(For the second year, my son, writer Evan "The Exterminator" Spellman and myself, photographer Blackjack Spellman, team up to bring you coverage of the fabulous musical and wrestling spectacular known in short as "Rager 2." Furthermore, due to Blackjack being felled mid-event by finishing-move-style heatstroke, the rest of the visuals for the show, edited into the YouTube video below, are provided by the very generous courtesy of the following attendees: Grace Sullivan, Ernie Fuglevand, Alfred Martinez, Kirsten Ballweg, Ben Winchell, Melissa Gonzalez, Jamie Felton, Jen Knight, and Stallion's own Mr. Dynamite. You guys saved the day here -- THANK YOU for your tag team action! Click on the photos to enlarge, click on the Flickr photo links for more, please to enjoy and share, and see you suckas at Rager 3! -- Blackjack)

Last Saturday's searing Seattle-area heatwave was nothing compared to the blistering brawls and sizzling songs experienced during The Backyard Bunkhouse BBQ Brawl & Rock n' Wrestling Rager 2, held this year onsite at the legendary Randy’s Restaurant in Tukwila, Washington on July 28th. Stallion, the belt-holding NorthWest Alliance World Rock n’ Roll Champions, were back with a vengeance as event hosts and headliners, looking to avenge all slights against them in the past year. 

It was anyone's guess what to expect this year at the second-annual Rager. With a city running scared, the rock n’roll champs looked toward bigger goals and loftier foes in the search for raucous crowds, fat stacks of cash, and international glory. With baited breath, the sweat hogs, hot mamas, and Pabst princes would have to wait and see, primed for some serious action as they streamed into the event.

Just after the last hay bail was smacked down for sittin’ on steamin' hot asphalt, Seattle’s newest musical cool cats Clean Lines flew into the 12’ Rager stage cage and delivered a first round KO. Hot glam-slam licks reverberated through the torrid Tukwila temps as patrons rushed to the front to see Goldilocked frontman The Count strutting the stage like a hungry Dusty Rhodes in a buffet line. 

Clean Lines, Rager 2, Tukwila, WA. 7/28/18 Flickr set link

Not soon after Clean Lines left the stage did fellow Seattleites Razor Clam prowl into the ring. Starting off their set with their infamous single “ITB,” these ladies captured the attention of every pair of sunglass-shielded eyes, possibly even those from the airplanes overhead flying to and from Boeing Field. Their melodic synths and reckless rhythms virtually hoisted the crowd into the air and suplexed them into an ocean of shimmering aural mercury. Super-hero clad Aya Mara's sultry yet operatic vocals were only to be outdone by her cage-crawlin', death-defyin' gymnastics atop the cage.  

Razor Clam, Rager 2, Tukwila, WA. 7/28/18 Flickr set link

As the sun blazed on, the ice-cold PBR’s kept poppin’ and water bottles were drained faster than an iPhone 5 battery after an iOS update. Among the cracks of can tops and roaring airplane takeoffs, Big League Wrestling and Lucha Libre weighed in with their first match of the day, and a bellow from the Great White North. It was the grand entrance of Chase James and Lance Pierson, The Eh Team. These two boys weren’t afraid to put their giant moose hooves on anyone. With fresh-tapped syrup running through their veins, and great Northern winds blowing ice cold from their lungs, the clean-cut Canucks found their way down to The Thrilla in Tukwila lookin' to put a vicious smackdown on the ol’ red, white, and blue. 

Not to be outdone, a quick counter-entrance was made by The Cook Brothers. These boys had been adding jet fuel to their BBQ grill and were ready to serve up a steamin' hot plate of whoop-ass. Hailing from wherever they genetically-engineer models, "The Look" Kevin Cook aimed to not only rip the hearts out of his opponents, but steal the hearts of the ladies as well, while brother Brian, affectionately known as “The Golden God,” brought his gilded shine to center stage in the most physical of fashions. The toonies and loonies came down for some hard-earned American dollar bills, and The Cook Brothers were looking to answer the call.

Sweet-faced Chase James of The Eh Team put his maple where his mouth was as soon as the bell rang, laying some backbacon down on Kevin Cook. Not one to take a foreign invasion lightly, “The Look” gave a piercing glance to the crowd as if to say he was going to rip the toque off of James' head and pin him down on the land of Ms. Lady Liberty and Mr. Justice F. All, once and for all.

