BY GERRY STRAUS
That was indeed the case last Friday night at Spring Valley High School, as Northeast Wrestling presented “Spring Slam,” a night of grappling action that was promoted to help raise money for the school’s athletic programs. A fundraising powerhouse for the better part of twenty years, NEW works with schools and other worthy organizations to produce, promote and publicize family-friendly wrestling shows throughout NY, CT, PA and NJ.
Fort this event, many of the facility’s students and teachers volunteered their time, either before or during the event, to help things run smoothly. But Coach Andrew Delva decided he wanted to do more, so he agreed to step foot inside the ring himself… alongside Northeast Wrestling Champion Brian Anthony, no less.
“Over the years, I’ve gotten to work with a lot of local heroes with no experience in the ring,” Anthony said. “Mayors, cops, coaches… I’ve teamed with and faced them all, but Coach Delva was definitely one of the best.”
Delva and Anthony’s opponents, the team known as the “Platinum Entourage,” would certainly echo that statement. During the match, they found themselves thrown, slammed and tackled before finally succumbing to the coach and the champ (along with their special guest cornerman, WWE Hall-of-Fame Superstar Booker T) in a rousing defeat.
Booker’s legendary presence at the event was just one more attraction on the evening’s star-studded lineup, as WWE legend-turned – author-turned-standup comedian Mick Foley presided over “Spring Slam” as the night’s “commissioner”. Plus, the Hall-of-Famer host of WWE’s flagship show, “Monday Night Raw,” Jerry “The King” Lawler showed up to defeat Jimmy Preston – a young loudmouth nearly half his age.
Beyond the veteran stars, contemporary talent also had their time to shine at “Spring Slam.” Local favorites like “The Beast” Bull Dread, “Mr. Spotlight” Jeff Starr, and “The Mac” entertained fans young and old, while former WWE headliner Matt Hardy and rising star Caleb Conley turned up the heat in an exciting back-and-forth contest.
“This event had something for everyone,” said Spring Valley resident Al Tarlip, who attended the show with his 9-year old son Pete. “He gets to watch the young guys fly around, I get to see the wrestlers that I remember from back in my day, and the school gets to raise a lot of money for their sports program. Everyone wins.”
Hours before belltime, Northeast Wrestling presented one of their signature event staples – a well-organized “meet and greet” session that gave fans a chance to get autographs, pictures and some friendly words from all of the stars on that evening’s event.
“It was so much fun,” said Pete. “Matt Hardy gave me a high-five and Brian Anthony let me take a picture wearing his [championship] belt. My dad even got to meet Jerry Lawler!”
“I think he was a little nervous,” he giggled. “I had to tell him to relax.”
During “Spring Slam”, NEW announced their third annual “Wrestling Under The Stars” event, set for Dutchess Stadium in Wappinger Falls. Featured on that show will be the reunion of Matt and Jeff Hardy, as well as appearances from Hall-of Famers Bret “Hitman” Hart, Jerry Lawler, Booker T and Spike TV/Impact Wrestling’s Velvet Sky.