At about 10 pm a lanky, nondescript white guy in his early twenties, wear-
ing a slightly oversized black suit and tie, makes his way to the center
of the ring, holding a microphone in his right hand and a white index
card in his left. “Ladies and Gentlemen!” he begins. “The moment you’ve
been waiting for—tonight’s main event. The nyww Interstate Champion-
ship . . . introducing, from Hollywood, California . . . weighing in at 225
pounds . . . Tony . . . Lethal!”
As the emcee finishes intoning the last syllable, a loud riff from the
heavy metal band Anthrax blares from a tinny pa system. White smoke
pours out from behind a thin polyester black curtain that separates the
wrestlers’ backstage area from the audience. Hearing the first few chords
of Lethal’s signature music, the wide- eyed eight- year- old boy sitting next
to me yelps, “It’s Lethal!” Three seconds later, a twenty- two- year- old white
male, arms raised, steps out from behind the curtain. Adopting a stance of
stoic assurance, he slowly surveys the crowd of about two hundred people.
His entrance music drowns out the scattered cheers for him.
At 6′1″ and about 225 pounds, Lethal is large but not so imposing that
he would turn heads. He has an angular face and short, blonde- spiked
hair that was dampened just moments before. He wears a black and dark
blue polyester wrestling singlet, black lace-up wrestling boots, and a pair
of black kneepads. With a bounce, almost a skip, in his step, he makes his
way around the ring counterclockwise, high- fiving the young fans who
have extended their arms over the metal railings separating the crowd
from the performing space. He reciprocates this show of appreciation with
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