A Pumpkin in the ring

Billy Corgan thought outside the box to become one of his generation’s most influential musical artists. The same vision applies to Corgan’s foray into a lifelong fascination — professional wrestling.

Billy Corgan thought outside the box to become one of his generation’s most influential musical artists.

The same vision applies to Corgan’s foray into a lifelong fascination — professional wrestling.

The lead singer of the multiplatinum rock band Smashing Pumpkins, Corgan is looking to break into the top tier of grappling companies with his upstart group. Resistance Pro is a joint venture between Corgan and two brothers (Jacques and Gabriel Baron) with a wrestling background in the Chicago area where he lives.

“I had been wanting to do this for a while,” Corgan said last week in a telephone interview. “It’s like anything in life. You sit on the sideline and think, ‘I can do this better.’ I would watch Monday Night Raw and say, ‘I would have done that.’

“It got to the point where I thought, ‘Let me put my money where my mouth is.’ “

Corgan, who had once talked with Impact Wrestling about a creative position, is starting small with Resistance Pro cards in Chicago featuring a blend of new and veteran talent like Rhino, Harry Smith and the Rock and Roll Express. Corgan, though, is thinking much bigger.

He is trying to finalize plans for a television reality show that would focus on Resistance Pro talent both in and out of the ring.

“You don’t want to let people know too much of what’s going on behind the scenes, but I don’t see where similar shows have hurt the movie business, the NFL or NASCAR,” Corgan said. “What goes on there sometimes becomes part of the business. When people are really good at what they do, you buy into what’s happening.

“There’s a lot of debate out there whether the animosity between John Cena and The Rock is legit or hype for (‘Wrestlemania 28’). I bet it’s probably a bit of both, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s more intrigue for what’s real and where jealousy may lay as oppose to the ‘fake’ part of the storyline. That’s what’s going to ultimately drive pay-per-view buys — the reality aspect. I don’t think at the end of the day seeing people as real people undermines your ability to be a successful promotion.”

Corgan’s concern about his wrestlers as people led to Resistance Pro conducting regular concussion screening for its talent. Corgan said the idea stems from his friendship with ex-WWE grappler Chris Nowinski, whose own history with brain trauma led to him becoming one of the top advocates for concussion treatment and prevention through the Sports Legacy Institute.

“I’ve learned through the years with the Pumpkins that there is no shame in combining social concerns with artistic endeavors,” Corgan said. “Often times, the two go hand in hand. One of the things we want is to be part of positive change in the wrestling industry.”

Corgan remained a fan of sports — especially the Chicago Cubs — and pro wrestling even after the Smashing Pumpkins found mainstream success in the 1990s. Corgan, 44, appeared on an Extreme Championship Wrestling telecast in 2000 and has regularly attended shows of both big and small promotions.

Two of Corgan’s favourite wrestlers growing up were Ric Flair and Stan Hansen, both of whom meshed stellar in-ring skills with larger-than-life personas. Corgan is striving to re-create the same magic on the Resistance Pro talent roster.

“There’s a criticism that the old-school style moves a little too slow and that the modern guys don’t sell enough in their matches and it becomes flip-floppy gymnastics stuff,” Corgan said. “We’d love to combine the storytelling with athleticism.

“With the Pumpkins, there was a point where we were doing stuff that ultimately became musically successful.

“But at the time, people scratched their heads and did not understand where the upside was at. We hope we’re making something new and can benefit from it as a promotion. You don’t know until you try.”

For more information, visit www.resistancepro.com

Alex Marvez writes a syndicated pro-wrestling column for Scripps Howard News Service. He can be reached at alex1marv@aol.com or followed via Twitter at http://twitter.com/alexmarvez

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heather Buelow, owner of Aerial Edge Studio in Blackfalds, says she has spent ‘all of my saving keeping the studio going’ through government-mandated shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Either open in-person or close permanently: Central Alberta yoga studio defying rules

A central Alberta woman is allowing clients back into her yoga and… Continue reading

Sandra Schmirler Foundation donates $10,000 to Red Deer hospital

Donation will go towards electronic fetal heart monitoring project

A sustainability audit for Westerner Park suggested 33 changes, including more city involvement. (Advocate file photo)
Westerner Park expands volunteer program

As Westerner Park refocuses the organization, they are reigniting their emphasis on… Continue reading

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on December 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle
New regulator to stop sexual exploitation of children online: public safety minister

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the government will introduce… Continue reading

Gordon Greenwood Elementary Grade 7 students were assigned to write about climate change. The Langley Advance Times is pleased to present a selection of their writings. (Sasha/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

OTTAWA — A new report shows Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he will vote against a… Continue reading

Eugene Kwon of Gratia Bakery and Cafe says the business will be relying on take out orders and a small patio. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

OTTAWA — A group representing thousands of the country’s small businesses says… Continue reading

Ron Howard is photographed at the "Inferno" film premiere on Oct. 25, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)
Brothers Ron and Clint Howard have memoir coming in October

NEW YORK — Filmmaker-actor Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, brothers, former… Continue reading

FILE - In this Saturday, March 27, 2021 file photo, Buffalo Sabres’ Taylor Hall plays against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, in Boston. The Buffalo Sabres could trade 2018 MVP Hall, who signed for just this season and is a pending free agent. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
Boston Bruins acquire Taylor Hall to kick off NHL trade deadline day

Trade deadline day in the NHL has started with the Boston Bruins… Continue reading

Most Read