The Curious Case of Mascara Generico

This is what we’ll lose if Seattle Semi-Pro wrestling goes away

February 27, 2009

We’re a little ashamed to admit that we weren’t hip to Seattle Semi-Pro, the satirical league of "pro wrestlers" who have been dropkicking each other around Capitol Hill for laughs for the last six years, until we read the story of their legal troubles in Tuesday’s Seattle Times. (Blame it on our relative newcomer status.) But after we got over our shame, we talked to one of its combatants, Mascara Generico (né Bill Bates), who won the Pacific Middleweight Champion belt at what might have been SSP’s last bout, on January 7, at the soon-to-be-shuttered King Cobra night club. And it’s a good thing we did, because we learned that even if the state says the show can’t go on, we may not have seen the last of them.

How did you get involved in this whole thing?
My friend, back in July of 2007, said, "Hey, did you know there’s wrestling in Capitol Hill?" And I went, "What?" So the first Wednesday of August, we went. I remember sitting down and watching the first match, and at first I was like, "I paid $7 for this?" I wasn’t quite getting the joke yet. Finally, Master Blaster, who’s the air guitar and karaoke champion of the world, comes out. At the end of the match, he calls for his finishing move, the Air Guitar. His girlfriend goes offstage, and she comes back holding … nothing. He puts on his "guitar," and then he starts playing air guitar. I went, "What the …?" So then he takes off this "guitar," his opponent stands up, and he smacks him over the head. And that’s when I got it. I was like, "Oh my god, this is brilliant. This is making fun of professional wrestling." And I went, "How do I get involved in this?" I was at practice the next week, and I never left.

You’re a big wrestling fan, so how seriously do you take this thing?
I always want to be that guy that at the end of the night, people go, "Hey, do you remember when Generico did this?" For me, it’s about delivering a memorable moment each show. It’s not about the competition—there is no competition. We’re doing this as entertainers.

Are you an athletic person?
I never considered myself athletic. I sucked at basketball. I sucked at football. I’m not a big guy. I’m 5-11 and 150 pounds. Where I got my ability to do backflips and spins was from jumping off the diving board at my aunt’s pool and jumping off the arm of my couch into my beanbag.

Tell me a little bit about Mascara Generico. What’s his backstory?
He comes from a long line of luchadores. They came from Mexico, and they brought lucha libre wrestling, which is the flips and spins and whatnot. Unfortunately, his family hasn’t had much luck with winning.

I don’t want to make light of the potential demise of SSP, but it would almost be a blessing in disguise for Generico if he goes out on top like this, then, right?
Yeah. It would be very sad because he would want to be a fighting champion. But after it was all said and done, he can look at his mantle and see that belt and know that he did it.

How do you feel about the possibility of SSP going away?
A lot of it is confusion. And yeah, there’s a lot of sadness. I really felt this sense of brotherhood and whatnot, and these guys have been my family. I don’t have any family in Seattle, so every week, I got to see my brothers. So the potential of not getting to perform and make people smile, it hurts. The first Wednesday in February we all kind of called each other up and were like, "It’s Wednesday. What do we do?" Some of us tried to go support other local venues. Some of us stayed home and just chilled.

So if SSP has to fold, would that be the end of Mascara Generico?
I don’t think so. He may pop up somewhere else. If we win this case and get to go on, we’re going to announce our big six-year anniversary. That’ll be some time in April. If we lose, we’re going to announce "SSP: The Musical." We already have musical numbers.

Seriously? Can you give me any other clues about it?
Let’s just say, we’re going to explore whether [SSP] truly is "all real."

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