Few things spark the creative mind more than restriction, whether involuntarily or self-imposed. With the coronavirus pandemic altering pro wrestling presentations across the board, the industry has experienced a forced evolution in order to continue running events amid the crisis.
But that isn’t anything new to the LGBTQ pro wrestling community. The blending of queer pro wrestling and traditional queer nightlife and subcultures has been happening for years. This fusion prepared LGBTQ wrestling cirlces for the obstacles of pandemic-era wrestling events, gving them more avenues to adapt while continuing the push for evolution within the industry.
The latest example of this is Billy Dixon’s Paris Is Bumping, a pro wrestling and ballroom crossover event set to debut Thursday night. The show features pro wrestlers in hard-hitting battles and performances in categories straight out of Paris Is Burning.
I ran the first-ever wrestling Kiki ball in the middle of fuckin nowhere. The only remaining copy was on a badly damaged VHS tape that @indiewrestling spent weeks remastering.— Billy Dixon #TonyMcDade (@TheBillyDixon) October 13, 2020
On 10.29, witness the Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent that is my baby: #ParisIsBumping pic.twitter.com/hJZaW2rUTP
The spirit of trans/queer POC empowerment synonymous with ballroom culture is on full display: from trans trailblazers Candy Lee and Marriah Moreno to surprises like drag queen Washington Heights to underrated talents Ashton Starr, Sahara 7 and Darius Carter.
“[Paris Is Bumping] is different. It still has wrestling … we try to stay true to form and pay homage to classic ballroom,” pro wrestler Jared Evans said on Outsports’ LGBT In The Ring podcast. “We actually genuinely idolize [ballroom] ... it is so in the same vein as wrestling.”
Evans, who is scheduled to face Eddy McQueen, Erica Leigh and Corinne Mink in a 4-way Divas Championship match on the show, is no stranger to Dixon’s unique approach to storytelling. The two are close friends, even when squaring off in a street fight. That relationship makes the achievements of Paris Is Bumping that much more gratifying for Evans to see.
“This has been a long time in the making for Billy … he sees things that I can’t see. I never thought you could mix ballroom with wrestling,” Evans said. “This is something that my best friend has worked tooth and nail on … it’s definitely going to steer wrestling in a different [direction].”
“People are going to be shocked to know that something like ballroom and wrestling can be combined and work so well together.”
Paris Is Bumping debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on independentwrestling.tv.