Paris is Bumping: Wrestling’s First Kiki Ball

When wrestling can be unique and emotional, in whatever way, it is at its absolute best. What Billy Dixon and everyone involved in Paris is Bumping accomplished in October was magical. We often use that word when a match is extra impressive or a promo hits the heart a little differently, but for an entire show to be magical, it has to elicit undeniable and visceral emotions from start to finish. Paris is Bumping did that and so much more.

Taking inspiration from the 1990 film, Paris is Burning, and its focus on ball culture in New York City in the 80’s, Paris is Bumping is Billy Dixon’s love letter, interlocking his passion for both wrestling and ball culture. The pride and care in which the entire show was built and executed is obvious in the faces of all involved, from the judges, to the talent, and to those who were watching around the action.

As an openly gay woman, I felt so empowered and overwhelmingly grateful to be able to support such an amazing event. I watched with my girlfriend, who is a rather new fan of wrestling. I can confidently say that she enjoyed this show more than any other we’ve watched together, and that margin is not close. She danced to the music, sang along with Washington Heights, screamed her support for Billy Dixon in his epic battle with Darius Carter, and scowled right along with me as we yearned for an inevitable Jared Evans loss. Seeing the joy in her eyes as we watched such an inclusive and glaringly different show together made my heart smile. I’ll never forget it.

The action started with the always entertaining and supremely talented Ashton Starr making his presence felt. He was quickly upstaged by the dazzling Sahara Se7en, which led to a brawl for the ages. Everything about this match fit, from the amazing gear, to the charismatic attitude, and the “blink and you’ll miss it” physicality. The two matched up perfectly with one another in every way, pushing each other to extract the best they had. Their chemistry allowed for a show opener to be remembered.

Next, we were truly gifted by the Divas and a vogue session that even had me shaking my hips. Was this not an interactive show? Golly, I hope it was, because we could not help ourselves! Seriously though, those queens rocked their segment, taking an audience already hot from an amazing opener and keeping that blazing energy right into the next round.

Billy Dixon was out next to set up a match with Darius Carter, spitting fire and igniting things between the two. Carter played a tremendous heel, while Billy left with the entire audience undoubtedly in his corner. The attacks on the mic felt personal, which only added to the building tension. As we all waited in anticipation, yearning for a Billy Dixon beatdown of the bad guy, the incredible Marriah Moreno graced our screen with a sultry routine. Goodness me, is it warm in here?

The tempo of the night was perfect, one segment flowing immediately into the next, almost leaving us no time to catch our breath, which made for an experience like no other! With a Mortal Kombat musical backdrop, the four-way Divas title match with Erica Leigh, Jared Evans, Corinne Mink, and the fabulous Eddy McQueen was full of excitement with nonstop action, each superstar getting their own moments to shine. Eddy took the win, holding the title, before calling out Candy Lee. Surely a fight for another day we all cannot wait to see.

Splitting the four-way and the main event was a beautiful tribute to those who have been trailblazers and pioneers of this amazing community. It was an emotional moment, perfectly placed, though the meaning would have been just as impactful regardless. Larry Legend, Marriah Moreno, and the late Casey Michael represent the inaugural class of Paris Honors, to be inducted at a live event in 2021 when conditions safely allow. There were plentiful tears as the moment settled in.

As I gathered myself, the main event began with the stoic and powerful entrance of Darius Carter. He was followed by our hero, the spectacularly dressed Billy Dixon. Looking as fabulous as only he can, Billy’s mood is something I wish to always feel. Every day. The punishment was swift and never-ending from that point onward. Darius used everything available to immobilize Dixon, from tables, to barstools, to the bar itself. I fear Billy’s pained screams can still be heard in that building if one listens just hard enough on a quiet night.

As much punishment as he took, our hero wasn’t to be denied. With a well-timed assist from Faye Jackson and a beautiful table spot in which Dixon loudly dedicated his comeback offense to Marsha P. Johnson, who was a prominent activist, from Stonewall to ACT UP. The emotion could be felt through the screen, both through Billy’s next level selling and the legitimate impact the moment must have had on him.

The match was a journey in violence and personality, from both Darius and Billy. I found myself spent at the end, and emotionally drained as the two gave everything they had to tell a story so brilliantly drawn up. The show could have ended there, and I would have understood, but this isn’t just any show, this is Paris is Bumping, and the beautiful Washington Heights was in the building. Singing, joking, and dancing her way throughout the room, the mood shifted from adrenaline filled emotion to fun-loving entertainment, and the show couldn’t have ended on a better note.

As the credits rolled, I looked to my girlfriend and a few more tears escaped my eyes. I wasn’t sad and I was the furthest thing from disappointed. I was so proud and endlessly happy for Billy Dixon. Before the main event had gotten underway, he made a powerful statement.

“This is what the future executives of wrestling are gonna look like!”

I don’t doubt it for a single second. In fact, if more shows begin to resemble what Paris is Bumping accomplished Thursday, the wrestling community would be much better for it.

All of you involved in Paris is Bumping, from Billy, to the amazing judges, to the talent, and beyond, I hope the pride we all felt through the screen is felt exponentially in your hearts. You all deserve it so much. The love and joy I feel in my heart watching such an inclusive masterpiece still has me reeling.

I write love letters to wrestling. I enjoy it a ridiculous amount because I get to give back to wrestling a little of what it has always given to me. It is such an honor to write this particular love letter about Billy Dixon’s own love letter, to his life’s passions. I hope it was everything you hoped it would be, Billy. It sure was for us. Thank you.

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Article first published on WrestleJoy

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