Back to pro wrestling’s roots

Remember when Augusta Expo and Harrisonburg High School were hotbeds of professional wrestling? If it seems like a hundred years ago, you’re not far off. It’s been a good while since the business model for WWE and its top challenger TNA had in it room for live events at venues outside of the main drags.

Marvin Ward and David Hebner are aiming to change all of that.

“We’ve got to go out and go after the fans now. The fans aren’t coming after us. You’ve got to make it easy, you’ve got to make it accessible, you’ve got to make it affordable, and you’ve got to make it interesting,” said Ward, an Augusta County-based promoter who is teaming up with Hebner to form a wrestling company and booking agency based in Virginia that plans to run live shows in a six-state swath of the Mid-Atlantic.

And the focus will be on the small- and medium-sized cities that WWE and TNA have long since forgotten. “I’ve proven we can do it in Waynesboro. It took us, what, just a couple of years to build that thing up? I know we can do this in areas like Waynesboro,” said Ward, fresh off the heels of his successful Night of the Superstars VI at Waynesboro High School that drew close to 1,000 fans on Nov. 8.

Ward-Hebner Entertainment will run live shows at similar venues up and down the East Coast, with a mix of legends like “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and Animal and Precious Paul Ellering from The Road Warriors and youngsters like Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Elijah Burke and Kenny Dykstra at its disposal.

“The guys are just jumping at the chance to get started,” said Ward, whose own wrestling career began in-ring before a series of injuries forced him into his behind-the-scenes role.

There are also people jumping at the chance to say that Ward-Hebner Entertainment won’t have staying power in an industry dominated by the heavyweights with big-arena and TV and pay-per-view revenues backing them up.

“We know we are not going to make everyone happy, but one thing you can count on is when we put on a show, it will deliver what we have set out to do, and that is provide fans with a top-quality family-entertainment event they can afford,” Ward said. “We are going to take wrestling to markets and venues WWE and TNA do not go to for various reasons. These are the markets craving pro wrestling entertainment,” Ward said.


– Story by Chris Graham

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