HERINGTON — For the first time in more than 30 years professional wrestling returns to Herington. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. July 30 at the Herington Community Center, 810 S. Broadway, for a live show, which will bring recognizable names to the stage.

Originally from Junction City, now living in Dickinson County, Eric Woodward, a professional wrestler and the promoter for the show, said he had long felt that Herington would be an ideal place to hold an event. When a friend called and told him the city manager, Branden Dross, was a wrestling fan the wheels went into motion.

The event is not sponsored by the city but Dross said the impact such an event can have is enormous.

“(Woodward) likes the smaller towns because they draw a lot of people in,” Dross said. “He sees them as an economic generator for the area.”

Before and after the show people will spend money in Herington at the restaurants, the bars and gas stations. These kinds of events generate tax revenue.

If it goes well, a relationship between the city and Woodward’s promotion company can lead to auxiliary events, Dross said.

“He can come back maybe a few times a year, maybe get embedded with the community more,” he said. “I know wrestling isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but when an event like this comes to a small rural town … I’m hoping it’s going to sell out.”

Woodward has wrestled under the stage name Fantabulous for a couple of decades.

Although he may not have become a household name, he traveled the world wrestling and has worked with other promoters but the Herington show is the first that he is promoting independently.

“I’m really excited that we can bring a show of this caliber to the area,” he said. “We’ve got some pretty big name wrestlers coming to town that are on TV and a former world champion.”

In the main event former Impact Wrestling champion Cowboy James Storm will challenge Brian Blade for the MWA heavyweight title.

“We’ve also got Ricky Reyes coming,” Woodward said. “He’s wrestled for Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground, which is another television show — he’s been around for a little bit and is a fantastic wrestler — very talented guy.”

If anyone in the area thinks they have what it takes to get into the ring with a professional wrestler, may have an opportunity.

“Mr. Fitness 2 is hosting a $1,000 challenge where he’s going to take on a challenger at random to see if they can pin or submit him,” he said.

The show will also include female and tag-team matches.

Woodward and Dross said people can feel comfortable bringing their children because it is family friendly.

“I definitely want to emphasize that it’s not an adult oriented product like some wrestling on TV has been geared towards over the years,” Woodward said. “This is definitely a family friendly show that’s going to be very hard hitting — it’s gonna have a lot of action and gonna be fun for the whole family.”

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