Wrestling Night of the Superstars to hit Luray’s Darkwood Manor

superstarsNight of the Superstars – being brought to you by 96.9 Real Country WSIG, Top Rope Pro Wrestling, Page County Dot Net and Rawhide Productions – is proud to announce the latest in a series of community events slated to occur during the days leading up to the fundraising effort being held for the senior classes of both Luray and Page County High Schools.

The pro wrestling event is scheduled to begin at 7:30PM on March 22, 2014 at Luray High School – 243 Bulldog Drive Luray VA, 22835 and will feature six matches and over 14 superstars including WWE’s The Hurricane and Kid Kash, TNA’s Christian York, ECW Original CW Anderson, the Legendary Ricky Morton of the Rock n Roll Express as well as Smoky Mountain Wrestling/WCW star Doug Gibson and his alter ego, former pro wrestling promoter turned country music tour promoter Doug Ward. Also included in the card are D’Arcy Dixon, Phil Brown, Chris Escobar and Rick Slater and others.

However, On Friday night at 6PM Darkwood Manor – of 104 N Hawksbill St, Luray, VA 22835, will host a meet and greet of several of the wrestlers. This opportunity will allow the public to come face to face with WCW/NWA/WWE legend the Barbarian Hulk Hogan’s Micro Championship Wrestling’s Short Sleeve Sampson.

As part of that fan friendly experience, Short Sleeve Sampson will be leading an open discussion on bullying which will be mediated by Wendy Brown, who owns Darkwood Manor along with her husband Louis. Sampson who announced at the end of 2013 that he would be retiring from the world of professional wrestling, has made a career both inside and out sharing with youth in the US and Canada motivational words and strong efforts against bullying.

Like most people with dwarfism, he took his share of bullying and rejection during his elementary school years. By the time he hit high school, though, he said he had decided not to let it bother him. In the ring, he positively embraces his difference.

“I use this to make myself stand out, to be able to allow opportunities to happen, not to use it as a crutch,” Sampson says.

Unlike many of his compatriots, he took time early on to get trained properly so his matches wouldn’t devolve into sideshow comedy.

He has also trained mostly with average-stature wrestlers, which has allowed him to leave his own unique stamp on the sport.

“It gave me a lot more versatility to be able to work anybody,” he said. “I’m probably one of the only midget wrestlers that is willing to work big guys.”

Sampson knows not everyone takes his enthusiastic view of his sport. Short stature advocacy groups are especially opposed to shows continuing to use the term “midget,” which they say is as offensive as a racial slur.

Opponents see the term in a negative manner. Some even relate it to bullying. For Riley Windeler, Interior vice president of Little People of British Columbia, the very idea of the spectacle is offensive. As a little person who’s had to endure staring, bullying, name calling and discrimination, he said bullies don’t need any more ammunition to make fun of people with dwarfism.

But in professional wrestling, no other word has the same cachet, according to Sampson, and the name “midget wrestling” dates back to the heyday of the sport in the 1950s and 1960s.

“It’s always been called ‘midget wrestling.’” Sampson said. “If you call it anything else, people are not going to know what you’re talking about.”

His appearance at Luray High School with the Night of the Superstars is part of a yearlong, 40-city farewell tour he kicked off this winter. The 40-year-old grappler, who lives in Syracuse, NY, describes his 15 years in pro wrestling as a roller coaster ride.

At the bottom has been time away from his family and a couple serious injuries on the road, like one time when he dove through the ropes and the opponent, who was supposed to break his fall before he hit the floor, stepped out of the way. Flying face first into the ring barrier, Sampson broke his nose, cracked his orbital bone and had to get stitches above his eye before stepping back into the ring for an evening match the same day.

At the top of the roller coaster has been his work with some of the biggest shows in the industry: WWF, WWE, tna and most recently Hulk Hogan’s micro championship wrestling.

“I wanted to be able to leave on my terms as well as leave while everything’s good and leave on a high,” he said of his farewell tour.

Sampson’s skills as a veteran showman were not lost in his 15-year career, as fans have cheered him on in the ring and lined up for autographs show after show. The four-foot-two, 120-pound wrestler has flexed bare chested, hoisted youngsters onto his shoulders and posed as friends and parents snapped photos for his entire career..

Even while he embraces people’s perceptions of him as a curiosity within the greater spectacle of professional wrestling, however, it’s clear he does it on his own terms.

“At the end of the night, I have to be happy with myself,” he said. “I have to be satisfied with what I do.”

DarkWood Manor is a haunted house attraction. They combine detailed sets, movie quality make-up, and talented actors to create a scary and unique haunted house experience – not your typical haunted house. For over a decade they have created a theatrical and interactive attraction based on original stories. Outside the October season the DarkWood crew works on make-up and props for film and television. They also produce masks and costumes for other haunted attractions.

“I am excited to open the doors of Darkwood Manor for this event,” said Wendy Brown. “It is something that we at Darkwood feel very strongly about. And to have such a personality and impactful celebrity bring the message to Page County will surely be a treat.”

The event at Darkwood Manor begins at 6PM on Friday March 21 and is free to the public. For mor information about Darkwood Manor visit their website athttp://www.darkwoodmanor.net/.

Tickets for the wrestling event are $15 for general admission and $25 for ringside. Limited numbers of ringside still are available and will sell out before the event takes place in two weeks.

For more information contact Luray High School 540/743-3800, Page County High School 540/652-8712, Page County Dot Net 540/742-1743 or by email at NightOfTheSuperstars@gmail.com.




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