Please note some photos may contain graphic imagery.
Inside of the Bethany Community School multi-purpose room on a frigid January Saturday night, one of the biggest shows of the year for Northeast Wrestling, or NEW, was set to take place.
Hours before the hundreds of fans filled the “arena” to its absolute capacity, the wrestlers and other NEW employees were busy transforming the school from a place where kindergartners go for gym class or to act in the school play, into a setting that will hold a 30-man, over-the-top rope slugfest to determine the winner of the NEW Championship.
By the time the stage is set for the big show, the building looks as good as any to hold a wrestling event, but it’s far from the glitz and glamor of 100,000-seat stadiums that WWE can sell out.
For independent wrestlers like those of the NEW roster, though, it will more than do the trick.
Inside, the wrestlers and the rest of the crew have set up the ring in the center of the room with chairs packed in surrounding it, leaving only a few feet in between for fans to walk around.
There are a few tables selling the likes of baked goods and 50/50 tickets to help raise some additional cash, and — in the hallway leading into the gymnasium — the grapplers set up tables so that they have a place to sell their merchandise.
As fans begin to enter and wait in line to pick up tickets, the wrestlers are there to interact with them before the show.
Their hope is, of course, to sell a T-shirt or two to pocket a few extra bucks at the end of the night, but they are also more than willing to strike up a conversation, snap a photograph, or sign an autograph.