Unboxing ‘Wrestling Friggin Rules’

Nathan Pearce’s ‘Wrestling Friggen Rules’ zines friggen rule. I’m tempted to just leave it at that.

The W.F.R. pack comes complete with two zines and an Instax print of a comically fierce, classic 1980s-looking wrestler, probably one of the bad guys, if there’s a universe in this underground, regional, small time wrestling enterprise, and my pack came with a surprise: a zine called One Burn Barrel, featuring, you guessed it, one burn barrel printed on orange paper. Good stuff, and straight in the punk zine ethos.

Wrestling Friggen’ Rules vol 1 is a small folio of 3 zeroxed pages with maybe 25 photographs of various sizes, mostly of (semi-)professional wrestlers posing or wrestling. One, near the end, shows two wrestlers just hanging around the ring, resting on the ropes, probably taking a pause in their choreography or something. It’s a nice bit of behind-the-scenes I might’ve liked to see more of.

W.F.R.2 is a single-sheet, quad-folding poster-type thing, with similar content and a really spooky press photo of some lunatic-looking guy with a Hannibal Lecter mask and ‘Nightmare’ tattooed (or, more likely, drawn) on his forearm.

Together, they make quite the fun little package, and I’m thrilled to have this thing.

Pearce’s website has 4 of his projects—Midwest DirtNothing Ever HappensSome Tank Batteries, and Get Thee Behind Me—and a link to his store  and an about page, plus a page of his previous books and zines (he’s been rather prolific). The projects are solid: Some Tank Batteries is fairly self-explanatory, with a bit of Bernd und Hilda Becher influence, perhaps, and Midwest…Nothing…, and Get Thee… all focus on what I would call the “malaise of the prairie.” Pearce lives in Fairfield, IL, a bit south of Springfield, where I went to undergrad, and I have some intimate understanding of that sort of peace, mixed with boredom, mixed with contentment, mixed with get-the-hell-out that seems to pervade so much of the life on the prairie. Either that, or booze, cheap drugs, and/or some day job that pays the bills and gets you home in time for Wheel or something. It’s not too different here in Texas, to be honest: it’s the restless mindset, I think, that helps him produce these projects, to keep going with it.

I’m thankful to be around for this little bit of it.

The focus on wrestling takes me back to my 1980s childhood (and it looks like most of the wrestlers are reliving their childhood fantasies, more or less), and the photographs themselves are solid. A few of them are a bit small on the page, but that’s part of the fun of this format, I think.

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Overall, I’d give it a solid 4 stars.

Copies are still available from Pearce’s shop, so go grab one and maybe grab a few others while you’re there. The price is right, for sure, and the content is fun and solid.

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