Why you should care
Because the Lycra-tights world of pro wrestling is way more than meets the eye.
Mike Young used to be a good guy. But that was too boring. You see, in the wrestling ring, as “MV Young,” he fights as someone you love to hate — and hate to watch lose. He fights like someone who makes you question good and evil, and maybe even your own morality.
But growing up in Pittsburgh, Mike struggled with depression and mental and physical health issues related to body image. He first started watching professional wrestling at the age of 6, much to the chagrin of his father. “My first memory is The Rock versus Brock Lesnar in WWE,” he says. “I remember I was right next to my dad, and he was upset that I enjoyed it and he made me turn it off.”
That first experience with wrestling sparked a lifelong dedication. As a teenager, Young built his own ring on his trampoline to practice moves with his friends. After high school, he spent all of his graduation money on attending a wrestling school in Orlando, Florida.
I wanted to showcase how talented female workers are, how talented LGBTQ workers are.
Since then, Mike has wrestled in more than 300 matches around the U.S., but a crowning achievement includes co-founding Uncanny Attractions, a pro wrestling events production company, with Brooklyn-based producer Lynn Frailey. Uncanny Attractions is known for hosting a particularly unusual event: Drags to Dropkicks. The night features wrestling between women, men and LGBTQ wrestlers and has been described as “pro wrestling on acid.”
“I wanted to create a safe space for all kinds of professional wrestlers in the area that I was in, but also I wanted to showcase how talented female workers are, how talented LGBTQ workers are,” says Young.
Mike believes this is what wrestling in 2019 should be: open, inclusive and with a no-fucks-given attitude.
And if you have doubts about the legitimacy of pro wrestling? Keep it to yourself.
“A lot of people couldn’t do what I do. A lot of people couldn’t get through the first day of professional wrestling school,” Young says. “Whether you respect it or not, that’s fine with me. I don’t care if you don’t, if it’s not your thing, but you’re not going to tell me that this is some kind of low-tier form of entertainment. It’s not lowbrow. It’s very complicated.”