Rockstar Pro Arena celebrates its first year of independent wrestling
We all have dreams as kids as to what we want to be when we grow up. Some want to be doctors, some want to be firefighters, some want to be teachers. As a child, I wanted to become a professional wrestler. While it never materialized for myself, a few of my peers have not only become pro wrestlers, they’ve founded their own wrestling promotion that has been extremely successful in a very short period of time. This coming Friday marks Rockstar Pro Wrestling’s one-year anniversary. While it was years in the making for organizers Gee Gee Bradley and Chadwick Parker, they never gave up on their aspirations and eventually the time was right to pursue their own pro wrestling dreams.
“My longtime friend and fellow concert promoter C.W. Scott (Parker) and I had started training to become pro wrestlers,” said Bradley. “We trained for a while under WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose. Ambrose’s career was taking off so training became sporadic. (He) suggested we hook up with his trainer Cody Hawk. With our years of experience promoting concerts, we approached him and said, ‘If you train us, we’ll help you run shows.’ We found a warehouse in the Oregon District and trained ‘Rocky IV’-style in the freezing cold! No water, no heat! Then we started throwing events at Aquarius – pro wrestling with live rock bands playing at intermission. After a series of successful shows, including being part of the Oregon District’s Hauntfest on Fifth and even taking it to Chicago, we decided to launch our own promotion – Rockstar Pro Wrestling was born.”
But in order for Rockstar Pro Wrestling (RPW) to become a tangible entity, Bradley and Parker wanted to find a place to put on their events that they could call their own. “We wanted to find a building to use as our home base,” Bradley said. “C.W. teamed with the Downtown Dayton Partnership to find a huge building on (East) Third Street near Keowee. It was easy to find with plenty of parking.”
With the Rockstar Pro Arena secured, Bradley and Parker set up their ring, recruited other local wrestlers and started having weekly live wrestling shows on Wednesday nights beginning in February 2012. Shortly thereafter, RPW launched its own Youtube channel and began producing their Internet series called “Amped,” featuring footage filmed at the promotion’s live events that can also be seen on DATV every Tuesday at 6 p.m. With television exposure, strategic promotion and word of mouth, RPW built a sizeable fan base and soon was able to expand with special weekend wrestling events, as well as hosting nationally touring punk and metal concerts at their venue. Additionally, and perhaps most impressively, Rockstar Pro has been able to attract internationally known wrestling stars such as Mick Foley, Jimmy Wang Yang, Shark Boy and Nigel McGuinness to come perform alongside its homegrown roster of skilled and eager wrestlers. And if that wasn’t enough to accomplish in just one year’s time, Rockstar Pro has its own wrestling school where both men and women are encouraged to come learn the craft of professional wrestling.
“A lot of the top wrestling talent in the country has contacted us about wrestling for Rockstar Pro,” Bradley said. “What sets Rockstar Pro apart is the high-standards we hold ourselves to. Our head trainer Cody Hawk demands the best. Several of our wrestlers have been ranked among the best in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated and are known on a national, and even international, level.”
With such a prosperous first year under its collective championship belt, RPW will be celebrating its first anniversary with a very special event this coming Friday, Feb. 8 at the Rockstar Pro Arena. “The anniversary show is built around the Best of 2012 Awards as voted on by the Rockstar Nation,” explained Bradley. “Fans vote on our Facebook page for their picks for Wrestler of the Year, Match of the Year, Feud of the Year, etc. Plus, of course, there will be an action-packed card of matches featuring all the Rockstar Pros.”
With one year of Rockstar Pro Wrestling in the books, Bradley and Parker are making plans for growing their audience outside of the Miami Valley by getting their TV show aired in outside markets and taking their wrestling show on the road. In the meantime, Bradley is happy with RPW as it exists today and is proud of its ability to entertain both hardcore wrestling fans and newcomers alike.
“It’s family-friendly – you can bring the kids and we sell concessions,” Bradley said. “I’ve had friends that aren’t wrestling fans but once they’re in the building and the action is only a few feet away, they get sucked in! Girls like seeing buff, shirtless dudes in spandex and guys like seeing people getting hit in the face with steel chairs. Give it a chance, I promise you will be entertained!”
Rockstar Pro Wrestling presents “ONE: The One Year Anniversary of Rockstar Pro Arena” this coming Friday, Feb. 8 at the Rockstar Pro Arena, 1106 E. Third St. Tickets are $7 at the door and the show is all ages. Doors open at 7pm, bell time at 7:30pm. For more information please visit rockstarprowrestling.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@daytoncitypaper.com