Despite living in one of the largest metro areas in the country and in what was once one of the capitals of pro wrestling when World Class Championship Wrestling and the Von Erichs ruled the day, there is actually not much wrestling in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex these days. TNA has done a couple of PPVs from Arlington and when WWE comes to Texas they normally do a RAW or Smackdown from Dallas. Outside of that there are some small indie cards that are held around the edges of Metroplex.
A couple of months ago my son and I had chance to go down to Cleburne, Texas (About 30 minutes south of Fort Worth) to watch a show put on by Big Texas Pro Wrestling and held at Kauffman Leadership Academy which is located at 1108 N. Anglin in Cleburne.
Inside a small gym that holds around 100 people the shows works as a fund raiser for the academy and focuses on family entertainment. There are no “big names” on this card which features local wrestlers such as Champion “Oklahoma Cowboy” Jason Bruce retaining his title over Seph Anunnaki. Still it is a solid, old school style show where the fans cheer the good guys and boo the bad guys and a good time is had by all.
My teenage boy and I enjoyed it and returned the next month where they had moved into the small cafeteria so we could have AC (thank you) and despite the fact that attendance at small events like this is normally down in the summers (family vacations and all) they still had about the same turn out and again put on a solid card after which I made contact with one of the owners, William Arata to find out more about the promotion and how he got started in the business. He put he in touch with is partner Anthony Black.
“I grew up in the business” Anthony notes. “My father and two of my uncles were wrestlers; my dad and one of my uncles tagged in WCCW, USWA, GFW, TOPS, SWF, and a ton of other promotions, going by the names Terry Black and Alan Dillon, as well as wrestling under masks as the American Ninjas my other Uncle went by Chris Taylor/ Nelson and traveled throughout all the southern states.”
Anthony spend his early years in the Sportatorium with World Class, USWA and GWF and then started following WWF/ WWE in the early 1990s. When asked who his idols were, he responds, “Growing up, I would not really say I had any idols. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my dad and uncle were at the top of my favorites list. I also always liked the bad guys; I loved watching the BlackBird Posse, especially Iceman King Parsons. One of my favorite matches of all time is the match from March 1988, Iceman vs Kerry Von Erich where the ‘lights went out’. Billy Joe Travis was another I liked that really never seemed to get anywhere outside of the area. I loved anything Jerry Lawler did, and, of course, the Von Erichs. I think growing in the area, you were destined to love the Von Erichs. I loved the Undertaker because he came from the USWA, and I still have the match of him vs my father, from 1989.”
As to how did the relationship with the leadership academy came about, “A few years ago, my ring was used for shows at the KLA. Through those shows, we met Greg, the owner and have had a working relationship since. Back in August of 2013, Big Texas started talking about doing a memorial show for Williams’s son, Joseph (Jojo). We met with Greg, about using his building for the show. We set the date for November, and unfortunately and unexpectedly Williams father, Michael, passed away almost a year to the date of Williams son. It was decided that the show would be dedicated to both Michael and Jojo. When talking about the show, and knowing what his father envisioned, we decided that we would do a monthly show from then on, with our Annual show being each November. On July 26, Big Texas Wrestling will host its 9th consecutive show at the KLA with each one getting bigger and better.”
As for the future of this still developing promotion, “Our goal with Big Texas Wrestling, is to continue to bring quality family entertainment, at reasonable prices, to the people of Cleburne, and all the surrounding areas. As we continue to grow each month, we would like to start giving more back to the community. We plan to continue to offer a family friendly environment, where parents know that their children can go and be safe. We are hoping to be able to start running bi-weekly shows in the future. That, of course, is depending on our great fans. Without them, we are nothing.”
So if you are looking for some low cost family entertainment around the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex check out Big Texas Pro Wrestling at the end of each month. You will get your money’s worth.
You can keep up with Big Texas on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/btpwcleburne