once again rising in the pop culture consciousness this is the time to break the mold. Wrestling doesn’t have to just be people kicking the crap out of each other for the sake of kicking the crap out of each other. There is a place for nostalgia, humor, and classical theatrics in professional wrestling, and innovative minds like Joey Janela and the crew behind Spring Break are helping to bring that back. I highly recommend checking out this event, available on FloSlam, and mark your calendars for WrestleMania weekend 2018, where Joey Janela brings his own spin to Mardi Gras!