Hoodslam is a Bay Area-based Wrestling Family that congregates every first Friday of the month in Oakland (((California))). They have grown their organization exponentially over the last few years. Hoodslam bills themselves as an accidental phenomenon, but after attending several events, I can assure you that their outbreak of popularity is no accident.
This is an organization that started out in 2010 doing free shows out of their warehouse in the heart of Oakland in Ghosttown. Their home base and training grounds, Stoner University, formerly known as The Victory Warehouse, welcomed in Extreme Metal and Punk bands from all over the world to perform in their early days. Bands like Laudanum, Vastum, Dispirit, Badr Vogu, Acephalix, Anhedonist, Undergang, Bone Sickness and many more bands played their house. These are people that support their local community and are growing at a rate unlike any other Independent Wrestling Organization in America. Hoodslam was started by a character known as Dark Sheik.
This is no one man show, this is a gathering of like-minded individuals and outcasts coming together to turn the Wrestling world on its head. What makes Hoodslam so incredibly special is that they are able to cultivate talent and let stars emerge naturally. There is someone for everyone – if you are into 90s videogames like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Mario Bros, you might be interested in knowing that they have characters named Ken, Ryu (now known as Marty McFlux), Cammy, Scorpion, F.O.N.G (Fucking Obese Nerdy Gamer) and P.O.N.G (Pissed Off Nerdy Gamer), Link, Bat Manuel, and a full roster of great talent like the Baddest Mexican in Hoodslam, JESUS KRUZE – this guy is a Big Bad Dude, he is by far my favorite character in the organization. Ultra Girl Brittany Wonder is the Best Female Wrestler outside of the Majors, she is a great performer and her athleticism is a real highlight at Hoodslam. Cereal Man is a character that looks like Powdered Toast Man, he actually pulls cereal out of his head and throws it into the crowd before his matches. Virgil Lynn III is the highest flier in Hoodslam, “This Is Awesome” chants flood the arena when he is wrestling. Doc Atrocity is a veteran at Hoodslam, he is the Mick Foley or Terry Funk old school Hardcore Wrestler that is greatly respected that passes on wisdom to the younger talent. There are even a couple of characters from the American Prohibition era – James C., who has won championship gold more than any other wrestler at Hoodslam and Drugz Bunny, an Easter Bunny man who loves nose candy. Former leader of The Brood and resident Fang Banger and Blood Sucker, Gangrel, hands out flying DDT drops at events. They even have cool referees – Ref Guido tokes throughout every match that he officiates – it is amazing.
HOODSLAM rules! I strongly recommend catching one of their shows if you ever have the opportunity. I reached out to the mastermind behind the organization to find out more about his ambitions as a worker and promoter. Here is the interview I had with Dark Sheik – You can follow him on social media @sheikkhan twitter. @Darksheikftf instagram. @hoodslam everything.
(Captured by Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
What is your strongest early memory that hooked you into becoming a lifelong fan and appreciator of Professional Wrestling?
I watched WrestleWar 89 on a blockbuster tape. I was a fan of Sting, and a few others, but the main event sold me. Hell, just Ric Flair coming to the ring with 40 women sold me.
Your offensive wrestling style could be described as High Flying. What wrestling style do you most emulate?
Growing up, I did a lot of tape trading, and I was a big fan of any Japanese Junior Heavyweight Tournament: Super J-Cup, Best of the Super J, J Crown – lots of Ohtani, Lyger, Sabu, Hayabusa, Sasuke, Kai En Tai in Michinoku Pro, even some Osaka or early Toryumon. That, plus the WCW Cruiserweight scene, molded what I wanted to be when I entered wrestling school.
What is the worse bump or fall that you have endured?
It’s hard to pick one, but I remember diving out of the ring on to someone, and instead of catching me they pretty much just powerbombed me ribcage first onto their knee – that hurt for about 3 years. Another time, someone bashed my head into the apron, I knew they were going to make it count, but even with my effort to protect myself I ended up bleeding out of my skull for about 43 minutes of an Iron Man match. Fans slipped in puddles of blood trying to get pictures. Good times.
When you look back on your legacy and career, there are going to be moments of greatness that shine the brightest as far as your performances are replayed in your mind. Have you had any matches yet where you felt you were at your highest?
I think no matter what I do, Hoodslam is going to be what I’m defined by, but if I could pick some matches I’d like people to watch when I’m dead it’d be: v Mike Hayashi at Rival Forge; v Matt Carlos the first time at APW; v Chupacabra and Virgil Flynn anywhere, but especially at Hoodslam; v Brian Kendrick at Hoodslam and the insane spectacles that are any match I have against the Stoner Brothers/Suburban Commandos.
If you were approached by another organization, would you ever cross over into Major Territory, or is your focus solely on building Hoodslam?
Would I go to WWE or Japan or South America or anywhere else in the world to offer my talents? Yes, because nothing lasts forever, and any door I step through becomes a lot wider for the rest of my family. Would I trade what I do now in Oakland to live in Florida for 30K-ish a year? My magic eightball says: signs point to no.
Top 6 favorite wrestlers of all time & Why?
