“Wrestling is the best thing in the whole world,” said 8-year-old Peyton Lee, as he and his fellow schoolmates eagerly awaited the beginning of the night’s action.
Lee is the youngest son of Paul and Tonja Lee, who own and operate the AWF. The promotion, which ordinarily holds shows in Trenton, and in Ringgold every month, teamed up with the Woodstation PTO to sponsor this special event for the kids.
“It’s great to be able to do these shows for the schools,” Paul said. “The kids really enjoy wrestling, so the it’s really a good time for everybody involved.”
The AWF, which always presents itself as a family show, didn’t miss a beat in moving to a school venue, as they were able to incorporate a lot of local enthusiasm to the show with friendly school and state rivalries.
The card included a Georgia versus Tennessee match, with each state having one of its own representing it. Ricky Castro of Georgia defeated Kevin Weatherby of Tennessee in a match that saw students, parents, and teach-ers getting behind the state they favor most. Up-and-comers Lex Lee and Cody Cantrell did their respective high schools proud as they competed in a Ringgold-versus-Ridgeland match in which Lex Lee of Ringgold High School came out victorious.
“The crowd was crazy tonight,” said Cantrell. “Getting an audience that pumped up and that into it is just awe-some.”
The semi-main event of the evening was a thumb-wrestling showdown between two of Woodstation’s most popu-lar administrators. Principal Doug Suits and assistant principal Amy Steele competed against one another in a battle of epic elementary school proportions. Before the two approached the ring they exchanged some friendly banter that only generated more buzz among their students.
“We were going to have a regular wrestling match out here tonight, but they were too afraid that I might hurt her,” Suits said, chuckling. “I guess I will just have to humiliate her this way instead.” When asked how she felt about her counterpart’s comments, she chose to take the high road. “The only response he’s going to get from me is what all these people are about to witness in the ring,” Steele said.
The match kicked off with the two administrators lying on their stomachs in the center of the mat as their stu-dents surrounded the ring in order to catch a glimpse of the action. Although principal Suits prevailed victorious, it was a win for all involved as students and parents enjoyed seeing a different side of their school’s leaders.
The evening came to a close with a main event that featured one of the most popular tag teams in wrestling his-tory, the Rock n Roll Express, defend the AWF tag titles against “Natureboy” Paul Lee and Iron-Mann of the AWF stable “Leegacy”.
The Rock n Roll Express, which consists of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, has been entertaining wrestling fans for more than 20 years. Their high-energy synchronized tag team maneuvers made them fan favorites for much of the ‘80s and ‘90s, as they captured tag team championships in the NWA, AWA, and WCW promotions. Although many of the students in attendance weren’t even born during the team’s heyday, they were able to win them over while also turning back the clock for the older fans in attendance.
“My son wanted to come watch wresting tonight at the school,” said Tony Farmer, a Ringgold resident. “I wasn’t all that excited about it at first, but when I heard the Rock n Roll Express was going to be here, it reminded me of how much I used to watch wrestling as a kid. I was a huge fan of these guys as a kid, so I see why these students get such a kick out of it all.”
The event as a whole was extremely successful for not only the AWF and Woodstation, but for the community as a whole. “It’s a great event,” principal Suits said. “The students love it, the community loves it, everybody’s having a great night, and we’re raising funds at the same time.”
The night also recognized a lot of the students for their work in helping with the event, as well as showcased the talents of multiple groups within the school. The Woodstation Singers opened with the national anthem, followed by a flag display by the Girl scouts, and an intermission dance performance by the Woodstation Dance Divas.
“The show and the whole experience was really great,” Paul Lee said. “We’re glad to be a part of it, and hope-fully we can do more shows like this one down the road.”