Making new stars is possibly one of the hardest things to accomplish in pro wrestling. Forcing a new superstar on fans is an approach that has been used in the past, with varying degrees of success. But when a new character’s development and connection happens organically, it’s arguably the most rewarding process for promoters, fans and wrestlers alike. This past Sunday, in a ballroom in the heart of Camden, Progress Wrestling trainees, Jack Sexsmith and Bodyguy Roy Johnson had their coming out party. By no means the finished articles, this pair have established a foundation by which to build a bright future.
Roy Johnson, a legit world champion standard powerlifter has the physique and charisma of an international superstar. His tag partner, Jack Sexsmith, has a gimmick that is as complex as it is unique. Jack is pansexual (a term this writer was ignorant to up until about a year ago), meaning he is not limited to sexual choice or orientation. I’ve had several conversations with Jack about his character and he’s always expressed his surprise and delight at how popular it is with fans everywhere he has wrestled around the country. It’s hard to imagine such a flamboyant, extrovert persona being anything other than a heel in the bygone era. Where Adrian Street was viewed through disgusted eyes of fans in the 80’s and WWE’s Goldust was openly mocked in the ring for the entertainment of fans of all ages during the 90’s, we now find ourselves in a different age. It is as it should be, an era of openness, acceptance and more liberal attitudes, at least at Progress Wrestling. Jack Sexsmith is a wrestling character fans can get behind, support and cheer for. Indeed, hearing 700 fans sing the lyrics to “I touch myself” well after Jack’s entrance music had been cut was nearly as remarkable as seeing 2,500 singing along to B*Witched in the Brixton Academy.
Their opponents in the match were the South Pacific Power Trip, a trio of All Blacks, all three young, all three hungry and all three making an impact. Dahlia Black in particular has taken to winding up the Progress faithful with ease and midway through the match her daredevil attitude led to an unfortunate meeting with a wooden table. In the end, it was this trio that survived the match and ended up victorious, but spending time talking to Jack after that match, and listening to his journey and how emotional he was about the acceptance of him and his character with the fans should send a reassuring message to anyone who is worried or fearful about how they feel about themselves or how the world will judge them. Where Jack and Roy go with their characters is up for grabs, but on this night, in defeat, two new stars were born. Opportunity awaits.