The setting was one that can be found in any small town in America on a given night. It could be a bingo hall, an armory, or a VFW hall. On that night, when the lights are shining, it’s transformed into an arena. Not too different from those of civilizations past. There is drama, comedy, love and hate. Above all else there is the stage, or a 14 x 14 wrestling ring. The men and women that walk through the curtain to ply their trade transform from everyday people into gladiators and artists, the canvas their vessel. Professional Wrestling has seen many phases of evolution through its existence. In its infancy of the early 1900’s where tough guys would battle for hours and travel town to town as part of the circus, to what we see on television today as more operatic with athleticism sometimes taking the back seat.
The setting of this story was Binghamton, New York, the date April 30th, 2016 and the production was Xcite Pro Wrestling. Though not as large a company as the WWE, TNA or Ring of Honor, Xcite is a company that is still young in its life but is growing exponentially. The stories they told rival those being told in any Shakespearean play. Good vs. Evil, Friend vs. Friend, and the tale of a young champion striving to prove he belongs. Pro wrestling always gets the term “fake” thrown at it. But when we sit to watch a movie do we harp on the fact it is not reality? No. When watching a program like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead do we stop ourselves and critique every piece of acting and story just to diminish the efforts of everyone involved? No. But alas, pro wrestling will always get this stigma as those who have never stepped into the ring will never understand the hardships and pain the men and women put themselves through on a daily basis.
To come back to that small American Legion in Binghamton, we saw great acts of athleticism and storytelling that could out do many television programs and artists who truly love what they do. To them, this isn’t just a payday or a get rich quick scheme, as that’s not an afforded luxury of the independent wrestling scene. They love what they do, just as much now or even more so than when they were young. The roar of the fans, the boos for the villains and cheers for the heroes. These are the fuel that run the machine that works inside the professional wrestler. Xcite is a company that delivered in every aspect of the game. This was my first Xcite show and it will most certainly not be the last. I was able to talk to many of the performers at length as well as the owner of the company. Their biggest concerns are becoming one with the fans, listening to them and working with them to make the best show and promotion possible for everyone involved. This is not something that happens for the bigger companies and is something Xcite can use to its advantage.
Xcite Pro Wrestling will be running shows again on June 10 and June 11 in a pair of tribute shows to fallen wrestler Spike Norton, and again on July 30. All shows will be at “The Madhouse” American Legion Post 80 in Binghamton, NY.