Photo courtesy Lady Bell Wrestling Photography

Theater for the People

POW! Pro Wrestling returns to Blairally Vintage Arcade in Eugene

At the first outdoor POW! Pro Wrestling match at Blairally, Eugene-based wrestling promoter Mister Ooh-La-La — that’s his legal name — was pushed onto a pile of thumb tacks and dragged around the ring. That match was between Las Vegas-based wrestler Funny Bone and Sacramento wrestler Vinnie Massaro. Ooh-La-La is also Massaro’s manager. 

POW! Pro Wrestling returns to Blairally August 27 with “Nightmare Alley,” a rematch between Funny Bone and Massaro, crowned POW! Champion at the July event.

At the time that the thumb tack dragging took place, Massaro was in trouble. The ref was “unconscious.” Ooh-La-La jumped in the ring to save his client. Once back on his feet, Massaro attacked Funny Bone and used the knocked-out ref’s left hand to count “1-2-3.” With that, the match was over. 

Referring to Massaro’s championship face-off with Funny Bone in July, it was “a shaky win,” Ooh-La-La says. Both wrestlers return to Eugene to settle the score, alongside 28 other athletes competing in seven matches. Scheduled wrestlers include Eugene’s Blanchard Brothers, Bubba and Jeremy, 25-year veterans of the sport.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ooh-La-La’s company POW! produced matches on the University of Oregon campus. The first match back from the pandemic was in January 2022, but with the World Track and Field Championships on campus this summer, Ooh-La-La looked for a new venue. He found Blairally. 

The first POW! event at Blairally in July introduced POW! wrestling to a whole new audience, Ooh-La-La says. In the future POW! may split time between the 21-and-over-only Blairally and the UO, where events can be all-ages. 

“I had a kid come up to me and recognize me and ask when I was going to have another wrestling event that a kid could go to,” Ooh-La-La says.

On that note, pro wrestling is a little bit of a lot of things: a strong man competition and a variety show with aspects of acrobatics and even clowning, he says.

As far as the Funny Bone and Massaro rematch, it will take place in three parts, also called the “Three Stages of Hell,” Ooh-La-La says. 

In one stage, the first wrestler to bleed loses. In another, the wrestlers encounter a door covered in thumb tacks, mousetraps and barbed wire. Win two out of three stages and the POW! wrestling championship controversy will be resolved.

As any fan of pro wrestling will tell you, that kind of theatricality is what they love about the sport.

“Wrestlers are a weird mix of jock and theater kid,” Ooh-La-La adds. He’s a Eugene native who in the late `80s saw wrestling legend Andre the Giant wrestle in MacArthur Court at the UO, which started a life-long affair with pro wrestling. It’s a kind of drama that pro wrestling fans call “rope opera,” he says.

Emceed by Brian Zane of the YouTube channel “Wrestling with Wregret,” POW Pro Wrestling Presents “Nightmare Alley” 9 pm Saturday, Aug. 27, outdoors at Blairally Vintage Arcade, 245 Blair Blvd.; $15 advance, $20 door, 21+.

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