Back in 2011, the Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan helped to launch Resistance Pro Wrestling, a promising Chicago-based indie wrestling promotion. Nearly two years later, Resistance Pro still lags behind Juggalo Championship Wrestling as our second-biggest midwestern regional rock-star-operated indie wrestling federation. But now Resistance Pro has a new distinction: It’s the only indie wrestling company to get a GQ profile from an acclaimed novelist.
The novelist and short story writer Sam Lipsyte has a new story on the company up in GQ, and it involves Lipsyte going to a Resistance Pro show in an Illinois barn, attempting to figure out why a guy who once packed stadiums is now hanging out with sweaty bruisers performing for a few hundred people in a suburb somewhere. If you’re a Corgan fan, you might get annoyed at some of Lipsyte’s digressions, like the bit about Corgan’s friendship with radio conspiracy nutball Alex Jones. If you’re a wrestling fan, you will definitely get annoyed at the constant snark on display, the way Lipsyte constantly puts himself above the fray, calling the whole spectacle “so lame and stupid and thrilling,” like he can’t admit how much he’s enjoying the show unless he establishes his own superiority first. (Also, a note to GQ copy editors: “piledriver” is one word, not two.)
Still, it’s an interesting story, if only for the behind-the-scenes stuff and the details on Corgan’s own wrestling fandom. Corgan, for instance, helped to launch the company by giving its two founders $35,000, and he only expects to get paid if the company gets a major TV deal, which won’t happen. He also acts as booker and sits in on most of the creative meetings. And I love this Corgan quote about the appeal of pro wrestling: “Wrestling’s one of the last true subcultures left in America. Being off the radar gives it a certain funky credibility. That’s why we can be a little more edgy — the unobserved part of it all.”
A quick note: Some of us were writing GQ stories about pro wrestling in Chicago before it was all cool.