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Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Many of you know you’ve done it…at least once.  You’re at a wrestling show. A wrestler blows a spot…a major league awkward moment. No way to really hide it or cover it up.  All of a sudden coming out of your mouth is “you f$#ked up”. The crowd joins in.

Or on the same show…two wrestlers do some mat work, or go to a rest hold to get their breath. All of a sudden, that same mouth starts yelling “borrrrrrrrrring”.

Well, for those of you who didn’t read the story this past week; think about what happened to a 21 year old wrestler this past week who was simply trying to get back into the game. He’d suffered the loss of his mother within the last year, and now after dealing with that tragedy…he wanted to get back to something he loved and came to the East Coast to see if he could restart his career.

Matt Lowry, who wrestled as “Matt Riot”, was from Ohio, and worked for several Midwest independent promotions including Absolute Intense Wrestling, the World Wrestling Coalition, American Luchacore, the Heartland Wrestling Association, and IWA Mid-South. He and CZW’s Sami Callihan teamed on Midwest shows and the two were close friends.

Matt Lowry came to the ECW Arena on the evening of September 15 where he was working out, and was involved in workout sessions, some of which were in the ring in a circle. After this, the wrestlers were hanging out, when Lowry said he felt dizzy, and collapsed, and was rushed to the hospital. CZW Owner David Markland and other wrestlers followed the ambulance to the hospital, and contacted Lowry’s father in Ohio.

Lowry died at Philadelphia’s Hahnemann University Hospital some 14 hours later.

Lowry was said by doctors at the hospital to have suffered a brain hemorrhage. Despite initial news reports, and at least one message board post by one of the Midwest promotions he worked for that suggested otherwise, according to these doctors there was no trauma to the skull, no bruises, and no swelling.

As would be expected, Philadelphia Police are continuing to investigate, with an autopsy and toxicology results still weeks away from completion.

I mention this tragedy as an example of what happens with independent wrestlers, training in an arena, in a high school gym, or a hundred other places. These men and women go through normal personal lives, the vast majority of times work a weekday job, workout in gyms, arenas, and the like, then travel in some cases hundreds of miles to shows on a weekend for a small payoff (if they don’t get stiffed by a promoter).

They have to keep in shape to maintain ring appearance….and in some cases do what we know they have to do to keep it.

They deal with the physical pain of taking the most routine bumps… and do what we all know some of them do to deal with it.

Think about Matt Lowry. Think about the hundreds of Matt Lowrys all across North America and elsewhere.

Next time you’re tempted to let out with one of those comments I spoke about at the beginning of this column…think again.

Am I suggesting fans sit on their hands during a wrestling show? Hell, no. it just means that some people need to take the smarkiness down a notch or two when things happen in a match.

Consider what price one young man paid to return to his dream, in a moment just preparing to do what he loved doing…not even in a match, just doing cardio exercises. Consider the fact that David Markland, Sami Calihan and anyone who was present that night will carry that night around for the rest of their lives…even if they had nothing to do with Lowry’s death. Consider what Matt Lowry’s family is feeling right now.

Keep all concerned, especially the Lowry family, in your thoughts and prayers.

Until next time….

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