MOONEYHAM COLUMN: Brawling beauties have the right fluff

Saturday Night Pillow Fights is a new "sport" that is going viral.

It’s a little bit wrestling, a little bit MMA, with some Girls Gone Wild thrown in for good measure.

OK, truthfully, there’s not a whole lot of wrestling or mixed martial arts.

This new entertainment experience known as “Saturday Night Pillow Fights” describes itself as a wrestling league with an edge.

“Imagine the characters of WWE wrestling, the heated battles of UFC, and the allure of Girls Gone Wild all thrown together into a blender. Now pour yourself a glass of Saturday Night Pillow Fights,” read one review.

The participants are athletic and pretty, performing submissions and takedowns in three-round exhibitions.

And yes, they use pillows as weapons.

But make no mistake. This is not your mother’s pillow-tussling, sleepover slumber party.

Some of the basic concepts of pro wrestling are intact. There’s good versus evil, with stereotypical characters portraying female crime bosses, blonde beauty queens, baseball-themed bombshells and lovable country hotties, and sporting names like Alexis Capone, Goddess Luna, Babe Ruthless, Syster Syn and Fallyn Angel.

The queen-sized action takes place inside a UFC-style octagon. The brawling beauties are adorned in lingerie.

There’s no nudity, say organizers, and the participants are all “trained and capable.”

You get the picture.

The lingerie league is slightly reminiscent of the mid-’80s promotion GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). That show enjoyed a successful run on television by featuring colorful characters, beautiful women and over-the-top comedy sketches.

Like GLOW, SNPF not only encourages cheesecake, it embraces it.

“We’re hoping we’re just a comedic level above the Lingerie Bowl. Nobody’s going to watch that to see who scores the most points,” says co-creator Chuck Lamb, an interesting character in his own right who serves as a broadcaster for the promotion.

“We tried to make it funny enough where a guy can have a couple of beers and enjoy it. We try not to be classless with the ladies. We didn’t want to show any nudity, but we wanted to be able to market it.”

The concept for SNPF was the brainchild of Lamb along with Rick Hills and Mike Neider of MadShiva Entertainment.

“All of us loved wrestling. I had been doing some movie stuff anyway, and Mike is a great promoter who got a hold of all the girls and the training facility. They worked thousands of hours before we even started thinking about taping a show.”

The group held auditions and went through nearly 50 applicants before a dozen were selected.

“A lot of them thought they were just going to get in and dance around,” says Lamb. “They didn’t understand that it’s tiring and a lot of work. We actually put them through two full months of twice-a-week training at a local martial arts academy that had a cage. We brought in a guy who could show them how to fall and how to not hurt each other.”

The production and the training, says Lamb, are still works in progress.

“We’re continuing to improve. The girls are really good. Some of them are moms, some of them are models and professionals, and they are really into it. We narrowed it down to about a dozen and came up with nicknames and personas for them. We’re hoping that it will take off.”

Lamb realizes there will be critics who pan the product.

“That’s OK, but it’s as real as TNA or WWE is. They like to go out there and show who’s best, and they like to show off their bodies and personalities.”

The short-term goal, says Lamb, is to market mail-order DVDs. The promotion recently recorded its first live uncensored event. Lamb has feelers out to a number of distributors for possible worldwide distribution, and plans to begin running late-night commercials in the near future, along with promoting the product at various fan conventions.

Lamb is no stranger to sideshow shtick. Known as the “Dead Body Guy,” he has gained notoriety playing dead people in film and television. CNN recently called him the “world’s most famous dead person still living.”

It’s a weird hobby, to say the least, but Lamb has parlayed his passion into something creatively and financially rewarding.

Since 2005, the mild-mannered, 53-year-old ex-computer programmer from Columbus, Ohio, has posted pictures of himself in various “dead” poses on his website, www.deadbodyguy.com, attracting more than 50 million hits from more than 150 countries.

Lamb’s resume includes numerous appearances on a variety of shows such as Good Morning America, CBS Early Morning and TMZ.

His attempts to secure roles as a corpse in movie and TV shows have been fairly successful.

Then again, not everyone wants to be a professional dead man.

“I want to be the most famous dead body alive,” he boasts.

His transition to “Dead Body Guy” began innocently enough.

“My wife and I were watching ‘Law and Order’ one night,” explains Lamb. “I told her I could be on TV or in a movie if I wanted to. I had a dream later that night that I was Homer Simpson, laying dead, and (late ‘Law and Order’ star) Jerry Orbach was standing above me making a wisecrack. I was the dead body.

“I woke my wife up at 5 in the morning and told my wife that I was going to be on TV. She asked me how I was going to do that. I told her I was going to be ‘Dead Body Guy.’ I put my hands on my hips like a superhero. She started laughing.”

Later that day his wife took some photos of Lamb and sent them out virally.

“Less than six weeks later, I was on the front cover of the New York Times,” says Lamb. “I’ve had more than 50 million hits since then. I’ve been in 12 movies. I’ve been on virtually every major talk show. The thing just went nuts.”

