“Thank you for showing everywhere what an audience can look like when you actually make wrestling for fucking everybody,” Prime Time Pro Wrestling co-founder Lolo McGrath exclaimed from the ring at one of the most diverse sold out, standing-room only crowds ever seen at a pro wrestling event, their cheers nearly drowning out McGrath’s voice over the PA.
This powerful moment was one of many at Saturday night’s celebration of LGBTQ pro wrestling, Butch vs. Gore.
What started as a stated desire to show that LGBTQ pride wrestling events and LGBTQ wrestlers can draw beyond Pride month came to life at DC Brau brewery as a statement of that sentiment and a line in the sand to the rest of the wrestling world.
Butch vs. Gore was the brainchild of McGrath and PTPW wrestler Billy Dixon, collectively known as the Queermanders-in-Chief. The two crafted a show that they felt showcased the abilities of LGBTQ talent in all facets of the wrestling business, behind-the-scenes and in the arena.
The fact that a show specifically focused toward an underserved part of the wrestling audience was enough to garner plenty of excitement. But the days leading up to the event saw the reach and significance of the show’s message explode in popularity online, leading to the event being referred to as “Wrestlegaynia” by some. Dixon himself compared the show to the original wrestling mega event, the NWA and WCW’s Starrcade, dubbing Butch vs. Gore “Queer Starrcade.”
The anticipation for the event drew wrestling streaming service Independent Wrestling TV to stream the show live, a first for PTPW. That decision proved fruitful as the show drew in a large amount of live viewers as the hashtag #ButchVsGore trended in the top 20 nationwide on Twitter, a feat rarely reached for independent wrestling shows.
Pulling in viewers is important, but a goal of equal weight was featuring perhaps the largest pool of LGBTQ talent ever seen on a single wrestling show. From a drag king preshow courtesy of Pretty Boi Drag to The Nobodies’ “DJ Accident Report” Eric Shorey on commentary to McGrath’s one night return to ring announcing duty, the LGBTQ presence could be felt all around the in-ring action.
And, of course, there was the in-ring action. Ashton Starr’s attempt to win the Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora wrestling championship from Trish Adora lit a fuse that burned throughout the night without losing brightness.
Non-binary work of art Still Life with Apricots and Pears triumphed and impressed. Emotion erupted from the “Anklebreaker” Jordan Blade as she held the bisexual flag high ahead of her PTPW tag team title defense.
Russell Rogue and Jared Evans fought over who had the better Britney Spears-based entrance while MV Young welcomed all into his poly cult with a pelvic thrust, kiss and super kick combo. Devon Monroe and Erica Leigh wowed. “The Shooter” Killian McMurphy shot all over the building while the crowd welcomed back Angelus Layne from a broken neck.
Dixon wore the inclusive rainbow flag, complete with black and brown stripes, before staring down the most intimidating figure PTPW has to offer, PTPW heavyweight champion O’Shay Edwards.
The main event was a celebration of sexuality between Faye Jackson and the PTPW 51st state champion Effy, complete with plenty of bumping, grinding and some bartop Juvenile-based offense on the part of Jackson.
McGrath even got in the mix with a quick pinfall victory over perpetual thorn in their side Mark Adam Haggerty.
And there were many more. Too many to list here.
The largest takeaway, though, was the size of the crowd the show drew. Especially the number of LGBTQ people attending their first pro wrestling show in a long time, if ever. From the standing ovation that greeted McGrath when fellow PTPW co-founder Mister Gator symbolically handed over the mic to the uncontained joy that accompanied McGrath’s heartfelt closing comments, the fans didn’t let up once.
The response to the show touched Dixon and McGrath personally. “Wrestling can be a magical fucking thing,” Dixon tweeted. McGrath compiled a Twitter thread highlighting everyone that made Butch vs. Gore the success it was, including a special thank you to Gator for his mentorship. “Christ. Watching the playback. [Gator], your mentorship has changed my entire life trajectory. Feelings,” they wrote.
Gator, who relinquished control of the show to Dixon and McGrath so Butch vs. Gore could be an LGBTQ event told exclusively by LGBTQ voices, offered his congratulations to the duo in the hours following the event. “I always like to digest the day after a show but I can say, without any caveats, that Butch vs. Gore was a success. I’m so proud of [McGrath], [Dixon] plus the fans, the PTPW folks who work tirelessly every event and the incredible talent that made it a special night,” Gator said.
Yes, this was taken minutes before “little miss bitch” cost me the match, but nevertheless, all the way from MINNEAPOLIS.... we came, we conquered, and we had a BLAST! #ButchvGore— Devon Monroe (@TheDevonMonroe) March 8, 2020
Thank you, @PrimeTimePW ❤️ ️ pic.twitter.com/ZLs61xgW9k
Pro wrestling is meant to be fun and entertaining. It’s even more special when it can be informative and empowering. Butch vs. Gore accomplished all of the above, abolishing any and all excuses used by other promotions as to why they hesitate or refuse to book LGBTQ talent.
They all slayed.
And they’ll look to slay again next year as talk of Butch vs. Gore 2 has already sprouted up. “Will there be another Butch vs. Gore? You’re damn right,” Gator tweeted. And it seems Saturday night already inspired Dixon’s creative mind for the BvG sequel. “Can confirm that at next year’s Butch vs. Gore we will have the Britney Spears Open Invitational where everyone in the match will enter to one of her bops,” Dixon decreed, adding, “this match is going to have more participants than the fucking Greatest Royal Rumble.”
If you didn’t catch Butch vs. Gore live, check out a replay of the historic show over at independentwrestling.tv and tune in Thursday for a full breakdown of the show on Outsports’ LGBTQ pro wrestling podcast LGBT In The Ring.