Up & Coming Weekly

May 30, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 11 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MAY 31 - JUNE 6, 2023 UCW 11 FEATURE Ring Wars Carolina brings professional wrestling to local audiences by AUBRETTE REID e thudding sound of wrestlers hitting the mat fills my ears as practice begins. I am at a practice for a local in- die wrestling organization called Ring Wars Carolina. RWC is an indepen- dent professional wrestling company owned by Dex Carter, located in Hope Mills. e wrestlers are scattered around the room, stretching, running drills, talking and practicing moves on each other. One of the first things I notice is the speed of their warm-up drills. e goal is to perform each exercise with proper form and intensity, pushing physical limits and simulating the demands of a wrestling match. It helps wrestlers build strength, endurance, agility and mental toughness, which are crucial in the sport. "Nite-Stic" Eddie McKoy, a wrestler and wrestling promoter driven by a lifelong passion for the sport, credits his love for pro wrestling to his forma- tive years. It started when his father established a tradition of attending wrestling matches after their Sunday church service, instilling in him a deep fascination with the spectacle. Years later, McKoy's path crossed with Steve Corino, a seasoned wrestler who had made his mark in prominent organizations like ECW and NWA. Recognizing McKoy's dedication and potential, Corino took him under his wing, becoming both mentor and guide, imparting invaluable knowl- edge of the wrestling business. Today, McKoy's expertise and un- wavering commitment are showcased through his prominent role in RWC. With a proud tradition of exhilarating live shows and monthly TV tapings in Fayetteville, RWC has been a mainstay of entertainment for 25 years. As a key figure in RWC, McKoy su- pervises the training and development of aspiring wrestlers, overseeing their practices and leading them through a series of warm-ups, drills, and exer- cises that contribute to their growth and skill enhancement. Under McKoy's guidance, RWC has attracted an impressive roster of wrestling stars. Notable names such as Sasha Banks, Jordan Grace, Tatanka, Dusty Rhodes, Rock n Roll Express, e Hardy Boys, Al Snow, Earl Hebner, and Bryan Hebner have made their mark in North Carolina. rough McKoy's passion and dedication, RWC contin- ues to captivate audiences, providing a platform for aspiring wrestlers to chase their dreams and thrill fans with the electrifying world of professional wrestling. After they finish their warm-up drills, McKoy has the wrestlers work- ing on their 30-second promos. After- ward, they receive feedback to help them improve. Next up are the practice matches. Two wrestlers step into the ring and face off against each other. At the same time, the other wrestlers gather around the ring. After each match, the other wrestlers point out areas for improvement, what was a success, provide advice on how to tweak a part of the performance, and more. e comradeship and support among the wrestlers are evident as they all work together to improve their craft. One of the wrestlers who caught my attention with his wrestling and showmanship was "Gem Stone" (Josh McNeill). "Gem Stone," an indepen- dent professional wrestler known as "e Diamond Of e Ring" and hailed as the Crown Jewel of Profes- sional Wrestling, is a prominent figure in the wrestling world. Trained at the esteemed Ring Wars Carolina Training Academy, "Gem Stone" represents the epitome of tal- ent and skill. He holds the prestigious title of one-half of the RWC tag team champions alongside his partner CodeName FLX. Hailing from Dunn, "Gem Stone" has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. With a show nearly every week, "Gem Stone" has been consistently showcasing his prowess inside the ring. Since making his debut in June 2018, "Gem Stone" has captivated fans with his electrifying performances. In an interview, he expressed high praise for RWC, emphasizing that they produce some of the highest quality wrestling he has ever witnessed. To stay updated on "Gem Stone's" incredible journey, fans can follow him on Instagram under the user- name @arealgemstone, on Facebook at Gem Stone Wrestling, and on YouTube at @GemStoneWrestling. ese Youtube channels showcase his captivating RWC matches and demon- strate his dedication and passion for the sport. In addition to "Gem Stone," another remarkable wrestler who deserves recognition is "CodeName FLX," also known as "Wrestling's only Active Paratrooper." Teaming up with "Gem Stone" as one-half of the RWC tag team champions, "CodeName FLX" brings his unique talent and skills to the ring. Wrestling enthusiasts can follow "CodeName FLX" on Twitter @ Project0820 and on Instagram under the handle @codename_flx. By checking out his social media profiles, fans can witness his remark- able performances and see firsthand why he is regarded as a phenomenal wrestler. "Gem Stone" and "Code- Name FLX" make a formidable tag team with their combined abilities and dedication. e tag team duo, the "Wrustlers," Paco and Wako, are former two-time tag team champions and independent wrestlers who have left an indelible mark in the industry. eir wrestling journey began by watching the sport alongside their father. Starting their careers in RWC, the "Wrustlers" honed their skills and showcased their teamwork. Reflecting on their time in RWC, they stated that it is a sure thing, a testament to the quality and reliability of the promotion. With their abilities and dedication, the "Wrus- tlers" continue to captivate audiences and solidify their place as remarkable talents in professional wrestling. James Miranda, also known as School of Morton Champion "James Anthony," is an independent wrestler with 12 years of ring experience, hav- ing trained in Florida. His signature move, the super kick, has become a crowd favorite. Miranda's passion for wrestling ignited during his child- hood when he watched WCW and WWF with his uncle, idolizing legends like the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan. He held the title of RWC Jr. Heavyweight Champion and notably lost it to Xander Keys during the 41st annual Dogwood Festival, which can be watched on YouTube. Beyond wrestling, "James Anthony" contributes to show production, writing and talent scouting. Fans can follow him on Twitter at @87JamesAn- thony and on Instagram at @1987jam to stay updated on his exciting journey in the wrestling world. If you want to experience the excit- ing world of Ring Wars Carolina first- hand and stay updated on upcoming matches, you can visit their website at www.ringwarscarolina.net/. You can also follow RWC on Facebook at www. facebook.com/RingWarsCarolina and subscribe to their YouTube channel @ RingWarsCarolinaTV. While watching matches online is exciting, nothing beats being there in person. e sound of bodies hitting the mat, the slaps, and the energy cre- ate an unforgettable atmosphere. Check their schedule of events, grab your tickets and join the live audience to immerse yourself in the electrifying world of Ring Wars Carolina. AUBRETTE REID, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Ring Wars Carolina matches are scheduled at local events such as the Dogwood Festival (above) and (right). (File photos) Current RWC Tag Team Champions Code Name FLX (left) and Gem Stone (right). (Photo courtesy Ring Wars Carolina)

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