Yikes. This post is beyond overdue. I’ll admit that I’m a hardcore procrastinator from back in day, but this is ridiculous even for me. Sorry about that. Part of the delay has to do with the fact that there is a very real reason for that saying, ‘What happens in Vegas…blah blah blah and the rest of it.’ I know that now. When I published ‘Viva Las Vegas – Part 1‘ I was still flying high on bright lights and shiny things, sleep deprivation and the Vegasness of it all, plus I was probably still drunk.
Now that I have my wits about me once again, I’m kinda glad I didn’t post the rest of the story right away. See, a majority of my most faithful readers are members of my family and I’d like to be able to look them in the eye when I say, ‘Please pass the stuffing’ at Thanksgiving dinner next week. Basically what I’m trying to say is, you’re getting the watered-down, good judgement-y version of the story. Again, sorry.
When we last left off, I was bemoaning the fact that there wasn’t enough spectacle in Vegas. Then this guy rolled up…
It was early Saturday afternoon and the bride, my new friend/fellow bridesmaid Gina and I were on our way to the Forum Shoppes, an über fancy mall connected to Caesar’s Palace.
‘Look!’ Gina yelled, pointing emphatically at the rolling billboard. ‘Midget Wrestling!’
‘We’re so going to that,’ I replied, awestruck.
‘Um…yes,’ Gina said.
‘You’re both insane,’ said the bride.
‘Yes,’ I agreed.
Naturally, I was convinced that the sudden appearance of that rolling advertisement was a sign from Jesus that I was supposed to trek across town to the dirty side of Vegas to watch midgets beat the shit out of each other. Turns out, it totally was, but I’ll get to that later.
The girls and I planned to spend a few hours strolling the mall and maybe get a mani-pedi before figuring out our plans for the evening. Five or six hours later we were still shopping and too hungry to bother stopping at the nail salon so we went to a second mall and got dinner at Cabo Wabo instead. I had tacos twice in one day. You’d think I never left West Harlem.
After dinner it was decided that no one else was as interested in Midget Wrestling as Gina and I. Well, that’s not exactly true, but the group we were rolling with are huge OU (University of Oklahoma) fans and that night was the season opener against UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) so they already had plans to watch the game at a bar on the strip. I get that, sort of. I mean, of all the sports, football is by far my favorite, but MIDGET WRESTLING!! Come on!
So it was that Gina and I were the only ones to hop in a cab and head over to the Riviera that night.
While The Riviera isn’t exactly the dirty side of Vegas, it is directly across the street from Circus Circus which is in a demonstrably sadder part of town. Come to think of it, being at the Riviera was a lot like being back home in New York. I had quipped to a friend that being at the Bellagio (and that part of the strip in general) was a lot like being in Times Square in that it’s loud, full of tourists, and covered in flashing lights. Whereas heading north on the strip toward the Riviera is remarkably like heading north on Broadway in that you wind up in a place that’s still loud and brightly lit, just instead of wealthy Asian tourists, you see a lot more toothless crackheads just hanging out on the street…with their children…at 2am. Seriously.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that bad (except that is sort of was), but suffice it to say that Gina and I were not the targeted demographic for this particular event. There were a whole lot of sweat stains and beer guts and mullets, but we didn’t let that ruin our good time. We got into the spirit of things and had a blast.
The tag line for the evening was “Half the size, twice the violence.” And it was true! All of the competitors had to be frisked before entering the ring. I’m not even kidding. I know the whole thing is staged, but you can’t imagine how funny it is to watch a whole group of angry midgets getting legit frisked for knives.
