I’m a pro-wrestling fan. I have been since I was a little girl and my daddy would watch it on Saturdays and sometimes late at night. Many a time I have dozed off to the rhythmic thwap of body on canvass. I can dimly remember my father taking me to a WWF event, back when it was still WWF and being hosted in a local high school gym in a very small town. I still had the program 7 years later when our house burned. Tragic.

I took time away from the sport during the early 90’s since we no longer had cable television but came back to it full time by 1997. Wrestling has been a periphrial part of my life for many years since then through the inception of ECW, a few mid road productions put on by Ted Dibiase and others, the death of WCW and the emergence to TNA among other major events. The very first Smackdown was taped on a Tuesday night in Kansas City, at Kemper Arena, a few years after Owen Hart’s untimely death. We sat 8 or 9 rows up in the bleachers at one of the last major events at Kemper Arena who’d taken over for Memorial Hall as the place to be and at the end of the show, when most of the crowd had left…The Rock himself came out and sang a few Elvis songs in the ring as the remaining people crowded around the barriers, I shared that experience with my dad just as I had most of my wrestling fandom.

Lately I’ve been really combing back over history of wrestling including the major promotions. Crockett, Florida, AWA, Memphis, Mid-South…so many others. This brought me back to the memory of that hot and humid gym and the glare of the lights and the awe of seeing such awesome athletes up close. This led me to a search of possible local indy promotions. I discovered how close Harley Race’s school was and have been trying for the last couple of weeks to arrange a road trip to go experience a WLW live event!

Then recently, I stumbled upon Metro Pro Wrestling on our local sports station. A promotion…based right here in the Kansas City Area?!?! And there’s an event the next weekend?!?!

Must be destiny.

So, while my husband enjoys wrestling, it’s well known my fandom runs almost to the redneck level. I can be a rabid fan even if I can’t remember the name of every move and a good ring presence will win me over if you pair it with great technical skill. But he graciously agreed to take me on a date night, of my choosing, to the Metro Pro Wrestling event last night. He did reserve the right to bail out if it was slow or boring or lame but I had no such worries. Even as we pulled up to the rec center I was feeling the buzz of being involved in something live and vibrant. This grew when we joined the queue of fans who’d followed the promotion since its inception. Listening to fans from several generations trade stories and discuss matches was awesome!

The show began with the opening from Diablo, the ring announcer and from that moment on we were hooked. Each match saw the opponents approach the ring in ways that fit their characters though almost all of them found the time to make a trip around the ring and show fans how much they valued their presence while the fans showed their support.
Mark Sterling’s in-ring talent and the interplay of his escorts with the crowd was not only believable but so much fun that the hubby and I took the counterpoint and began cheering for the supposed heels!

I want one of their shirts!

We actually had a tag team match roll up on us up in the bleachers, thrilling and just shy of being almost frightening! We saw Sterling destroy a fans bag of popcorn and later a kendo stick from this same family was even used in a match! This night was action packed, entertaining and even knowing the practiced methods used in putting on a match you could see the damage and athleticism displayed by each and every person involved.

During intermission I was noticed by the same fan who’d had his popcorn destroyed. I say I was noticed but truly it was the book in my hand, purchased earlier in the night, the Arn Anderson story…We got to chatting, him being a witty older gentleman with a humorous turn of phrase, and I discovered I was standing next to the step son of Bob Orton Sr. This man was literally the STEP BROTHER to Cowboy Bob Orton Jr. and in a sense related to Randy Orton!

Talk about royalty!

We talked for several minutes and this man won my heart in the way good storytellers can. I even followed him inside to get the contact information from his son in the hopes of hearing more of these stories! Then it was back to the stands for the rest of the show.

I am new to the promotion so I don’t know every name we saw, half the time the actual match had me so enthralled that I forgot names. I’m bad about that! But the final match of the night was Adam Pearce and crowd favorite Jeremy Wyatt. A title match!

During this match we saw some of the best examples of why pro-wrestling is such a fan sport that have ever existed. Fan interaction, wrestling moves using the entire ring and the floor and some chairs and even the fans! This match went everywhere! The hubby and I watched in astonished excitement as the wrestlers crashed into the wall at the front of the bleachers we were sitting on…And then scrambled madly out of the way when they came OVER the wall! We watched a body slam happen where we’d been sitting seconds ago and with the other stunned fans we watched this battle rage back and forth before coming back at us! In our haste to escape we’d put ourselves between the ring and the combatants!

We didn’t look at or even think of our cell phones from the moment Diablo got in the ring. And when it was over? We rushed home to catch the televised event from the last show on televsion. We’ll be watching next week too, and the week after that…

And next time? We’re going to be in the front row.