Enjoy Wrestling Launches New Pittsburgh Indie With YouTube Series Tournament

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a long history in pro wrestling. Back in the 1950s, one of WWWF’s co-founders, Joseph “Toots” Mondt created Spectator Sports, a Pittsburgh-based promotion under WWWF’s territory (then Capitol Sports), which he ran until 1966 and then turned over to WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino. The televised show ran from 1958 until 1974. Over the years since then, Pittsburgh has been home to North American Wrestling (1986-1995), Far North Wrestling (1999-2011), Blackcraft Wrestling (2018-2019), as well as area indies like International Wrestling Cartel (IWC), Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA), and RYSE Wrestling. Apart from such legends as Bruno Sammartino, Bruiser Brody, Kurt Angle, “Luscious” Johnny Valiant, and Larry Zbyskzo, Pittsburgh is also home to such wrestling stars as early women’s star Donna Christianello, Virgil, WWE’s Elias and Corey Graves, ECW Icon Shane “The Franchise” Douglas, AEW’s Britt Baker, and indie stars like Lee Moriarty, MV Young, Facade, Lady Frost, Victor Benjamin, Ziggy Haim, Tyler Klein, Ray Lynn, and Shawn Phoenix. On Thursday, February 25, 2021, FREE on YouTube, Enjoy Wrestling becomes the latest Pittsburgh-based indie promotion to fire up, debuting with their first episode of ENJOY Canned Heat.

ENJOY Canned Heat is a special four-part mini-series on Enjoy Wrestling’s YouTube channel that will launch the promotion with an eight-person tournament to crown the inaugural winner of the Enjoy Cup and it features a solid group of indie stars from various backgrounds, most with Pittsburgh connections. The inaugural tournament features Lee Moriarty, MV Young, Solo Darling, Willow Nightingale, Still Life With Apricots & Pears, Mr. Grim, Ziggy Haim, and Shawn Phoenix. The four-part series featuring the tournament will be completely free to watch on their new YouTube channel. We spoke briefly to one of Enjoy Wrestling’s co-owners, Kurt Hackimer, about this new venture.

Last Word on Pro Wrestling: First off, who’s the management team for the promotion? 

Kurt Hackimer: Enjoy is a four-person partnership consisting of myself, Maxx Gregg, Taylor Gregg, and Scotty Swemba. Maxx, Taylor, and myself handle all of the day-to-day operations of running a wrestling company: Handling social media, networking with talent, negotiating with venues and sponsors, etc. Scotty is a multimedia wizard whose artistic vision drives Enjoy. All of the artwork, filming, and production is handled by him. He’s the best.

Opening a new venture in these Covid times seems it would be a challenge. Why did now feel right?

Ha, well our first event was supposed to take place May 22nd, 2020. We found a venue, booked all of the talent, and were starting to promote the event when COVID hit and brought everything to a screeching halt. We didn’t do anything for the rest of 2020. So, with no end to COVID in sight, we decided that we needed to do something. That’s how Canned Heat came about.

Pittsburgh has some strong indies right now like IWC, RYSE, etc. What is Enjoy going to be doing to create something new and unique for the Pittsburgh indie scene?

First and foremost, we’re dedicated to hosting our events IN Pittsburgh. IWC primarily hosts their events in Elizabeth, PA, which is about 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Ryse recently started running in Baldwin, a nearby suburb, but had historically held their events in Lemont Furnace, which is 60 miles away and in another county.

We want to run in the city. Pittsburgh’s population is becoming younger and more centered in urban areas. We want our fans to be able to hop onto a bus and come have fun at our events without having to worry too much about how they’re going to get back home.

That mindset influences how we aim to present our product. We want to put on a wrestling show that non-wrestling fans will enjoy. The wrestling fans will always be there. They’ll drive to IWC, they’ll drive to Ryse, they’ll drive all the way to Cleveland to see AIW. We want to create a product with enough glitz and glam that people will come see Enjoy because it’s a social happening rather than just a sporting event.

