For years, Ohio Valley Wrestling has been known as a developmental territory that produced legendary talent. Names like John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and more have originated from this once-little company, OVW, based in Louisville, Kentucky.
OVW has had a wide-ranging history. It began as simply an NWA territory, back in the early ’90s. Founded by ‘Nightmare’ Danny Davis, it was basically a regional indy. Then, in the late ’90s, Jim Cornette got involved and it became a WWF developmental territory, producing a long list of future Hall of Famers.
After Cornette’s departure in 2005, the company went through a stretch that many refer to as “the dark years”. There was a lack of clear direction, and outside influences hurt the local product.
Then, in 2018, Al Snow returned to OVW. And everything changed.
Snow was no stranger to the company, having been a trainer there in the past. But now, he was the owner, and he began to approach Ohio Valley Wrestling in the same way as his other business ventures: With calculated and controlled drive.
He started the Al Snow Wrestling Academy, which became the first fully accredited wrestling school in the world. Meaning, training there is like taking a college course. Wrestling students live in dorms and take classes not just in the ring, but on microphone skills and how to market themselves.
Snow is also tied in tohis Collar x Elbow brand of clothing, which is wildly popular among wrestling personalities and fans. The line is known for their clever logos and being ‘street friendly’ to wear. (meaning it’s a wrestling shirt without having to LOOK like a wrestling shirt)
Most importantly, however, Snow has garnered television deals with You Too America, RCN, Cox Sports Television, and the Game+ Network. So now, not only is OVW broadcast live and locally in Louisville, but it’s also available to be seen virtually everywhere.
Earlier this year, Snow sold a majority interest in OVW. Kentucky sports talk radio host Matt Jones and former hotel executive Craig Greenberg came on board. However, Snow continues to own a stake in the promotion and runs the wrestling side of things.
All these pieces coming together, to help lead the resurgence of OVW.
It’s led to a new level of excitement. Not just for the trainees with their eyes on the future, but for many of the old school OVW veterans, as well.
Josh Ashcraft, who now acts as the manager of the faction Legacy of Brutality, has filled every possible role in OVW. He went from setting up rings to becoming a referee, an announcer, and a manager. He basically cut his teeth on Ohio Valley Wrestling and has been a mainstay ever since.
“I grew up as a kid in the crowd at OVW before I ever set foot into the ring there,” Ashcraft said. “To see how far it’s grown – and all the bigger things that are coming sooner rather than later – it’s surreal to be along for the ride. Stay tuned.”
Cash Flo, a Louisville legend, has competed in the area for over 20 years. He talked about the evolution of the promotion during the Al Snow era.
“For years, fans in the area have been treated to Ohio Valley Wrestling,’ he stated. “It has been a mainstay, that has brought about some of the biggest stars in the Industry.. But all good things demand a reset, to keep pushing the bar.”
“Creatively, intensely, and sometimes shockingly. Enter Al Snow. You see, this ISN’T Ohio Valley Wrestling anymore, this is OVW. And in this area, OVW is exactly what’s needed. It needed to shake off the chains of the past, and forge ahead… full speed.
“That’s what the fans wanted, and that’s what’s being given to them. From the ASWA, to the production guys, the ring announcers, creative, and the guys putting their hard-earned money into believing in us. Everyone brings their A-game and believes in the product.”
Now, OVW will present Reckoning on Saturday, August 28th.
It will be a night to showcase the faces of the future.
And a celebration of the greatest developmental promotion of all time.
“I think the roster is excited about continuing the momentum OVW has built this year,” said OVW TV producer Michael Melchor. “We’ve been bringing in a new audience, as well as keeping our longtime fans engaged. People can feel something fun and different is happening here.”
“Our roster can’t wait for OVW Reckoning… to show everyone that the future is now.”
Stay tuned to the 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.