If you needed any more proof that the popularity of pro-wrestling is growing within nerd communities, Dragon Con was certainly the place to see that. Besides the fair amount of wrestling cosplay (myself as Bayley and Finn Bálor included), it was impossible to go around the con this year without coming across fellow nerds wearing wrestling shirts on the show floor. If I had to wager a guess, The New Day was easily the most popular with variations on and within the Bullet Club being a close second.
Knowing this, it isn’t a surprise that Dragon Con Wrestling saw its biggest turnout since it started 15 years ago this year. And on a Thursday, no less!
DCW pulls performers from all over the Georgia independent scene and beyond to put on a fun and somewhat nerdy tinged show for the audience. This was my first year getting to attend the show and oh boy, what a show it was.
First of all, the crowd was exactly what you’d expect from what happens when you mix a wrestling crowd with Dragon Con’s drinking habits. One guy even kept trying to get everyone in the front sections to do the wave, even though that’s a huge ‘NO’ at wrestling events. Having to deal with drunk and disorderly in my section tended to take me out of the show in some sections, but it definitely wasn’t a deal breaker.
As for the matches themselves, there was a fun and decent variety to be had. From the first ever match won by submission in DCW history by a crossface applied by Joe Black to Adrian Armour to an intergender tag match for the Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment tag titles, the competitors for the evening were no slouches in the ring. They had the crowd going hard too if the reaction to Why We Wrestle’s Billy Buck getting a very heel win over the Venom cosplaying Stryk Nyn was any indication. Don’t worry, Stryk got him back with a spear to keep the crowd happy going into the next match.
Since it is Dragon Con, there was a LOT of cosplay happening in the matches. Starting with CB Suave’s Rock cosplay, we got everything from dark lords of Satan, Venom, Harley Quinn, Team Rocket, She-Hulk, Mickey Rourke, an ongoing fight between a Peter Griffin and a Chicken, and even a delightful Cheshire Cat inspired wrestler named Manchild. The real cosplay highlight though came in the competition for the Dragon’s Cup where Sith Lord Mikal Mosley defeated the Star Trek inspired Amazing Darkstone with a move that can only be described as a “Force Choke Slam.” I’m surprised I still have eardrums after the massive pop that got.
The night also brought out the true emotion behind wrestling. Beginning with a certain Atlanta based YouTuber being inducted into the DCW Hall of Fame, the night also saw the final DCW match for veteran Tank. While I was not familiar with Tank before that night, the gruff man’s way of connecting with the crowd during his tag match with Iceberg against the “Genetically Superior” Logan Creed and Bobby Moore was undeniable, especially when he let a man in a wheelchair get in on the action by letting him land a few “hits” on Creed. Plus, it’s always a sad affair when a wrestler has to hang up his boots. He showed his love for the DCW crowd and his “brothers” in the ring and in the back, and the DCW crowd showed their love with a booming chant of “THANK YOU TANK.” Happy trails to you, Tank.
For my first year experiencing it, Dragon Con Wrestling was definitely worth my four hours on a Thursday night. It lives up to the spirit of the con in so many ways while definitely being its own exciting thing. Count me back next year, especially if Mikal and Azrael are facing off for the Dragon’s Cup. I want to see what they do next.