Also, when you see Canned Heat, you’ll see that we stand apart from many indie wrestling companies in terms of production. We want to make sure that when a wrestler comes to work for Enjoy they leave with some top-quality footage to add to their highlight reel and some great photos for their portfolio. Our stuff looks good.

What exactly is the Enjoy Cup? Will this be an annual tournament, or will it crown a first Enjoy Champion?

Canned Heat is the name of the series and contained within that series is a tournament to determine the winner of The Enjoy Cup, which is a large purple trophy. It will not determine the first Enjoy Champion, but the winner of the tournament will certainly be in consideration for a title shot in the future.

The tournament came about because, again, we wanted to do something after sitting dormant for the entirety of 2020. We chose the eight-person format mostly to limit the amount of people who would be in the building. The tournament was filmed on a closed set with only essential personnel, all of whom were tested for COVID before and after the event. We don’t know if it’ll be an annual event. We’ll see.

What specifically drove you chose these eight particular talents to kick off your promotion?

In November, Maxx and I flew to Florida and bought a wrestling ring. We loaded that ring into a 26′ Penske truck and drove that sucker all the way back to Pittsburgh. During that 16-hour trek, we had a lot of time to talk about wrestling and, by the end of the trip, we had more or less booked our first card.

I could go down the list and tell you why I adore each of these talents. They’re all equally remarkable outside of the ring as they are inside of it. It was incredible watching these professionals ply their craft. We worked hard for them, they worked hard for us. And the result is a product that has a little bit of everything: Technical prowess, wild brawling, and even some over-the-top dramatics to give it a bit of that old-fashioned studio wrestling feel.

What’s next after the mini-series? Will an official series start after or will you be doing events on a streaming service monthly after?

We’re not really sure! Canned Heat will air live on YouTube on Thursdays from 2/25 through 3/18 and that will be our only closed-set filming. We won’t produce another event until we can safely fill a room with a bunch of rowdy fans. Then you’ll see what Enjoy Wrestling is really capable of.

Thanks to Kurt for speaking to us! Here’s a quick rundown of the eight competitors.

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Lee Moriarty

Photo: Dorri Huffman / Ruff Day Photography

Arguably 2020’s breakout performer of the year on the US indies during the pandemic era, “The Apex of Combat” Lee Moriarty stole more than a few shows throughout the year in classic showdowns with an all-star roster of opponents, both veterans, and rising stars – Alex Shelley, Chris Dickinson, Tony Deppen, Alex Zayne, Daniel Makabe, Jonathan Gresham, Mike Outlaw, Daniel Garcia, and ACH are just a few of his ring rivals in 2020 alone. He became a regular with Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), made his debut with IMPACT Wrestling and Beyond Wrestling, hit the Midwest with Black Label Pro, Warrior Wrestling, Glory Pro, and Paradigm Pro Wrestling, all while keeping the home fires burning in Pittsburgh with IWC and RYSE as well. Now the Pittsburgh product is ready to help usher in the debut of Enjoy Wrestling.

Solo Darling

Photo: Earl Gardner Photography

While she may be from New York City originally, veteran Solo Darling has been a regular in the Pennsylvania scene for years with the likes of CHIKARA and Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU). One of the most underrated grapplers from the women’s wrestling circuit of the past decade, she’s no stranger to intergender competition either. She’s a 2x CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas (Tag Team) Champion, once with Travis Huckabee (The Rumble Bees) and then as the final champions with Willow Nightingale (The Bird and The Bee). Solo Darling has the most in-ring experience of the eight, a regular competitor with Beyond Wrestling, SHIMMER, and many more, and will put each competitor she faces to the test.

MV Young

MV Young Enjoy Wrestling

Photo: JayLee Photography

Another local talent, from Lower Burrell, the Leader of the PolyAm Cult MV Young is one of the US indies most charismatic rascals who can back up his trash talk with a penchant for violence inside the ring. He’s worked a variety of top indie promotions, from more traditional indies like Synergy Pro and Pro Wrestling Magic to the deathmatch grit of No Peace Underground and Violence x Suffering (VXS), while also being one of the top promoters in the rapidly exploding LGBTQ+ wrestling scene, hosting his own successful PolyAm Cult Party events. He’s not afraid to take on anyone, from the likes of Lee Moriarty, EFFY, Allie Kat, Tony Deppen, and Tre Lamar, to hardcore beasts like Homicide, G-Raver, Parrow, and Casanova Valentine. He can give as good as he gets, and he’s got the mojo right to win the whole thing.

