AS I SEE IT: The Good of Professional Wrestling
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
After last weekend’s twin fiascos with Extreme Rising and Hardcore Roadtrip, not that long after the Nancy Grace slanderous “response” to the death of the Ultimate Warrior, I thought it would be useful to remind fans about some of the GOOD things that come out of professional wrestling, specifically indy wrestling.
It’s true that the work of WWE with a number of charities is well known, including Make-A-Wish and John Cena’s yeoman efforts in granting the wishes of seriously and terminally ill children. Cena has done this for years, as well as similar things. I’ve heard from more than a few people that he did not want attention for it, and had to be convinced by WWE and Make-A-Wish staff that it would help Make-A-Wish’s overall efforts if his Wishes granted would be made public. Last night also showed the company’s work with Special Olympics.
But my website and a lot of my columns focus on independent wrestling, so that’s what I’ll focus on here.
Please understand that what’s below is by no means a comprehensive list of those promotions, but is just a sampling of those actions.
Let’s start with the promotions that do Toys for Tots collections during the holiday season. The first promotion that I became aware of performing these collections was the South Jersey-based United Wrestling Coalition which began the yearly collections in December 1998, with over 900 toys and 16 bikes collected one year.
Combat Zone Wrestling has done these collections since 1999, in both South Jersey and Philadelphia. To give you a sense of how needed these collections has been in the recent past; in 2011, donations in Philadelphia to Toys for Tots were down eighty percent. Hundreds of toys were donated that year at Cage of Death…a year where what those donations very literally gave children a Christmas.
2012 saw Camden County (South Jersey) ‘s chapter receive one thousand requests for toys before requests were cut off. Hundreds of toys were collected that year and distributed to South Jersey children. This past year, hundreds of toys were collected and donated to the local Ronald McDonald House in Camden, NJ, which provides a home-away-from-home to families of seriously ill and traumatically injured children being taken care of at Philadelphia/Camden hospitals and also operates 11 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms within pediatric units of South Jersey hospitals.
Here’s just a SAMPLE of the promotions who’ve done these collections: EVOLVE (Pennsylvania/New Jersey), USCW Pro Wrestling (Florida), CHIKARA Pro (Pennsylvania), River City Wrestling (Texas), Charity Appeal Wrestling Shows (United Kingdom), 3XWrestling (Des Moines, IA), Hoosier Pro Wrestling (Indiana), Chaotic Wrestling (Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Connecticut), Brew City Wrestling (Wisconsin), Illinois Championship Alliance Wrestling (Illnois), Pure Wrestling Association (Ontario), AAW Pro Wrestling (Illinois), GALLI Lucha Libre (Illnois) and Apex Pro Wrestling (California), Right Coast Pro (Delaware), Pure Wrestling Association (Ontario), Hoosier Pro Wrestling (Indiana), Mega Championship Wrestling (West Virginia) , ECWA Pro Wrestling (New Jersey/Delaware), Brew City Wrestling (Wisconsin), GALLI Lucha Libre (Illinois) , Devil Mountain Wrestling (California), North American Pro Wrestling (Illinois), Dynamite Championship Wrestling (Delaware), and Arizona Wrestling Federation (Arizona).
That’s tens of thousands of toys donated and given to children because of independent wrestling shows and their fans.
There are also the collections of canned food for local food pantries. One promotion that is helping regularly with these efforts is Hoosier Pro Wrestling of Columbus, IN; who has collected thousands of cans of food through its yearly events in cooperation with franchise used car dealer JD Byryder. These yearly events benefit the Love Chapel, a coalition of churches that helps people with social service and hunger needs throughout southern Indiana.
Among the many others who have done food pantry collections include: Combat Zone Wrestling, Right Coast Pro (Delaware), Brew City Wrestling (Milwaukee, WI), and Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (western Canada).
A number of promotions have done work for Autism Speaks and others autism-related charities, including Maryland Championship Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, Ring of Honor, First State Championship Wrestling,
There are also reputable promotions that run shows specifically for charities, including the California-based Wrestling Cares Association and Wrestling for Charity.
Anyone want to make a guess if Nancy Grace has ever done active work for Toys for Tots? Collected food for a food pantry? Raised money for mosquito nets to prevent malaria? Raised money for pediatric cancer charities?
You get the point.
It’s also important to check out promotions to insure that the work they do actually benefits the charities cited in releases. It’s usually easier if it’s a indy promotion you’re familiar with. If you aren’t familiar with the promotion, or otherwise aren’t sure, contact the local chapter of the charity listed and see if this company actually works with them or donates to them. There are those who run charity scams. But there are far, far more who don’t, and do shows that benefit those who need it.
Give what you’ve read above some thought the next time Nancy Grace runs her mouth, or someone else dismisses an indy promotion because the names aren’t on TV, or because you don’t like the style of matches they offer.
Until next time….
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