2PW Birthday Bash Event This Friday

It’s often said that the recruitment, development, and cultivation of young talent is the life blood of the professional wrestling industry, as it ensures the future of the business. Without a future of the sport, the past and even present seems almost moot since it would put a ceiling on everything that could be achieved. However, with the future solidified, the past will eventually be regarded as a golden era, and the present will be built into a legacy that will be remembered.

For Pittsburgh, a city known as almost as much for its wrestling as the steel it once produced, there’s not only an extended history of sports entertainment that had an impact on the national scene, with a lineage that stretches back to Bruno Sammartino in the WWWF, but there’s also a very storied history of the squared circle on the local circuit.

Bruno, Shane Douglas, Kurt Angle, and the late Brian Hildebrand are names from that past that emerged from the western Pennsylvania area to make a name for themselves on national television. Today, Corey Graves, Joaquin Wilde, and Lee Moriarty are just a few of the Pittsburgh natives that showcase themselves on USA, Fox, or TNT.

But, each of those names needed a platform and an opportunity to hone their skills to be prepared for the spotlight.

In 2024, the western Pennsylvania region has a potpourri of options for its fans, with live event cards running almost weekly from various organizations around the area, but that wasn’t always the case. One longtime pro, Marshall Gambino, who is a tag team specialist that just entered his twentieth year of competition, noticed the lack of opportunities for new talent back in 2018. The harsh reality is, there are only so many spots on any given card, and nearly six years ago, there were simply more talented youngsters emerging from training centers than the spots open on cards for the rookie prospects to get that valuable live event experience. Again, it’s a harsh aspect of the business side of the sport, promoters at that time, were only going to make limited space for rookies, as they banked their box office on more established local or sometimes national talent.

Marshall remembered that he was given a chance with his tag partner, Mickey back in 2004 when he broke into the sport under the IWC banner and that start is what allowed him to expanded his career throughout different promotions into the accomplished tenure that he has today. Marshall knew that the youngsters could not only be successful if given the chance, but also he could help forge the future of the storied Pittsburgh scene so by the end of 2018, he founded Prospect Pro Wrestling, an organization based on the aspiring talent that were determined to chase their dreams of pro wrestling glory.

“I started 2PW because at the time, I didn’t feel that there were enough promotions in the area giving young talent opportunities to work on their craft. The original concept was to take established guys and have them work with new faces coming out of the training schools in the area, with the ultimate goal being that they get big enough that they no longer need 2PW, they are established at other places,” explained Marshall.

When other promoters were hesitant to invest their promotional dollars into new talent, Marshall was willing to run with the concept as the main selling point, establishing a new template on the Pittsburgh circuit and building a new audience for that product in the process. The new league zigzagged around the area during its first year of operation before settling on the Worthington Civic Center as its home base.

The nondescript venue looks like an average events hall before the ring truck pulls into the parking lot on the day of an event. However, within just hours, the trusted team that Marshall put together, including ring crew and event staff, transform the building in a certified pro wrestling arena. In an effort to provide the most professional product possible, Marshall didn’t just invest in fresh talent, he invested in the equipment necessary to give the fans in attendance a polished live event experience. A full entrance set, with a stage and banners illuminated by several LED panels, provide a layer of glamour to contrast with the gritty action of an authentic independent card.

2PW found its audience, as fans were eager to see the new faces get their chance to excel, but even the longtime veteran was surprised with the level of juggling he had to do as the boss compared to just a performer on the card.

“There is so much more to deal with on the promoter side, whereas being a wrestler you just have to show up, do what is asked of you, get paid and go home. Being a promoter is a full-time job, from dealing with talent almost every day to budgets, locations, storylines, maintenance on equipment, set up, tear down, and the athletic commission. It seems sometimes to never end, but I have a great team that works with me. If not for them, I couldn’t do what I”m doing today,” said Marshall.

“I go around and place labels on every chair in the venue so fans can easily find their seats once they arrive if they pre-ordered their tickets. I am also on as lead ringside videographer, by that time the production team has arrived and we run cords ringside to the back to live stream the events. After that, it’s time to test run to be sure all is working just in time for the show to start. After the show is over, I quickly finish ringside just in time to film all post-show promos with the guys before helping with tear down,” commented Emily Doyle, who joined the production staff in 2020 and in her four years on the crew works on everything from social media design to live event set up.

Just as 2PW began to truly pick up momentum, the COVID pandemic shuttered the entire world for several months, but the staff stayed the course of their original vision and it paid off, as the organization has often sold out its events this year.

The mixture of establish veterans like Super Hentai, Troy Lords, Glenn Spectre, and John McChesney with young talent like Jami Jameson, Anthony Young, and Felix Koz provide a unique product that fans can only see at 2PW. The organization brings its fans everything from technical showcases to wild brawls during the course of live events.

“Honestly, the toughest is dealing with all the personalities, everyone has the next greatest idea. The most rewarding thing is seeing the young guys get better every month, making what we do worth it,” Marshall commented about the roster.

“Every 2PW show or event that we do is another highlight for me. The team at 2PW has given me higher goals and higher motivation to reach my true potential. They believe in me, value me, and have truly appreciated me from the very start . I’ll never be able to thank Marshall enough, he’s always taking the time to answer all of my questions and taking me under his wing to teach me more about so many aspects in this business,” Doyle said of her tenure in the organization.

The entire crew will come together for another event this Friday for “Jami’s Birthday Bash,” as a night of action will be held to celebrate the 2PW champion’s birthday. The champion will square off against longtime rival Elijah Dean in the main event. At 1 PM, Emily and the staff will be there putting the ring together, but by 8 PM that night, grapplers will collide with the canvas after the opening bell in front of a few hundred fans at the Worthington Civic Center.

Jami Jameson has already expressed his gratitude and excitement to get to spend his birthday inside the ring on social media.

So, as 2PW will celebrate its sixth anniversary later this year, it will be a milestone of a new concept that not only got off the ground, but built its own audience with the future of the sport in mind. Marshall Gambino believed in the new blood of the industry and given the success of his promotion, the future of Pittsburgh wrestling is bright for the business.

For more information about 2PW, you can go to https://www.prospectprowrestling.com

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Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail [email protected] | You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, & Threads @jimlamotta89