Georgia professional wrestling is on another level


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Georgia independent wrestling promotion Anarchy Wrestling held a recent show in Royston, GA. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]
Many of you may not know this about me, but I’m a huge fan of professional wrestling and have been for over 20 years now.

Lately, I was able to knock an item from my bucket list checking out my first ever independent professional wrestling show in Royston, GA on June 22.

Why that may not be the flashiest of bucket items to many, it is to me. Some people love the commercialized big events. Even for myself I’d love to check out The Masters, Wimbledon or WrestleMania one year.

However, I also love the smaller leagues and promotions. I find small leagues and promotions fascinating by those extremely hard workers who put in the time to make their dreams a reality while betting on themselves.

So, the question.

Why was I in Royston, GA when I’m from Amarillo?

Well, my wife, Serena, is a Georgia native and her parents, Steve and Sherri, live in Hartwell, just 13 miles from Royston.

Royston, GA is home to three different Georgia independent wrestling promotions. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]
Every couple of summers Serena and I make the 20-hour trip to visit her folks and enjoy a vacation. Royston – the hometown of legendary baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb, who also has an unbelievable museum in the city – is on the way to Hartwell and every time we drive through Royston there is this sign that always catches my attention. “Live Pro Wrestling”.

I’ve been telling Serena for years I’m going to one of those shows. So, knowing we were coming to Georgia back in April I looked on Facebook and found out that Anarchy Wrestling was hosting Hardcore Hell 26 at the Royston Dome on June 22.

I purchased a ticket and then last Saturday night ventured over to Royston to check out my first ever independent wrestling show.

It was everything I expected and more.

Over 200 plus fans packed the Royston Dome in Royston, GA for the Anarchy Wrestling show on June 22. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]
The Royston Dome is an old high school gym built in the 1940’s. You can smell the history and grit the minute you walk in the door. Wood panels for a roof, no air conditioning, this is my kind of place. Just that real wrestling feel.

Being a veteran sports reporter, I couldn’t just sit back and enjoy the show as a fan. I’m intrigued and love to ask questions.

I started chatting up the locals and was fortunate enough to sit down with promoter/ owner of the Royston Dome, James Boulevard and his business partner Jonathan Feltner.

I was able to chat with Georgia Heritage champion Jacob Ashworth, a very popular local wrestler, and met up with Georgia Wrestling History scribe Larry Goodman as well as wrestling podcaster Myron Fencher of the Tapped Out Podcast Network.

Talking with these men, I was immediately enamored in what they were telling me about Georgia wrestling and all of the promotions.

I had no idea that Anarchy Wrestling was doing its first show in the Royston Dome the night I attended. I had no idea that Anarchy Wrestling had a long-standing tradition in Cornelia, GA at the Legacy Arena about 45 minutes away.

I had no idea that current WWE Superstars like A.J. Styles, R-Truth, and Xavier Woods to name a few got their start on the small back roads of The Peach State.

Royston Dome owner Boulevard runs three shows out of his Royston Dome. On Fridays, Square Circle Action does a weekly performance, then one Saturday a month Anarchy Wrestling has a show and Georgia Outlaw Wrestling does one show a month on a Sunday.

Boulevard said that just proves how hot the wrestling scene is in Georgia at the moment.

“We’re constantly busy,” Boulevard said. “The Georgia wrestling scene is awesome right now. South Carolina may be the only other place as hot as Georgia when it comes to independent wrestling. I think the WWE is doing great right now and the developmental is in Florida and it branches out to us.”

Growing up in a wrestling town like Amarillo thanks to the Funk name I’ve heard of the old territory days but to see it up close and personal was a cool experience. These Georgia promotions run independent shows all over the state.

In fact, that Saturday night I was at the Anarchy Wrestling event, there were four other wrestling shows within 45 minutes of Royston.

As for what I saw at Hardcore Hell, it was a tremendous three hours of great professional wrestling. A young up and comer Hunter James caught my eye as did Anarchy heavy weight champion Nick Halen before he lost his title in a steel cage match.

Jacob Ashworth has been wrestling on the Georgia independent circuit for 19 years. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]
Ashworth was another one to get my attention from his ability in the ring to his rapport with the fanbase being a local talent.

I loved the wrestlers interacting with the 200-plus fans in attendance. It made each fan feel special including myself.

Talking with Ashworth, who has been wrestling 19 years and even made multiple appearances on WWE television in the past, being able to work his craft in front of the hometown faithful is a favorite part of the job.

“I love wrestling in Royston,” Ashworth said. “I went to elementary school here and played basketball here. I watched an NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) show here with my grandfather in 1992. This is home to me and always will be. We’re building a legacy here in Royston for great professional wrestling.

I know I generally don’t write columns of this sort, and this isn’t a Texas Panhandle related story, but I just had to share one of the more exciting experiences I’ve had in quite some time.

It was refreshing to take a chance on a small wrestling promotion and enjoy the show as much as I did. It was money well spent. I suggest anyone visiting the Peach State soon look on Facebook and find a wrestling show near you and go have a blast.

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