After a series of tiring Northern knees placed on the hind of The Look, the first tap of the match was seen as The Golden God flew into the match giving a Seattle-style shove to the head of James, knocking him out of the ring, only to receive the high-flying Pierson in return. In a brutal back-and-forth not seen since the War of 1812, the Cooks pushed past the kneeling defense of the Canadians. Just as the match looked to be over, The Eh Team pulled a fast one and double-pinned the brothers for the three-count. Just like that, the Cooks were sacked and sent packin’. An abrupt ending and a defunct alliance: will the US and Canada ever mend the ties?

The Eh Team vs. The Cook Brothers, Rager 2, Tukwila, WA. 7/28/18 Flickr set link

The venue was reeling as our patriot heroes were forced out of the ring, but those cheers for our fallen comrades turned to jeers quickly as Nick "The Vegan Delight" Radford took the mic, beginning the Triple Threat Match. Spitting sunflower seeds of hatred towards the onlookers, Radford, further known as the “Millennial Falcon,” disparaged the fashion and music choices of the crowd before calling a challenge to his opponents, "Mansome" Mannie Rioz and Dragon Dorado.

The Benoit of quinoa, Radford proclaimed he intended on showing movie-star-handsome “Mansome” not only that he  would win the bout, but what fueled his finely-toned muscles, as the self-proclaimed “super nerd” would bring the ancient power of Mother Earth to the mat. He had been micro-brewing in the lab and word had it in the crowd had it there was going to be a never-before-seen finisher used if he was strong enough to get both muscle men down to the ground. Rioz and Dorado were due for one of the biggest bouts of their careers. The Rock n' Wrestling Rager was set up to be a match of champions
 where only one man could get out alive.

Rioz, who earned his nickname by having the highest ratio of right-swipe-to-swipes in Tinder history, looked to claim hold of another hotbed for eligible singles in the Pacific Northwest, while Dragon Dorado, a man of few words, hoped to use his surprise pint-sized power-packin’ muscles to overwhelm the two narcissists and bring the title back to the common man.

Not but two seconds into the match, Radford attempted to make a deal with whomever would take him up on it, trying to create a two-vs.-one situation in his favor. Boo-birds from the crowd rained down as the bird was flipped from both of his opponents, and it was on.

Rioz and Dorado pummeled Radford out of the ring immediately before locking eyes with each other and double-drop-kicking themselves to the mat. An instant stunner saw all three men dazed and confused as the smoke from the freshly-parked hot-dog truck wafted over the ring. Stumblin' and bumblin' across the mat, each of the three traded blows, falling in and out of the ring like grooms with cold feet.

But, with a sneaky sip of his bulletproof coffee, Radford pulled a burst of energy out from within and overwhelmed the exhausted competitors, holding Dorado down for a quick three-count before knocking Rioz in the nose and pinning his bloodied schnoz to the mat and claiming victory, to the dismay and disappointment of all. 

"Mansome"Mannie Rios vs. Nick "The Vegan Delight" Radford vs. Dragon Dorado, Rager 2, Tukwila, WA. 7/28/18 Flickr set link

Would The Backyard Bunkhouse BBQ Brawl & Rock n' Wrestling Rager 2 see another year of villains dominating the ring? Could anyone raise the spirits of the bleacher bandits in back?

Danika De La Rouge was going to give it a shot as she took on a man of many colors, Guerrero De Neon. Not much was known about these two late editions but if their vibrant colors were any indication, this was about to be one of the brightest spots of the day.

Blasting the kind of music you would hear bumping out of an ASU fraternity room, Guerrero De Neon sauntered up to the ring wearing boots that are regularly seen on one of those fraternity member's on-again-off-again girlfriends. Pink and lime green tights and the removal of the shirt he slept in completed the image of a man who, if all went right, was about to be beaten. Contrary to that walk-up, Danika De La Rouge floated to the mat with the wings of an angel, or perhaps, just leftovers from her high school adaptation of “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” She was quick on her toes, bouncy, light, and effortless. From the beginning, this looked like her match to lose.

As the match started, the much-bigger Guerrero De Neon took hold of De La Rouge's arm, pinning it back and controlling her in a wrist lock. Reminiscent of a dance, the two did the Tukwila Twist under each other, over arms, around the ring, until Danika was able to break free from the vice grip. From there, it was a display beyond what we had seen before: aerial moves around Guerrero's head and torso, handling him with ease as he was tossed around the ring like a 1986 stuffed Elmo doll.
The acrobatics proved to be far too much for the brightly-clad man and De La Rouge defeated him in style to the relief of all. The crowd cried out in joy, cups were raised, cans were clinked, and a man poured water all over himself to hide his grateful tears.

