As the symphonic melody of “This Is Awesome” chants reverberated throughout the Tyrone Recreational Center, ACTION Wrestling CEO Matt Griffin took a minute to wipe the sweat off his forehead.
Griffin, wearing a black ACTION t-shirt and a grey suit jacket, marveled at his latest creation. With a wide smile on his face, he knew the sweat symbolized more than a natural body reaction.
It symbolized the culmination of a dream come true.
“I get energized because I get to do good work in the community,” Griffin said. “A lot of people respond to that really well.”
Griffin’s dream began at a young age as an avid wrestling fan. He grew up watching the greats like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant dominating the wrestling scenes. He wanted to share his passion with the world.
The dream became a vision after a walk with his son last year. During their afternoon stroll through Shamrock Park, he stumbled upon the Tyrone Recreational Center.
“I literally walked up to that building to see if it was big enough to run a wrestling show,” Griffin said.
As he entered through the doors, he instantly saw his dream in action. He met with Tyrone Recreational Director Mitch Bowman and they started negotiating the terms of a wrestling showcase.
“It kind of came together that I would be able to do a series of them,” Griffin said. “I met the recreation director in Tyrone after a Founder’s Day Fair wrestling show. It kind of all fell together as I started doing a show every two months and helping a non-profit.”
ACTION Wrestling held his inaugural show in April to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation. The event raised $3,840 dollars and he knew he wanted to do it again.
“A lot of people responded well, and it all depends on the sponsors,” Griffin said. “I was very fortunate for the first show.”
On Friday night, fans returned from all over to catch a glimpse of Griffin’s crown jewel. This time, the second show benefited the Advo-Kids Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). The non-profit organization aims to provide trained and supervised volunteers to advocate for the best interests of neglected children.
The goal was to raise money to fundraise and support the five CASAs in the surrounding areas. At the end of the night, the fundraiser earned $3,815 for CASA. All the proceeds came from ticket sales, concessions, sponsors, and a 50-50 raffle sale.
“I think it’s wonderful as it gets our name out there,” Katie Gunter, Volunteer Support Coordinator for Advo Kids CASA said. “It’s great as every proceed goes to training and supervising volunteers.”
CASA set up tables inside the venue to rally support for their cause. There were pamphlets and staff members ready to answer any questions.
Some of the biggest supporters were the wrestlers themselves. They traveled from as far as New York to perform for the fans. The match card featured several high-profile bouts, including a title match between Powerbomb Independent Champion “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams and challenger “Ace” Arik Royal.
There were also solid tag team matches and a qualifying match for the Scenic City Invitational between talented stars Slim J and “Sky Walker” Cam Carter. At one point, Griffin got involved as he tangled with a couple wrestlers in the ring.
“It means the world to me as this is my passion, and I don’t love anything more on this earth than I love wrestling,” wrestler AC Mack said. “To come out here and do it for a good cause, with a bunch of kids and families who love what they see means the world to me.”
One of the most endearing endorsements came from longtime super fan Mike “Papa” Hales. He was thrilled with the show and proud of how the promotion was helping the community.
“I have known Matt for several years and it was his dream to bring something special,” Hales said. “He found this location and he wanted something to be family friendly so he could bring the best of independent wrestling.”
Griffin appreciated the support and made the announcement that ACTION Wrestling would be back on August 17 to benefit the Armed Forces Mission. He is also planning to do more shows to close out the year. He believes that he can accomplish that goal thanks to the outpouring support of those in the community.
“I don’t want to run the same shows everyone else does,” Griffin said. “I wanted to mix in talent and get guys exposure in Georgia.”