Willow Nightingale

Photo: JayLee Photography

Speaking of The Bird and The Bee, Solo Darling’s tag team partner is also in the tournament, but Willow Nightingale is no slouch as a singles competitor herself. A veteran of the New York indie scene with the likes of New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC), as well as a regular with Beyond Wrestling, SHIMMER, and many more, Willow has shown her prowess in the ring with the likes of Pinkie Sanchez, Tasha Steelz, Faye Jackson, and Chris Dickinson to name just a few in recent years. Her recent big win over Allie Kat at the recent GCW Fight Forever 24-hour event (during the Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit block) was one of the weekend’s standout matches.

Still Life With Apricots & Pears

Still Life With Apricots And Pears Enjoy Wrestling

Photo: Earl Gardner Photography

Out of the ashes of CHIKARA folding last year, Still Life With Apricots & Pears has emerged like a phoenix from its ashes, becoming one of the top US indie stars in the pandemic season. She won the CHIKARA Young Lions Cup tournament in 2019 and last year was on the winning squad at Camp Leapfrog‘s Christmas Trios event this past December – with another upcoming tournament in the inaugural Cassandro Cup in March, you could say that she has become known for their tournament dominance. As well as becoming one of the must-see stars with Camp Leapfrog in 2020/2021,shey also had one of the 2020 Match of the Year candidates in a match against Dark Sheik at Effy’s Big Gay Brunch at GCW’s Collective weekend last October. Most recently, she had another classic against EFFY for Camp Leapfrog’s Valentine’s Day special, Camp Lovefrog, this past Sunday. If Vegas had odds for the Enjoy Cup, odds are they’d have Still Life taking home the trophy.

Mr. Grim

Washington, DC’s “Hitman for Hire” Mr. Grim has traveled a lot of roads to a lot of rough and ready places, such as Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), IWA Mid-South, and even Mexico’s Desastre Total Ultraviolento (DTU). In February of 2020, Grim made the finals to crown the first Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling Champion in his hometown at Fight Club but lost to Trish Adora. In May that same year, he made his debut with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), facing Wardlow on an episode of AEW DARK. Grim is a veteran ass-kicker and he’ll be ready to bring the ultraviolence if necessary to a tournament he’s hungry to win.

Ziggy Haim

Ziggy Haim Enjoy Wrestling

Pittsburgh native Ziggy Haim started out in 2017 and competed as Jinx for several years in the area with IWC, RYSE, and others, as well as competing for RISE Wrestling, Queens of Combat (QOC), IWA Mid-South, and CHIKARA, before rebranding as Ziggy Haim in mid-2019. She’s also a tag team specialist as well, competing in the Keystone State Dude Core with Shawn Phoenix, and like Willow Nightingale, also had a fantastic match at Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit, defeating Brooke Valentine. While she may not have the experience of the other competitors, Haim has an aura of unpredictability around her – she’s a wild card who could upset more than a few on the card to hoist that cup.

Shawn Phoenix

Shawn Pheonix Enjoy Wrestling

Just like both members of The Bird and The Bee are in the tournament, so are both members of the Keystone State Dude Core, as Ziggy’s partner Shawn Phoenix is also entering the fray. Phoenix has been one of the top rising stars in the Pittsburgh indie scene the past few years with RYSE and IWC, and has shown a determination to fight through adversity – he had a physical feud with one of GCW’s top young stars, Atticus Cogar, in IWC in 2018 and 2019. Another Pittsburgh homegrown, Phoenix will be looking to continue his rise, not just in his hometown’s indie circuit but on the national stage, and winning the Enjoy Cup in such a decorated field would be a huge kickstarter.

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Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Enjoy Wrestling “Canned Heat” will debut on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 8pm EST on their YouTube Channel