Ohio Valley Wrestling

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Ohio Valley Wrestling
OV Wrestling.png
GenreProfessional wrestling
Created byNightmare Danny Davis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons24
No. of episodes1,224 (as of January 27, 2023)
Camera setupMulticamera setup
Running time60 minutes
Original network
Picture formatHDTV 1080p
Original releaseJanuary 17, 1998 (1998-01-17) –

Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) is an American professional wrestling promotion and former developmental promotion based in Louisville, Kentucky.[1] The company is currently run by Al Snow, Matt Jones and Louisville mayor elect, Craig Greenberg.

OVW was initially a member promotion of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) from its inception in 1993 until 2000, when it became the primary developmental territory for the World Wrestling Federation, which is now known today as the WWE.[2] It remained in this role from 2000 until February 7, 2008, when the promotion became unaffiliated.[3] In November 2011, OVW became the developmental territory for Impact Wrestling (then known as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling or TNA).[4] This relationship initially ended on November 2, 2013, but on March 19, 2019, the two promotions re-established their developmental agreement.[5] In 2020, OVW stopped being a developmental promotion and transformed into a full-fledged TV promotion featuring superstars such as Jessie Godderz, Mahabali Shera and current OVW National Heavyweight Champion James Storm.

OVW's television programming originates from the Davis Arena in the Buechel neighborhood of Louisville.[6] Their weekly series, known informally as OVW TV, currently airs locally on WBNA-21 and is streaming online via FITE TV as well as the promotion's YouTube channel. As of 2020, through various syndication and distribution deals, OVW's weekly series is available to view in over 100 million households in the U.S, and to over 700 million worldwide.[7][8][9]


Founding and NWA membership (1993–2001)[edit]

OVW was founded by Nightmare Danny Davis in 1993 as a National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) member promotion under the name NWA Ohio Valley Championship Wrestling.[10] The company primarily ran shows in the Kentucky and Indiana territories that were formerly run by the United States Wrestling Association, with weekly shows run out of the original Davis Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, with larger shows run out of the Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky.

In 1997, OVW ended its relationship with the NWA and renamed itself Ohio Valley Wrestling. Later that year, Trailer Park Trash became the first OVW Heavyweight Champion by defeating Vic the Bruiser.[11]

On January 16, 1998, OVW taped the first episode of its weekly television series, emanating from the original Davis Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Louisville Gardens ring announcer Dean Hill served as play by play commentator alongside Faye Davis as the Ring Announcer. The show featured an introduction to the company by owner Danny Davis, with a main event of Nick Dinsmore and Rob Conway vs Juan Hurtado and The Assassin #2.[12]

WWF/WWE developmental territory (1999–2008)[edit]

In 1999, WWF creative team member Jim Cornette bought a stake in OVW.[citation needed] Cornette, taking on the role of booker and show writer while appearing in an on-camera commentator role, made his first televised appearance on July 10, 1999, and spoke of the changes that were to take place.[citation needed] The first group of developmental talent included future stars such as John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar and Batista.[13]

OVW held its final show at the original Davis Arena on August 21, 2002, headlined by a match between Damaja and Rene Dupree.[14] On September 4, 2002, the company would debut its show at the current Davis Arena at 4400 Shepherdsville Rd in Louisville, Ky.[citation needed] On July 10, 2005 Jim Cornette parted ways with WWE and was relieved of his duties overseeing OVW. This resulted from an incident where Cornette reportedly slapped an OVW beginners class student Anthony Carelli for having an inappropriate reaction to being confronted by a horror-themed wrestler called The Boogeyman during a match at an OVW live show.[15] The two have not been on positive terms since, even having a confrontation during an event both were performing at as recently as October 2017.[16] Cornette was replaced by WWE Trainer Al Snow on the announce team, and Snow was replaced as creative director/producer by Paul Heyman. This arrangement would be short-lived, however, as WWE would eventually put Heyman in charge of the revival of ECW as a WWE brand. Eventually the booking duties would go to Al Snow, who would have the longest tenure outside of Cornette. Jim Cornette sold his stake in OVW to Davis in 2007.[17]

