‘TID The Season 2021 | Jarkaster Journey

‘TID The Season 2021

Hello, everybody! Earlier this month, I received the opportunity to once again referee on the wrestling portion of metalcore band Every Time I Die’s Christmas Show at Buffalo RiverWorks. Here is the lowdown on what occurred at one of the coolest events I get to participate in.

ETID’s ‘TID The Season’ event is held regularly at Buffalo RiverWorks around the middle of December and draws thousands of fans from all across the country. The first time I attended one was at a bowling alley in North Tonawanda, N.Y. in 2008, eventually moving to downtown Buffalo music hall Mohawk Place, before the heavily increased popularity of the event pushed it into RiverWorks which accommodates a much larger audience.

Even after moving to a venue that can hold thousands of fans, the festival needed to become a two-day event because of how quickly tickets would sell-out for it (nearly a year in advance).

For the last four renditions of this musical festival, pro wrestling was featured at the start of the Saturday portion of the event. I refereed three of the four wrestling shows and did ring crew for the one ran by Blackcraft Wrestling. Empire State Wrestling handled the logistics for the other three. Attendance for each show increased continuously from what I could see.

‘TID The Season 2021

The first one, by main event, there was roughly 1,000 people watching. This year’s, I estimated the draw to be nearly 3,000. From the indie wrestling perspective, these are massive amounts of fans.

A special perk we receive for being on these shows that is foreign to many of us on the indie scene is catering. We can dive into a catered lunch and dinner from cuisine cooked right at RiverWorks. I may come off as a complete dork about this, but I do not care: I relish drinking cups of hot tea at these shows. These are the only shows I am able to enjoy a cup (or three in this year’s case) before I go out to ref.

The wrestling card featured five matches. I was assigned two of them. Each match was allowed to go up to 20 minutes in length which is significantly long for indie wrestling. In retrospect, I am glad the DiPaolo Cup match I did in November went this long because it unintentionally prepared me for these ETID bouts.

Before my first match, I came out to a ring covered in confetti from the opener. It was on me to sweep everything out of the ring using the lone push broom from underneath the ring. I received my first ever “SWEEP” chant. It was not a successful effort of clearing the ring until I switched to clearing the clutter with the rear edge of the broom bristles which to my surprise did a more effective job and cleaning out the ring.

My first match was a triple threat featuring Matt Cross, Lucky 13, and Myung Jae Lee. I refereed two Cross matches several years ago and was excited to work with him again. Knowing how big he is into attending rock concerts, I felt he was a no-brainer to be included on this shows. This was my first time refereeing Lucky 13 and Lee.

Everyone in this match did a nice job on getting the audience invested in the match – even if they were not wrestling fans. Lee, who trained at the Buffalo area wrestling school Grapplers Anonymous, is a relative newcomer to the wrestling scene and I felt did a good job listening to the two veterans and looked like he belonged with them in the ring.

'TID The Season 2021
[Photo: Hrycych Photography]
My second match was an intergender match between Vinnie Moon and Jody Threat. I worked with Moon a few times before but this was my first time with Threat. This was my first time refereeing Moon as a heel, too, and I was surprised how well he nailed it. Once again, all the fans ate up everything in the ring. These are concert crowds so they feed off interactions, big slams, high spot, and brawling rather than a technical mat wrestling clinic. This match, like all the others, worked liked that perfectly.

A weird thing that happened to me was getting slightly disoriented during these matches. I am not sure why but I think it was the setting itself being different than what I am used to. The timekeeper was not at ringside but behind the crowd with the production crew.

There was a hard camera which I worked around but the visual atmosphere felt different enough with the fans standing rather than sitting and the lighting being different than I am used to. Maybe that is what caused it?

'TID The Season 2021
[Photo: Hrycych Photography]
After the main event of The Blade with The Butcher and The Bunny at ringside versus Evil Uno, it was time for The World’s Fastest Ring Crew. Between the end of the wrestling card and the first band taking the stage, we have roughly 20-30 minutes to get the ring and the wrestling production equipment out of the venue. So I hit the ring without even changing out of my referee gear for tear down.

We accomplished it just as we did in prior years, while even dealing with one of the nastiest windstorms I ever experienced (so bad it blew off parts of grain elevator that is near RiverWorks). Loading a bunch of wrestling ring parts into a trailer while getting record-setting wind gusts blown into your face right off the coast of Lake Erie sucked. Regardless, we accomplished it and enjoyed a fun night afterward.

After getting changed and enjoying dinner, there was still a whole musical festival to experience. This year, I stayed the entire night and it was awesome. Although the weather canceled the curling portion of the event, I rode a mechanical reindeer and took a picture with Santa Claus with ring announcer Chris Gullo and several young wrestlers that helped on the crew that day.

Musically, I was able to check out The Bronx and Knocked Loose then got in prime position for Ice T. Since we had backstage access for being on the wrestling show, we tried to get on stage for Ice T but the crew asked us to leave so Ice T’s family could sit up there. When ETID took the stage, Gullo and I stayed real close to the side but toward the last part of their set, I went up on the stage.

Considering how limited such opportunities can be in life, I figured I would go for it. It was worth it. Even if I was barely on there, I never experienced looking at a several thousand person crowd from that angle before in my life. Plus, ETID crushed it on stage as they always do. It was quite a memorable way to end the night.

My next show may be on New Years’ Day, but I need to go over a few things on my own end before I commit. Either way, have a blessed Yule and a Happy Saturnalia!

As always, thanks for reading (and see you in the new year)!