This Is Hoodslam: Oakland's Craziest, Raunchiest Fight Night
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
This is the weirdest party you’ve never been to.
By Tom Gorman
From the outside, the Oakland Metro Operahouse looks much like any other warehouse in the post-industrial, slowly redeveloping part of town near the city’s waterfront. Except for on the first Friday of every month, when a thousand fans gather to watch costumed warriors perform punishingly realistic acts of fake brutality and acrobatic carnage. Players hurl themselves at their opponents from atop the rope barriers. Masochistic mania? We think yes.
But its official name is Hoodslam — an amateur underground wrestling event that’s having something of a cultural moment in San Francisco’s East Bay.
Take the over-the-top acrobatics of World Wrestling Entertainment and supersize it with video games, ninjas, ’80s pop culture and no small amount of weed, and you get the Hoodslam vibe. Fighters like “Missy High-as-Shit,” “Pissed-Off Nerdy Gamer” and “Juiced Lee” are Hoodslam regulars. “Drugz Bunny” pantomimes snorting fistfuls of cocaine, spilling powdered sugar all over himself and the fans just a few feet away. “Doc Atrocity” sports a bizarre mix of ’80s hair-rock wig, rainbow tights and a menacing, bloody skeleton mask. Story lines between rivals can take months to resolve.
Oh, and you’re not really welcome there, either: a favorite chant is “Fuck the fans.” Then again, at 10 bucks a ticket, maybe you are being invited in for the mayhem.
- Tom Gorman, Tom is OZY's video shooter, producer and editor. He's Aussie-born, New York-bred, California-based and an alumnus of UC Berkeley's journalism school. Expect him to geek out over space travel, Persian cuisine and obscure movie trivia. He lives in Oakland with his wife, Emma, and their dog, Chicken. Follow Tom Gorman on TwitterContact Tom Gorman