In 2007, WWE launched Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in Tampa, Florida to serve as a new developmental territory. OVW and FCW simultaneously trained WWE prospects for a brief period, but on February 7, 2008, WWE announced that it had ended its relationship with OVW, moving all contracted talent to FCW.[3] WWE-contracted talent also made occasional appearances on OVW shows, including a match between John Cena and Lance Cade as the main event for the final Kentucky Kingdom show.[18] However, FCW was dissolved in 2012 and was relaunched as NXT, formerly a reality/scripted television program that existed in its format from 2010 to 2012, replacing the ECW brand.

Post-WWE years (2008–2018)[edit]

In 2009, OVW alumnus John "Bradshaw" Layfield would leave WWE to sponsor OVW.[19] On September 8, 2010, in what was dubbed the company's "season premiere", Danny Davis, who himself was making his return for the first time in over a year, announced that Jim Cornette was returning to his role as match maker of the company.[20] Cornette, who was also executive producer of Ring of Honor's HDNet show, Ring of Honor Wrestling, announced that ROH talent were going to work in OVW, along with other new and returning OVW members of the roster.[citation needed]

2010s logo

On November 7, 2011, it was announced that OVW and Impact Wrestling (then known as TNA Wrestling), had reached an agreement for the former to become an official training and developmental territory.[21] This agreement would end on November 2, 2013, due to a financial dispute.[22]

Gladiator Sports Era And Al Snow Era (2018–2021)[edit]

On April 6, 2018, it was announced that professional wrestler Al Snow was purchasing the promotion from Danny Davis, who was planning to retire but didn't want to shut the company down.[23] On September 12, 2018, it was announced that Ohio Valley Wrestling would be merging with Top Notch Boxing, a major boxing promotion in Louisville, to form the Gladiator Sports Network.[24] OVW's first event under the Gladiator Sports banner was the 1000th episode special of its television series on October 10, 2018, from Louisville's Fourth Street Live!. This was OVW's first ever live televised event and it was streamed on FITE TV.[25] The event featured a tournament to crown the vacant OVW championship featuring both current and past stars as well as a tribute to the companies founders.

On October 29, 2018, the brand announced an international expansion of its wrestling school and television product to the European Market labeled OVW-EU.[26] Most of the schools now affiliated with the OVW Brand outside the United States were formally with the "Al Snow Wrestling Academy" brand which was merged with OVW upon the purchase by Gladiator Sports. This expands Ohio Valley Wrestling to a total of 17 wrestling schools worldwide. An on-demand service, which will air past and current editions of the original American brand plus the possibility of a future OVW UK Brand, was also announced. The service would officially launch on the third week of March 2019 at a cost of $4.99 a month.[27]

In February 2019, OVW would announce a partnership with Impact Wrestling to produce an exclusive event for Impact's Global Wrestling Network (GWN). The event, titled Clash in the Bluegrass, would be an Impact One Night Only special held on March 2, 2019, in Davis Arena. The full-length event would stream on GWN on March 9, 2019. Clash in the Bluegrass would mark the first collaboration between OVW and Impact since 2013, and would be the first time the new Davis Arena has ever sold out an event via pre-sale tickets. On March 19, 2019, Impact announced that the company had entered a new partnership with OVW as its developmental territory.[28]

In April 2019, local media in Louisville reported that OVW was developing a formal vocational educational program in professional wrestling through the Al Snow Wrestling Academy, and had applied for accreditation with the Kentucky Department of Education. On September 15, the school was approved by the state of Kentucky, making it the first officially accredited professional wrestling trade school.[29][30]

In October 2020, OVW announced a partnership with Qatar Pro Wrestling.[31] That same month, Game+, a Canadian channel owned by Impact's parent company, Anthem Sports & Entertainment, began syndicating OVW's television program in Canada and the United States.[9]


On January 5, 2021, OVW announced that Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio and Craig Greenberg of 21c Museum Hotels were lead investors in a group that purchased a majority interest in the company. Snow continues to run the promotion's day-to-day operations.[32] Later that year, Louisville TV station WDRB reported that OVW was preparing to move into a building in the city's St. Joseph neighborhood that had served as a University of Louisville employee fitness center before being closed in 2019. If zoning approval is obtained, both OVW and the Al Snow Wrestling Academy will operate out of that facility.[33]

Current champions[edit]

As of February 5, 2023.

Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days held Location Notes Ref.
OVW Heavyweight Championship Mahabali Shera 1 November 24, 2022 73+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Ca$h Flo on OVW TV. [34]
OVW National Heavyweight Championship Jessie Godderz 2 January 7, 2023 29+ Louisville, Kentucky Won the Nightmare Rumble to win the championship.
OVW Kentucky Heavyweight Championship Ryan Von Rockit 1 December 13, 2022 54+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated previous champion Jack Vaughn and Doug Basham in a three-way match on Christmas Chaos. [35]
OVW Rush Division Championship Luke Kurtis 1 June 25, 2022 225+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Ha-Zaya at Saturday Night Special: Independence Rage. [36]
OVW Tag Team Championship Omar Amir & Luscious Lawrence 1
(1, 1)
November 24, 2022 73+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated previous champions, The Fallen (The Dark Reverend & D'mon Solavino) on OVW TV. [37]
OVW Women's Championship Shalonce Royal 1 October 29, 2022 99+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Leila Grey at Saturday Night Special: No Rest For The Wicked. [38]
OVW Anarchy Championship Amon 2 August 18, 2020 901+ Jeffersonville, Indiana Defeated Mrs. Marvelous after she laid down in the ring for him due to putting her in a trance in storyline. [39]

Defunct championships[edit]

Championship Years active First champion(s) Final champion(s) Notes
OVW Light Heavyweight Championship 1999–2001 Jason Lee Chris Michaels
OVW Hardcore Championship 2000–2001 Trailer Park Trash Randy Orton
OVW Television Championship 2005–2019 Brent Albright AJZ On October 30, Tony Gunn threw the Television Championship into the Ohio River. OVW Commissioner Dean Hill announced on OVW TV that because of this, the Television Championship was deactivated.[40]


Men's Division talent[edit]

Ring name Real name Notes
Big Zo Cowann Owens [41]
Brandon Espinosa Unknown [42]
Ca$h Flo Michael Walden OVW National Heavyweight Champion
Crixus Unknown [43]
D'Mone Solavino Unknown [44]
Dimes Chase Laughead [45]
Dustin Jackson Unknown [46]
Gnarls Garvin Jake Kinnett [47]
Hy-Zaya Unknown [48]
Jessie Godderz Jessie Godderz OVW Tag Team Champion[49]
James Storm James Cox
Josh Ashcraft Joshua Ashcraft Manager of The Legacy of Brutality[50]
Kal Herro Unknown [51]
Koda Jacobs Unknown [52]
Luke Kurtis Unknown [53]
Luscious Lawrence Lawrence Key Jr. [54]
Mahabali Shera Amanpreet Randhawa OVW Heavyweight Champion
Omar Amir Omar Amir [55]
Reverend Ronnie Unknown [56]
Ryan Howe Ryan Howe [57]
Star Rider Unknown OVW Rush Division Champion[58]
Steve Michaels Unknown [59]
Tom Coffey Unknown [60]
Tony Bizo Unknown OVW Kentucky Heavyweight Champion[61]
Tony Gunn Anthony Gunn OVW Tag Team Champion[62]

Women's Division talent[edit]

Ring name Real name Notes
Arie Alexander Kiley Selvey [63]
Freya The Slaya Unknown [64]
Hollyhood Haley J Haley James [65]
Leila Grey Unknown [66]


