Professional wrestling events debated by the community were approved Wednesday for a gym facility on the West Side of Hamilton.
The first of the Friday shows will be Feb. 1, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m., and the first bell ringing at 7:30 p.m., members of Future Great Wrestling decided and announced after they won a reverse decision from the Hamilton Planning Commission.
During the Wednesday evening meeting, there was none of the rancor or controversy that happened during a December meeting, where the proposal to allow wrestling in the gym facility at 190 N. Brookwood failed on a 3-3 vote, with one member absent.
But on Wednesday, the commission voted 7-0 to allow wrestling events as a 90-day trial. If all goes well, the commission can vote to approve future events on an ongoing basis.
Residents of a nearby housing complex where mostly older people live had expressed concerns about traffic, parking and the possibility of rowdy, noisy fans possibly fighting in the parking lot after the events, which will end at 9:30 p.m.
Brian LeVick, who owns both the Future Great Comics comic-book store on Main Street and Future Great Wrestling, and the 30 wrestlers he is working with were offended about the misperceptions they said the neighbors have about wrestlers and wrestling fans. The events are clean, wholesome family fun, LeVick and supporters said.
“This city’s cried for things for something for kids to do for a long time,” said Hamilton resident Joe Trent. “I have an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old, and they love these things. They just love going to it, and I just hope they’re able to continue to.”
Jason Myers, 45, who wrestles under the name “Cody Hawk,” told the commission he has been in a professional wrestler business 23 years, and has produced wrestling shows for 18 years.
“In that time, I’ve wrestled all over the United States, and all over the world,” he said. “I worked for the largest company, the WWE, and I’ve worked for some of the smallest, independent wrestling companies, companies just like Future Great Wrestling.
“While what we do is predetermined (in the wrestling ring), there’s nothing fake about what happens to our bodies.”
He has wrestled in more than 3,000 events and has run about 1,000 events of his own “all over the tri-state area,” he said.
He ran shows from 2003-07 in Evendale every Tuesday, drawing about 100 people, “and never once had an issue,” he said. “I ran shows in Dayton from 2011 to 2014, and again, never had an issue.”
“My shows are professional,” he said. “My wrestlers are fullytrained professionals who do this not because they’re getting rich, but because they love to entertain.”
Myers trains the staff, books the talent and writes the shows “featuring the struggle of good guys and girls versus bad guys and girls,” he said. “Anything you see happen on one of our shows came directly from my brain and my pen.”
The shows through the years have raised money for charities like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Autism Rocks locally, an arm of the Ken Anderson Foundation.
His girlfriend is a nurse in a doctor’s office and wrestles by night, he said.
The change in the commission’s vote came for two main reasons: The commission and neighboring residents were comforted by and 90-day trial; and also, city staff met Friday with the neighboring community and explained the steps, including guaranteed number of security forces and increased parking, that would be taken to ensure neighbors would not be disturbed.
“Mr. LeVick, happy wrestling,” Fay Baker, president of the Colonial Lake condominium association, told him during the meeting, indicating the neighbors gave their consent to the agreement.
Hamilton’s city council chambers were filled with an audience of wrestling proponents, about 15 of them wrestlers, and others people who plan to attend wrestling events.
At one point, to show that the wrestlers are ordinary people with day jobs, LeVick asked the wrestlers to stand, and contrary to the images some of them offer as entertainers, a group of well-dressed, ordinary looking people stood. LeVick then asked those planning to attend events, and another group of friendly-looking people stood.
LeVick suggested the display to demonstrate that the wrestling events, which will cost $6 for general admission and $8 for front-row seats, are family-friendly entertainment. Advance tickets will be available at Future Great Comics, 528 Main St., in Hamilton.