By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Between The Miz being awesome and Alberto Del Rio realizing his destiny on WWE Monday Night Raw, you’ve seen the commercials promoting Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.
In just over a month, the Mother Ship will take off.
National Wrestling Alliance/Mid-Atlantic Wrestling will make its long awaited debut on Friday, April 26, at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. The organization was purchased by Matt Epling in the fall, and he has been working feverishly to get things off the ground.
“Basically it died out with Jim Crockett (Promotions) in the late ’80s,” Epling said. “When I purchased it, the first thing I did was acquire the Mid-Atlantic title, to get the legacy. Since then I worked through about 250 wrestlers on the independent circuits and got it down to 22.”
The Mid-Atlantic heavyweight championship will be the cornerstone of the organization, and is a belt that has a lot of history. The last man to hold the title was “Hands of Stone” Ron Garvin, who relinquished the belt in 1987 after he defeated “Nature Boy” Ric Flair for the NWA world championship with a sunset flip off the top rope in a steel cage match.
The first owner of that brand new NWA/MAW championship will be crowned in the main event of the April card in Beckley. Chance Prophet will battle “The Canadian Lion” Lance Erikson in a ladder match, where the only way to win is to climb a ladder and unhook the belt that will be hanging from the rafters.
“We’re bringing back the NWA prestige that was around here back in the day of hard wrestling, solid entertainment,” Epling said.
The NWA/MAW will have five belts in all, including world tag team, junior heavyweight and Mountain State championships. The latter came from the former NWA/Mountain State Wrestling.
Those titles are vacant, of course, as is the Mid-Atlantic belt. But the Mid-Atlantic is the only title that will be decided on the debut night.
“Because that’s the legacy,” Epling said.
In other action, Damien Alexander will take on Ryan Madar and Jock Samson will wrestle Ron Mathis. There will be six matches in all.
“All will be top-notch entertainment,” Epling said. “You’re not coming here and watching the bag boy from Kroger take on a mailman.”
There are a number of giveaways and contests, including a chance for fans to cut their own promos and send them to the promotion’s website. The best will be chosen to be a guest valet at the opening event.
There will also be meet-and-greet opportunities, and fans can also attend a workout the morning of the show.
“We call ourselves ‘The Mother Ship of the NWA,’” Epling said “I really believe that in the next year, if we go the way that we are going right now, we are going to be the top NWA promoter in the country.”
Tickets for the event will be $20 and under, Epling said.
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