Are you seeking a new pro-wrestling product that combines WWE-quality production values, the high-flying excitement of TNA Wrestling’s X Division and technically sound grappling a la Ring of Honor?
Don’t expect it from 5 Dollar Wrestling.
The brainchild of grappler Colt Cabana, 5 Dollar Wrestling features none of the above. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
The ringside crowd is disinterested and almost nonexistent. The matches are terrible. The pre- and post-match interviews are even worse.
And that’s what helps make 5 Dollar Wrestling so good.
The key is the running commentary provided by Cabana and standup comedian Marty DeRosa that makes this pro wrestling’s version of cult-favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000. They provide their own humorous spin on the antics in a small North Carolina town where locals with no shot at the big time are living out their grappling fantasies.
“There are some movies that are so bad you can’t watch them on their own,” DeRosa said Wednesday. “But if you add some riffs and a different (vocal) track, you can have some fun with it. That’s what we’re trying to do with 5 Dollar Wrestling.”
DeRosa and Cabana make no bones about the fact that the wrestling quality is so poor. That’s the reason DVDs literally sell for $5 through highspots.com.
That pro-wrestling-merchandise company also helped Cabana put together the concept in 2010. Jake Manning, who is the highspots.com video editor for DVDs and a regular on the North Carolina independent circuit, told Cabana about a crew of “talent” that DeRosa says “you can’t even believe.”
5 Dollar Wrestling isn’t for everyone. Besides some adult themes and profane commentary, DeRosa and Cabana are both aware that some wrestling fans may consider the product exploitive and mean-spirited.
DeRosa, though, says that isn’t their intent. The 34-year-old DeRosa remembers his own days growing up in Chicago when he looked just as silly performing in a backyard wrestling federation with Josh Mathews, who is now a WWE announcer.
“These guys are there because they love wrestling,” said DeRosa, whose passion for the industry has forged a close friendship with Cabana. “You don’t wrestle in front of 10 people if you don’t love wrestling. They throw their heart into it.”
DeRosa also points to the fact that some “5 Dollar Wrestlers” like Raider Rock, Dyn-O-Mite and Freight Train have developed a following among mainstream performers who love the product like ex-WWE star Luke Gallows.
“This gives guys a chance to get their names out there and really feel like they’re in on something,” DeRosa said. “Instead of being just a bunch of random guys working for little companies, they’re coming together and kind of coming into their own as well.”
Besides 5 Dollar Wrestling, DeRosa and Cabana are collaborating on weekly YouTube Internet skits called Creative Has Nothing For You. The title is a spoof on the reason given to some WWE performers for their firing. Cabana suffered that very fate in early 2009 when he failed to find a niche with WWE scriptwriters while working under the name of Scotty Goldman.
“My character is a completely aloof wrestling writer and Cabana is the guy who would be willing to do whatever he says no matter how terrible the idea is,” DeRosa said.
WWE may actually have something soon for Cabana on its main talent roster. Cabana (real name Scott Colton) recently worked a non-televised tryout match thanks to the urging of close friend and WWE star CM Punk.
The possibility of Cabana’s WWE return hasn’t kept him and DeRosa from expanding their 5 Dollar Wrestling endeavor. The duo recently filmed low-level grapplers in Cleveland and hope to soon visit other independent circuits nationwide for more DVD footage. 5 Dollar Wrestling screenings are also planned at upcoming “WrestleReunion” fan conventions.
Ultimately, there may even be a live 5 Dollar Wrestling card as one of the side events by outside companies that occur each spring at the site of WWE’s Wrestlemania pay-per-view show.
“We’re starting to hear about guys clamoring to get on the DVDs,” DeRosa said. “They’re sending in tapes to Jake. But here’s the problem: Some of these guys are too good for 5 Dollar Wrestling.”
For more information on 5 Dollar Wrestling, visit www.highspots.com.
Alex Marvez takes a ringside look at the latest in professional wrestling in LIFE on Thursday. Contact him at email@example.com.