Stars returning to Louisville for historic 1,000th episode of Ohio Valley Wrestling TV
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A giant wrestling ring will be built in the middle of Fourth Street Live! on Tuesday in celebration of Louisville's only professional wrestling company making local television history.
On the following day, Ohio Valley Wrestling will produce its landmark 1000th television episode. The company said it is the longest-running professional wrestling series airing on local television in the U.S. today.
"It's known as the lifeblood of professional wrestling, and we supply, and proudly continue to supply, the next generation of superstars in this worldwide entertainment phenomenon," said Al Snow, chief executive of Gladiator Sports Network, OVW's parent company. "Over those 1,000 episodes, our alumni, at least 160, have been on WWE's main roster."
Some of the biggest names in professional wrestling cut their teeth on OVW TV, including household names like John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. In fact, fifteen of the last 16 WrestleManias featured an OVW alumni in the main event or a world title match. OVW TV is the signature of the company's elite training school that's brought students to Louisville from around the world.
"It's family entertainment: a chance for you to bring the grandparents out, to the little kids, and bond and experience a show you never get anywhere else," Snow said.
Some of the company's former students and famous wrestling friends are set to attend the 1,000th episode, including WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, WWE Legend Billy Gunn and ECW original Tommy Dreamer. The event is headlined by a tournament to crown a new OVW champion.
The 20x20 ring will be constructed in the middle of the road at Fourth Street Live!, with setup staring at noon Tuesday. It's the first time the city's hub for tourism, dining and entertainment has ever hosted pro wrestling.
OVW's roots tie directly to the days when wrestling fans packed the stands at the old Louisville Gardens. Founded in 1993 by "Nightmare" Danny Davis, the first episode aired on WDRB-TV.
"I have OVW TV on VHS in storage," longtime fan Eric Montgomery said.
Montgomery said he's attended at least 500 OVW television tapings in person and calls them some of his best childhood memories.
"Prototype John Cena ... we'd call him the Altar Boy and a couple other names I can't say on camera," Montgomery said. "It's cool. I'm happy they hit this milestone."
The milestone is also a breakout party from the newly formed Gladiator Sports Network, which purchased OVW last summer. Snow, a former WWE Superstar, serves as CEO and said he is using this platform to celebrate OVW's history and build on its future.
The event begins with a ticketed meet and greet at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. bell time.
"I hope it goes crazy," Montgomery said. "Blow the roof off."
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