Pro wrestlers give crowd-pleasing performance for 450 in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2024 at 3:20 pm

Event was fundraiser for East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Cheech, one of the pro wrestlers who competed Saturday in the Medina High School gym, acknowledges the crowd after he won a five-man scramble.

It was one of the featured battles in the “Spring Smash,” a benefit for the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. Empire State Wrestling brought a group of pro wrestlers, including three with ties to Orleans County, for the event.

About 450 people attended the 2 ½-hour “Spring Smash” on Saturday. That matches the crowd from about a year ago, when ESW held its first event at Medina. ESW previously did an annual event at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds, with crowds of 350 in 2018 and then 200 in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic kept the wrestlers away starting in 2020 before last year’s return to Orleans County.

Cheech, one of the ESW’s more popular wrestlers, now faces the ESW champion Spencer Slade on May 18 during Brawlfest at Riverworks in Buffalo.

Colin Delaney, formerly of the WWE, screams when Spencer Slade twists Delaney’s leg. Slade, the ESW champion, kept his title.

Spencer Slade, an imposing physical specimen, acknowledges the crowd before his match. Slade is hearing-impaired and wears ear protection.

Kevin Blackwood, one of the most successful pro wrestlers from Orleans County, returned to battle Yoya. Blackwood has Yoya in a headlock.

Blackwood, 33, grew up in Albion as Kevin Lockwood. He lives in Los Angeles and wrestles all over the United States and Canada.

Erin Moody of Albion is Lockwood’s uncle. Moody remembers Lockwood as a little boy, jumping off the couch and pretending to be a wrestler.

“I’m really happy to see Kevin following his dream,” Moody said. “He is really doing it. Not many people get to live their dream.”

Maxx Cannon, “The Big Filthy,” makes his entrance into the gym. Jacob Miller of Medina wrestles as Maxx Cannon. Miller, 30, has been wrestling for about four years, but he took nearly a year off after the birth of his daughter. Saturday was his return to the ring.

He said he was thrilled to get a big response from the local crowd.

He battled Frankie Feathers, the former ESW champion.

“There is nothing like being in your hometown,” Miller said.

He has wrestled with ESW, Buffalo Championship Wrestling, Southern Tier Wrestling and Xcite Professional Wrestling.

Maxx Cannon gives a big facial reaction in his match against Frankie Feathers. Cannon had Feathers beat, but the referee missed the count after being knocked down.

Cannon enjoys interacting with the crowd and being on the microphone, talking some trash with his opponents.

During Saturday’s match, when he had the mic, he snuck in, “Let’s go Mustangs!” in a tribute to his alma mater.

Gavin Glass (right), a Medina native, is up high on the ropes with Darren Crowe. Glass used his “Glass Cutter” move to finish off Crowe.

Glass, 26, returned to the ring last month after taking about a year off when he became a father. Glass has been wrestling for almost a decade and travelled all over the country and Canada.

“I grew up wanting to do this since I was in fourth grade,” he said. “The dream has come true.”

Gavin Glass signs an autograph on a kid’s arm after Glass was victorious.

Adrianna Fury, right, has Haley Dylan down on the mat in the only match featuring women wrestlers. Dylan won the battle.

Zach Nystrom was among the wrestlers in a  five-man scramble. Nystrom, a Texas native, now lives in Pittsburgh. He wrestles “up and down the East Coast,” often devoting Thursdays through Sundays to wrestling, and then returning to his regular job in logistics for a trucking company. He said the regular job “is much more boring than this.”

Nystrom, 26, played college football and was working as an iron worker when he decided to give wrestling a try. He loves the physicality of the sport, and some of the exaggerated showmanship.

He is a power wrestler. He doesn’t do fancy moves. His slogan: “Making the Basics Brutal.”

Nystrom typically is a “bad guy” in the matches. He enjoys connecting with the crowd.

“Wrestling is physical theater,” he said. “It’s somewhere between sport and show. For us, it’s our passion and we’re living out our dream.”