Pro Wrestling Revolution in SF Weekly

Raising money for college scholarships in a recession begs creativity. Bake sales? Overdone. Car washes? Cliche. A man in furry underwear kicking the ass of a Border Patrol agent in the school gym? Now we’re getting somewhere.

John O’Connell High School of Technology enlisted a line-up seemingly borrowed from a Robert Rodriguez slasher film Saturday night to fund scholarships for high school athletes: There were hardcore lady fighters in push-up bras. There was the strapping Brazilian named Kafu, who’s loyal fans barked “Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!” along with him when he pumped his hand like a claw in the air. There was a posse of homoerotic, spandex-clad Border Patrol agents, easy villains among the mostly Latino crowd. Check out the video below for some of the highlights. To save you suspense, Kafu kicked the agents’ ass.

Athletic Director Bob Gamino has students put posters around the Mission to help sell tickets – of which they get 20 percent of the proceeds. They also get a portion of the sponsorships and all of the concessions. About 600 people showed up — 200 short of the gym’s capacity — but still enough to generate three $500 scholarships for the high school’s athletes.

“I get flack for it because some people think I’m making hundreds and thousands from it and lining my pockets,” Gamino says. “But I know what I do, my principal knows what I do, and the students know what I do.”

Saturday was the school’s fifth foray into lucha libre events, after the school bit on promoter Pro Wrestling Revolution’s offer to host a fight there. Yet Gamino says the students would make even more money if it weren’t for the onerous prices of hosting an event in the city. Add up the mandatory costs for a janitor, a police officer, the entertainment commission permit, and a fire department fee, and it takes a $962 chunk out of the profits. That’s enough for two more scholarships.

Gamino says the first time the school hosted a wrestling event in 2008, the police sent four officers since they didn’t know what kind of crowd to expect. Even with an at-capacity 800-person crowd, the school made no money at all after paying the police more than $1,900.

“The police department was very apologetic and said you don’t need four police officers,” Gamino says, after they say that the crowd was “mainly strollers.”

Indeed, the crowd seemed to behave itself Saturday night — probably in some no small part due to the fact there’s no alcohol sales on school property. Gamino told the promoter, Pro Wrestling Revolution’s Gabriel Ramirez, a couple ground rules: No blood. No over-the-head smacks with chairs. And no breasts.

But the fight was not short on entertainment. In a role that rings oh-so-true in a time of anti-immigrant sentiment, the border patrol agent hammed up the part of an anti-sanctuary city xenophobe. He asked the audience for their papers, and, out in the hall, told one Latino kid, “I only talk to Americans,” to which the kid responded, “I am an American.”

Please read the story on SF Weekly, here.