This Sunday (August 19th), WWE will host SummerSlam, their premier summer pay-per-view event, but that's not all — the weekend will also feature several other events showcasing more technical, left-of-center wrestling, such as NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4. Fans from across every walk of life will be coming out to catch the action live or tuning in to see it go down onscreen, drawn by the theatricality, energy and extremity, all of which make a wrestling event very much akin to a high-octane, pyrotechnic rock concert. One such fan is Devin Holt, guitarist of Arkansas doom titans Pallbearer, who are out on the road supporting last year's crushing LP Heartless. We recently spoke to him about his love for all things wrestling, and what he's looking forward to this weekend at SummerSlam.
WHEN DID YOU BECOME A FAN OF WRESTLING?
I became a fan of wrestling around eight or nine years old, a great time to discover wrestling. As with many things early in life, I dove in headfirst. Immediately, I started collecting as many action figures and VHS tapes as I could.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY RELATED TO WRESTLING?
My first vivid memory related to wrestling involves my mom taking me to Walmart as a kid, and picking out a few wrestling shirts to wear for school. They were adult sizes and huge on me, but I was so proud of them at the time. I actually found one recently, and it still basically fits me now, which attests to how hilarious I must have looked at the time.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST FAVORITE WRESTLER?
Big Van Vader. He was a phenomenal athlete, absolutely electrifying at his best, and I was really bummed when he passed earlier this year. Vader had so much energy and ability, especially for a guy his size.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE WRESTLER RIGHT NOW?
Nobody's cooler than The Undertaker. I remember getting goosebumps as a kid when he would enter the ring. His entrances were always so over the top, and he was the only wrestler that ever actually seemed otherworldly to me.
FAVORITE MATCH OF ALL TIME?
Undertaker vs. Mankind at Hell in a Cell, 1998. I know it has become a cliché by now, but this was the best match from my favorite wrestler. Absolute classic.
BEST ENTRANCE THEME?
This is a tough one for me because wrestling themes were my first encounters with heavy music, and ultimately influenced the remainder of my life. Sean Michaels' "Sexy Boy" theme is the one I revisit most these days, so I'll go with that one. It's hilarious, features him singing on the track, and perfectly captures his over the top character.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FINISHING MOVE?
Kevin Nash's Jackknife Powerbomb is my all-time favorite finisher. Sheer power and brutality at its finest. It's a treat to watch him perform it every single time.
FAVORITE SUMMERSLAM MATCH?
Triple H vs. Sean Michaels, SummerSlam 2002. Anytime these two step into the ring together, it's gonna be an incredible match, and this one might have been their best. They are two of the best technical wrestlers ever.
IF YOU WERE A WRESTLER, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ENTRANCE THEME?
White Zombie, "Thunder Kiss '65." The main riff seems pretty much perfect for that context. It always gets me fired up, anyways.
WOULD YOU PREFER TO BE A HEEL OR A FACE, AND WHY?
As much as I would like to say that I would prefer to be a heel, being a face — particularly during the some of the best eras — would be incredible. Watching Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock get an arena full of people fired up is some of my favorite shit ever. A good heel is invaluable, and guys like Kurt Angle and Vince McMahon are some of the best, but for me, I think I'd prefer to be a face.
WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE BEST MATCH OF THE WEEKEND?
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. This has been an epic rivalry, and I'm sure this will be the one to watch. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Roman Reigns takes the title.