Tried-N-True wrestling returns to area with new shows following COVID-19 hiatus

·3 min read

Professional wrestling is making a comeback in Middle Tennessee after an 18-month hiatus triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tried-N-True Pro (T-N-T), an independent wrestling promotion in Clarksville, is moving forward with new shows after a successful return with National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Oct. 24. The two will come together again with a joint event, scheduled for Feb. 12 in Oak Grove.

More shows are in the works for Clarksville throughout 2022.

Anthony Mayweather, better known to local wrestling fans as Crimson, said Clarksville and the surrounding area have become a hotbed for independent professional wrestling.

After the extended layoff, Mayweather said it felt like T-N-T lost the momentum it had created before the pandemic, but seeing the joint show with NWA helped put the promotion back on track.

Many independent promotions weren't as lucky and several were forced to close, he noted.

Clarksville resident Kamille puts Kenzie Paige in a chin lock during their NWA women's championship match Oct. 24. Kamille, the champion, would defeat Paige to retain her championship.
Clarksville resident Kamille puts Kenzie Paige in a chin lock during their NWA women's championship match Oct. 24. Kamille, the champion, would defeat Paige to retain her championship.

T-N-T may not have the funding and television contracts of major wrestling promotions like World Wrestling Entertainment and All Elite Wrestling, but the partnership with NWA has proved beneficial to both promotions in highlighting some of the top stars on the independent scene, Mayweather said.

Although the event is still being planned and wrestlers are continuing to be booked, Mayweather said plenty of well-known wrestlers are set to make an appearance at the Feb. 12 show. Announcements about who's joining the fray are forthcoming.

Then and now

T-N-T isn't a new name in Clarksville. The promotion was launched by Mayweather in 2017.

He broke into the wrestling industry and began training in 2009, following his discharge from the U.S. Army. Mayweather was familiar with the area, having been stationed at Ft. Campbell prior to his release.

Though Clarksville is fast growing, Mayweather said he wanted to open a wrestling school and wrestling promotion, and he saw the city as having great potential. It just needed the production value that rivals major promotions.

"I knew Clarksville had a pretty solid market," Mayweather said.

In 2015, Mayweather began running live events with the hope he'd attract a hungry fanbase brought up on wrestling in the Mid-South.

His first event drew 100 fans, but Mayweather saw it as a good omen. Many independent shows held in small venues were lucky to draw a few dozen fans. Six years after that debut, Mayweather said his shows can draw between 1,000 to 1,500 fans. They're typically held at Valor Hall, 105 Walter Lane in Oak Grove, or in Clarksville at Wilma Rudolph Blvd., 8 Champions Way.

Tried-N-True Wrestling presented By Any Means Necessary at Oak Grove's Valor Hall Conference & Event Center.
Tried-N-True Wrestling presented By Any Means Necessary at Oak Grove's Valor Hall Conference & Event Center.

In 2018, Mayweather opened the Tried-N-True Wrestling Academy, 2040 Woodlawn Road in Woodlawn. It would serve as a breeding ground for future wrestling stars while filling out the T-N-T roster. To date, about 55 wrestlers have graduated from the academy.

And there's more ahead.

The academy is in the process of moving to Nashville.

Mayweather said he hopes to attract prospective wrestlers from all over the country as well as Middle Tennessee.

He's hoping to draw some students based on name recognition.

Wrestling under the name Crimson in Total Nonstop Action, now Impact Wrestling, Mayweather has shared the ring with some of the greatest talents working in the industry like Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle.

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Growth is possible with T-N-T, too.

Mayweather said as the promotion runs about five or six live shows each year.

With an independent budget, running weekly shows with the quality production Mayweather wants may not be ideal, but popup shows and joint shows with NWA allow T-N-T to work in more dates.

And event organizers are hoping to give audiences big shows with some of the top stars on the circuit.

Reach reporter Craig Shoup at 419-559-7582 or by email at cshoup@gannett.com and on Twitter @Craig_Shoup. To support his work, sign up for a digital subscription to TheLeafChronicle.com.

This article originally appeared on Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: Independent wrestling brings new shows to area following COVID-19 hiatus

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