Back in the '50s, performers like Little Beaver and Fuzzy Cupid (yes, seriously) were big names on the national wrestling circuit. They were also midgets.
And while this particular form of stage show died down for a few decades, it's making waves again thanks in part to the TruTV show, Hulk Hogan's Micro-Championship Wrestling.
If you want to get a glimpse at the epic storylines and diminutive display made famous via reality TV, you can see the likes of redneck extraordinaire Hillbilly Bob, cross-dresser Sugar James, and pimped out Huggy Cub at Miami's House of Horror Halloween amusement park, where they'll be laying the (smaller) smackdown through November 3rd.
Team owner Johnny G. was in the wrestling biz himself. When injuries forced him into retirement, he had a light bulb moment after seeing some midget wrestlers wowing the crowd in an Indiana club.
"The reaction of people, whether they were eight-year-olds or 80-years-old -- everybody seemed to love it," he says.
Now, his troupe, composed of performers running the character gamut from pimp to hillbilly to the biggest little wrestler in the world, aka 325-pound Meatball, tours the country stopping at casinos, clubs and parks. Right now, they're at Miami's House of Horror. Led by Johnny and fellow former wrestler and trainer Pat Tanaka, they're a tough crew.
"It's action packed, it's physical, it's very athletic with a touch of comedy on top," Johnny says about the sport.
"The comedy is what makes midget wrestling different from regular wrestling. With the big guy wrestling, everybody's a tough guy, but in our group we have good guys, we have bad guys. It's a soap opera with some athleticism thrown in and some comedy."
As far as terminology, Johnny says his group wants to go by the term midget.
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"They feel proud of being a midget. They don't like being called little people, they feel that's insulting. They're just very real. Midget wrestling is what it is; they think it's foolish to call it little people wrestling."
The pint sized performers will go head to head in big battles at Miami's House of Horror Halloween amusement park, at 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. every night (except Monday). This mecca of the macabre at Miami International Mall features 30 independently themed rooms, plus a high-flying circus act, carnival rides, live music, kiddie attractions and, to make things even scarier -- clowns. (shudder)
Miami's House of Horror is open Monday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight; and Sunday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Miami International Mall. Park admission costs $23 for adults and $15 for children (ages 6 and under) and the wrestling shows are included as part of admission. Visit their website for more info.