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Photo by Jack GouldPrimus blasts from a boom box in the corner of a living room in Orange, and the crowd—30 or more college students stinking of beer—erupts Man Show-style as tag-team champions the Beer Nuts swagger into the makeshift wrestling ring. Tim Turbo sits back, smiles and watches the chaos he has generated from nothing. A junior at nearby Chapman University, Turbo—born Timothy Hegarty—dreams of the day when his writing talent will take him to the bigs: World Wrestling Entertainment, which was until recently the World Wrestling Federation.
Until then, Hegarty feeds the average college student's seemingly depthless hunger for ass-kicking entertainment—and his own appetite for ass-kicking as art—with his own organization, the World Wrestling Confederation (WWC).
Turbo's obsession with wrestling began four years ago when he pissed away an entire winter break in front of the television, mesmerized by episodes of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown!, analyzing triple suplexes, leg drops, chokeslams and clotheslines artistically executed by the likes of the Rock, HHH, Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin. That's when Tim Turbo—Hegarty's alter ego—took shape, working behind-the-scenes, producing matches and promoting wrestlers. He lives in some fear that his parents will discover what the $20,000-per-year tuition has bought them.
It's a safe bet that when the general public—including Mr. and Mrs. Hegarty—thinks of wrestling, they think of yesterday's fried chicken, country music, mobile homes, generic beer and welfare fraud. Not Hegarty, who sees a future—and an outlet for his interest in creative writing. "I spend a lot of time working on this, but it is definitely something that I could use my creative writing major for," he says. "Writing scripts for wrestling is definitely something I want to break into. Besides, I think about this shit all the time."
It's true. Between his 15-unit load at Chapman University, a part-time tutoring gig and his job as a book-trade liaison at Image Comics, Hegarty sketches out plans for the WWC. Strewn about his two-bedroom apartment—which he shares with a fellow WWC wrestler—are sketches and scripts that will eventually turn into a match. It is reasonable—but probably not entirely necessary—to note that all of these sketches will be fleshed out on a low budget. A college student's budget. Wrestlers provide their own costumes. The wrestling ring is in a living room. Friends and partygoers serve as the audience. Publicity takes the form of fliers circulated among friends and Chapman students a day before the event.
Otherwise, Hegarty's faux wrestling matches mirror those on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). WWE has Backlash, No Way Out and Summer Slam; the WWC has Retaliation, No Escape and Spring Slam.
"We are not stealing from WWE. This is meant to be parody, not plagiarism," says Hegarty.
Or maybe it's homage. Each match is choreographed. First Step: two clotheslines, two punches and a suplex. Second Step: Backwards X factor while opponent walks away. Third Step: Bounce off the ropes and do a huge clothesline into opponent. Everything is scripted, like this excerpt from the WWC's Spring Slam match, in which Hegarty admonishes the crowd: "Safety definitely comes first. Though this is strictly for entertainment, our primary concern is that no one gets hurt. We do not want to be mistaken for backyard wrestling; we clearly do our wrestling in the family room."
"I like wrestling for the same reason I like comic books," Hegarty says. "There are big stories with a lot of characters. When I was writing stories back in high school, I would come up with a list of bizarre characters and then figure out how they all came together. A wrestling roster does the same thing."
Hegarty's roster includes CyberKill, El Mejor, Tommy Chopps, the Dream Weaver and the Pastor of Disaster.
"I think Tim really understands the concept of writing wrestling plots and subplots. He gets everyone interested," says Tommy Jimenez, also known as WWC wrestler Tommy Chopps.
"Tim is a wrestling genius," says Teresa Goshorn, also known as Triple X, the WWC's woman champion. "He's got the creative mind for it. He can think everything out in wrestling terms, putting all of our ridiculous lives into a wrestling match."
Even his teacher predicts great things in forthcoming chapters of the in-progress Life of Tim Turbo. "I find wrestling ridiculous in every sense of the word," said Jan Osborn, Hegarty's English adviser at Chapman University. "But that's Tim's gift: to satirize that which is most satirizable, to embrace it completely and make a larger statement."
A larger statement? Through the medium of wrestling? Sure, says Hegarty: "Aside from being a satire on backyard wrestling, it's a satire on how stupid we are thinking we're not going to get hurt wrestling on the living-room rug."