A film crew from Germany recently visited Lamb at his home in Ohio.

“We did some dead scenes with them and some comedy stuff. They’re doing a documentary on the seven craziest people in the world. I’m number three.”

Lamb landed a role in the 2006 movie “Stiffs” during an interview with former MSNBC reporter Rita Cosby. His role in the movie, which starred comedian Danny Aiello, was that of a dead man in a body bag. Other film credits include “Krampus,” “Book of the Dead,” “Stiffs,” “Thankskilling,” “Horrorween” and “Kentucky Horror Show.”

“I can lay around with the best of him,” jokes Lamb, who ironically once worked for an insurance company.

“You talk about some folks getting mad when ‘Dead Guy’ hit ... to have a famous dead guy working for an insurance company. I would get calls on my cell phone, and I’d have to sneak under tables in the conference room to do radio interviews. It was bad.”

Three back surgeries in the last few years have limited Lamb’s traveling.

“It’s slowed me down a bunch and put a damper on the dead guy thing. But I’d love to do some more. I hold the world record for having the strangest hobby in the world ... playing dead. As long as you keep it light and funny, it’s cool.”

It’s not that Lamb is fascinated with death. Far from it. He simply wants to make people laugh.

“I should have been a wrestler,” he says. “I’m loud and I demand attention. I wanted to get my 15 minutes of fame in.”

Lamb is no newcomer to the pro wrestling scene. He’s a lifelong fan who grew up in the mountains of Asheville, N.C., and followed Mid-Atlantic greats such as Johnny Weaver and The Anderson Brothers.

“I grew up watching wrestling,” he says. “I’ve always loved wrestling, I’ve always had a fascination with it.”

Lamb says he met his future wife while buying a wrestling pay-per-view, and he took her on their eighth anniversary to a wrestling show in Las Vegas.

One of the highlights of Lamb’s cult celebrity status was meeting Roddy Piper at a 2006 convention in Los Angeles.

“A few years ago I did a Fangoria horror convention in L.A. Rowdy Roddy Piper was there because he had just done a film called ‘Sin-Jin Smyth’ that he was promoting.”

Piper could hear Lamb from three booths down.

“You’re having too much fun,” Piper told Lamb. “Why don’t you send some of those reporters down over here?”

Lamb says he was glad to oblige and took a couple of TV reporters over to Piper’s booth.

“This is a real honor for me,” Lamb told Piper. “You don’t understand what a big wrestling fan I am. I’ve been a fan since the late ‘60s.”

When Lamb extended his hand, Piper reached out to shake it, but an angle emerged, unbeknownst to Piper.

“It’s just an honor to meet you, Mr. Hogan,” Lamb said wryly.

“He looked at me, winked and speared me,” says Lamb. “He got me right in the gut, got on top of me, told me to play along and cover up, and proceeded to beat the snot out of me. But I loved every minute of it.”

TV crews recorded the footage, and both camps got major publicity out of the “incident.”

“We had a beer later on that night,” Lamb recalls. “He thanked me for the publicity, and I told him that’s what we were all here for.”

Lamb was such a fan, he says, that he’d even travel with buddies from Columbus, Ohio, to attend the matches at Atlanta’s Omni back in the heyday of Georgia Championship Wrestling.

“I’d grab my brother’s professional-looking camera equipment and go through the back door of the Omni, and told them I was a photographer with The Columbus Dispatch (newspaper). I actually got to go inside the railing.”

He proudly recalls attending a show at the Omni in 1980 when Ole Anderson made his classic heel turn on fan favorite Dusty Rhodes. But it was another bout on that show that left him with a special memory.

“Kevin Sullivan and Maniac Mark Lewin had a fight that night with baseball bats with Abdullah The Butcher and somebody else, and I snapped Abdullah’s picture with the flash. Now I knew what wrestling was and I knew what it wasn’t. But he looked at me crazy and lifted that bat up, and I jumped two rows deep over the rail. I nearly got beat up for jumping into the fans. It was hilarious.”

Lamb’s motivation, he says, is quite simple. He’s always dreamed of being in a movie or on TV.

“I’m like a six-foot, 200-pound, bald, fat Cinderella. My dream got made by me doing one little stupid thing ... playing dead and trying to make people laugh. It’s been a blessing. It’s been really cool.”

The Saturday Night Pillow Fights DVD is now available on Amazon.com and through the website at www.saturdaynightpillowfights.com.

-- Old School Championship Wrestling is opening its 2012 schedule with “February Feud” on Feb. 26 at the Hanahan Rec Center.

Former ECW, TNA and WWE star Al Snow will meet John Skyler in one of the featured bouts on the show. The first OSCW ladies’ title match will pit former WWE hardcore champ Bobcat against Pandora.

For more information, call 843-743-4800 or visit www.oscwonline.com.

Reach Mike Mooneyham at 843-937-5517 or follow him on Twitter at @ByMikeMooneyham and on Facebook.