Name Real name Role
AJ McKay Unknown Announcer[67]
Bryan Kennison Bryan Kennison Announcer[67]
Eric Cornish Eric Cornish Announcer[67]
Shannon The Dude Shannon Grigsby Announcer
World Heavyweight Radio Champion[67]
Stephanie Unknown Announcer[67]
Steven Johnson Unknown Announcer[67]

Medical Staff/Officials/Referees[edit]

Name Title
Charlene Mackenzie Referee[67]
Daniel Spencer Senior Referee[67]
Dave Harmon Referee[67]
Jake Cloyd Referee[67]
Shane Chess Referee[67]


Name Title
Al Snow Management
Amazing Maria Staff[67]
Andrew Jefferson Owner
Chad Miller Owner
Craig Greenberg Owner
Dean Hill Management
Jeffery Tuvlin Owner
Jesse Morris Staff[67]
Joe Reeves Owner
Larry Benz Owner
Matt Jones Owner
Nightmare Danny Davis Founder
Sarge Chief Marketing Officer[68]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About OVW | Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ovwrestling.com. Archived from the original on 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
  2. ^ Cactus Back Wrestling (2017-05-31), OVW TV #1 (January 17,1998), retrieved 2018-04-18
  3. ^ a b "WWE to cease affiliation with Ohio Valley Wrestling". World Wrestling Entertainment. February 7, 2008. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  4. ^ "TNA Impact Wrestling and OVW Sign Developmental Deal | Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ovwrestling.com. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
  5. ^ IMPACT (2019-03-19). "BREAKING: We are thrilled to announce that we have re-entered into an agreement with @ovwrestling to serve as an official development and training territory for IMPACT Wrestling.pic.twitter.com/Wm8g20VwPT". @IMPACTWRESTLING. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  6. ^ Marshall, Anne (December 7, 2011). "Learning the ropes". Louisville Eccentric Observer. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  7. ^ "OV Wrestling". OV Wrestling.
  8. ^ "Watch OVW".
  9. ^ a b "OVW Adds Game+ As 7th Network To Growing Platform; Owner Al Snow Comments". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-12-27.
  10. ^ "Danny Davis Sells Ohio Valley Wrestling | 411MANIA". 411mania.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  11. ^ Van Drisse, Trent (2011-06-02). "OVW TV report 6-1 tapings in Louisville". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Archived from the original on 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  12. ^ "OVW TV Taping (January '98 #1) at Davis Arena (Original) wrestling results - Internet Wrestling Database".
  13. ^ "The kids from OVW that changed WWE".
  14. ^ "OVW Jeffersonville Show (Aug '02) at Davis Arena (Original) wrestling results - Internet Wrestling Database".
  15. ^ "Jim Cornette Fired From World Wrestling Entertainment - WrestlingInc.com". www.wrestlinginc.com. Archived from the original on 2018-10-04.
  16. ^ "More Videos and Details from Jim Cornette - Santino Marella Incident at Wrestling Convention". 2017-10-08.
  17. ^ "TNA News: Jim Cornette says TNA needs a developmental program, criticizes WWE's developmental program". PWTorch.com. 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
  18. ^ "OVW Summer Sizzler Series '08 (#4) at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom wrestling results - Internet Wrestling Database".
  19. ^ Johnson, Mike (March 8, 2009). "More details on JBL-OVW story (updated)". PWInsider.com.
  20. ^ Caldwell, James (2010-09-09). "ROH/OVW News: Jim Cornette announced as new OVW matchmaker; "working relationship" announced between ROH & OVW". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  21. ^ Caldwell, James (2011-11-07). "TNA News: TNA announces official training program with WWE's former developmental territory". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
  22. ^ "FRI. UPDATE: More TNA cost saving moves, Carters send e-mail to talent denying sale, Video game promotion, real story behind birth of one of greatest world title reigns, Legednary mafch, Classics on Demand, Weekend preview". F4wonline.com. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
