ADRIAN — Pro wrestling is coming to Adrian this weekend. And with it comes a message of positivity.
Championship International Wrestling (CIW) will delight crowds of all ages when the bell rings at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, ushering in the start of “Outreach,” this weekend’s live pro wrestling event that will be at Cornerstone Church in Adrian, 1055 U.S. 223.
The event will feature such wrestling names as The Barbarian and The Warlord who together form the tandem of The Powers of Pain; Amazing N8 Mattson, who is a 26-year wrestling veteran and has worked for the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) many times; Great Akuma, a Japanese star grappler and an international champion; and another pro wrestling legend in the now-retired Nikita Koloff, who serves as this weekend’s biggest headliner.
Monahan’s Meat Market and the Adrian Rent-A-Center are both sponsors of “Outreach,” which will combine the show and energy of a live professional wrestling event with a program that will share a message of positivity in the community, said Phil Monahan, who is affiliated with CIW Wrestling.
Wrestlers who have performed with WWE and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) will be featured. Many of the wrestlers have performed on national television in some capacity, Monahan said, while others are internationally known.
“There are a lot of ways to deliver a positive message to people,” Monahan said. “We plan to get people inside a local church where they can be entertained with some wrestling but also where they can leave at the end of the night taking away a positive message, and maybe even a positive effect on their life.”
Professional wrestling is a show with the storyline of good versus evil, Monahan said. At some point that clash of powers is going to come to a head, he said.
Guests should expect at least 90% of the live wrestling Saturday night with at least 10% of the evening being devoted to the message of positivity which will be delivered by Koloff.
Koloff is retired from professional wrestling and became a born-again Christian on Oct. 17, 1993. He now runs a ministry — Koloff for Christ Ministries — with a small wrestling promotion, the Universal Wrestling Alliance (UWA), as an outreach of his ministry. Some of what he does in retirement from wrestling is speaking engagements, various forms of ministry work, a radio show and a podcast, most of which can be found at koloff.net.
When he was wrestling between 1984 and 1992 during the Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair era of wrestling, his ring name was “The Russian Nightmare.” He has penned a couple of books on positivity and how to enact change.
Becoming a Christian and devoting his post-wrestling career to a life of faith has made all the difference in the world, Koloff said. As a wrestler, Koloff said he achieved some of his greatest success, but he was unfulfilled in doing so. He retired from wrestling at the age of 33.
“I recognized that something was missing personally in my life,” he said. “That ‘aha’ moment of mine was when I discovered it was the need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Wrestling will always be part of who he is, Koloff said, adding, “it put me on the map for who I am.” His career as a wrestler took him to 36 countries and every state in the United States. During wrestling tours in the 1980s and 1990s, location stops for shows included Battle Creek, Lasing and Saginaw with a headlining show typically held in Detroit.
“We did a lot of matches back then and the fans were great,” he said.
Monahan himself was a full-time professional wrestler as well, with his gigs in the ring taking him to such locations as Japan and Germany, Amsterdam, Korea, Guam, Alaska and Hawaii. His son, Kaiden Monahan is a CIW national champion and will be part of Saturday’s show.
“I got a chance to see the world and I got paid to do it, while being a part of something I really enjoyed,” Monahan said.
A professional wrestling event with Monahan’s involvement hasn’t been to Adrian since at least 2015, he said. He started promoting such events in the community dating back to 1987.
“Wrestling was hot and crazy in the mid-90s,” he said.
On Sunday, Koloff will conduct a morning sermon at Cornerstone Church. People who attend Saturday’s wrestling event can come back to the church Sunday morning and “hear the rest of the story,” Koloff said.
“Outreach” can be attended for $15 for all ages of general admission. Advance tickets are available, but are selling fast at Monahan’s Meat Market, 3369 N. Adrian Highway, Adrian; and at Rent-A-Center, 1683 U.S. 223, Adrian, next to the Walmart Supercenter. Advance tickets are $13 for adults, and $10 for children.
A meet and greet with the wrestlers, including Koloff, starts at 5 p.m. Saturday. Costs for the meet and greet are $20 per person, which also includes an autographed poster and front-row seating for Saturday’s event.