Eddie Guerrero, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Jushin Lyger, Sabu – Because they all did it their way, or in way that nobody else before really mattered. I don’t need a sixth, but I could give you about 3 dozen honorable mentions.
Top 6 favorite Professional Wrestling finishing moves?
How do you go about picking talent to be involved in Hoodslam?
I pick? The event started when I believed this area was a deadzone. A graveyard. If you told people you were from CA, all they asked was if you wrestled for PWG. This bothered me, as people in SoCal don’t even wrestle in PWG, let alone NorCal. So all my family that’s been here for years got together without the bullshit, or cult-like self-imposed shame or tradition, and did what we thought was entertainment – and it caught on. This was built by and for a specific group of Northern CA wrestlers and a few friends from afar, and anyone else that makes an appearance is just a cool person that we occasionally can make room for, or a not so cool person that is making their final appearance.
As a Wrestling Promoter/Booker/Organizer, imagine this match happening with your foes being in their prime alike yourself – How does a Hardcore falls count anywhere Triple Threat Match of Dark Sheik V.S. Iron Sheik V.S. Sabu play out? What glorious things would you have planned for a match of this caliber?
I’d plan to do my best and make sure everyone had their own thing to stand out. I’d focus on counters and speed. Sabu would fly everywhere. Iron Sheik would suplex the shit out of us and go for holds. Davari would run in and say we should all get along and not let the booker make all the brown people fight each other. Original Sheik would run in and fireball everyone in the face. Sound good?
Hoodslam is home to quite a few dynamic tag teams, but my personal favorite is The Stoner Bros – they are a great tag team. Although they outwardly emulate the Steiner Brothers, the Stoner Bros are much more talented ringsmen. No offense to the small guys, but there are not enough quality big guys out there; these two remind me of solid talent like The Legion of Doom, Big Boss Man and Bam Bam Bigelow – real destructive forces that are great for building a brand. If you were booking a Tag Team contest of The Stoner Bros V.S. The Dudley Boys, how would that match play out?
If it were up to me, I’d let them work however they want, and unless I had a long-term agreement with the Dudley Boys, the Stoners would go over. I see no gain in flying in outside talent to a show that already sells out just to have them beat our brand. It just makes you look lesser in the eyes of the paying customer, and 3/4s of our audience doesn’t really watch wrestling anyway.
Will fans get the opportunity to see a cage match at Hoodslam?
Johnny Cage has matches all the time.
What is your favorite Wrestling videogame of all time & Why?
Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 and No Mercy, because they’re the same but different. I like to pick Right To Censor Stevie Richards because he reminds me of PONG.
Has anyone approached you about making Hoodslam into a videogame yet?
People have stepped, but they have not stepped correct.
There is a large market of collectors that are into Professional Wrestling action figures. Some of them are really over the top; I was into collecting and I have seen people spend a lot of money purchasing custom-molded figures and rare wrestling action figures. Have you considered linking up with a molding/toy company and creating a run of official Hoodslam action figures?
Yeah, I thought it’d be a cool idea, so we did it like two years ago and still do. @ScrapedResin, or come to the show and get one yourself!
Crimson Masks – for them or against them? One of the first independent shows I got to attend over a decade ago was in a cafeteria sort of place in Fresno, and the headlining match featured Gangrel. I was a fan of vampires, goths and The Brood, so I got as close as possible to the action. There was this balding spot that didn’t go quite well and it resulted in several swipes. As a fan of wrestling and the performers, it bummed me out having to see him do this to himself. I understand the logistics behind it, but I haven’t seen any of that over the top self-destruction in Hoodslam performances yet. Is that something that you remain consciously aware of when putting everything together?
I’ve enjoyed hardcore matches, but I think long term it’s really not that good for business. I’d rather have a product you want to bring people to, not hide that you’re a fan of. I do believe their is a market for it and that blood can add a dramatic element to the performance, but they’re just gonna think it’s fake blood anyway, and when it is fake blood they think it’s real anyway. Is caution something I’m aware of? No. I’m friends with Christopher Lloyd, and him and the other angels from the outfield hang out at our show, and I just assume they got our backs if we all flap our wings and believe.
A lot of times you will see Major Professional Wrestlers get injured from being on the road constantly, wrestling night in and night out. Falling always hurts, the pain and injuries are real. I have seen a lot of great stars that are starting to hit their peak be taken away because they sustained debilitating injuries over working themselves. Hoodslam does an event once a month, sometimes twice a month. Are there plans for expansion into more shows or for taking the show on the road?
Yeah, we’ll do more, it’ll hurt more – but as long as the shows make more, we’ll have money to drink more, and we’ll just do the show forever like that.
Living in the Bay Area, there is a wealth of talented individuals that are waiting to be discovered, and I am sure you are aware of some great stars in the making rising through the Independent level. Have you spoken with any other local organizations about doing any sort of cross promotion of your top stars V.S. their top stars?
I beat some strippers in a pole dance contest at the Lusty Lady once, but they shut that place down. We entered an erotic film contest with the help of a director named Sissy St Martin, and we won judge’s favorite. We did lose the freestyle contest at Tourettes Without Regrets, but to be fair we sent up a lobster man and a leprechaun. They just had a lot more to rap about. It was respectable showing though. I have no interest in wrestling any not wrestlers in a wrestling match, but we can move around clumsily if it’ll make for a fun show.