Guerrero de Neon vs. Danika de la Rouge, Rager 2, Tukwila, WA. 7/28/18 Flickr set link

Speaking of tears, our British Colombian friends Jock Tears were quick to swagger into the cage next to provide more of the pre-championship match tunes we were aching for. The vivacious quartet hit the cage with some fast-paced punk jams that got people out of their seats and to the front. Dancing along to the theatrics of vocalist Lauren Ray as she bounded out of the cage, Jock Tears tapped in to the energy of the crowd and blew the (metaphorical) roof off the place. A suddenly-awoken wrestler from backstage was seen sitting straight up in his chair and could be heard saying, "Is that a bass guitar or the very strings of God ringing out in delight?!"

(Jock Tears photos courtesy Ernie Fuglevand)

Next on the bill, and in what was undoubtedly some of the most pleasant sounds to come out of Tukwila in years, the effervescent sound of Jock Tears was replaced by the guttural sounds of this year's Belching Contest. While the competitors tried their best to muster up the best blast of hot, PBR-bubbly, ear-tingling air from their windpipes, they were no match for last year's champion Nika Feline. Ms. Feline ran away with the contest for the second year in a row, from which her sonic boom saw her almost tip over a poor Seattle Metro bus training boss passing by.

Before the smell of hops, yeast, and partially-digested hot dogs could leave the air, Mr. Fitness and Cody "Classic" Chhun entered the ring. There was a bit of fighting outside of public view between the two; long-lasting entrances were of no need. Mr. Fitness hopped up and flexed to the public, and Chhun danced his way through the ropes, and with little to no warning, it was on. Wisconsin’s Mr. Fitness took control early to the dismay of the crowd, as Cody was a Tukwila born-and-raised legend having his first match on home turf. Usually the fluid and mobile Chhun had no issue getting around opponents, but Fitness was proving to be an issue with his impeccable physique and dominating fortitude.

Fans cried out for Classic Chhun to get it together as he kept getting pinned down. They were willing the young man to get up, fight, and win, and straight out of a movie it seemed as if that encouragement was giving him the energy he needed. Rolling away from an aerial slam, Chhun took advantage of the matted Fitness and danced around him delivering blows and arm locks to the hulking figure. In a total reversal, Chhun was in the driver's seat and loving it, as he tangoed around the ring imploring the crowd to give him some love. It was simply too much for Mr. Fitness as Chhun placed him beneath his knee and took home the win with a smile. Taking all the time in the world, Chhun pointed with fans as he flamingo danced around the ring and basked in his glory.

Stallion had been watching this with their usual cool, calm, and collected demeanor, appreciating another hometown hero. The beads of sweat dripped down the faces of the common folk and before they could hit the ground, drummer “Hollywood” Capponi hopped into the cage and took the mic. Brazenly accosting the crowd about the fact they had to watch the final wrestling match from ordinary sea level, the three amigos of Stallion took off across the street to board a helicopter in order to watch the match from their own personal sky skybox. Cheers and jeers from the crowd pelted the hull of the whizzing whirlybird as the crowd realized they were not only upset that they had been upbraided by Stallion, but livid at having to admit that the helicopter move was just so damn cool.

With the chopper in flight and the sun beginning to set, the last match of the night between Leon Negro and Greengo Loco vs Halcon Negro and Coyote Azteca was set to begin. A Lucha Libre rules match for the ages.

The flowing lupine locks of Leon Negro paraded their way to the stage as a white-hot Greengo Loco was in tow, smacking his belly and providing an excellent back-beat to Outkast's "So Fresh, So Clean." If Andre 3000 and Big Boi instead became luchadores, I am positive this is what they would have looked like.

As the two men embraced in powerful hugs atop the mat, challengers Halcon Negro and Coyote Azteca bounded in, taking the top rope and calling for affection and cheers as they lifted their arms up in the sky, as if to say, Stallion, this one is for you.

In what promised to be un gran batalla and a fight for the pride of toda la gente, it was uno, dos, tres, saquese: the match was on! Immediate chest-slaps were traded between Greengo Loco and the camo-panted Halcon Negro. As if the two were generals pinning on badges of pain upon their lieutenants, both breasts were black and blue by the end of the first minute. Smack, smack, smack, and then? -- an unsanctioned tag that saw Leon Negro jump into the ring and assist his partner with a pole-pin against the helpless Halcon Negro. In what was a dreadful display of ring-ownership from the referee, the match quickly deteriorated into a lawless brawl.

Coyote Azteca bounded in the ring to help his partner a number of times, breaking up pins, pulling back heads, rolling Leon Negro out of the ring, and it felt like the tides were turning. Could the challengers to the tag team belt really pull this off? Was the reserved and well-mannered Coyote Azteca going to see his first win on the tag-team circuit?

