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A pro wrestling homecoming for Pro Wrestling Takeover

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A pro wrestling homecoming for Pro Wrestling Takeover (photo courtesy PWT/Zeke Dane Photography)

CARMEL – A local indie wrestling impresario is bringing his promotion to his hometown to mark its first birthday.

Pro Wrestling Takeover will mark its first year with “Almost Home,” a show taking place on Sept. 22 at the Carmel Elementary School – in tandem with the town’s Carmel Days celebration – at 7 p.m. The bill will feature eight matches and include a wealth of up-and-coming wrestling talent.

The promotion has operated largely in southern Maine since its inception; this is their seventh event overall, but “Almost Home” marks the first PWT show in the greater Bangor area.

PWT is the brainchild of Ryan Waning, a longtime resident of Carmel and veteran stand-up comedian. It was born of a time when he was away from the stage, caring for his ailing father, and searching for a creative outlet. PWT – in many ways the culmination of a lifelong dream – was born of that search.

Waning was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering questions about “Almost Home,” Pro Wrestling Takeover and what it means to bring something he loves to his hometown.

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The Maine Edge: How did Pro Wrestling Takeover come to be? What inspired you to start this promotion?

Ryan Waning: I’d been fantasizing about working in the wrestling business in some capacity since I was ten years old and caught a late-night wrestling show on NBC with my uncle in the timeslot where Saturday Night Live was supposed to be. I spent the next thirty years on the other side of the guardrail until I began doing some audio production for another local company up this way. The more of the business I saw, the more I fell in love with it. But even more, it intrigued me creatively. I’ve always been the type of person who goes all in with his obsessions. Instead of buying someone’s new album after hearing a great new song, I want their whole catalog, the live stuff, and the stuff they made under another name in Canada, too. It was the same with wrestling. I don’t think most people give professional wrestling the respect it deserves as an artform. I want to present it in a way that changes that.

TME: What prompted you to bring the first anniversary show to Carmel?

RW: Having promoted our shows for the entire first year in the greater Portland area, and beginning to cultivate fans down that way, the move to Carmel for the anniversary show wasn’t something we took lightly. But the opportunity to be part of Carmel Days, the town’s annual celebration, gives us the chance to show our product to an entirely new market of people, while at the same time bringing quality entertainment to my own friends and neighbors. We bought a house in Carmel because we love small town life in Maine. Carmel Days is that lifestyle boiled down to its core. It’s hot chocolate, it’s dunk tanks, and it’s a community coming together once a year to celebrate what they have been and what they can become together. How well does pro wrestling fit into that?

TME: How much time typically goes into the organization of an event like this? What’s the process of booking a pro wrestling show?

RW: If it gives you any sense of the time involved in organizing, booking, and promoting a show like this, I was already at work on “Almost Home” before we had even run our July event. Accordingly, I’m already working on our November event. The time in between shows is just about enough to take care of all of the things that need to be done. Booking the talent might be the least time-consuming part of it, when you consider all of the peripheral things that go into both creating the next live event and the handling the aftermath of the previous show. Taking care of things like DVD production and distribution of the last show all while heading up the filming of vignettes and promos for the next show can be even more confusing sometimes than it is time-consuming. It’s really forced me to become more organized than I have ever been.

TME: What sort of talent can we expect to see?

RW: Pro Wrestling Takeover features some of the best independent wrestlers in the world today. While some companies focus on using the stars of yesterday to draw your eyes, PWT’s emphasis is on the stars of tomorrow. Our stars are on their way up, and in some cases have already been to the big show on Monday nights. Instead of coming to our show to see someone you used to see on TV, I want you to see someone on TV and remember that you saw them first in Pro Wrestling Takeover.

TME: What lessons do you think you’ve learned about the business in your first year? Highlights? Less-highlights? And what can fans expect from PWT going forward?

RW: I’ve learned an awful lot about the wrestling business this first year. But I’ve learned even more about myself. I’ve learned that I can get and stay organized. I’ve learned that I can delegate responsibility even in the face of every fiber of my being thinking I can do everything myself. I’ve learned I can be a ‘bad guy’ when it comes to business and say no to people, which is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. And sure, there have been lowlights, missteps, and flat out mistakes along the way. Those are always more memorable than the successes. But we’ve learned from all of them. And that’s where real growth comes from.

Going forward, Pro Wrestling Takeover will continue to strive to provide the highest level of wrestling entertainment in the northeast. We have a few announcements coming up that will create a bit of a buzz, too. PWT is on the move.

(For more information about “Almost Home” and Pro Wrestling Takeover, you can visit the PWT website at www.prowrestlingtakeover.com or find them on Facebook.)

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