Wrestling Then and Now

by Dale Pierce

DALE PIERCE: Where were you trained for wrestling?

SPIDERBABY: Midwest Pro Wrestling's exemplary training camp.

DP: Your first bout?

S: Dan Schaffner Arena, Maple Grove, Minnesota.

DP: Where do you wrestle at now?

S: I wrestle every week for Midwest Pro Wrestling. I also appear on local television when I wrestle for Steel Domain Wrestling.

DP: Do you have a URL?

S: Thank you for asking: www.thespiderbaby.com. It's a work in progress, but your visitors are very welcome to check it out. If people would like to contact me, the surest, fastest way is via Sp1derBaby@aol.com.

DP: Curiously, you are or claim to be an openly gay wrestler. Is this a straight shoot, I mean, for real?

S: Yes. I, the person, am openly gay; the wrestling character I portray is also openly gay. What I think is most interesting about what I'm doing is that The SpiderBaby isn't defined by or limited by his gender identity--that is, he isn't Gorgeous, Exotic, Adorable, or Golden. I think of him as a glamorous playboy heel, like Ric Flair, who just happens to steal kisses from men instead of women. And unlike all gay characters of the past, The SpiderBaby has actually said that he is, on-camera and in-house. Other gay characters have just minced around wearing feathers and spangles while sporting bleach blonde curls and letting the fans draw their own conclusions.

DP: The reason why is many wrestlers have used a gay routine and the bulk of them have been straight. Since this is a different situation for you, let's talk about it some. Do you have any reluctancy to do this?

S: Not at all. It's stimulated a great deal of discussion which I think is good for wrestling.

DP: Okay, being gay and assuming most of the other wrestlers know it, have you been accepted or rejected in the lockeroom? Has it made any difference?

S: No difference whatsoever, I'm pleased to report. Everyone within Midwest Pro Wrestling and Steel Domain Wrestling have acted like true and total professionals, understanding that I'm there for exactly the same reasons that they are...and only for those reasons.

DP: Have you ever had anyone flatly refuse to wrestle you because of your sexual beliefs?

S: No. No one cares.

DP: How do you feel, about wrestlers who were straight doing a stereotyped gay routine or a satire? Does this offend you?

S: Seeing them doesn't thrill me. I don't like to think about these being the first images of gay men thousands or millions of teenage boys might be exposed to...so The SpiderBaby is meant to serve as a kind of counterpoint. Yeah, go ahead and boo him, I say, but do it because he's a cheater and a self-obsessed jerk. Please don't boo him because of his gender identity.

DP: Have any of the wrestlers ever tried to straighten you out so to speak by maybe hooking you up with a ring rat or tried to preach to you about being saved?

S: No preaching, thank God. I have had one wrestler try to set me up with a gay friend, though. I am, however, saving myself for gay marriage.

DP: Ted DiBiase and some of the people from his born again wrestling group did a controversial interview for the sheet version of Wrestling- Then & Now a while ago, saying outright that gays would go to hell. How do you feel about this?

S: I don't think it's Mr. DiBiase's call. I'm wholly content to entrust my soul to that Great Referee in the Sky.

DP: There are probably enough gays in wrestling now where you could start your own group as an alternative to the Christian wrestling groups. Have you thought of doing this?

S: No. I'm only one of two wrestlers that I know of who're open. That is to say, while I'm assured there are plenty of gay wrestlers in the world, none seems too eager to go on record about it. To my thinking, there's an important difference between being open, which is simply not publicly denying who you are, and being out, which is a state of activism. According to these definitions, I'm both open and out. Even if there were a workable number of willing wrestlers, I think gay wrestlers ghettoizing themselves runs contrary to what I'm trying to achieve with The SpiderBaby. Among other things, I'm trying to demonstrate that GLBT people are everywhere and that they shouldn't be measured exclusively by their gender identities. Love us or hate us, we're part of mainstream society, and we want to make positive contributions.

DP: What wrestlers did you grow up watching?

S: Ted DiBiase, for one--he's a hottie! My favorites included Gino Hernandez, Chris Adams, Jake Roberts, Art Barr, Espectrito, Randy Savage, Bobby Eaton, Bob Orton, Jr., all of the original Four Horsemen, Nick Bockwinkel, Curt Hennig, and a million others. Jim Cornette's in-ring persona is The SpiderBaby's biggest influence.

DP: What made you want to be a wrestler?

S: I fell in love with the synthesis of athleticism and storytelling. I prize the strong characters and the unapologetic gaudiness of the whole spectacle. Since becoming a wrestler, I've fallen in love with building matches. It's a real and highly-underrated skill.

DP: Favorite moves...uh, in the ring?

S: I use the Parlor Trick as a finisher--it's a tweaked version of Christian's Unprettier. I also call the Boston Crab the Flytrap and use that. When I go into heel mode, I do a pretty fair impression of the Fabulous Moolah, if I do say so myself. Anyone with the word "Fabulous" in her name is sure to attract a gay wrestler's attention!

DP: Best matches to date?

S: Hmmm. My two favorite matches were both against a thoroughly charismatic worker named "Pretty Boy" Delgado. I also had a memorable match against an amazingly talented young man named School Boy. I'm really proud to have worked with both of them. I've learned something, or several somethings, from every match I've had, and I'm deeply grateful to all of my opponents and partners for the high-impact education.

DP: Major injuries?

S: Nothing major. Bruised heels, a bloody nose, some muscle strains. I'm the toughest little fairy God ever put on this Earth, so I barely noticed any of these.

DP: Closing comments?

S: Just my out-of-character thanks to MPW's and SDW's Powers That Be and their wonderful fans for really getting what I'm trying to do. I look forward to irritating all of you in the coming weeks and months! And thanks for the opportunity to talk with your visitors!

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