The final matches of 1st Round Wrestling Cares Association’s Race for the Ring conclude Saturday Night June 29th at 7PM. Being called the “SuperCard for a Super Cause” will pick up where the last show stopped featuring a star studded tournament of some of the best wrestlers from the country, converging at the VFW Post #3261, 1822 W. 162nd St., Gardena. Hosted by Maria Kanellis, the event will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Simi Valley. David Jackson combined his passion for outreach with his passion for pro wrestling to raise over $1000 for the Scott L. Schwartz Children’s Foundation. Along with Less Thatcher and Nigel McGuinness promises to deliver an exciting night of wrestling with tickets starting at $10 and the VIP Front Row Tickets for $20, this is a night of wrestling you will not want to missng.
Prior to the last event I had an opportunity to speak with Les Thatcher, a legendary wrestler and wrestling trainer who explained to me what the concept for the “Race for the Ring” tournament. “These aren’t iron man matches, can’t be an iron man match is the matches are only ten minutes long,” said Les. The tournament features a unique set of rules; points are awarded for a pinfall, submission, or the opponent being counted out, points are deducted when a wrestling becomes disqualified, which did not happen at the first event. All tournament matches have 10 minutes of regulation time, in the event a match remains tied at the end of regulation there will be a sudden death overtime which is given 3 more minutes and if at that point the match remains tied, both competitors will be eliminated from the tournament. Kyle O’Riley and Davey Richards were eliminated from the tournament when neither man could score an additional point. “You are not going to see Sports Entertainment; you are going to see pro wrestling, guys who know how to work.” Les Thatcher was correct on his assessment. The last show featured an incredible list of talent and quite a few upsets. Advancing the first round was; AIWF World Champion Kyle Matthews, CZW Competitor Drew Gulak, OVW Champion Jamin Olivencia, ROH stand out Pepper Parks, B-Boy, Steve Anthony, and PWG Champion Adam Cole. Surprisingly; Colt Cabana, Davey Richards, and Vordel Walker did not advance. Sami Callihan was scratched from the inaugural event when there was a sickness in his family. Speculation that night was that Callihan had signed with the WWE (which he later did), I asked Les if this could hurt the tournament. Unwavering in his response, “If the talent we’re using ends up being signed by WWE, then I guess we’re doing something right. I guess we did a good job of evaluating talent.”
For the inaugural tournament there was a lot of talent who, although widely known on the East Coast where unknown locally. The second half of the tournament will feature a lot more familiar faces to Southern California starting off with former CWFH Hollywood Television Champion Willie Mack taking on “The Certified Tough Guy” Brandon Gatson. Gatson is a multi-time EWF Champion has is one of the underrated talents in Southern California. Mack has recently become a regular in the Tijuana Indies as well as appearing for CWF Hollywood, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and Lucha Va Voom. “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce is a former 5 time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and will take on Adam Page who’s last appearance in Southern California was at last years Pro Wrestling Syndicate match. Johnny Garagano of Dragon Gate and Evolve will take on “The Hot Shot” Chase Stevens. Stevens used to team with Andy Douglas as part of the Naturals and were former NWA Tag Team Champions in TNA. Most recently Douglas is the NWA SAW Television Champion and was challenging for the NWA Worlds Championship. In a battle of CZW’s finest DJ Hyde takes on “The Golden Boy” Drake Younger. Younger has recently relocated out to Southern California and has become a regular for IWL and Vendetta Pro, last weekend taking on Sabu. The NECW Heavyweight Champion and former WWE Superstar Antonio “The Promise” Thomas takes on Alex Reynolds, known for his work in Pro Wrestling Syndicate and FWE. BJ Whitmer trained under Les Thatcher and a Four Time Ring of Honor Tag Team Champion, he will wrestle Shaun Tempers is a former NWA North American Champion. Tempers compete regularly for Anarchy Wrestling in Cornelia Georgia and would defend the North American Championship all over the South East.
The Non Tournament Matches look to be exciting too. The Alternate Match between “Old School” Oliver John and Timothy Thatcher will be a wrestling clinic. At different times both men have competed on CWFH Television. Oliver John has traveled North American defending the Pro Wrestling Revolution Heavyweight Championship against Blue Demon, the two also battled over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. And the first ever tag team match for Wrestling Cares will take place when the returning Ryan Taylor and Mondo Vega (known in EWF as the Fallen Empire) will clash against former MPW Tag Team Champions “Lethal” Logan X and JJ Steel.