Friday, April 1, 2011

They Want a Shot

Shane Rich vs. Livewire McGuire

I've written before about the independent wrestling groups in southern Illinois.  There are actually quite a few to choice from. One that I've kept an eye on is AAPW.  Many of the guys on these shows wrestle for some of the other local groups.  Not one promotion has a consistent schedule, so they work several different shows in the course of a month.

All American Pro Wrestling is trying to change that.  On Saturday, April 2nd, they'll embark on a new venture.  They're working with video students at Southern Illinois University to produce a show for television.  While there's no deal in place for AAPW, this is a step in the right direction.  The men and women associated with this group work hard each time they perform.  They do so for little money and not a whole lot of fame.  But to the fans who attend the shows, mostly at churches and school gyms, these guys are heroes.  I admire the work the independent wrestler does. They put their bodies on the line for sometimes just dozens of fans in the crowd and do so with the enthusiasm of a WWE Superstar.

The King reigns supreme
In fact, they've worked with current and former WWE Superstars.  Greg Valentine, Brutus Beefcake, and Al Snow have all worked shows.  So had Billy Gunn and Kevin Throne.  And just last year, Jerry "the King" Lawler worked a main event for them.  AAPW brings in a couple of big names occasionally, but they're working hard to develop the homegrown talent.  

Because of my job, I am able to help get the word out about wrestling.  Some times we do it in a fun way.  Earlier this week, in an attempt to promote Saturday's TV taping, I invited announcer Chris Hagstrom and wrestler Heath Hatton on the show.  The last time Heath visited, he called me Kevin Cheeseburger and insulted me on the air.  This time, he was nicer, and well he was the victim of an attack by Mike Masters.  So I did what any news anchor would do.  Click here to see what went down live on the air.

It was a lot of fun, and viewers I talked to seemed to enjoy it too.  I feared people would be worked up that the morning news anchor was getting too violent.  But that wasn't the case.  I'm hoping there will be more chances for AAPW to flourish and the stars of this show get a chance to shine a little brighter.

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