October 4, 2022

Wrestling is in the DNA of Westside Gunn’s music. “Wrestling for me is like how Wu-Tang had karate,” Gunn said to Pitchfork. “It just goes hand in hand.” He also walks the walk; he regularly gets front row tickets at wrestling shows. It’s not a promotional thing—he’s never shouted out on commentary and his name doesn’t get displayed on screen. He was caught on camera during televised AEW segments featuring Kevin Gates and T-Pain, but he went entirely unmentioned.

That changed on Wednesday night. For the main event of AEW Dynamite, broadcast live on TBS from Buffalo’s KeyBank Center, Westside Gunn performed his verse from Griselda’s WWCD track “Dr. Birds” at the top of the entrance platform. He was there to play the hometown technical wrestler Daniel Garcia to the ring for a championship match. A full Griselda-representing crew—mostly Gunn’s nephews—dominated the first row in matching red sweatshirts. “Tell Virgil to write ‘brick’ on my brick,” Gunn shouted into the mic as Garcia walked out. The wrestler (or sports entertainer, depending on who you ask) won the belt that night and celebrated in a cloud of red confetti.

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On Thursday, nearly 24 hours later, Gunn was still buzzing from the experience. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this high,” Gunn said on the phone during a break from recording at a Buffalo studio. “Like I’m a stoner and I’ve never even been that high. Bro I’m still high. I can’t believe it still.”

“It definitely felt like the most Buffalo thing ever,” Garcia, the 24-year-old reigning Ring of Honor Pure Champion after Wednesday’s match with Wheeler Yuta, said of the night. Garcia has wrestled some of the best in the world over the past couple years and has been booked as a rising young star in AEW, but Wednesday was his first match at the biggest arena in his city. The crowd went predictably wild for his win. “Buffalo is a city where everyone takes pride in everything,” Garcia said. “Buffalo could have the world’s fastest knitter, and we would ride for them like they were the world heavyweight champion of MMA.”

Gunn’s performance was a long-belated acknowledgment from a major wrestling promotion on a weekly TV show, and it reflected his genuine endorsement of Garcia. “Danny, man, that’s a good friend of mine, man. He’s a Buffalo kid, and he’s actually the best,” Gunn said. “He’s already being challenged by the best and can only go up from here. I think he’s gonna be a world champion soon. I’m all for DG, man, I’m team DG.”

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