Although knives were frowned upon, other props were perfectly acceptable. For instance, in the first match between Skinny Timmy ‘Leader of the Midget Mafia’ and Little Fabio (so named for his flowing Fabio-like locks), Skinny attacked Lil Fab with a tiny baking sheet! It actually looked more like a toaster oven tray, but it seemed to be effective. That is, until Lil Fab somehow acquired a wooden bat and a trash can lid. He gave Skinny quite the beat down, which was cool cause I was totally rooting for Lil Fabio. According to the announcer, he has midget power. I believe it too. That guy was fierce. And he was at a disadvantage because he was a lot smaller than Skinny. I don’t think Skinny Timmy evens qualifies as a midget. He seemed more like a hateful short guy with a meth addiction to me. Anyway, after about five minutes, he took the fight out of the ring and right into the crowd. This proved to be an error in judgement when Lil Fab threw Skinny into a trash can and literally rolled him off the stage for the win.
The next match featured a tiny Mexican guy named Mad Max or ‘The immigration sensation.’ He wore a flaming unitard and a giant chain around his neck. His opponent was a black dude called Lil Rampage. He wore track pants, a wife beater and was covered in prison tats. This was the shortest match of the evening (oh!). Seriously though, Mad Max obviously wanted to get to the bar early that night because he went in for the kill almost immediately when he tried to choke out Lil Rampage with the chain. Lil R countered with a purple nurple (not even kidding – that is a direct quote from the announcer). Then he returned the favor by choking Max with his own chain! FTW. For his victory lap, Lil Rampage got frisky and started motor-boating a well-endowed bride-to-be sitting in the front row. If only Gina and I had planned ahead, we could have brought the whole wedding party! That could’ve been us! Le sigh…
Next match: The Machine vs The Halfling – Florida vs NYC – which is perfect because Gina is from FL and I live in NY. While the first two matches were all about perverse curiosity, I had a vested interest in this one. Though I probably would’ve supported The Halfling anyway, regardless of geographical loyalties because I’m a huge LOTR nerd. In any case, NY brought his A game that night. He actually tried to tea-bag FL. It was tres classy. In the end, NY housed FL and kissed his little biceps when he was done. It was adorable.
There was a short break before the title fight was set to begin. Gina and I did a lap around the arena and almost bought this t-shirt but didn’t cause it only came in L, XL, XXL, 2X, etc…
Time for the title fight! Little Show vs The Baby Jesus (I told you it was a sign from Jesus that we were supposed to be there!)
Standing at a statuesque three feet, six inches tall, the wrestler styling himself ‘The Baby Jesus’ was our big winner of the evening. Sorry for the plot spoiler, but honestly, with a name like that how could he lose? You should’ve seen this little guy. He did all kinds of crazy acrobatics and flips and shit. It was pretty impressive.
Rather than give a blow-by-blow of this one I’m just going to quote the drunk guy who was sitting next to us. I think it more than adequately sums up Extreme Midget Wrestling:
This is the type of entertainment that brought down empires. The decadence is overwhelming. You know, I’m actually kind of glad to be a passenger on the crashing plane that is American culture. Oh! Trash can to the face! That’ll get you every time!
If you thought that was the end – you’re way off. The grand finale was an Eight Midget Battle Royale but we didn’t get to see much of it. By that point, the drunk guys who had been hitting on us for the last fifteen minutes realized that they were running out of time to try to convince us to go home with them and they significantly upped their game and were getting more aggressive so we left.
Then came the most frightening cab ride of my life and I’m a New Yorker so that’s saying something.
Our delightful Ethiopian taxi driver regaled us with all kinds of stories about the people he’s picked up in his cab:
Like the time he had a hooker in his cab and got into an altercation with her that required police involvement. You see, he refused to take her money because she kept it in her…er…well, let’s just say that it was in an area that was inaccessible to her pimp and anyone else wanting to avoid a sexual assault charge. He had very strong feelings about women in her line of work, which makes me wonder how this gentleman came to settle in Vegas of all places.
We quickly learned that this particular driver had strong opinions about pretty much everything.
Like how he got very nervous when he inadvertently picked up two Mormon (pronounced Norman) sister wives and promptly asked them to get out.
