Ohio Valley Wrestling held its 1000th TV taping last night, beating WWE Smackdown to that mark by a few weeks. It’s an unprecedented achievement, and from all appearances this legendary promotion is not about to slow down.
The event was a sold out engagement in the heart of downtown Louisville at 4th Street Live, just a few blocks from the Louisville Gardens. Rising stars like Randall Floyd and Justin Smooth were given the chance to shine alongside legends like Billy Gunn and Tommy Dreamer. Fan favorites like Mr. Anderson, Paul Burchill, Michael Hayes, Randy Royal, and Simon Dean made return appearances. The hardcore legend Mick Foley put in a special appearance. Abyss was crowned the new OVW Heavyweight Champion. And Gilbert Corsey introduced the fathers of OVW – Joe Wheeler, Rip Rogers, Dean Hill, Jim Cornette, and of course, Danny Davis – to a rousing ovation.
It was a memorable night from top to bottom, but for this fan, the best part of the evening took place outside the ring. It happened in the walkways around the ringside area in the center of 4th Street Live, in the outdoor dining areas at Guy’s Smokehouse and other restaurants, and behind the cheap seat bleachers.
The best part was watching the passersby, who dropped by 4th Street for dinner or an after work drink. The best part was seeing the look of a ten year old boy in the eyes of three men in business casual attire, watching the action from behind the cheap seats.
They didn’t buy tickets. I doubt they knew wrestling was going on that night. It may have been years since any of them had sat down to watch any wrestling. Last night, for a moment, they were kids again, spellbound by the action of professional wrestlers doing what they do best.
By all indications, last night was not the last time such moments would be made, as Gilbert Corsey hinted there will be more shows at 4th Street Live. There certainly will be more shows coming from OVW, and more superstars emerging from the school. The legacy of OVW is in great hands thanks to new owner Al Snow, and the story of one of the premiere independent wrestling promotions is still being written.
Congratulations to everyone at OVW.