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Grappling with a serious issue

By By James Crawford
News Editor
If you've ever watched wrestling on TV you're familiar with the catch phrase 'Whatcha gonna do?' and 'can you smell what's cooking?' I've watched wrestling on TV for years, and I've always been a big fan of superstars like Andre the Giant, Ricky Steamboat and of course the man who made wrestling to me – Hulk Hogan.
But in all the years of watching wrestling on TV, I've never been to a real live main event. I've been to amateur showings and even participated in some myself in my younger years but never a full-scale production, at least not until Saturday night.
For what I'm told is the first time in 13 years, wrestling returned in grand form to Atmore and I had a fantastic time. Once again as with Mardi Gras, Spring Break and the Pow Wow, Atmore is serving as my training ground in new adventures. This was no different.
I know that wrestling for the most part is staged and choreographed and that all the wrestlers are acting and not really mad at each other, but dog gone it, it sure seems real sometimes and in person I got so caught up in the show that you couldn't tell me it was fake for nothing that night. These guys should have an academy award of their own for their acting skills.
The night was complete with feuds, tag team matches, a ladies main event – boy that was a show – a grudge match and the main event, between Chief Ironclaw and Kornbread, broke out into a full scale battle royal and EVERYBODY jumped in the action which spewed out into the audience and the arena.
I was sitting in the bleachers for the most part, snapping away at pictures and running up to the apron for a close-up now and then, but mostly just enjoying myself. All of a sudden during the third match, I turned to look at my daughter and a surprising sight enveloped me. My sweet docile daughter had turned into a thunderous wrestling fan, screaming and yelling at the top of her lungs and stopping her feet on the bleachers in chorus with the other fans.
She was yelling 'get back in the ring' and 'loser' and 'chicken' to the bad guys who raced out of the ring at the first sign of danger. She even attracted the attention of one of the guys who pointed at her in the crowd and yelled back.
It was comical and fun and I never knew she had it in her. I was so amazed I even took a few pictures to make sure it was really her and to kid her about it later. Not content with yelling from the bleachers, I made the mistake – I think – of letting her go side ringside for the last two matches.
During the last tag team match-up, the action boiled over to ringside and you would know right in front of my little 11-year-old. But was she scared? Oh no, instead she was leaning nearly out of her chair to yell in their faces and scream at them 'are you scared' 'you're gonna lose.' My little angel had turned into a tiger at ECHS Saturday night and loved it.
The event was just a whole lot of fun all around. The guys and girls put on one heck of a show and posed for pictures and autographs later. The proceeds when to the Relay for Life and the guys all had just wonderful things to say about doing charity work whenever they could.
I learned a lot about the wrestling business Saturday night. I found out that it is much more fun in person, the wrestlers can be really great actors, it's really hard to spot how they fake the action, even from a zoom lense vantage point, and they are really a great group of folks behind the scenes.
The group entertains under the banner XW-2000 wrestling and is organized by former wrestling superstar Sika the Wild Samoan. I was told they plan to return to Atmore in the very near future to once again entertain the crowd with non-stop action and pulse-pounding antics and I can't wait to go see them. My daughter is busting with excitement to go again and see her 'favorites.' Down tiger, they will return soon enough.
James Crawford is News Editor of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached by phone at 368-2123 or by e-mail at james.crawford@atmoreadvance.com.