By Colleen Schrappen St. Louis Post-Dispatch
When it comes to longed-for professional sports leagues, soccer is top of mind for many St. Louisans. So is the open wound that is football. Basketball even gets batted around occasionally.
But wrestling? That might not make the mental wish list.
Wait … not wrestling. Wrasslin’. No-holds-barred, chair-throwing, full-nelson wrasslin’. Now that you think about it, you really were missing it, right?
Come Jan. 12, it’s back.
The void left when “Wrestling at the Chase” ended its 34-year run in 1983 will be filled by the National Wrasslin’ League, the brainchild of Kansas City-based entrepreneur Major Baisden.
The league, meant to revive the “territory system” of old-school wrestling, is putting its first roots down in Kansas City and St. Louis. “We want to feed off the natural rivalries that exist in those two cities,” says Travis Bowden of the NWL.
Every other week, a cast of characters will suit up in their singlets at Casa Loma Ballroom in the Benton Park West neighborhood. A slate of seven matches, including tag teams, will start at 7 p.m.
“Casa Loma may be the most pristine venue for wrestling since the Chase,” Bowden says.
Don’t expect it to stay that way on fight nights. Up to a thousand spectators — the league is especially targeting men who were pro wrestling fans in the 1980s and ’90s — will be cheering for their favorite heels and heroes, eating up the ongoing storylines of feuds and factions.
“We’ve locked up the best guys in the Midwest to be hometown favorites,” Bowden says. The league will feature about 50 wrestlers, most veterans of the traveling “indie” circuit.
“We have wrestlers of all shapes and sizes, distinct characters, so that fans will connect to the performers — the idea is to have something for everybody,” Bowden says. “There’s got to be someone on each card that everyone can relate to.”
That could be Mike Outlaw, who adopted his wrestling alias, Dez Wellston, as a nod to his hometown. Outlaw, 25, did construction work before training to be a wrestler three years ago, fulfilling a childhood dream.
“I’ve been watching wrestling since I was 6 years old,” he says. “And I always knew it was something I wanted to do.”
He says the league’s live semimonthly matches will bring an authenticity that’s lacking on television in the shiny, somewhat sanitized WWE.
“I like performing in front of a crowd, dictating the crowd’s reactions and emotions,” Outlaw says. “I feed it to them, and they feed it to me.”
Also feeling the charge of the crowd will be Brad Fox, 33, an Illinois native and former stock broker who has wrestled as Jake Dirden for the past five years. He has a new alter ego, Jack Foster, for the NWL.
“It’s a dramatic, interactive environment. You can be as loud and obnoxious as you want,” Fox says. “If people cheer for me, I’m going to do some awesome stuff.”
Like finishing off an opponent with an Asiatic Spike, jamming his meaty thumb under the poor sap’s jaw until he taps out — or passes out, Fox says with a gruff laugh. “And I think I’m going to utilize my kicks more — I wear size 18 boots.”
Kevin Kwiatkowski, a native of the Affton area, is still tinkering with the nuances of his character.
“Todd Letterman is kind of a newer thing to me,” says Kwiatkowski, 26, who has been wrestling about as long as Outlaw. He was turned on to the sport as a kid by his grandma, a wrestling fanatic.
“I used to be a bad (expletive) — just going in and doing my thing, but my persona in the league is ‘I’m an athlete and I like to win.’
“Fans should expect to see some crazy athleticism … tumbleweeds into the corner, spinning wheel kicks. I like to do some flashy kicks. I’m 6’ 4” and 330 pounds,” Kwiatkowski says.
“I don’t want to peel back the curtain too far, but we’re going to bust out the fireworks.”
Wrestling star Moonshine Mantell will appear as Maverick under terms of his deal with NWL STL.
Kansas City, Mo. (PRWEB) December 08, 2016
NWL STL has signed national wrestling star Moonshine Mantell, who will compete under the name Maverick as part of the terms of his multiyear deal with the League. Maverick will make his NWL STL debut at the promotion’s first live event at the Casa Loma Ballroom on January 12.
“Maverick is very much a modern-day gunslinger who has established a national reputation as one of the toughest competitors in the business today,” says Travis Bowden, VP of marketing for the NWL, who oversaw the signing during a press conference at NWL Headquarters in downtown KC. “The League commends NWL STL for continuing to look beyond the Midwest to bring some of the country’s top wrestlers into the League.”
