Donald Trump killed Tim Faust’s dream and made his friends a little bit more scared this week, so he came up with an idea to fight back—or at least teach some of his friends how.
Faust is the creator and general manager of Party World Rasslin’, an Austin-based pro-wrestling promoter. One of the women in PWR mentioned on Facebook that “she felt unsafe and wanted to take a self-defense course.”
On Thursday morning, he woke up with an idea: Host a free self-defense course for women at the brewery/arena where they hold the wrestling shows. He hopped on Twitter to ask if anybody could provide some free help teaching the class.
“I reckon that’s a resource we could provide for our staff and other women in our community,” Faust told The Daily Beast.
Immediately he was inundated. Actually, really immediately. People are desperate to help.
“It became real about 90 minutes later,” he said.
Countless Americans are seeking ways to help out groups whose rights President-elect Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, have pledged to strip during their campaign—from women to immigrants to people in the LGBT community. But Faust felt compelled to act tangibly right away, even if all he had to offer was a warehouse usually used for powerbombs.
On Sunday, the female-owned Lions Krav Maga in Austin will run a two-hour workshop for anyone who wants to learn self-defense. Anybody who comes by can drop money in a donation bucket to the Lilith Fund, if they can swing it. If it goes well, Faust says, they’ll do it again. (You can find out more information here.)
“The internet is cool and PWR has been lucky to build up a multiverse of sharp, kind people who helped me find a few options,” said Faust. “Plus, we like to talk about how we’re a safe space. Listening to and supporting our friends who will suffer under a Trump presidency is just part of living with integrity.”
While Faust loves his life as the weirdest pro-wrestling promoter in Austin, he had been planning to go into a more traditional public service career next. He’d been sending out applications for grad school.
“I wanted to get a master’s of public health or master’s of public administration degree so I could go work for a state Medicaid inspector or medical-cost panel or maybe the CCIIO [Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight]—the only folks who can drive down medical costs until a centralized federal public option exists,” he said.
“Looks like that dream might have been thrown into the trash bin—so I’ve gotta find projects to keep me busy,” Faust said. “Solidarity is the only way through.”
That’s where the squared circle came into play. PWR, after all, is not a traditional pro-wrestling organization like the WWE, where the president-elect is—no joke—a Hall of Famer for a stint he had at Wrestlemania. The group, instead, draws on Faust’s roots as a theater major.
The last show was “Skeleton Cruise” themed, where “we traveled 69,000 leagues under the sea to free a ghost ship from the curse of Poseiborg, robot lord of the ocean—while legendary Nova Scotian longshoreman Dock Master fought Partyweight Champion and HELLSPORT endorsee Dan ‘The Man’ Ziglar for the title.”
As you can tell, Faust is doing his civic duty to keep Austin—and now America—weird. And 1,800 people show up every time.
“It’s also a free show and a safe space,” he said. “We want to push people’s buttons and make them react, but we want to do so within explicit boundaries that do not exploit oppressed groups or survivors of real-world violence.”
In other words, he said: “Slam up, not down.”
Oh, and if you recognize Faust’s name, it’s because he sold about $70,000 worth of T-shirts that claimed “Ted Cruz Is the Zodiac Killer” earlier this election cycle. (Trump later one-upped him, earnestly alluding to a National Enquirer allegation that Cruz’s father was part of a plot to kill JFK, and now he’s going to be the president.)
On Thursday, he got creative with his support for affected communities in a very real way once again. And, with a wave of rights about to be potentially stripped from women in a country where Trump is about to be president, he’s imploring everyone else to do the same.
“Solidarity begins at home. I care about my friends, I care about my staff, and I want to have their back—and the backs of anyone who needs it—because that’s the only way we get through the next four years,” he said.
“I am lucky to have an organization I find creatively fulfilling, and I must pay forward that joy. I must put my shoulder to the wheel.”