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Interview: Billy Corgan throws his hat into the professional wrestling ring

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan and comedian Jerry Seinfeld went at it during a dinner in New York a decade or so ago. Not physically — this is Seinfeld we’re talking about — but the two men did engage in a friendly debate in front of the other dinner guests at the table. The topic?

Professional wrestling.

Seinfeld had heard from one of the other guests that Corgan was a die-hard wrestling fan. And being the comedian that he is, Seinfeld made light of it at Corgan’s expense.

“He mocked me in his Seinfeld voice,” said Corgan over the phone last month. “It was interesting to hear someone as bright as he is give his take on wrestling and then have me, who is (no slouch) either, defend it.”

Corgan has had to defend pro wrestling often over the years and will have to do it even more now that he has started his own independent wrestling promotion, Resistance Pro, which makes its debut Friday at Excalibur.

The promotion — which features ex-WWE Superstars David Hart Smith (a.k.a. Harry Smith), Scotty Goldman (a.k.a. Colt Cabana) and Victoria (a.k.a. Tara) — will pride itself on its storylines rather than dangerous wrestling maneuvers. Corgan knows first-hand about wrestling injuries (he received a concussion during an appearance on an Extreme Championship Wrestling show in 2000 when he was hit in the back of the head with a phone), and he is putting an emphasis on the wrestlers’ safety.

Does the 44-year-old rocker plan on stepping into the ring again himself?

“Honestly, I’d be happy if I never got in the ring again,” said Corgan, who will serve as Resistance Pro's creative director. “I’m more interested in helping talent. Maybe if there’s a really good reason to do it — if I thought it was a way of getting someone else over.”

The Chicago-based promotion will hold events once or twice a month in hopes that Resistance Pro will later become a weekly phenomenon and spread to nearby cities like Milwaukee and Peoria. Resistance Pro isn’t scheduled to air on television, but Corgan said he has had meetings in Los Angeles about taping a Resistance Pro reality show.

Asked if the two wrestling giants that currently air on national TV, WWE and TNA (Total Nonstop Action), are Resistance Pro’s rival, Corgan said: “At this point, they’re an ally. There are great things about both. But there are things I want to do differently, which is why I want to get in the biz. I think we’re going to run things a little funkier and more edgy.”

And if you’re wondering if Corgan’s famous rock friends will make an appearance for publicity sake, he said he would prefer to concentrate on making Resistance Pro’s wrestlers the stars rather than have someone from a band make an appearance and simply wave to the crowd.

Corgan isn’t trying to create a product that will appeal to everyone (the show is for adults 21 and over). He said he knows some people will never get into wrestling because they think it’s “dumb.” And that’s OK, because Corgan thinks it’s kind of dumb as well.

“Wrestling is one of those things people don’t get,” Corgan said. “It’s not for everybody. But it’s a fascinating way of exploring friendship and betrayal with fake physical combat. People say it’s dumb, but wrestling is supposed to be kind of dumb. It’s not supposed to be a Van Gogh. It’s an escapist thing that allows people to forget their problems.”

Twitter @aboutluisgomez

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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