Brawn, bulk and bravado on display as stars fill ring
By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- After the livestock auction on the closing day of the Shenandoah County Fair, a different kind of beefcake -- plus a whole lot of bull -- was on display.
The stars of Impact Wrestling (formerly known as TNA) brought their showmanship to the ring Saturday night with enough swaggering, posturing and braggadocio to keep their fans on their feet.
Jersey Shore native Robbie E. got the crowd -- or at least their fists -- pumping when he took the mic.
"Everybody here in Woodstock, Va., came to see Robbie E. fist pump," he said to a chorus of boos. "I'm going to give them what they want."
Apparently, that was to see the man with a tan, gelled hair and yellow-and-green briefs do a fist-pump dance.
While Robbie E. kept the theatrics up throughout their match, he was bested by Alex Shelley. After his victory, Shelley -- who sported leather pants and a blond mohawk -- stood on the corner of the ring to rev up the audience.
Standing on the ropes and playing to the crowd was something each contender did before, during and sometimes after the match.
Even the referees got into the act. One older gentleman prepared to fight crowd displeaser Bully Ray at one point, and joined in a dance with wrestler Eric Young later in the evening.
Before his match with Mr. Anderson, Bully Ray walked around the ring menacingly to a chorus of "you suck" from the spectators.
"Nah, nah, nah, you go it all wrong," he taunted in a thick New York accent. "I don't suck. I'm Bully Ray, and I'm from God's country -- New York City. You're looking at your next world heavyweight champion. You don't like me. I don't like you. I can't wait to get out of this town."
Bully Ray didn't get to use the chain he brought to the ring, and he lost to Mr. Anderson, who wore a shirt that read "Wrestling is real" on the front, and "people are fake" on the back.
He wasn't fooling youngsters Erik Cantrell, 9, of Singers Glen; Logan Ritchie, 11, of Linville; and Mattea Csee, 11, of Linville, though. They all acknowledged they didn't think the body slams, punches, kicks, flips, tosses from the ring and leaps from the ropes were real.
"It's fun to think it is," Mattea said.
Erik added, "It's amusing, though."
His favorite wrestler is Jeff Hardy.
"He's cool," Erik said. "He has face paint. That's awesome."
It wasn't just the men grappling. Lady wrestlers Winter and Mickie James had a hard-fought match.
"You go, girl," a burly man in the crowd yelled at one point.
If her dreams come true, 13-year-old Madison Pelo will be in the ring one day. Her mother, Maureen Pelo, brought her to the event from Chesapeake as an early birthday present. They watch Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV every week, and got to meet all the wrestlers Saturday.
"She wants to be a diva wrestler," Pelo said.
"Or a TNA knockout," Madison added.
She said she hopes to go to a wrestling school next year.
"I support her all the way," Pelo said.
Seven-year-old Taylor Fincham came from Madison to watch the wrestling with his dad, Wesley, 2-year-old brother, Aaron, and a family friend.
Taylor said he thinks the wrestling is genuine, adding "the moves" are his favorite part. The group got to meet the wrestlers backstage and get some autographs.
"They love it," Fincham said. "It's a thrill."