AS I SEE IT: Saving a Classic Indy Wrestling Venue
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Since I’ve discussed historic wrestling venues in the past, I wanted to pass along this item sent by Mike Mindaio of Absolute Intense Wrestling in Cleveland, OH.
Cleveland, Ohio – The Turners organization started in the 1800s in Germany. Many Germans immigrated to the US during the civil war. They started and maintained Turners Halls across the country where there were large German populations. These were social clubs where people would meet and promote athletics, talk politics and support labor movements. Now in modern times, they specialize in helping under privileged children and promoting athletics in children.
In Cleveland, the Turners organization bought a building on 7325 Guthrie Ave in 1993. The Cleveland Turners STV thrived with hundreds of members and events every weekend. But like most things of the 1990s, eventually there was a crash. Some key member’s deaths, and the general poor economy of Cleveland caused the organization in 2014 to be a shell of its former self.
A run down building on Cleveland’s west side doesn’t seem like much but for Cleveland Professional Wrestling’s history, it means everything. While there are rumors of shows in the past, most remember the start of wrestling with Cleveland Turners when JT Lightning started running Cleveland All Pro Wrestling there. He would run events there until 2007.
In that time, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Colt Cabana, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Samoa Joe, Rhyno, Alex Shelley, Frankie Kazarian, Nigel McGuiness, Amazing Red, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Jessicka Havok, Corey Graves, Angelina Love, Homicide, ODB, Madison
Rayne and many others came to Turners Hall to try to make a name for themselves. Mixed in were wrestling veterans like Harley Race, Raven, Abdullah The Butcher, Jerry Lynn, Super Nova, Tracy Smothers, New Jack, Billy Gunn, Chris Hamrick and others. Guys like Gregory Iron, Johnny Gargano, Matt “MDogg20” Cross, Raymond Rowe and Josh Prohibition not only trained in the basement of Turners but had some of their debut matches there.
When wresting returned to Turners in 2012 in the form of AIW, we wanted to maintain the history of the building. Valued to Cleveland like the ECW Arena is to Philadelphia, you can feel the history of the building as soon as you step into it. AIW picked up the legacy of CAPW and Turners bringing in some of the best wrestlers in the world to the venue. The Briscoe Brothers, Adam Cole, Kevin Steen, Michael Elgin all debuted in the Cleveland area in the building. People like Veda Scott, Ethan Page, Josh Alexander and more all made their names in AIW at Turners. Guys like Tracy Smothers, Johnny Gargano, Christopher Daniels, and others returned to Turners through AIW. Gargano even trains students in the same basement where he trained.
So that brings us to today. Recently Turners said they would have to close the Cleveland venue. We at AIW have stepped in and are attempting to save the building. The Cleveland Turners have fallen behind on taxes and utility bills.
The building means everything to us, but it also means so much to the history of professional wrestling in Cleveland, Ohio. With YOUR help, we can keep Turners Hall open. See below for possible ways you can help:
1. For only $20 (Plus $1 PayPal fee) you can sign up to become a member of Cleveland Turners for 2015. The money supports them and keeps their organization thriving. There is no obligation for joining. You’ll be mailed a membership card in early 2015. With a Cleveland Turners Membership, you’ll have first entry at AIW events with membership card, and we’re working on exclusive Member-Only meet & greets and events.
2. US SHIPPING ONLY: For $25, plus $5 shipping, there is an exclusive
#SaveTurnersHall t-shirt. There will only be the amount made that are ordered. They will be ordered on December 1st, 2014 and shipped soon after.
3. International SHIPPING ONLY: For $25, plus $25 shipping, there is an exclusive #SaveTurnersHall t-shirt. There will only be the amount made that are ordered. They will be ordered on December 1st, 2014 and shipped soon after. We can only ship USPS Priority Shipping at this time.
4. Cleveland Turners Hall is famous for the ceiling tiles above the ring at Turners. Now YOU can have your name above the AIW ring. For $100, we will customize a ceiling tile with your name or message and hang it right above the AIW ring. Purchased ceiling tiles will be hung by early 2015.
5. Straight donation: Our PayPal can also accept straight donations that will all go to supporting Cleveland Turners.
We appreciate your support. Together, we can keep the lights on and maintain wrestling history!
As a reminder, four promotions have agreed so far to do Toys for Tots and related charity holiday themed shows:
DJ Hyde has agreed and plans are underway for the annual Toys for Tots collection (in conjunction with the Marine Corps Reserve) to take place for the tenth year in a row with Combat Zone Wrestling’s 16th annual Cage of Death, to be held at The Flyers Skate Zone, 601 Laurel Oak Road, Voorhees, NJ with a 7:30 pm bell time. Tickets can be purchased at CZW events, or online soon.
The originator of Toys for Toys…at least in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region, United Wrestling Coalition, will be holding their Toys for Tots event the same evening as well. More details to come.
ECWA Pro Wrestling will hold its annual Toys for Tots show on December 6 in Newark, DE.
Championship Wrestling United will present THANKSLAMMING on Saturday, November 22, at Memorial Gym in Eau Claire, WI. Proceeds will be donated to ARK of Eau Claire, an outreach and collection center that works to provide for families and children throughout the region; including activities such as donatingd 100 coats to kids who otherwise would have had a very harsh winter.
Scheduled So Far:
Former WCW and TNA World Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. former WWE Superstar The
Masterpiece Chris Masters
Slade Reithemeyer takes on Chris Jones
American hero Live Wire faces Hassan Payne in a Flag on a Pole match! The loser must salute the winner’s national Flag or retire…
Plus: Booker T, Youth Gone Wild, Devlin Kain, Anton Leveigh, Mikey McFinnegan, Joe O’Connor, Jay Flyer, Venomous, Dale Wylde, Michael King, Reese Thompson, Ash Aubrey, and much more!
Booker T will be a part of Thankslamming!
Two of the top talents in the sport today, Slade Reithemeyer and Chris Jones, will clash!
Hoosier Pro Wrestling returns to Columbus, IN on Saturday November 1st for their 16th anniversary show and 10th annual Firemen’s Cheer Fund Raiser to help children in need at Christmas.
Former WWE Superstar and Current NWA World Champion Ironman Rob Conway battles Flash Flanagan in the main event. Other matches include: Zombie Rob Ramer vs. Danny Idol for the HPW Title, Lylah Lodge vs. Crazy Mary, Dash Venture vs. Troy Van Zant for the HPW Tri-State title (loser leave for 60 days), and Hillbilly Jed vs. Tom Van Zant in a strap match.
Because of these companies and fans like you, thousands of children will be able to have a Christmas or Hanukkah. Please help your local independent promotion do the same, or encourage them to schedule an event soon for the Holidays if they haven’t already.
Until next time…