Wrestling Mania meets Yuma with Venue Wrestling Entertainment Drive-In Event

Live events are rare during the pandemic. Many of the annual winter festivals that Yuma County’s residents look forward to have been canceled or turned into virtual events. But we found a local event that adapted during the pandemic. KAWC’s Victor Calderón recently attended Venue Wrestling Entertainment’s Drive-In Pro Wrestling Show.

Wrestling Entertainment venue Yuma Battle Royal

Venue Wrestling Entertainment (VWE) recently hosted its third event in Yuma. It is part of a long tradition of independent wrestling action. When you think of World Wrestling Entertainment, also known as WWE, as the major league, regional promotions like VWE are the minor leagues.

“I’m a huge wrestling fan and it’s a great experience to come to these wrestling shows live,” said Peter Decorse, a Yuma resident. He added that he attended a WWE event at Desert Sun Stadium in Yuma years ago. This event is smaller, but the fans have to go all the way to the ring.

“I think it’s really fun to see this live instead of watching it on TV like when I was a kid,” Decorse said.

About 200 fans attended the event at the Yuma County Fairgrounds and either sat in their vehicles or set up chairs nearby. Cars and trucks were parked in a fan shape three rows deep on two sides of the ring.

People stayed near their cars at first, but later moved around to get closer to the ring, buy snacks, and check out the wrestler merchandise. Face masks were required.

Jayson Hisel is the commissioner and founder of VWE. He says while WWE and its closest rival All Elite Wrestling have transitioned from national touring companies to TV productions with limited or no fans, the Indy wrestling scene has been hit hard. VWE is based in Imperial Valley and Orange County, California, but cannot hold its usual shows in gyms and community centers due to COVID restrictions.

“I’m from the El Centro area and we can’t work there,” said Hisel. “We can’t do that. This is a safe alternative to what is going on in the pandemic. We take it very seriously. All of our wrestlers have a negative COVID test this week. We prescribe masks. We request that you stay with the people you come with in your vehicle and have fun wrestling! ”

According to Hisel, VWE has around 28 employees – shows like this one in Yuma keep them working.

VWE has hosted events with WWE legend Rey Mysterio and AEW fan favorites The Lucha Brothers and Thunder Rosa, four wrestlers famous for their Mexican Lucha Libre fighting style.

That night, VWE hosted a 20-man Battle Royal in which two wrestlers start in the ring. Another wrestler comes in every 90 seconds. A wrestler is eliminated if he walks over the top rope and both feet hit the ground.

The Ixpata family drove from El Centro to Yuma. Jaime Ixpata followed the action with his 7 year old son Nathan. They cheered on the good guys known as baby faces in pro wrestling and expanded the bad guys called heels.

“It’s fun,” said Jaime Ixpata. “They always support us (by doing shows) and we support them too. It’s a really nice event for the whole family. ”

For a couple of hours it’s an escape for both the wrestlers and the fans.

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Venue Wrestling Entertainment has announced its next event in Yuma. March Mayhem is scheduled for Saturday March 27th at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. Information: Venue Wrestling Entertainment on Facebook or by calling 760-836-2600.

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