  23. ^ "Former WWE superstar Al Snow purchases Ohio Valley Wrestling". Louisville, KY: WDRB. April 6, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  24. ^ Finley, Marty (September 12, 2018). "Ohio Valley Wrestling merges with Louisville boxing group to form new sports network". Louisville Business First. American City Business Journals.
  25. ^ Wrestle Zone. "OVW's 1000th Episode To Air Live On FITE Next Week - Wrestlezone". PW-Core.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2018.
  26. ^ "OVW UK•EU". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-02-25.
  27. ^ "Exclusive: Al Snow on the Gladiator Sports Network & Ohio Valley Wrestling's future". 2019-04-06.
  29. ^ Bard, Jessica (April 3, 2019). "Ohio Valley Wrestling to open first professional wrestling trade school". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  30. ^ "The Al Snow Wrestling Academy is Now a State Accredited Trade School". September 15, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  31. ^ Johnson, Mike (October 23, 2020). "OVW announces partnership with Qatar Pro Wrestling". PWInsider.com.
  32. ^ Melchor, Michael (2021-01-05). "Matt Jones and Craig Greenberg Purchase a Majority Interest in Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ohio Valley Wrestling. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  33. ^ Draut, Sam (August 31, 2021). "Former UofL fitness center proposed as pro wrestling academy". WDRB. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  34. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (November 24, 2022). "OVW TV #1215 - TV-Show @ Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved November 24, 2022.
  35. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (December 13, 2022). "OVW TV #1218 - Christmas Chaos 2022 - TV-Show @ Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  36. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (June 25, 2022). "OVW Saturday Night Special - Independence Rage - Pay Per View @ Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  37. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (August 11, 2022). "OVW TV #1200 - TV-Show @ Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  38. ^ Kreikenbom, Philip (October 29, 2022). "OVW Saturday Night Special - No Rest For The Wicked - Pay Per View @ Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  39. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (August 18, 2020). "OVW TV #1100 - TV-Show @ The ArenA in Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  40. ^ Melchor, Michael (November 20, 2019). "Ohio Valley Wrestling Announces RUSH Championship". Ohio Valley Wrestling. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  41. ^ "Big Zo". OV Wrestling.
  42. ^ "Brandon Espinosa - OV Wrestling".
  43. ^ "Crixus". OV Wrestling.
  44. ^ "D'Mone Solavino". OV Wrestling.
  45. ^ "Dimes". OV Wrestling.
  46. ^ "Dustin Jackson". OV Wrestling.
  47. ^ "Roster". OV Wrestling.
  48. ^ "Hy-Zaya". OV Wrestling.
  49. ^ "Mr. Pectacular". OV Wrestling.
  50. ^ "Josh Ashcraft". OV Wrestling.
  51. ^ "Kal Herro". OV Wrestling.
  52. ^ "Koda Jacobs". OV Wrestling.
  53. ^ "Luke Kurtis". OV Wrestling.
  54. ^ "Luscious Lawrence". OV Wrestling.
  55. ^ "Omar Amir". OV Wrestling.
  56. ^ "Reverend Ronnie". OV Wrestling.
  57. ^ "Ryan Howe". OV Wrestling. Archived from the original on December 31, 2021.
  58. ^ "Star Rider". OV Wrestling. Archived from the original on December 27, 2021.
  59. ^ "Steve Michaels". OV Wrestling.
  60. ^ "Tom Coffey". OV Wrestling.
  61. ^ "Tony Bizo". OV Wrestling.
  62. ^ "Tony Gunn". OV Wrestling.
  63. ^ "Arie Alexander". OV Wrestling.
  64. ^ "Freya The Slaya". OV Wrestling.
  65. ^ ""Hollyhood" Haley J". OV Wrestling. Archived from the original on January 17, 2021.
  66. ^ "Leila Grey". OV Wrestling.
  67. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Team". OV Wrestling.
  68. ^ "Sarge". OVW Profile. Archived from the original on August 10, 2020.

External links[edit]