It looked all but over as the limp fur of Leon Negro laid bare on the sunburst mat. Greengo Loco clearly did not have the endurance to continue an aggressive push against the challengers. As Halcon Negro and Coyote Azteca came to pin the two men and finish it off, a devilish burst of speed erupted from the incumbent champs as they turned the tables. They used both men to pin down their opponents making it impossible to break out, a maneuver that could certainly be called illegal at best, immoral at worst. The two did not expect playing possum to be in the arsenal of these two and couldn't combat the assailants last-drop-in-the-tank attack. In stunning fashion the champs reigned supreme and let everyone know that they had this under control the whole time. Where was the ref? How can this be a legitimite match?

As the two wandered backstage, the preening Leon Negro took the mic and called out the boos from the crowd: "You think we cheated? You think this win isn't legitimate?!" Taunts from men, women, and the children who couldn't get in but were trying to get a look from across the street pulled the men back on the mat issuing a challenge to anyone who wanted to claim their belt.

Just then, fellow belt holders Stallion emerged from the sky in protest of these cheap theatrics. Setting down their copter across the road, the three men met manager Marty Caballero in the cage and told the two luchadores to beat it. Caballero introduced the Backyard Bunkhouse Barons to the crowd as every living human in the venue pressed themselves toward the cage.

As he left, legendary bassist-brawler Mr. Dynamite padlocked the cage door in order to make sure no evil-doing would happen again. Guitar god Luscious Luke, one year removed from having his head gashed open by the infamous wrestler The Undertaker, took the mic and issued a stern warning to anyone who dared test Stallion again. There were no challengers for the belt, but Stallion issued a challenge of their own. Every record label has been disrespecting the hell out of the boys, most notably Seattle’s own Sub Pop. Luke looked into the belly of the beast and proclaimed he knew the label had made a ton of bad decisions with who they signed in the past, but all of those missteps could be rectified by making the best decision in the history of the company, signing Stallion to a fresh and mutually-lucrative deal.

Nobody could tell whether a 777 had just taken off from Boeing Field or if it was Stallion's explosive opening as the legends kicked off their set with the crowd-pleasing “Tag Team Action.” Crushed Pabst cans flew towards the cage, while a pack of restless dissidents rocked and rattled its very moorings, even climbing it before being kicked off by the strong foot of the law. Attractive, sweaty, beer-fueled people threw their arms to the sky and danced -- a true show for the ages.

As Stallion's set continued, many exhausted fans were sent into a daze by the mellow melodic stylings of “You Better Run,” and things calmed down a bit. It was if all the energy of the day was shot into the sun, then shot right back down at the cage, a vortex of rock 'n roll superiority. Even a Sub Pop exec was seen side-stage being lulled into fascination by the chugging of Dynamite's bass.

Just as the crowd began to sway back and forth in a stupor from Stallion's audible attack, they hit them with a flying elbow with “OFF THE TOP ROPE!” The pit was snapped back to attention like hungry dogs hearing the kibble hit the bowl. The cage was being climbed to the top, poles were bending like the strings of Luke's guitar, but “Hollywood” was paying attention to something else. To stage left, a horror appeared: led by the huge, menacing Goblyn, a dozen disgruntled wrestlers angrily appeared at the cage door, having heard Stallion's lavish insults. The Eh Team's Chase James procured a circular saw from a nearby construction site and began cutting into the super-thick steel chain that held back the enraged muscle hamsters from reaching Stallion. Luscious Luke started to throw amplifiers in a fruitless attempt to block the cage door as manager Marty Caballero desperately began to cut open the opposite side of the cage to make an escape route for the champs – their only hope.

Bursting through the destroyed cage door, an entire football team of men stared the band down, and in that moment, a decision was made. In a shocking betrayal, Goblyn turned his head and spat a hideous green mist into the eyes of the wrestlers, blinding and forcing them back with his acrid saliva as he and the champs escaped out of the cage and into Caballero's vintage white El Camino. The screech of tires echoed and the smoke of burned rubber drifted throughout the valley as Stallion made their getaway, championship belt held high into the dusky blue evening skies. The stupefied and startled wrestlers tried to make sense of what just happened, and the entire joyfully-exhausted crowd tried to imagine what the hell Stallion is going to bring for Rager 3 in 2019.

(photo courtesy Ernie Fuglevand)

(photo courtesy Jen Knight)

(photos courtesy Kirsten Ballweg)

(photo courtesy Kirsten Ballweg)