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Pro wrestling developing a stranglehold on Columbia County

Posted: March 13, 2013 - 12:15am
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Charlie Anarchy takes one on the chin from Ken Lee at Flatline Pro Wrestling's March of Champions, at Patriots Park. About 250 fans paid $10 each to attend the event, Flatline's biggest audience yet.               Photo by Scott Rouch
Photo by Scott Rouch
Charlie Anarchy takes one on the chin from Ken Lee at Flatline Pro Wrestling's March of Champions, at Patriots Park. About 250 fans paid $10 each to attend the event, Flatline's biggest audience yet.

“This is awesome, this is awesome.”

The chant first arose when Shane Hexxon was thrown out of the ring, demolishing three tables, during the Tables, Ladders and Chairs bout at Flatline Pro Wrestling’s March of Champions on March 2 at Patriots Park.

The first Saturday of each month, the gym at Patriots Park transforms into a wrestling arena, but this was a little more than a normal night of submission holds and body slams. The TLC match was just one of 10 that night for Flatline’s “supershow,” which included a 10-man, over-the-top Battle Royale and a match for its heavyweight title.

The brains behind the events, which have been held at Patriots Park since last August, are Daniel E. Mayne, Columbia County Animal Services operations manager, and Chris Wiggins, a full-time firefighter for the city of Augusta.

Wiggins mainly stays behind the scenes as CEO and chief promoter while Wiggins, a self-confessed adrenaline junkie, gets between the ropes as Devon Wright, “the Miami Bad Boy.” The pair strive to produce a high-quality product that people can afford to attend.

Normally a ticket costs $7, but prices were raised to $10 for the night. That didn’t deter the public as 275 attended, its biggest crowd thus far.

“A lot of companies outside of Grovetown try to put on shows in Augusta and fail because they want to charge $15-20 a ticket,” said Wiggins. “Our supershow costs $10. I don’t know anywhere you can go and get 3½ hours of entertainment for $10.”

Mayne likes the creative aspect of the venture.

“It’s to create a product that appeals to so many people in such a broad demographic of people,” Mayne said. “Everyone is interested in wrestling in some form or fashion.”

That held true as the gym was populated with a range from young boys and girls to senior citizens.

Charlie Blackwell from Martinez was one of those who packed the crowd.

“I think these kids do a great job,” said Blackwell. “It’s good clean entertainment and cheap. I admire the job they do. Lord knows they don’t do it for the money.”

Wiggins set the tone for the night, pinning Da Fireman in a six-man tag-team match. The 27-year-old Wiggins, one of the good guys in the ring, has been into wrestling for a long time.

“I’m a third-generation wrestling fan,” he said. “My dad used to go to the Bell Auditorium back in the ’70s and ’80s. I just grew up on it. I’ve been watching wrestling for 25 years and have just studied from the legends back in the ’50s up to all the present-day wrestlers.”

Getting to the Bell Auditorium is part of their five-year plan.

“Consistent growth like we have tonight is key to making sure we’re able to cover finances and everything like that,” Wiggins said. “We have to have a great product to keep the capital coming in.”

The night ended with Sixx defeating Jacoby Boykins in a “Monkey-Punk Challenge” before the Sin City Saint Brandon Parker, a heel and the heavyweight champion, lost his belt to Anthony Henry. Parker played the heel role well and had the crowd railing against him. The up-close and personal reaction is what Mayne and Higgins says sets them apart from groups such as WWE.

“A fan doesn’t develop that intimate relationship with who’s in the ring,” said Mayne. “When you come to an independent wrestling show, it’s all fan interaction.”

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