The 6-foot, 240-pounder from Austin, Texas, says he has set his sights on becoming the League’s first St. Louis heavyweight wrestling champion.
“I signed with NWL STL for the opportunity to become a champion in what I feel is the fastest-growing wrestling promotion in the United States,” says Maverick, who has patterned his wrestling style after such fellow Lone Star State greats as Terry Funk and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. “I’ll always be loyal to Texas, but I am looking forward to establishing myself in the great city of St. Louis and competing in what has traditionally been one of the best wrestling cities in the world.”
During the press conference, NWL STL also announced that tickets are now on sale for its inaugural event at the Casa Loma Ballroom, where the promotion will be running shows every other Thursday beginning January 12. Fans can reserve seats now at http://www.ticketfly.com/org/7326.
The National Wrasslin’ League (NWL) is reviving the historical roots of the business. Fueled by intercity rivalries, the NWL prides itself on family-friendly, storyline-driven programming that delivers thrilling athletic action and entertaining characters
After reaching a definitive agreement to acquire Metro Pro Wrestling, NWL, LLC has announced its first show in Kansas City will take place January 7 at the Scottish Rite Temple.
Kansas City, Mo. (PRWEB) October 27, 2016
The National Wrasslin’ League (NWL, LLC) has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Metro Pro Wrestling, a local promotion based in Kansas City, which will become part of NWL KC.
While exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, League president Major Baisden announced that Metro Pro’s founder, former WWE Smackdown writer Chris Gough, has joined NWL KC as the promotion’s general manager, helping oversee creative and talent relations.
“For the last six years, Metro Pro has been synonymous with professional wrestling in Kansas City,” Baisden explains. “Much of Metro Pro’s success can be attributed to Mr. Gough, who has proven himself to be one of the most creative minds in the business. This acquisition is the perfect fit as NWL KC prepares to launch its promotion and build upon Metro Pro’s foundation of loyal fans.”
It was not immediately known whether Metro Pro Wrestling president Michael Strider will be retained as part of the deal.
During the press conference announcing the deal, Gough revealed that NWL KC has finalized an agreement with the Scottish Rite Temple in midtown Kansas City to serve as the official site of its upcoming slate of live events in 2017, beginning with their debut show on January 7.
“This historic venue will help provide the perfect atmosphere for a rowdy, communal sports experience like no other,” Gough says. “I look forward to seeing all our fans at the first NWL KC show at the Scottish Rite in January.”
Fans can sign up to receive NWL KC ticket information as it becomes available at fightkc.com.
The National Wrasslin’ League (NWL) is reviving the historical roots of the business. Fueled by intercity rivalries, the NWL prides itself on family-friendly, storyline-driven programming that delivers thrilling athletic action and entertaining characters.
Posted: Sep 28, 2016 10:36 AM CDT
NWL KC has signed two of the most talented free agents in the business to multiyear deals.
Kansas City, Mo. (PRWEB) September 28, 2016
NWL KC has signed 24-year-old twin brothers Logan and Sterling Riegel to multiyear contracts, firing the first salvo in the battle for talent acquisitions with League rival NWL STL.
Raised in Lee’s Summit, Mo., the brothers will honor their KC upbringing by competing in their hometown area under the names Jet and Jax Royal, a.k.a. Royal Blood.
“I congratulate NWL KC for making the League’s first signings such a historical event,” says Major Baisden, NWL president, who oversaw the announcement at a press conference held in downtown KC. “The Royals have achieved notoriety as two of the most talented free agents in the business, so this is quite a coup for NWL KC. I’m confident these two homegrown stars will find success when the promotion launches its first shows in January 2017.”
For the Royals, the NWL KC contract signing is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.
“My brother and I are so proud to be the first wrestlers signed in NWL history,” says Jet Royal. “With the Kansas City fans behind us, we’re going to show NWL STL what true talent is all about when we kick things off next January under the NWL KC banner.”
The National Wrasslin’ League (NWL) is reviving the historical roots of the business. Fueled by intercity rivalries, the NWL prides itself on family-friendly, storyline-driven programming that delivers thrilling athletic action and entertaining characters. For more information, contact Travis S. Bowden, VP of marketing, at (323) 449-9354, or at tbowden(at)nwleague(dot)com.