LINCOLN SQUARE — Marshe Rockett slammed Acid Jaz to the ground, kicked him in the face and kneed him in the groin.
And then the combatants — members of the Resistance Pro Wrestling tour — shook hands.
The performance was all part of the wrestling crew's Positive Outreach Program, which made a stop at Amundsen High School on Friday. Wrestlers put on a couple of exhibition matches followed by motivational messages.
POP draws in kids with the sport's entertainment value, and then once it's grabbed their attention, drives home a point: "We're a family, we fight hard, then we go home," said Billy Corgan, Resistance Pro's creative director, better known as front man for Smashing Pumpkins.
For kids who are part of a subculture that demands a certain type of behavior, POP attempts to demonstrate "you don't have to keep up the pose 24/7," said Corgan, who added that he himself has "taken a lot of sh-- for not acting like a rock star when you're not on stage."
In POP's hands, platitudes like "follow your dreams" and "reach for the stars" take the more relatable form of 5-foot-2 D'Arcy Dixon, Resistance Pro's reigning women's champ.
The petite yet muscle-bound wrestler struggled to even find a place to train when she started the sport. She makes her home in Asheville, N.C., and drove through the night to get to the Amundsen event.
"Wrestling allows very different people to be successful," she said, noting that the previous champ stood 6-foot-4. "You take whatever you have and you make it your thing, you use it to your advantage."
Select students were chosen to attend the performance at Amundsen, having been nominated by teachers either for consistently demonstrating adherence to the "Viking way" — accountability, honor and scholarship — or for showing significant improvement toward those goals, according to Principal Anna Pavichevich.
"It's about showing these kids that we love and respect the work they put into being better every day," she said.
Sean Young, who performs with Resistance Pro as C-Red, is also a teacher with Chicago Public Schools (So are Rockett and Jaz.) and has children enrolled in CPS. It was his idea to bring POP to CPS.
"We believe in the educational system, and more importantly, we believe in you guys," Young told the Amundsen students.
"I'm sick and tired of every night, I have to turn on the TV and hear about some baloney in this city," said Young, who, like all Resistance Pro members, keeps his language PG.
"I want to hear about you guys getting scholarships. I want to hear about you guys getting into college," he continued. "You guys will come across many different obstacles. ... It's how you face them. All of us in this ring were told at one time or another that we couldn't do something."
Wrestling is uniquely positioned to deliver positive messages to students, largely because of its multicultural roots, said Corgan.
"Wrestling brings people together who would never be together," he said. Even more than touring the world with the Pumpkins, wrestling has brought him into contact "not just with black, white or brown, but people of different sociological backgrounds."
Resistance Pro's motley crew comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.
"We don't have a mold to fill," said Dixon, a fact that strikes a chords with students.
"If you feel like a misfit, we're all messed up," she said. "There are people," like wrestlers, "who are weird, who do weird things. You can veer from the straight and narrow."
Resistance Pro is holding its championship matches at Amundsen Saturday night. Doors open at 6 p.m., pre-show matches start at 7 p.m., and the main event gets underway at 7:30 p.m. in the school's west gym, 5110 N. Damen Ave.
General admission tickets for the all-ages show are $15 and can be purchased online. Reserved tickets for rows two and three (Front row seats are already sold out.) include a backstage pass to a pre-show meet-and-greet, and cost $20.