One of the last angles I remember really lolling at conceptually that I appreciated the WWE pulling was Vinny Mac V.S. God. I noticed at Hoodslam, the ghost of Charlie Chaplain sometimes comes out and whups some ass. In the 90’s I watched a documentary with Patrick Swayze & Whoopi Goldberg about trying to communicate with the dead – ghosts are pretty hard to give direction to. When booking a ghost performance, is the match more free form and just kinda go with the flow or is it practiced and completely choreographed?
That was a good documentary. Charlie Chaplin isn’t a ghost, he just plays a ghost. Wrestling isn’t real. I’m pretty sure he’s like most of Hoodslam, he gets some bullet points in and then just improvs in the ring.
During the Monday Night Wars, who were you rooting for and do you remember the opening to R.A.W. that flashed nipples and had the Undertaker toe curl in the opening intro of their montage on cable tv?
Nudity seems to always sell well. I rooted for both, every night was two great shows for about 18 months and the more they competed the more the fans won. Ideally, I would have liked WCW to stay alive, even if as WCW Smackdown. I can honestly say I don’t remember every nipple I’ve seen or toes I’ve curled. But I never forget Chupacabra’s superfluous nubbin.
Whose idea was it for Paul London to bareball it and do a teabag spot where he basically exposed himself to the entire audience for the duration of the tag team match alongside The Brian Kendrick V.S. The Stoner Bros at Drinko De Mayo? Were those stunt balls borrowed from Johnny Knoxville’s crew? Paul London’s balls looked like a couple of low hanging chewed pieces of brown bubblegum. I read on social media that Paul supposedly did this bit in another underground organization. Before he ends up on that list of megans, Paul London seems like he needs a manager, or a friend, or just anyone that will give him some direction. Do you know if he would he be interested in working in a club trying to shake it for money? He’s got long hair, has name recognition, is in shape and is extremely flexible. Paul London could undoubtedly bring in some profits in the Bay Area with a little where with all. Was Hoodslam Drinko De Mayo the platform for Paul London to cross over into becoming a Superstar Male Stripper?
It was Paul’s idea. He texted me that he just did it in Scotland and I was like, “yeah man, gonna be a good show.” I figured it was up to him to explain it to the folks he’s performing with. I think Paul just shakes it for free, he’s a horse that can’t be tamed. A stud that can’t be reigned. A tornado that you can’t slap and sea that will never dry. He gave me a packet of Tuna from Japan once, it was pretty good. Also, he’s an avid fan of NBA Jam, and a good listener.
How does it feel to be able to program the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in WWE history as well as other ring veterans formerly employed by World Wrestling Entertainment, Total Nonstop Action, Ring of Honor and Extreme Championship Wrestling, amongst many other regional and territorial stars?
I was a fan of Brian’s work from doing tape trading and seeing Spanky. Paul has also always stood out. Their run on Smackdown was part of what made it a superior brand in that era, and I’m grateful that I can work with talented individuals such as them on a regular basis. I give them a lot of thanks and credit for bringing Hoodslam to where it is today.
Have you been fortunate enough to meet the Iron Sheik? I’d pay to watch him come to Hoodslam…
At BTW Wrestlefest 2005 in Newark, CA I met Iron Sheik. He, along with a few dozen other legends and Greg Valentine, were in attendance for autographs and the like. I wrestled on the show, and after, when I saw his line kinda trickle off, I approached him. I spoke to him in our language, Farsi, and told him that my family always appreciated him as an Iranian performer. He said in English, “yes very good, who do I sign autograph to.” He hadn’t heard me, so I repeated my little speech in English. He didn’t hear me again. “Ok, Kirk, maybe now good time for medicine break, I go take my medicine now.” Funny thing, I had medicine on me, and he just got up and walked away from it. Cool guy, great twitter, I follow him.
There are a lot of eyes on Hoodslam right now; who has been your favorite person to congratulate you on your accomplishments thus far?
The women who sleep with me because of it and nothing else.
If money was no object and you could bring in any current Professional Wrestling talent to Hoodslam, who would you bring in and who would you match them against?
John Cena v Juiced Lee maybe. Kalisto v. Lucha Magnifico would be cool. Most of the guys there are borrowing from us, so it’s kind of a role reversal at this point. If I could steal people for my long-term roster? Alberto Del Rio, Bray Wyatt, R-Truth, Dolph is pretty up there, definitely Naomi, maybe Piper or Flair.
If you could wrestle against anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what sort of match stipulations would you pick?
Eddie Guerrero, maybe 2 out of 3 – I don’t think you need stipulations so much as a lenient ref. Owen Hart or Brian Pillman would have been great to learn from too. Tajiri, Lyger, Rey Mysterio, Devitt, KENTA or Marufuji, because I think these are all the benchmarks for work around the world right now and I’m always up for proving myself or having to elevate my game.
Also, www.birdswillfall.com @sheikkhan twitter. @Darksheikftf instagram. @hoodslam everything. fuck the fans.