As Pride month nears its end, the only place left for its expanded slate of pro wrestling events highlighting LGBTQ wrestlers and creators to go is the bent, comical realm known as Camp Leapfrog’s Killianvison.
Born from the mind of king Goon himself, out pro wrestler Killian McMurphy, Killianvision sees him and his “very best friend” and frequent collaborator “Big Dust” Dustin Wilson take the creative reins from Camp Leapfrog leadership Kris Levin and Sam Leterna to craft something even more over-the-top than Camp Leapfrog’s usual wackiness.
Killianvision was initially conceived as a traditional Pride event, which makes sense for Camp Leapfrog, considering the number of LGBTQ wrestlers it regularly features. But McMurphy wanted to do something that he believes speaks more to opportunity than optics.
“We didn’t really want to do the super heavy-handed Pride thing where we put rainbows on all the straight people and pretend like that makes a difference,” McMurphy told Outsports.
“We thought the best version of a Pride show we could possibly do was giving queer people a platform to really express themselves in a revolutionary way; a way that hasn’t been seen in pro wrestling or a lot of media before,” he added. “The opportunity to give that chance to make art for queer people is so much bigger than just slapping rainbows on a bunch of straighties.”
McMurphy found similar opportunities during his time with Camp Leapfrog. His stable, The Goons (McMurphy, Eel O’Neal, Myles Millennium, Wilson), emerged as the promotion’s top villains and clowns through antics more often found in cartoons than the ring. Their popularity quickly extended beyond Camp Leapfrog, popping up in Pro Wrestling Magic, Butch vs. Gore and Pizza Party Wrestling.
The group’s collaborations resulted in two online video series: The Big Goddamn Cinematic and The Big Goddamn Cine-Magic, the latter of which resulted in a 50-minute cinematic match that saw McMurphy challenge Erica Leigh for the Pro Wrestling Magic championship. Those presentations directly led to Killianvision’s creation and earned McMurphy and Wilson permanent positions on Camp Leapfrog’s production team.
McMurphy points to their success as vindication for his belief that pro wrestling should look outward in order to evolve. “People try to show me wrestling clips and I’m like, ‘Please, no. Don’t ruin my sweet little virgin eyes,’” he said. I want to steal my stuff from Sonic the Hedgehog, Pixar movies, Dumb and Dumber and early Simpsons.
“There are thousands and thousands of inspirations that are just a click away in the era that we’re living in. How people are still caught up in the bubble of professional wrestling absolutely blows my mind. We’re a bunch of theatre kids. We’re bringing that into professional wrestling, which is the spark of art that is desperately needed.”
In that vein, McMurphy describes Killianvision as “stepping into an episodic animated television show” that operates on “cartoon logic.”
“It’s like that scene in Space Jam where Daffy goes, ‘This is Looney Tunes land. You can do anything.’ And Michael Jordan is like oh, ‘I’ve just been playing normal basketball this whole time for some reason,’” he said.
McMurphy credits Wilson for being a catalyst for his shift in outlook.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am success-wise, without Dustin during the pandemic and over the last two years,” McMurphy said.
“His drive, motivation, skill, intelligence and, this sounds silly, athleticism have been unfathomable in how important it is to me. We all could have never done any of this … I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a group with the chemistry and the authentic love that you find within The Goons.”
The Goons’ approach fits squarely into McMurphy’s own depiction in pro wrestling: a technically sound villain that embraces humor, holding immense pride in his queer identity without regular outward expression.
“I’m not the kind that blankets things in rainbow,” McMurphy said. “I take a lot of pride in being queer and being one half of the first queer couple, but, as far as donning the flag just to don it, I’m definitely not one of those kinds of people. I think delivering a strong message and giving queer people a chance to express themselves is more important than any seven colors.”
To that end, McMurphy wants Killianvision to be an avenue for LGBTQ wrestlers who, like himself, often find themselves omitted from the glorification of LGBTQ pro wrestling because of their presentations to make a statement.
“It’s very frustrating that they’re not thought of when it comes to queer talent,” McMurphy said. “Is it because they look like a big, ol’ straighty? Is it because they’re not a feminine gay man? Is it because they don’t have a rainbow in their profile? It’s just lost on me.”
In the same way that McMurphy felt validated by Levin and Leterna turning to him to craft Killianvision, he wants to offer the same to his queer siblings when Camp Leapfrog enters the Gooniverse at Killianvision on Tuesday, June 29, at 10pm ET/7pm PT on Independentwresting.tv