Global Force Wrestling teams with Back Breakers Training Center and Grand Slam Wrestling for June 4 event at former Scranton CYC
SCRANTON — Before Wild Phoenix donned his masked professional wrestling persona, he was a fan. In the early ’90s he attended his first live event, a World Wrestling Entertainment show at Scranton Catholic Youth Center.
“I’ll never forget when ‘Iron’ Mike Sharpe took Bret (Hart) and hit his head on the steel steps … just the sound,” Phoenix said. “That’s really when it flipped the switch for me and I said, ‘OK, this is what I want to do.’”
On June 4, Phoenix returns to the Scranton CYC — now Lackawanna College’s Student Union Gymnasium — to take part in an evening of matches featuring local wrestlers from Scranton’s Back Breakers Training Center and Moosic’s Grand Slam Wrestling. Local wrestlers will lock up at the event with Global Force Wrestling, a promotion started in 2014 by wrestling business veteran Jeff Jarrett.
“Basically, we partner up with independent promotions based in these markets that have the fan base and infrastructure and everything that goes with it,” Jarrett said. “I am looking forward to coming to Scranton. There’s so much history in that market.”
GFW’s road to Scranton began at Back Breakers Training Center. After owner Justyn Glory brought Jarrett to the school, the two began collaborating, with Jarrett contributing GFW’s roster and brand power. Glory handled local logistics, including an arrangement that sees a portion of proceeds going to the family of Scranton Police Officer John Wilding, who last year succumbed to injuries suffered while in pursuit of a stolen vehicle. According to Glory, the event has another cause: to support the state of professional wrestling in Northeast Pennsylvania.
“We want to bring not only wrestling back to its roots in Scranton, we also want to make a strong presence for Global Force,” Glory said. “Global Force is really the next big thing we’re trying to get behind because we know it’s going be a success. Jeff’s got a long pedigree within the wrestling business.”
Jarrett performs along with GFW heavyweight champion Nick Aldis (formerly TNA’s Magnus) and Nex*Gen champion Sonjay Dutt. Jarrett said working with local wrestlers like Phoenix, Glory, Scranton tag team, The Impeccables, and Jessup-based karate sensei Shogun Machette helps keep things fresh for the wrestlers of GFW.
“We all know pro wrestling isn’t a true sport, but without question it’s a very competitive atmosphere,” Jarrett said. “Guys want to go out and have the best match, the best move and the best reaction. I think having these co-shows gives the guys — the talent, male or female — that opportunity to up their game where they wouldn’t have that opportunity if they were doing the same match night after night.”
The competition begins at 7:30 p.m. at 500 Jefferson Ave.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Global Force Wrestling, Back Breakers Training Center and Moosic’s Grand Slam Wrestling event
WHEN: June 4. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Bell time is at 7:30 p.m. VIP entry at 4 p.m.
WHERE: Lackawanna College’s Student Union Gymnasium, 500 Jefferson Ave., Scranton.
HOW MUCH: $15 general admission; $25 floor seats and $40 VIP seating
To purchase tickets, visit Crunch Fitness in Scranton’s Steamtown Mall, Video Game Post at 526 South Main St., Wilkes-Barre, call 570-290-8952 or visit GFWScranton.bpt.me.