Then he wouldn’t stop talking about religion and kept asking us which church we would be attending in the morning and if we needed a ride – in a completely non ironic way. We were petrified. Another sign from Jesus? I certainly hoped not.
Fortunately, we made it home without incident.
The next morning(ish) we spent some leisure time relaxing by the pool. This time it was my turn to overdo it a bit. In my defense, we were drinking all sorts of frozen concoctions that tasted like they didn’t have any alcohol in them at all!
I was not feeling my best, but I still accompanied the girls to the mall where the bride had a hair appointment. The plan was to get all dressed up and do Vegas old school style that evening.
While the bride was getting her hair did, I somehow decided that it would be a great idea to take part in a focus group that paid people to watch tv and answer a bunch of questions afterwards. Gina agreed to come with me, but only because we were allowed to bring our frozen margaritas with us.
Though the sign makes the place look like an STD testing center (which would probably be much more useful than a research center – especially in Vegas), it wasn’t. They just made us sit in little cubicles, watch a twenty-two minute sitcom called ‘Two Broke Girls’ (which was pretty awful) and then analyze a bunch of commercials. I made eight dollars. Win.
Then I started to feel really not so good. I soldiered on through dinner, but then decided to take a little break from Vegas. I went to bed at 6:15 that night. It actually worked out perfectly though because once the rest of our group heard how awesome midget wrestling was, they cancelled their plans for glitzy Vegas and got all dressed up for the midgets instead.
I napped HARD. And I am proud to say that I was able to rally afterwards. I woke up, got dressed all fancy and rejoined the group around eleven o’clock. Up until this point, it had pretty much been a girls weekend and I hadn’t spent all that much time with the guys in our group. I almost forgot how serious these dudes are about Vegas. One guy in particular, who I’ll call Mr. Vegas, really knows how Vegas is done.
After calling a bunch of cabs to accomodate our entire party, we caravanned over to a strip club called the Spearmint Rhino. Apparently, it’s very well known. Mr. Vegas told us all to wait while he went to ‘talk’ to the bouncer. I’m pretty sure he did one of those awesome money handshakes that only guys can do [sorry ladies, I’m all about equal everything and stuff, but I’ve never seen a woman successfully pull off that move] because two minutes later Mr. Vegas waved us over and we were ushered to the front of the line and through the velvet rope. Once inside, we were escorted to a special reserved section. I had never been to a strip club before so I was pretty impressed with the whole thing.
This is where the story is going to get spotty. I’m going to skip to the highlights:
*The whole place reeked of smoke, booze, sweat and shame. I was wearing a new dress that evening and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to wear it again.
*I made friends with an Australian stripper named JodiAnn. We talked for almost an hour.
*The midget wrestlers showed up at the strip club!!! They were in the special reserved area right next to ours! I definitely saw Lil Rampage and Lil Show, but there could have been more of them. It was hard to tell because whenever any of them would get a lap dance, they would kind of disappear.
So anyway, we were at the club for a while.
When we were finally ready to leave, Mr. Vegas gave a nod to someone and a few minutes later we were escorted outside where there was a stretched limo waiting for us. It was awesome.
The next morning was departure day, so we all met for brunch at the famous Bellagio buffet. It was a lot. Everyone was going bananas over the crab legs. Frankly, I was unimpressed. Maybe because I typically vacation in Maine where fresh seafood is much more plentiful than in the Nevada desert. In any event, I was so ready to be home.
I had pretty much done everything there is to do in Vegas except gamble, so when I got to the airport I put $14 into a slot machine and promptly lost all of it. Though when you consider the fact that I earned $8 at that focus group, my net loss was only $6. That’s not so bad.
Overall, Vegas is not my town. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had a ball. But it would not be my first choice for a vacation getaway. I could just as easily get drunk, turn on a strobe light, smoke a pack of Marlborough Lights and happily flush money down the toilet at home.