Pro wrestling and drag have formed a symbiosis in recent years.
Drag performers have appeared as managers, ring announcers and commentators, with multiple others performing drag numbers in front of wrestling audiences. But only one event, 2019’s the “Gay Young Classic,” challenged wrestlers to return the favor and lip sync for their lives.
After four years away, the “Gay Young Classic” is returning for the queerest WrestleMania weekend to date.
The “Gay Young Classic 2” pits seasoned drag artists against pro wrestlers in a one-night lip sync battle tournament worthy of pro wrestling’s most packed weekend. Originally created by famed Brooklyn drag icons Ariel Italic, DJ Accident Report and Lady Bearica Andrews, collectively known as The Nobodies, the event debuted in their stomping grounds during WrestleMania weekend 2019 to great appeal.
That first event featured current AEW Trios champion Brody King and fan-favorite retired pro wrestler Kris Wolf, who was the eventual winner. They used the showmanship and performance skills required to perform in pro wrestling, and transferred them to an entirely new arena.
This year’s sequel will include multiple notable wrestling names, including Billy Dixon, Faye Jackson and Kidd Bandit.
They will take the stage alongside drag performers Shanita Bump, Skirt Cocaine and former Mx. Nobody winner Pinwheel Pinwheel, at downtown Los Angeles LGBTQ nightspot Redline March 31.
“I’m not hoping to recreate it because nothing will be like that first one … but I think it will be just as much of a happening as the first one was,” Bearica told Outsports. “We’ve never dictated what our performers do. It’s just giving space to do whatever the fuck they want.”
The host city won’t be the only change, though. Lady Bearica Andrews will be hosting the event solo for the first time (with cross-country consultation from DJ Accident Report) while partnering with wrestling apparel company Grudge Match Brand as co-producers, marking a big leap for them in the Los Angeles drag scene.
“I moved cross country, redirected my life and stopped doing as much drag, so I’m just now, kind of two years after being in LA, getting settled and wanting to get back out there more,” Bearica said. “It’s been hard to get booked in LA, so I resolved that I would have to start producing again and this seemed like a good way.”
But the second “Gay Young Classic” represents more for Bearica beyond planting new drag roots. The event gives them a much-desired return to the pro wrestling community after a years-long period of change for them and the Nobodies as a whole.
The Nobodies became a foundational presence for queer people engaged with pro wrestling through their “Nobodies Watching Wrestling” YouTube series and live events, which began in 2017.
The trio performed at Uncanny Attractions events in Brooklyn and became the first all-LGBTQ commentary team at a U.S. pro wrestling event in 2019.
The group experienced transition in the subsequent years, with Italic stepping away from the group and Bearica publicly sharing their struggle with sobriety, something that engendered support from Nobodies and wrestling fans alike.
“That’s why I love the wrestling community because when I came out about that there was so much support and people reaching out to me that also struggled. So, even if you’re not a drinker, even if you’re not normally a partier, come out. We’re going to have fun. I will be drinking a Diet Coke and having a gay old time,” Bearica said. “I just missed being part of the wrestling community. It’s one of the best communities I’ve been part of and one of the most welcoming.”
In the spirit of the event, Bearica even had a bit of a challenge for another major, groundbreaking drag artist in the pro wrestling world.
“I don’t know her, but I would love to do a lip sync battle against Pollo Del Mar,” Bearica said.
The “Gay Young Classic 2” takes over the Redline at 8:00 p.m. PT on Friday, March 31. Tickets are available through the LGBTQ-owned ticketing service, Sickening Events.