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Pro wrestling hits the Boro
APW: We want to inspire people to become wrestlers
W wrestlingtopix
Two wrestlers show off one of the sport's patented holds. - photo by Special

       "You never know what to expect!"
      That's what commissioner Tommy Nero has to say about Statesboro's own professional wrestling league, American Premier Wrestling. The APW is an extension of Statesboro Karate. It started when the dojo's sensei, Clay Pierson, and several parents (whose children attended the school) decided to get together and put on shows featuring local wrestlers like Scotty Bullwinkle and regional stars like "Cowboy" Jeremy Young who has worked with the WWE.
      "We want to inspire people to become wrestlers," Nero said.
      Having written three wrestler biographies (including one about former WWE Superstar Ted DiBiase) Nero is no stranger to the business. He hopes to grow Statesboro's league and dispel stereotypes that the general public might have about professional wrestling.
      "There are some backyard kids out there giving wrestling a bad name," Nero admits - referring to some of the bloody, raunchy and hardcore organizations that have become popular in the wrestling underground. Nero says that the APW isn't like that.
      "We want to put on a show that's athletic, entertaining and believable. ...we want to do it right and have respect for the industry."
      Believability is one thing that naysayers often cite when criticizing pro-wrestling, but those in the business know better.
      "Just because it's scripted, doesn't mean it's not real," Nero says. When wrestlers take a hit - they really take a hit, and when they fall they fall hard.
      Among other criticisms leveled at the business regard the Byzantine, twisting "storylines" which some find absurd.   However, Nero says that's exactly the point - the fact that it's absurd is part of the fun.
      "We really try to make a story out of the events," he says.
      He likens the matches to movies in that people can come in and escape reality for two hours.
      "It's the whole concept of the ‘theater of the absurd' or a soap-opera for men," Nero says. However, unlike the movies, the audience is encouraged to participate. Nero wants the crowd to scream, boo or cheer as loud as they can, make signs, get involved and have a great time.
      Immersion in the setting should be easy as APW boasts an official 16' x 16' ring that weighs just less than 5,000 lbs.
      "Every seat is a ringside seat," Nero says.
      Tickets for the next show at Statesboro Karate on Feb. 19 are $5 for children, $10 for adults. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the first match starting at 7 p.m. All of the proceeds help fund Statesboro Karate's after-school program. The program fuses an emphasis on academics with the disciplines of karate.
      "We use the money to help parents who want their kids involved in the program, but can't afford it," Nero says.
      Students receive a uniform and white belt upon entry into the program. The traditional karate ranking structure is used to stress the importance of education and learning. As a growing league with a good cause, local businesses and fans are lining up to support APW. A meet & greet with APW wrestlers will be at Ryan's on February 18 from 3-5 p.m.
      Think you've got what it takes to be a professional wrestler? APW is always looking for talent. Tryouts will be at 5 p.m. before the show at the Statesboro Karate arena. Nero wants people to get involved even if they don't necessarily want to be wrestlers. Those interested can tryout to be managers, referees, or just about any type of character present in the professional wrestling business. The tryout fee is only $20 and that includes admission to the show.
      For more information on upcoming events, go to APW's website at, or email Tommy Nero at

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