485. CHIP STETSON
Chip Stetson is another old pro, an 18-year veteran of the professional wrestling ring who has been, I believe, ranked in the 500 only once before, and that was in 1997, when he was No. 389. PWI this year tells me he’s back to being a rulebreaker after a decade as a goody two-shoes loser.
The Match: Chip Stetson vs Fronz Roddy (In Your Face Wrestling, August 15, 2014)
This match was part of IYFW’s show at “Backstretch,” which is, I gather, a yearly event for the staff at Saratoga race course. So that’s neat. They start off with Fronz Roddy, billed from Austria, and his flexor exercise bar, and Stetson wants to give it a try, and he sucks at it, obviously, and Fronz Roddy is like, “YAAA! I am good at bending this!” Fuck, man, everyone has a good time.
Stetson taunts Roddy about being from Australia, and a little kid is like, “Austria!” and he goes, “That, too!” Fronz starts with the customary foot stomp to get the dozen or so people who have hung around to watch a wrestling show they don’t care about to clap and shit. It must be super fucking weird to perform your art in front of a crowd that is there to have fun, sure, but aren’t necessarily fans of what you do.
In that case, wrestlers generally seem to go for the corny comedy, and Stetson knows what he’s doing in that role, loudly vocalizing everything he’s doing. Everything. E very thing. Fans chant “OLD FART! OLD FART!” at poor Chip Stetson. How is Stetson supposed to concentrate when he has to think of his mortality and the years that have gone by, silently, aimlessly, his last two decades blurring together? My (Stetson’s) God, it was just yesterday that I (Stetson) was No. 389 in the PWI 500.
Well good news, Chip, you’re back. Have you found the independent wrestling fountain of youth? Perhaps not, but you have aged like a fine wine, my friend. Days may go by like paper in the wind, but your legacy is secure.
It’s weird, but while I would never seek this match out, in the right mood and the right laid back setting, a match like this makes me remember the truest joy of loving rasslin. A match worked like this one has enough resemblance to the weekend TV wrestling I would watch as a kid, WWF or NWA/WCW, that I think I feel some kind of little flicker of that time in my life. And here I am, with the years going by, none of them different than the last, but wrestling’s still pretty cool, and though my tastes have evolved, and so has the whole “product” overall from what I watched then, this classic style can always be done effectively.
Stetson wins with his feet on the ropes.