Not long ago, “The Anarchist” Arik Cannon, host of Friday’s Wrestlepalooza, spent an afternoon discussing the finer points of professional wrestling, adulthood, PBR sandwich makers, and Jurassic Park in light of Friday’s upcoming Wrestlepalooza spectacular in the Mainroom.
Early in the conversation we established the concept of being a “grown-up” is getting ever more fluid these days…
Arik Cannon: I get to play pretend as an adult.
First Avenue: And you get paid for it. How the hell did you do that?
AC: It was an accident, really. I was a big nerd in high school, and I loved wrestling. A buddy I used to skateboard with, we were at his graduation party and he was like, “Hey man, this is going to sound really silly, but I know you’re a huge wrestling nerd, well my sister’s a professional wrestler and I don’t want you to get weird.” And in my mind I’m like, ‘YEAH?! So like, wait a minute. We’ve been friends for years and you’ve never thought to be like, ‘My older sister…’” and it just snowballed from there. It was ridiculous. I ate, slept, breathed everything pro wrestling.
FA: Were your parents ever worried about you?
AC: I got a lot of shit from my old man, like, “Hey, you know. You went and did this. You think it’s cool. We think it’s cool too! But it’s probably time you grow up and get a real job” and I’d keep going. Then he’d go “So, are you done playing dress-up with your friends ‘cause the real world is coming up?” But my mom’s been crazy supportive. My dad was pretty upset that I passed on college for it, but eventually he came around… The first time I was ever in a magazine with a picture, my mom found out and told my dad, and my dad went to Barnes & Noble and bought ‘em. Like all of them. My mom told me later, “Just so you know, as much crap as your dad gives you, he has one of those magazines rolled up in his lunchbox and he takes it to work every day.” So he was secretly super proud of me, and would bring that magazine to lunch and be like, ‘Oh yeah, look what my kid does!’ while at the same time coming home and busting my balls about “Sleeping in your car’s kinda bullshit, maybe you should figure out what you want to do with your life…”
FA: And then PBR came along as your personal sponsor.
AC: Way later, a couple years ago, I met Craig (PBR rep) at First Avenue, and I told him what I do, and he was like, “That sounds awesome.” and we started trading emails, and at first he sent me an email [from his personal account] and I thought it was bogus. I was like “Haha, very funny. Who the fuck is this?” and he replied back “Yeah, man, you’re gonna fit right in!” from his Pabst account and I was like “Oh fuck, I almost blew this before it was anything.” But my mindset was like, if they give me $1 or *a* can of beer, this is successful. It started with a bag of beer cozies, some t-shirts and some hats then in the mail one day I got a fucking Pabst sandwich maker.
FA: What the fuck is a Pabst sandwich maker?
AC: You know how they have those grilled-cheese panini makers? When I shut it, it stamps PBR on the bread, which is ridiculous.
FA: But it’s really funny.
AC: Yeah! They help me and I help them. Not that wrestling fans don’t drink PBR, but I’m definitely putting it in their face and letting them know about it.
FA: How many times have you cut yourself with a PBR can in the ring?
AC: I’ve never cut myself with a PBR can.
FA: That’s probably good for everyone… On that note: how do you respond to people who dismiss wrestling for not being “real”?
AC: I usually do this… What’s your favorite movie?
FA: Jurassic Park.
AC: How many times have you seen it?
FA: Probably 50.
AC: And you know how it ends, that the dinosaurs aren’t real, but you still love and watch it?
AC: I rest my case.
FA: Sorry I know so little about wrestling, but thank you for the amazing education you just gave me.
AC: No, it’s okay. Sometimes it’s better that way. People who know a lot about it are always jaded, like “I can’t believe you grew up loving that crap, and now it’s what you do for a living.” It really is an art. We paint… with violence. And men dressed like cats.
Don’t miss all of Wrestlepalooza in all its majesty: two burlesque acts, Metallagher, two burlesque acts, a bunch of wrestling shenanigans, and more surprises than you can shake a stick at! Tickets still available here.
[Interview by Sarah Brumble]