American Independent Wrestling Federation (AIWF) Mid Atlantic Wrestling promises justice will be served with a “Capital Punishment” wrestling event February 18 in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1115 “Thunderdome.” Fans may meet wrestlers at the Post starting at 5:30 p.m. and merchandise tables will be available. Doors are scheduled to open at 6 p.m.
The keynote match of the mayhem is between current AIWF Mid Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Rusty Shank and former commissioner Kevin Phoenix, who has blamed his recent bad luck on Shank. Recently in Mount Airy a routine buckle upgrade saw Phoenix teaching Shank what it literally means to be “belted.” This altercation resulted in Phoenix wearing the new belt and the now conscious Shank retaining the old belt.
“Kevin Phoenix has had a real change of heart. I kind of feel like he’s disrespected me. He’s disrespected (Mr.) Young Gun and most importantly he’s disrespected the fans,” said Shank in a telephone interview last week. “I was presented with the new AIWF Mid Atlantic Heavyweight Title and I was celebrating with fans, even though I was a little hurt. He came out and blasted me with the old title (belt) and stole the other one. I kinda think he has some ‘splaining to do’ if you know what I mean. Hopefully on the eighteenth some questions will be answered and he’ll have a change of heart but I doubt it. Kevin Phoenix is going down the wrong road right now.”
Shank attributed a lot of Phoenix’s recent bad behavior to the influence of members of the AIWF “Trinity” of TR Superstar, Ty Tyson and Rick Deezel.
“I think the Trinity has got into his head. I don’t know what’s going on in his head right now,” Shank said. “I had nothing to do with him losing the commissioner’s title. TR was out there sticking his nose in his business and he pretty much caused it. I was just trying to help a friend out. And then, boom. This happens.”
Shank said Hillsville has become one of his favorite towns. He said fans are passionate about the AIWF, and a crew with “a good group of guys in the back” keeps everything competitive. He said he feels fans in Hillsville enjoy the competition. A Christmas match in Hillsville saw Young Gun being put out of play with a similar championship belt move. Mount Airy crowds saw a triumphant return of Young Gun, who was named the new commissioner by AIWF Promoter Matt Classic.
“He (Young Gun) looked a little hurt after that last meet. Now he’s up to commissioner status. I don’t think he’s going to shake things up but I do think he’s definitely going to bring a breath of fresh air to the competitive side of AIWF Mid Atlantic,” said Shank. “That’s enjoyable for the fans in the Thunderdome. It’s a good environment. I think of Hillsville as my pod. I call them Pod Squaders. Kevin Phoenix needs to be on point and bring his A game. He needs to know Rusty Shank is coming and we are going to rock it down on the eighteenth.”
Commissioner Mr. Young Gun said the Thunderdome has become so popular with the AIWF wrestlers and fans promoters have to be careful not to become overrun with fans and talent. (December matches in the Dome featured new WWE Hall of Fame Inductee Ricky Morton of The Rock and Roll Express.)
“On February 18 we have WCW star The Barbarian tagging with Scrapyard Dog against TR Superstar and Ty Tyson,” said Mr. Young Gun. “We’ve got our Mid Atlantic Cruiser Weight Champ Jeff X who is always a crowd favorite. Of course the main event is Rusty Shank against Kevin Phoenix. In true AIWF style there will always be on-the-fly matches.” AIWF stalwarts The Midnight Mauler, Rick Deezel and Johnny Blast will also be in attendance.”
Young Gun said the “road to Capital Punishment” began in Horsepasture, Va. prior to the Thunderdome event. He said the group is starting to see regulars and returning fans in Hillsville. He noted wrestlers and fans enjoy interacting with each other at “meet and greets” prior to matches. He said there seems to always be a wrestler or fan on Facebook praising Hillsville’s events.
“The VFW has really supported us a lot. We enjoy it every time we are here,” said Young Gun. “It’s always nice when you come through the curtain and you see part of your gimmick out there. Fans wearing shirts, Ty Tyson’s hard hat or fans waiving Mr. Young Gun Bandanas. The good thing about Hillsville is they are walking into the Mr. Young Gun Auditorium. I recently was honored with the title of commissioner. It’s time to put some of these people who have been running amok back in line.”
He noted proceeds and activities at the Hillsville event go to support veterans and help the community. Young Gun said the VFW Auxiliary runs concessions at Thunderdome events with proceeds going to the VFW.
“We get to raise the awareness the VFW isn’t just boring. It isn’t old men sitting and drinking coffee. It is actually exciting with new things happening. We’re happy to be a part of a venue where the VFW always has great things happening,” said Young Gun.
People may obtain information by visiting the web site aiwfmidatlantic.com or on Facebook.com/aiwfmidatlantic. Ringside tickets are $8 and bleacher seats are $6.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.