If you prefer piledrivers over chocolate-covered hearts, make sure to celebrate your holiday on Saturday.
The sixth annual National Pro Wrestling Day takes place at The Wrestle Factory in Philadelphia on Feb. 17, as CHIKARA hosts a free, family-friendly event for a good cause. Fans attending the show or watching online are encouraged to donate to Unidos, a relief fund for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico.
“There has been very little, if any, pro wrestling on the island of Puerto Rico since the hurricane,” said Bryce Remsburg, recently appointed Director of Fun at CHIKARA. “There is such a rich lucha and pro wrestling history on the island. This money may not be going directly to it, but the spirit is definitely there.”
Originally, National Pro Wrestling Day featured matches from 26 indie promotions across the country. Coordinating all of that became a logistical nightmare, Remsburg said, so CHIKARA has carried on the event as a fundraiser for different charities. “It is meant to spread goodwill for the world of pro wrestling at large,” he said. “I expect a full card of tremendous excitement.”
Eight matches have been announced for the afternoon show thus far, including CHIKARA veterans Ophidian and Frightmare facing off as well as Wrestle Factory alumni Rory Gulak and Gran Akuma.
It will be also be a day of new beginnings as former champions Cornelius Crummels and Sonny Defarge welcome newcomers TJ Crawford and Flamingo Freddy, collectively known as The Beach Bums. “They take orders from a magical conch and it has directed them to National Pro Wrestling Day,” said Remsburg, who was very impressed with the duo during their tryout last summer.
Additionally, the hottest couple in pro wrestling will make their CHIKARA debut as Joey Janela and Penelope Ford take on the popular Xyberhawx2000. “As they say in Zoolander, they’re so hot right now,” Remsburg said. “It will be the first time we’ve ever had a Wingette of the Year in a CHIKARA ring.”
Both tag team bouts are qualifying matches for the 2018 Tag World Grand Prix tournament in April. In other high stakes action, Juan Francisco de Coronado defends the CHIKARA Grand Championship against Oleg the Usurper, who will be the first person in company history to challenge the same champion twice in one reign.
“While I don’t agree with his tactics, he’s been quite the fighting champion,” Remsburg said, citing Coronado’s frequent title defenses across the country since winning the gold last April during WrestleMania weekend. “Somehow, someway, he always comes out with the title. We’ll see if he can weasel away with the championship or if it will be the Viking warrior’s day in the sun.”
It’s first-come, first-serve on Saturday so fans are encouraged to show up early to guarantee a spot in the 250-person venue. For those watching online, you can sign up for a free seven-day trial of CHIKARAtopia, the company’s streaming service, for National Pro Wrestling Day and an endless array of archived content.
“We’re trying to use pro wrestling for the greater good,” Remsburg said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the drama and the muck and the mire, and being disappointed with what you see sometimes on TV. But we’re just here to put some smiles on people’s faces.”
National Pro Wrestling Day takes place at The Wrestle Factory on 4711 Wingate St. in Philadelphia, PA on Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. EST.
To donate to the hurricane relief fund, visit hispanicfederation.org/donate.
To stream National Pro Wrestling Day, visit chikarapro.com/chikaratopia-subscriptions.