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Do a Powerbomb Reveals a Heartbreaking Truth About Pro Wrestling

Do A Powerbomb challenges readers to step inside the squared circle and experience the pain and the power of professional wrestling.

The following contains major spoilers for Do A Powerbomb #1, available now from Image Comics.

In 1998, Mick Foley, otherwise known as Mankind, was thrown off a 22-foot steel cage during WWF’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view. As Foley’s body flew through the air, the audience and the announcers gasped, concerned for Foley’s safety. After crashing, Mick landed shoulder-first into the thinly-padded concrete. Thankfully, Foley was lifted onto a stretcher and led up the entrance ramp, but the match did not end there. Mick lifted himself off the stretcher, and climbed up the 20 feet steel structure known as Hell in a Cell. The match concluded after Foley lands head-first on a pile of thumbtacks, which allowed The Undertaker to cease his brutality.

Considered by pro wrestling fans to be one of the most influential wrestling matches of all time, 1998’s Hell in a Cell match displayed the extraordinary lengths wrestlers will go to entertain their fans. Throughout the match, Foley endured unimaginable pain, suffering bruised ribs, internal bleeding, and a dislocated jaw and shoulder. Unfortunately, Mick Foley’s inhuman ability to skirt death is the exception, not the rule, in professional wrestling. Similarly, Do A Powerbomb #1 (by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer) understands the pain and the power of pro wrestling and celebrates what makes wrestling an enduring work of art.

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In the opening scenes of Do A Powerbomb, readers meet Yua Steelrose, the reigning Tokyo Grand Heavyweight Champion, and Lona, her daughter and #1 fan. Yua was set to defend her title in the main event and inspire her daughter to follow her passion. The bell rang, and Yua launched a barrage of attacks, stunning her opponent, Cobrasun, and gaining the upper hand. Things quickly turn south, however, and Cobrasun elbowed Yua and launched her into the crowd.

Lona gasped and tried to jump the guardrails to rescue her mom, but her Uncle Blood stood in her way. As the match continued, Cobrasun sent Yua tumbling into the ring and slithered under the bottom rope to follow her. Sensing the crowd’s excitement, Cobrasun lifted Yua to the top rope for a high-risk facebuster. As Yua dangled upside down, Cobrasun slipped on the ropes and dropped Yua neck-first onto the canvas below. Lona sprinted into the ring to save her mother, but it was too late: Yua Steelrose was dead.

Throughout its long lineage, countless pro wrestlers have died because of their commitment to the sport. Professional wrestlers die at three times the rate of the average American male and exhibit a drastically higher mortality rate than athletes in any sport. In this vein, Do A Powerbomb honors the legacy of every pro wrestler who has sacrificed their bodies for the wrestling business. Through his portrayal of Yua’s family, Johnson reminds readers that pro wrestlers risk losing their loved ones every time they step foot in a ring.

Many wrestlers travel over 200 days a year, often missing birthdays, holidays, and funerals just to wrestle a 10-15 minute match. Wrestling is a sport full of triumph and tragedy, and Lona refused to let tragedy seal her fate. Despite her father’s disapproval, Lona believed she must continue her mother’s legacy as a professional wrestler, and by the issue’s end, Lona has discovered a way to transform her tragedy into triumph–for now.

Based on his experience as a wrestler, Jeff wrote Paper Champion, a comic about cardboard wrestling belts, haunted dreams, and healing from loss. Today, Jeff continues to write comics, play soulful metal on his 8-string guitar, and analyze comics here at CBR.

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