Wrestling sure has gotten more creative in the 21st century. I remember being enthralled by the theatrics of the WWF, watching fervently as a kid. Every surprise in and out of the ring had me transfixed. Had I watched something like Kill City Cup as a kid, I’d probably be just as addicted to this wrestling format that embraces so much imagination and pageantry that it’s a treat for the eyes.

The Kill City Cup is established in a post-apocalyptic world run by the evil Kill Corp.. The vocal and vicious owner, Mr. Kill (Brian Kahrs), holds tournaments in his city for a chance to have a request granted. Thus, brutal showdowns in the ring are held for the wishes of the fighters and the entertainment of the crowd watching the event on TV.

A concept such as this requires much effort in the style and tone. Kill City Cup does not disappoint. The ring is centered around a colorful area of toxic drums, neon lights, and red alarm lights. The overseer of the fights sits atop a throne with skulls on the ends. The footage of the crowds watching outside in Kill City’s streets also fits the atmosphere. In establishing an environment, there’s much effort on display.

The wrestlers themselves are given a lot of character as well. They’re not just one-note concepts; the characters are presented with enough background, personality, and drive to be interesting. Everyone from the Munk with magical powers to the masked Russian Crush with her erotic look evocative of a Mortal Kombat character has stellar designs. It helps that the PT Barnum-style announcer gives them a solid build-up, and the Kill Corp president divulges what makes these characters so unique, absolutely chewing on every line like he’s in the most outlandish B-movie.

The fights are entertaining, considering how the production lets that combat speak for itself. It’s edited in a way to dart between the most exciting aspects, yet devoid of having too much commentary by the announcer. It’s a smart call, considering it gives the audience a chance to appreciate the spectacular nature of the scenes, making you feel like you’re cheering along with the crowds. The 60fps video only adds to the nature of making the narrative feel more like a sporting event where wrestlers kill for their freedom.

The performances of the many fighters, ranging from mad scientists to cyborgs, are all unique. Some are more gimmicky than others, and a few have the classic look and feel of wrestlers one might expect from WWE. Their acting in the ring finds just the right amount of camp and grit to be an entertaining battle.

But special kudos need to be paid to Brian Kahrs and Gia Love, who are having a blast with their roles as the onlookers of the fight. Though they don’t get involved with the ring, they chow down on their lines. Brian gets into the battles with his snarling and sneering, while Gia has a complimentary cackle for being the right-hand busty sidekick of Queen Gia. Watching them laugh manically in the final shot as they hold cartoonish bags of money is so over-the-top that I couldn’t help but love it.

Kill City Cup is a wacky wrestling production, but with a lot of enthusiasm and production quality placed into it, making it a ludicrous dose of hammed-up carnage worth watching. As someone who hasn’t gotten into wrestling in the past few years, watching this devoted production dug up some warm memories of rushing to the TV to catch the latest match. It’s a costumed murder ballet like no other.

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