Comedy has long been an important part of professional wrestling. From the old-school stylings of ’60s British wrestling legend Les Kellett to modern-day too-cool-to-care All Elite Wrestling’s Orange Cassidy, the mat is ripe for hilarity. Hell, there was even a wrestler named the Booty Man whose finishing move was the high knee — like heinie. Like a butt. Get it? That same Booty Man was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.

Theatre 99 performer Jordan Edwards’ first memory of professional wrestling was watching a Connecticut blueblood turned biker degenerate strangle an evil billionaire with an extension cord. This was around the time that wrestling viewers could tune in weekly to see a beer-guzzling redneck and the future star of the Jumanji franchise feud with two zombie brothers and an Olympic gold medalist.

Now Edwards and his fellow Theatre 99 company members want to share this experience with you for the holidays.

Premiering Fri. Dec. 27, Get Ignorant Wrestling blends the chaotic excitement of professional wrestling with the unpredictable hilarity of improv comedy to bring you their first show, Holiday Hangover. In the short-form improv world of Get Ignorant Wrestling, Edwards and the rest of the Theatre 99 roster embody their own wrestling characters to see who can be the most electrifying name in sports entertainment.

“Once you’re there — even if you’ve never watched wrestling before — you see all these characters, you see all the stuff going on, you see the crowd acting crazy, it’s infectious,” says Edwards, who will serve as the referee and ring announcer.

While Edwards recognizes that not everyone is a wrestling fan, he’s confident that Get Ignorant Wrestling will win over the crowd. He’s already starting to see a few potential converts among his fellow members at Theatre 99 who are taking part in the show.

“Even the people that I’ve pitched this to that don’t know wrestling, they’re excited to be a part of something different,” says Edwards, a longtime wrestling fan and an almost four-year veteran of Theatre 99. “This gives them the chance to build a character, make it their own. So even if they don’t know wrestling, it’s still a character that they get to have fun with, and hopefully through that they’ll learn to really love wrestling.”

Promising unique entrances, heated matches, and bombastic promos, Edwards encourages audience members to mark out over their favorite wrestlers. For those taking the stage at Theatre 99, the challenge will be getting over with the crowd and avoiding that go-away heat, while working their way up the ranks. Be they heels, babyfaces, or tweeners, each GIW performer will vie for the promotion’s coveted world championship title at Holiday Hangover. Unlike most improv shows, storylines established at GIW’s premiere will continue to develop across future shows — a creative venture that Edwards looks forward to undertaking.

“I don’t want this to just be us doing improv as wrestlers. It inspires me creatively. It allows me to be like [World Wrestling Entertainment CEO] Vince McMahon in a way and move all these parts around from month to month and keep those storylines going,” says Edwards.

While connecting each show with a narrative thread is a unique feature among live comedy acts, it also taps into what makes professional wrestling special. Where else can you watch a character develop from a Christmas Creature to a mad dentist to undead burn victim to the real-life mayor of Knox County, Tenn.?

“If you’re somebody that comes to see the show in December, then we do it again next month, it’s fun for you because you get to see these characters come back just like actual pro wrestling,” says Edwards. “You get to enjoy the storylines and even become fans of the people playing these specific characters in the show.”

A wrestling fan since the age of eight, Edwards attended the College of Charleston and minored in theater. For Christmas in 2014, his wife signed him up for improv classes at Theatre 99. Two years later, a successful audition landed Edwards a spot with the company. Now he’s ready to combine his passions for comedy and professional wrestling and step into the squared circle with Get Ignorant Wrestling.

“It’s like improv on crack, basically. If you haven’t seen wrestling or improv before, it’s basically going to be blasting a ton of energy into your face as soon as you step in the theater. That’s kind of the ‘Get Ignorant’ piece of it,” says Edwards. “Energy is a big thing with the show. I want the performers to be amped up. They’re playing these big characters the entire time. Obviously, I want the audience to be respectful to the performers, but if they’re playing a good guy, cheer. If they’re playing a bad guy, boo the shit out of them. I want this to feel like a wrestling show even though at its core it’s improv.”

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