At the Saga Club, every month, a group of athletes put their bodies on the line
to bring professional wrestling to Erie.
On Friday and Saturday, the wrestlers of Pro Wrestling Rampage are celebrating the league's 10th anniversary by doing what they do best---beating each other up.
"It just shows that professional wrestling isn't dead,” said PWR wrestler “Big League” John McChesney. “It shows that we're going to be here for a long time."
McChesney has been with PWR since day one and like many other competitors, wrestling is in his blood.
"Honestly, it felt natural to me,” said McChesney. “I loved it when I was a kid. I watched it all the time when I was in high school. The rush of the crowd here, hearing the crowd, it just felt like something I wanted to do."
"I like the idea of getting paid to fight people,” said PWR wrestler “Big Time” Bill Collier. “It's one of those things that I never grew out of."
"It's something I've always wanted to do,” said PWR Benette Cole. “I fell in love with it at a really, really, early age. I guess I just never saw myself doing anything different."
"I've always loved wrestling,” said PWR wrestler PB Smooth. “My dad worked four jobs and like the only time he was home at night, that was the only thing that was on, so we would spend a lot of time watching wrestling, so the passion grew from there."
What started out as smaller shows at the Cauley Auditorium in 2007, PWR has grown into a monthly event, drawing hundreds of die-hard fans.
Wrestlers from all walks of life, united by the thrill of the ring.
"It's a huge adrenaline rush,” said McChesney. “It's awesome to hear the roar of the crowd for doing something that you love to do.
"The high that I experience when I'm wrestling, I can't even describe it,” said Cole. “It's something that usually lasts for me for days."
“Women's wrestling has grown so far, and PWR has really pushed a standard here,” said PWR wrestler Angel Dust. “They do their best, even in hard times, to bring in other females in the ring for me to be with."
"Getting to play an alter ego, is of course fun,” said PWR wrestler “Luscious” Rocky Reynolds. “I like to think that I'm a really nice guy, so when I go out there and I can be mean and get a reaction out of the crowd, that's fun.”
But it's no easy task.
"It takes a lot,” said Collier. “You have to be mentally prepared, as well as physically prepared. Mental preparation is just as important as the physical preparation."
"You're going to go, you're going to get beat up, and you're barely going to get paid anything,” said Reynolds. “That's just how it is. It's called paying your dues until you make a name for yourself and start moving up the latter in the business."
"Physically, it takes your body,” said McChesney. “I literally can’t wrestle for the next nine to ten months, because of how hard this sport can be. Mentally, you have to be prepared for a lot."
Each wrestler will tell you what they do, is far from fake.
"A lot of people call us fake, and a lot of other things,” said McChesney. “It's not. Absolutely not. You don't get to fake getting thrown from one side of the ring to the other.”
"A lot of people have the stigma of everything we do is fake,” said PB Smooth. “There is nothing comfortable about falling on a mat that's covered with a bunch of wood and rails, and things like that."
"People call this business fake,” said Reynolds. “Fake? No. Planned out? Yes. But what we do in that ring is more real than what fans know."
“For anybody who doubts what we do, I challenge them to try it before you knock it,” said Collier. “Come into our house and tell us what this is, and we'll tell you what it isn't."
Pro Wrestling Rampage will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with two wrestling shows on Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11.
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