Last Saturday, I attended a unique fund-raiser for the Niles West High School Athletic Booster Club. The stars of Chicago Style Wrestling put on a “family event of fun entertainment.” In other words, a Battle Royal, three title matches and a steel cage match, followed by an after-party at the Village Inn.
We thought we got there early to grab a front row seat, but we had to settle for the third row, as the first two rows were full all around the ring. At an hour before bell time, this was a great sign.
We ran into a familiar face (and voice) in Andres the Announcer. Andres performs ring announcing duties for several companies and is great at revving up the crowd. He is also a super fan-friendly guy.
The action started with a 20 man Battle Royal. I love battle royals. On many wrestling cards, the Battle Royal is the main event. Here, it was just the start.
The night ended with a steel cage tag team match. We got to watch as the steel fencing was erected (fairly quickly, I might add). The teams battled it out and the fans ate it up.
The 200+ crowd really was into the action. Good guys got cheers and bad guys got booed. After each match, the good guys exchanged high-five’s with the fans, while the bad guys yelled at them. This was definitely old school wrestling at its finest.
After the matches, we caught up a few wrestlers we knew. We also talked to CSW star Steve Boz for the first time. Boz is a 21 year veteran of the squared circle and a great guy. A cold and a night of yelling stripped me of most of my voice, but Boz was very gracious with his time, despite being tired, hurt and having a line of fans waiting to meet him.
The night ended with some good eats at the Village Inn, one of my favorite places. Many of the fans enjoyed a tasty meal, as Boz and a few other wrestlers did their best to mingle and ensure a fun time for all.
Pro wrestling as a fund-raiser is an interesting idea. I applaud the Niles West Athletic Booster Club for being open enough to try something new. It is certainly different than selling candy bars!
I also applaud CSW for putting on such an excellent show. It has to be much harder performing in a makeshift arena, but these ring warriors did not miss a beat.
I hope this might open the eyes of others looking for interesting fund-raising ideas. I loved this, as did the two hundred others who braved the wet and cold to enjoy a night of wrestling fun.