By: Aaron James Robinson (Aaron O’Malley)
In the last article I provided a bit of backstory to the most insane wrestling weekend I’ve ever been a part of. Now I’m going to chronicle the time I spent in Malaysia for this bizarre show.
The buses that crossed the bridge into Malaysia aren’t really set up for foreigners like me and Bellows. They’re typically used by Malaysian workers that travel across the border to work for a higher wage than they could locally. We followed the signage we saw until the trail seemingly ran cold; we were on the bridge itself but there wasn’t a bus station around. We retraced our steps, followed the signage again; nothing. We must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, but it was late and we were exhausted. I wouldn’t be surprised if we missed something really obvious. Neither of us had phone service to call and ask for help, and nobody was around to give directions.
I couldn’t tell you whose idea it was, but we both just kind of started walking across the massive bridge that connects the two countries. There weren’t any walkways of course, it was obviously set up for cars and buses. But there we were, at 2am, walking along a massive multi lane road. We’d later find out that it’s technically illegal to walk across that bridge. But we weren’t the only ones walking; there was a sea of confused Malaysian workers walking in the opposite direction, bemused as to why two white guys were walking into Malaysia in the early morning. But hey, we’d committed ourselves to completing the journey. We both estimated it couldn’t take more than 30min to cross. It took us about an hour and a half. We had to dodge fast moving cars a few times as angry drivers shouted at us, but eventually we made it.
When we finally got to border control, we were greeted by another big surprise: Somehow, someway, we had ended up on the opposite side of the border. To this day, I couldn’t tell you how that’s even possible, but there we were, technically in Malaysia without ever getting our passports stamped. As tired as we were, we figured that illegally entering a country probably wasn’t a smart idea. We talked to some border agents and explained our plight. Confused, but ultimately not willing to try and cause any issues, the border agents eventually had us go across the border, get our passports stamped, and then go back across to the Malaysia side.
It was now after 4am. A tired frazzled Michal met us in the airport: “where the fuck were you guys? I’ve been waiting here for hours.” We tried to explain the turn of events that lead to us illegally crossing the border, but it was late. Michal took us to a carpark where he’d parked “his van”. The event was taking place at a circus on top of an unfinished mall, and the circus performers lended Michal their old transport.
Walking up to the rusted old circus van, I asked Michal if the van was even roadworthy. He laughed “don’t worry about that buddy. Nobody here don’t cares as long as you have money.” We didn’t care at that point. We got into the van, held on for our dear lives as we travelled to our surprisingly nice accommodation, and finally got some sleep.
The next day we went down to the venue for another surprise. The ring that was supposedly being fixed weeks ago hadn’t been touched till that day. The owner of the circus was literally in the process of re-welding the ring as we got in. He’d never seen a wrestling ring up close before, so he was just kind of winging it. The show was only a day away, but there we were, on top of an unfinished mall, walking around backstage at a Russian owned circus, watching the wrestling ring we were performing in being reassembled. The circus performers were friendly enough. They had a little dog who followed everyone around, so I spent some time playing fetch. One woman tried to talk with me for a bit, thinking I was involved in the circus, but I knew no Russian and she knew no English. It wasn’t a very productive conversation.
That night we all stayed and watched the circus perform. It wasn’t a great house, but it was a fun enough show. Michal had told the performers to drag me on stage as a rib. I was put on stage as part of the knife throwing act. I was tied to a board with balloons all around me, had a blindfold put on my head, and was ordered to stay still. I didn’t let on to Michal, but I’d already been told the gimmick. The knives weren’t really being thrown at all, someone just to the side of me was slamming the knives into the board beside me to pop the balloons, while the audience laughed at the sight of seeing someone terrified. I didn’t really want to be there, but I played along. Nobody likes seeing someone break kayfabe in the middle of an act after all.
Over the next few days the other wrestlers started trickling in. We had a group of wrestlers from China that were students of Ho Ho Lun. Jonah Rock and Jessica Troy from Australia. Crystal from the Philippines. And lastly, and definitely not least was Malik from the UK.
Okay, so you remember how I said that Dave had pissed off all the local talent, and no Malaysians agreed to do the show? Well, he still wanted to have a local hero for the crowd to get behind. So naturally, Dave advertised Malik, a British wrestler of Pakistani descent, as being a Malaysian born wrestler who’d become popular in the UK and was returning to his home to wrestle for this special show. The local fans instantly cottoned on that it was a fabricated story. They did their research, scouring through his old interviews to see if he’d ever mentioned being Malaysian before. He never had, obviously. Malik found himself getting a lot more negative attention than he wanted. For him this was just supposed to be a fun little gig, he had no idea that Dave’s attempt at creating a local hero would see him getting angry comments, messages and articles written about him.
One person who hadn’t arrived yet was my opponent; Juventud Guerrera. I asked Michal what the go was:
“Sorry buddy. Juventud never got on the flight. We’ll put you against Ho Ho Lun”
I later found out that Juventud’s flight was never booked. He was obviously too expensive. And Dave’s way of getting around paying for things, is to just not pay. But hey, at least I was wrestling a somewhat notable person. As long as the ring held up and the crowd was good, at least we’d have some good memories at the end of it all…
Continued in Part 3.