Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 4:25 PM on Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pro wrestlers put on good show, raise funds for Homer High team

By Angelina Skowronski
For the Homer News

Skyler High was determined to not give up his Alaska Pro Wrestling USA Championship belt without a crowd-cheering fight.

David Rage, yearning for that very belt, made sure the crowd knew where his loyalties laid with the APW Federation. The crowd showed their displeasure with "boos" and popcorn thrown at the ring.

"I am nervous David Rage will walk away with the belt tonight. I am defending my championship and refuse to let the Rage take that from me," said High as he signed autographs for his fans at intermission.

Alaska Pro Wrestling made its battle royale appearance at Homer High School on Friday as a fundraiser for the high school wrestling team. The night highlighted nine wrestlers in five matches, organized by former Homer High student Matt Plant of Power Plant Productions.

"It has always been a dream of mine to be involved in pro wrestling," said Plant who graduated from HHS in 2006. "It is an honor to work with these talented, hardworking and enthusiastic guys."

Plant started his pro wrestling promotion career by getting involved in mixed martial arts, also know as MMA.

"Through getting involved with MMA I learned how to put on a show. I was a huge fan of APW. Mike Maddness saw what I had to offer and took me in," Plant said.

Former heavy-weight USA Champion, Alaska Champion and World Champion Mike "Maddness" Saunders is the father of these operations, Alaska's official pro wrestling circuit. Starting the federation three years ago, Saunders is a veteran in the business with 13 years of live wrestling under his several gold-plated belts.

"I saw an ad on TV for a wrestling school back in 1999 and just did it," Saunders said. "I've always wanted to wrestle."

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A dream for many of America's nearly six million watching Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan, the wrestlers of APW were able to make their dreams a reality.

"It all starts being a lad watching it on TV," said High.

Fireweed Academy student Lion Trejo, 6, does not have a television in his home, so APW was his first pro wrestling experience, live.

"My favorite part is when they flip each other," said Lion.

The kindergartener holds out his hand to catch one of Skyler High's high-fives as he runs around the arena for his intro walk. High, David Rage and the rest of the wrestlers keep the crowd cheering by engaging them in the fight.

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APW puts on a match every month throughout the state as a fundraiser for various causes including Special Olympics and Wounded Soldiers. Its largest show of the year was in January to nearly 300 spectators in Anchorage. The federation's next match is scheduled at the end of this month in Wasilla for the Boy Scouts of America.

"I am trying to keep this going. It takes time and demands the interest of the people. We are starting to gain popularity," said Saunders.

Plant has been working steadily to increase APW interest in the state. This is his third show with the group and he plans to return to Homer for repeat matches.

"I have always wanted to entertain and that is what I am doing now. I hope to expand on this and open different avenues of interest," said Plant.

Aside from pro wrestling, Power Plant Productions has blueprints for a dinner show featuring stand-up comedy from Anchorage, and possibly an MMA show in his hometown of Homer.

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In the final match of the evening Skyler High and David Rage fight back and forth with jaw-dropping stunts for the audience. On and off the ring, Rage and High had a battle of royal proportions. Baking pans, folding chairs and words are tossed around the arena.

High keeps his promise to himself and takes the victory. High takes his bow with Michael Maddness, APW USA title belt lifted proudly, and an enraged Rage disappears behind the red velvet curtain to nurse his wounds.

They are friends backstage, but enemies on the floor. Best explained in the words of APW wrestler Bonez, "there are no friends when there are titles."

For more information on Alaska Pro Wrestling and its wrestling school, go to alaskaprowrestling.com.