This was the speech given at Lanphier High School when Pinfall Wrestling Association was presented the central Illinois promotion of the year award.
Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve heard all the rumors, I’ve certainly gotten an earful from the few who figured it out or learned about it early, and now I stand here to present the promotion of the year award. Before I do, I know once the news fully gets out my phone and email will be burning up folks yelling, how can you claim PWA is a better promotion than the last promotion of the year winner? The truth of the matter is, I’m not going to say PWA is a superior promotion to everyone else. I’m also not going to claim that the PWA roster is superior to the last promotion of the year winner that is an argument that neither you nor I would have any chance of winning. And frankly, if you walked up to me a year ago and told me that PWA would be the promotion of the year over Dreamwave, I would had said no way. And moreover, I was asked where I saw PWA in five years, but my answer would had been would you have predicted that this is how central Illinois wrestling would be now versus five years ago? We still believe Dreamwave is the gold standard of pro wrestling in this state. So how is it that the NBS would award PWA the promotion of the year?
After last year’s NBS Awards I explained in an editorial comment that promotions would have to find a way to stand out from the competition. While roster is just one aspect of a great promotion, it’s not the lone factor. In 2013, a lot of you weren’t here to witness PWA. Average attendance was below 50 at a lot of those events. Toward the end of the year, things started to turn. Attendance was starting to grow and soon attendance was a healthy three digits in the little Jaycee’s Activity Center. Sponsorships came together. Then the event that made the statement that PWA was going to be a much bigger player on the local scene was held at Goals got nearly 200 people in the building, double what another promotion did a year ago with a higher caliber lineup.
Years ago the Nose Bleed Seats established the NBS Pro Wrestling Training center over in Decatur to fill a void in CI, a places for local talent to practice and create new talent. The NBS produced Derek Moss, Tony G, Perry Winkle, Nelson Sixx and Randy Ray that you see in the ring today. Guy Smith was the head trainer back then, now he is the head trainer with PWA’s training facility producing new wrestlers along with helping others who seek to a comeback. You’ve seen a few of those folks wrestle already, like Brent Dunn and Elijah Raheem, and one who made his comeback Brad Stephens. And the biggest surprise came at the end of the year when PWA announced they were bringing pro wrestling back to Lanphier High School.
PWA’s credo is that they make stars, not bring in stars, to grow itself. All the while PWA is providing a solid program in the ring, drawing really well with strictly homegrown talent. The bottom line, PWA earned the promotion of the year award by being the most improved promotion in central Illinois. The mission statement of the Nose Bleed Seats has been to advocate and encourage improving the local scene in every way possible. That expectation has been met and then some by PWA in 2014 as the most improved promotion in central Illinois and that should be rewarded.
The challenge for PWA for this coming year is to get their stars on the road, organize a caravan to other promotions around this state and neighboring ones to show they aren’t limiting themselves to just being players in good-ole Springpatch. Seek out more, demonstrate you should be recognized and move up the ladder in the independent scene so you may a big player in the Midwest or the nation! For those who believe PWA doesn’t meet your standards of a pro wrestling event, there are plenty of choices out there within reasonable driving distance, turn out, support them, build them up because if they get bigger, that will encourage others to step up their game to match it. For those of you who prefer PWA over every other promotion in the state of Illinois, keep turning out and filling up this gymnasium, and tell others why you like PWA and why they should too. But for now, it gives me great pleasure in one of the biggest upsets of the NBS Awards ever to present Pinfall Wrestling Association the 2015 Promotion of the Year Award.