Photos and story by Christopher Smith, Special to Ink
“When you’re 6-foot-5-inches and super handsome, it would be a crime not to wrestle,” declares Dak Draper as he warms up backstage at the Kansas City Scottish Rite, 1330 Linwood Blvd., before his bout against Beautiful Bobby on Saturday.
“When there are 600 to 700 people in the building and all eyes are on me, I love it,” he adds.
This bravado, this ego, is typical of the National Wrasslin’ League, an organization that takes its cues from the glory days of professional wrestling.
“We’re more of an ’80s and ’90s style but with modern athletes,” says Major Baisden, owner and CEO.
The athleticism is evident with leaps, and flips from the top rope, bodies flying from the ring in nearly every match.
Dak Draper is a former football player, MMA fighter and amateur wrestler. “This is the most brutal thing I’ve ever done,” he says.
The crowd feeds off the storylines of good versus evil and screams and yells for their heroes, giving energy back to the ring.
“We are trying to create a new form of wrestling that is extremely character-driven and regional. It has a hometown feel like minor league baseball, but this is also a world-class production,” Baisden says.
After Hours is Christopher Smith’s photo column exploring Kansas City at night. Send story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.