Rumble at the Rolle: NAU club keeps the drama of professional wrestling alive
By Christian Booz
Pile drivers, head locks, jumping from the top ropes and showmanship: all of these are vital parts of professional wrestling. With athletic moves, acrobatics and drama-filled story-lines, many are inspired to get on their feet and cheer on their favorite heroes or heckle their most hated villains.
This is true for a large portion of Americans, as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has a net worth of $1 billion dollars according to WWE investor relations. Students of Northern Arizona University (NAU) are no exception to this love of professional wrestling.
On Nov. 30, over 50 students, in a standing-room only Rolle Activity Center, came to enjoy the Kick Axe Wrestling (KAW), or “Rumble at the Rolle,” put on by the NAU professional wrestling club.
The club was started in the spring of 2011 by Matias Tautimez, who has loved wrestling since he was three years old.
“I made the club because I love wrestling and there wasn’t any outlet for it in northern Arizona,” Tautimez says. “So, I thought I’d go for broke and do it.”
He believes wrestling is dynamic because it gets the crowd involved and cheering while getting caught up in the drama of it all.
The club shows an inspiring dedication to professional wrestling. Much more work goes into putting on the events than just the show. The club is completely student-run; many students in the school of communication use the wrestling shows as a tool for media production practice including writing, hosting, filming and producing.
“Rumble at the Rolle” began with a match between Mercer, an obvious villain judging by the audience’s immediate booing of him, and Paralax, a hero. Through the match, both wrestlers played the crowd with increasing verve and intensity. Paralax made sure to keep the crowd on his side whilst Mercer made sure he was hated by doing cheap moves like biting. Mercer, played by Dan Hodge, a senior physical science major, came out on top — much to the dismay of the audience.
“Being a villain is much more fun than being a face [hero],” Hodge says. “I get to do whatever I want and love getting a rise out of people when I do evil things.”
Chants of “knock him out” and “tap out” filled the room. Many audience members came because they either had friends in the show or they just genuinely love wrestling. Sophomore criminal justice major Matt Guffy went for the love of the sport.
“I always liked wrestling when I was growing up; it’s really fun to watch with the various storylines and drama,” Guffy says. “I will for sure see another match.”
Peppered through the wrestling matches were amazing performances by the NAU Wushu team and music performed by Swamp Wolf, a local metal band.
The last match of the night was one for the ages. Another villain, Torres, was in the ring with the new wrestler in the league. The fight was long and intense — with both wrestlers almost getting tapped out multiple times. On top of it all, Mercer entered the ring with a chair. He proceeded to knock out the referee followed by a brutal beating of the extremely exhausted Torres. When all was said and done, Mercer walked away with his second victory of the night and Torres was carried out of the ring by Paralax, his ally.
The performance definitely turned personal feelings about wrestling around. The show was put together well, had great drama and got everyone excited and on their feet.
Mercer’s definition of wrestling it right on point. “Theater for the common man,” he says. “I mean, what’s more exciting than seeing someone getting blasted in the face with a chair?”
Anyone interested in joining NAU’s professional wrestling club, either as a wrestler or behind the scenes participant, can go to their meetings on Thursdays in room 246 of the Communication building. Students can also email the club president, Matias Tautimez, at firstname.lastname@example.org.