By Gary Fauber
As a boy growing up in 1980s Fayette County, Chris Hughes loved wrestling. He had his favorite stars, from The Road Warriors to the Steiner Brothers, whom he watched every Saturday evening on TV, and he also attended any local show he could get to.
Getting involved with the business end of wrestling was something he probably never envisioned.
One of Hughes’ friends has owned Mega Pro Wrestling for 12 years. He wanted some help, so Hughes jumped aboard in January, and his fandom has soared to a whole new level.
“I used to go to all the local shows and thought this would be easy enough to do,” he said. “But, like everything, nothing is as easy as it looks. I’ve been in the promoting business for years, so I thought I would give pro wrestling a try.”
Hughes has been part of 20 shows in his four months as MPW promoter, and he has made connections he never thought possible. He has rubbed elbows with many of the same wrestlers he watched on TV as a kid, including Ricky Morton, Jimmy Valiant, Buff Bagwell, Shane Douglas, The Barbarian, George South, Ron Garvin, Hurricane Helms and Kevin Sullivan.
“I have had the time of my life,” he said. “I have made some pretty good connections and friends. I had the pleasure of going to WrestleMania with Kevin Sullivan and hanging out at all the conventions. I travel a lot with Kevin. We did a show two weeks ago in Nashville.”
At the end of this month, Hughes’ past will come alive in a big way when he brings MPW to the old Gauley Bridge High School, from which he graduated in 1993.
“I love being able to bring something out to my hometown,” Hughes said. “I was able to bring (semi-pro) football to Gauley Bridge 10 years ago and win a championship on my old field. So to bring wrestling here is cool. Everyone says there is never anything to do. Well, I plan to start running shows every six weeks.”
Fans who, like Hughes, still watch today’s brand while remembering the stars and styles of 1980s wrestling, will enjoy the MPW show at Gauley Bridge.
“I have always been a fan of ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling),” Hughes said, “so I am having a Mega Extreme Hardcore Title tournament.”
It will be 16-man tournament, with brackets of four, held on four different days.
Last week, Sullivan won his bracket by beating The Barbarian in a dog collar match. He won a coal miner’s glove match earlier that night, beating Eric Steel. Each bracket runner-up will get a wild-card into the next bracket, so The Barbarian gets another shot.
The second day of the tournament will highlight the Gauley Bridge show.
The first match will pit former ECW champion Shane Douglas against former WWE star Eugene in a coal miner’s glove match. In the second match, The Barbarian will battle “The Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez in a West Virginia Bullrope match.
The two winners will then face off in a tables, ladders and chairs match to determine the bracket winner. The loser will also move on as a wild-card.
Hughes said the remaining two nights of the tournament will be held in July and September, and that his plan is to have both in Gauley Bridge.
The event will be held Friday, May 31. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., with a bell time of 8 p.m.
Ticket prices are $10 ringside and $8 general admission. Kids ages 6-12 get in for $5, while kids under 6 get in free.
There will be a meet-and-greet session starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15.
For more information or to order advanced tickets, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
— On the Internet: www.facebook.com/mega.prowrestling