The Press Newspaper
Dr. Jerry Graham, Bobo Brazil Jr. appearing at Oregon club
Long time Toledo boxing coach Harry Cummins says he always got a kick out of professional wrestling when he was a kid.Today, at age 57, he still does. As well as sometimes a “clothesline.” And a vast array of “moonsaults,” shooting star presses, and other high-flying attacks. And even a bone-rattling “powerbomb” here and there…courtesy of a Toledo-based wrestling promotion known as Powerbomb Championship Wrestling.
PCW has formed an alliance with Cummins to put on its regular monthly shows at his Oregon-based International Boxing Club.
“I think everybody has enjoyed watching big time wrestling at one time or another in their lives,” offers Cummins.
The IBC, located inside the former Fun Spot Roller Skating Rink, first played host to PCW on March 24 thanks to a friendship Cummins shares with legendary professional wrestler and Bedford High School product Dr. Jerry Graham Jr. Dr. Graham is better known as Jerry Jaffe by wrestling purists, who remember him for his golden days in the squared circle of Dick “the Bruiser” Afflis’s World Wrestling Association.
“Dr. Graham is a great friend, a great fan of boxing, and he’s always been a great supporter of the IBC and our programs for the kids. (He) has even donated money in the past,” shares Cummins.
“Dr. Jerry Graham was actually the person who initially called us up, and asked us if the PCW could possibly rent out the gym so they could put on one of their shows right here in our facility. And from there, they came over, they set up their own ring, they had lights, music, and all the usual special effects, they sold their own concessions, and they just proceeded to put on a really, really great show. I, myself, was very impressed,” explains Cummins.
“The wrestling has gotten more athletic now, from back in the days when I was watching it growing up, when it seemed to be all about brute strength, and manufacturing blood with the guys cutting their foreheads with razor blades and stuff. Today, these guys are doing flips, and diving over the ring ropes and everything. Today, these guys just seem to be more complete, more agile, and better-conditioned athletes.”
In addition to the IBC, the PCW has also put on shows at Toledo venues Somerset Hall and Headliners after moving from Fort Wayne, Indiana during 2009 and renaming everything the Dick “the Bruiser’s” promotion WWA Superstar Wrestling. The PCW moniker didn’t come until recently.
“The PCW had shut down for like two years, and now they’re just starting to get back on their feet,” Cummins says. “Though to be totally honest with you, when I first had a chance to see one of their shows the first time around, the matches were actually not very good at all. Really, I’d seen better matches in backyard wrestling. But today, you can just tell that they’ve been working and working hard at it, and they just keep getting better and better.
“And when they came down to our gym back on March 24, everyone just had a great time and really enjoyed their product. We had some 200 people in attendance at the first show, and at events like these I always like to watch the crowd. When you can look out, and see everyone smiling, and having a good time, and the kids are interacting with the wrestlers and talking back at them, you know the product is first-class.”
“In business, that’s what I always strive for, to make it a win-win situation for everyone involved,” adds Cummins. “That’s why I agreed to help out the PCW in the first place, to help out an old friend in Dr. Jerry Graham, and to help the wrestling promotion grow and prosper. And as a result, the fans get a regular, entertaining, first-class show they can look forward to, and the IBC gets to continue keeping kids off the streets through our educational, vocational, and boxing programs. I think that’s the way business should be done in America, where everybody wins.”
Graham set the tone for the evening when he came to the ring as local favorite “Flying” Andy Chene’s manager in the first bout. Throughout the show, PCW wrestlers signed autographs and sold merchandise, including videos of some of the most-memorable matches and moments in the promotion’s history.
Graham was a regular at the Toledo Sports Arena during the old barn’s golden era of professional wrestling, and once wrestled a full-grown black bear while under the tutelage of legendary Italian wrestler Martino Angelo.
PCW’s talent stable also includes Chene, Bobo Brazil Jr., Pastor Pain, Krimson, the 420 pound Voodoo Killer, D-Ray 3000, “Insane Wayne,” and “The New Age Patriot” Bryan Castle, to name a few.
The IBC crew did get to take part when they carried back the bodies of wrestlers and referees, and picked up the pieces of broken props after a big brawl broke out on the floor outside the ring. Which as it turns out, Cummins is no stranger to.
“As a matter of fact, for our first-ever ‘Fight for Victory’ (cancer fundraiser) out at Gladieux Meadows, we had it all planned out in advance for (Graham) to be in the audience that night, and to come up to the ring as a special guest referee for one of our bouts between two lady boxers,” Cummins said.
“Before you know it, Dr. Graham is being told to watch his hands when he repeatedly has to push the two ladies apart. He’s arguing with the judges ringside, he gets popped in the face by one of the fed-up lady boxers, and a brawl ensues inside the ring,” says Cummins.
“The lady boxer’s manager is diving over the ropes after Dr. Graham, Dr. Graham is clotheslining him, I jump into the ring, I’m trying to hold Dr. Graham back, he’s got this lady boxer in a chokehold, and the whole time, we have all of these professional people out in the audience dressed in suits, their mouths hanging open, not knowing what is happening! We had a lot of fun that night. It was hard to keep from laughing.”
The IBC is set to celebrate its 15th anniversary later this spring, first opening in the Andrews River East Building in 1998. The IBC also called 1717 Adams Street in downtown Toledo home for a time.
Powerbomb Championship Wrestling will host its next show at the International Boxing Club on April 21. First bell at 5 p.m., tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for kids. You can also check out the taped action on channel 58. To learn more about PCW, check them out on Facebook or visit http://ibctoledo.org/