When you first hear about a concept like Knee High Knuckle Buster Micro Wrestling, it sounds like a crazy idea rebirthed from the days of traveling circuses and sideshows. And maybe it is. But now, after 5 years of successful events, it’s also managed to become something of an institution in Atlantic City.
“It wasn’t supposed to be an annual thing, honestly,” says Jon Henderson, head of Good Time Tricycle Productions, the company behind Knee High Knuckle Buster Micro Wrestling, which comes to Atlantic City 6 p.m. Saturday, July 24, in the outdoor space at Ducktown Tavern known as the Duck Hut.
“We thought it would be a one-off event, but there were 350 people that showed up the first year. So we did it again. And it just got bigger every year. We expect there will be close to 1,000 people there in the Duck Hut this year.”
What is it?In case the name didn’t give it away, Knee High Knuckle Buster Micro Wrestling is an event based around the concept of little people wrestling. Essentially it’s the same concept as any other form of pro wrestling, except that the participants are all dwarves.
“Micro wrestling has been a thing since the 1920s. It goes back to the days of carnivale,” Henderson notes. “And it’s still going strong today. The group that we work with is the Micro Wrestling Federation, and they travel the entire country.”
The event will feature matches in both singles and tag team wrestling, plus a full-on micro battle royal.
A bit of controversy Is it exploitative? Maybe. But so is much of pro wrestling, as one could easily argue that the giant combatants found in the WWE and other major wrestling organizations are not much different when it comes to extremes in size. And though in recent years the name of the event has changed from its original title of “Knee-High Knuckle Buster Midget Wrestling,” Henderson assures us that this is not due to him bowing to any type of pressure to be more politically correct.
“It’s now referred to as ‘micro wrestling’ because you can’t post Facebook ads with the word ‘midget’ in them,” he says matter of factly. “That’s why we changed it. It wasn’t because a lot of people complained or anything.”
Of course there are those out there who take issue with the entire spectacle, but Henderson doesn’t seem phased by them.
“We had one lady that called up and was unhappy about it. I told her: ‘If my kid was born with an adversity like this and he found that the one thing that gave him purpose was wrestling, I’d be in the first row with the big foam finger cheering him on and shouting kick his ass!’”
But politically correct or not, there is another very good reason to want to attend an event like this: Athleticism. Like much of pro wrestling, micro wrestling features some seriously amazing moves.
“These guys are at an incredible level of athleticism, Henderson says. “Some folks look at them as little people and think that it is a handicap. They need to see them in the ring. These guys will do flips and spins and everything. I just sit there in awe … because I can’t do it! One of the guys leaped from the top rope into the arms of a woman, drank her beer then hit a dude with a chair off the top rope. It was fantastic.”