Ohio Valley Wrestling

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Ohio Valley Wrestling
IndustryProfessional wrestling
Founded1993; 31 years ago (1993)[1]
FounderNightmare Danny Davis
HeadquartersLouisville, Kentucky
Key people
Ed Payer (CEO)
Al Snow (co-owner)
Craig Greenberg (co-owner)
Matt Jones (co-owner)
Mickie James (Creative Director, Head of Female Talent, and Executive Producer)
OwnersAl Snow,
Craig Greenberg,
Matt Jones
Websiteovwrestling.com
Ohio Valley Wrestling
GenreProfessional wrestling
Created byNightmare Danny Davis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons25
No. of episodes1,286 (as of April 6, 2024)
Production
Camera setupMulticamera setup
Running time105 minutes
Original release
Network
ReleaseJanuary 17, 1998 (1998-01-17) –
present

Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) is an American professional wrestling promotion and former developmental territory based in Louisville, Kentucky.[2] The company is currently run by Al Snow, Matt Jones, and Louisville mayor 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, now known as WWE.[3] It remained in this role from 2000 until February 7, 2008, when the promotion became unaffiliated.[4] In November 2011, OVW became the developmental territory for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.[5] This relationship initially ended on November 2, 2013, but on March 19, 2019, the two promotions re-established their developmental agreement.[6]

OVW's television programming originates from the Davis Arena in the Buechel neighborhood of Louisville.[7] 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.[8][9][10]

History[edit]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

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, Batista, and Shelton Benjamin.[14]

OVW held its final show at the original Davis Arena on August 21, 2002, headlined by a match between Damaja and Rene Dupree.[15] 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 (better known as Santino Marella) for having an inappropriate reaction to being confronted by a horror-themed wrestler called The Boogeyman during a match at an OVW live show.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[4] 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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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]

Logo used in the 2010s

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.[22] This agreement would end on November 2, 2013, due to a financial dispute.[23]

Gladiator Sports 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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30][31]

In October 2020, OVW announced a partnership with Qatar Pro Wrestling.[32] 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.[10]

2021–present[edit]

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.[33] 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.[34]

It was announced on August 21, 2023, that OVW would be featured in a new docu-series to air on Netflix titled, Wrestlers. The show follows the company throughout their journey and climb back to prominence. The series comes from director Greg Whiteley (Last Chance U, Cheer) and BBC Studios Los Angeles and covers Al Snow's attempt to keep the promotion economically viable.[35] The success of the show led to OVW to enter a strategic partnership with Genvec Ventures, that would ensure them a financial stability. In addition, Ed Payer was named the new CEO of the company.[36]

On January 11, 2024, OVW announced that Mickie James has joined OVW as Creative Director, Head of Female Talent and Executive Producer of their wrestling shows.[37]

Championships[edit]

Current champions[edit]

As of May 18, 2024.

Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days held Location Notes Ref.
OVW Heavyweight Championship Tony Evans 1 May 2, 2024 16+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Luke Kurtis at Double Crossed. [38]
OVW National Heavyweight Championship EC3 1 November 21, 2023 179+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Jessie Godderz at Thanksgiving Thunder. [39]
OVW Media Championship Kal Herro 1 February 15, 2024 93+ Louisville, Kentucky On OVW Rise #1279, Mick Foley presented Kentucky Heavyweight champion with the Media championship, replacing the Kentucky Heavyweight championship. [40]
OVW Rush Division Championship Manny Domingo 1 February 10, 2024 98+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Kal Herro, Ragnar the Ruthless, Maximo Suave, ZDP, Will Austin, and Orion in a ladder match at OVW Tough Love. [41]
OVW Tag Team Championship The Overmen
(Adam Revolver and Beau Amir)
1(3)
(10, 1)
March 16, 2024 63+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Tusk and Chains (Donovan Cecil and TW3) to win the vacant championship at March Mayhem. [42]
OVW Women's Championship Leila Grey 3 February 10, 2024 98+ Louisville, Kentucky Defeated Freya The Slaya at OVW Tough Love. [41]

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.[43]
OVW Kentucky Heavyweight Championship 2020–2024 Luscious Lawrence Kal Herro At the February 15, 2024 OVW Rise event, Mick Foley presented Herro with the Ohio Valley Wrestling Media title, replacing the Kentucky Heavyweight title.[44]

Roster[edit]

Men's division[edit]

Al Snow
Matt Jones
Ring name Real name Notes
Adam Revolver Jared Pridgin OVW Tag Team Champion[45]
Andrew Williams Unknown
Big Zo Cowann Owens [46]
Ca$h Flo Michael Walden [47]
Crixus Leo Bellator [48]
D'Mone Solavino Unknown [49]
Deget Bundlez Unknown
Dimes Unknown
Donovan Cecil Unknown
EC3 Michael Hutter OVW National Heavyweight Champion[50]
Eric Darkstorm Eric Wayne Lewis
Gnarls Garvin Jake Kinnett [51]
Hy-Zaya Unknown [52]
Jack Vaughn Unknown [53]
Jared Kripke Unknown
Jay DeNiro Unknown
Jessie Godderz Jessie Godderz [54]
Joe Mack Joseph Makdessi OVW Tag Team Champion[55]
Kal Herro Kal Herro OVW Media Champion[56]
Louie Boudreaux Unknown
Luke Kurtis Unknown [57]
Luscious Lawrence Lawrence Key Jr. [58]
Mahabali Shera Amanpreet Randhawa [59]
Manny Domingo Luis Garcia OVW Rush Division Champion
Maximo Suave Unknown
Nikeem The Dream Nikeem Avent
Omar Amir Omar Amir [60]
Orion Justin Coburn
The Dark Reverend Ranoni Thompson [61]
Ryan Von Rockit Ryan Howe [62]
Star Rider Unknown [63]
Tony Evans Unknown OVW Heavyweight Champion
Tony Gunn Anthony Gunn [64]
Truth Magnum Shiloh Mount [65]
Turbo Floyd Randy Kaufman [66]
TW3 Thomas Sinkfield
Ty Vance Unknown
Tyler Lee Deputy Unknown
Will Austin Unknown
ZDP Zachary Dayton Pittman [67]

Women's division[edit]

Ring name Real name Notes
Alice Crowley Alice Fisher
Arie Alexander Unknown
Crystal White Unknown
Dream Girl Ellie Ellie Hile
Freya the Slaya Sarah States
Hollyhood Haley J Haley James [68]
Jada Stone ”unknown”
Judi Rae Desiree Riggs
Katie Gannon Unknown
Leila Grey Catherine Guzman OVW Women's Champion
Shalonce Royal Shalandra Royal
Shawna Reed Unknown
Tiffany Nieves Unknown

Broadcast team[edit]

Name Real name Role
AJ McKay AJ McKay Ring Announcer/Floor Director/Backstage Interviewer[69]
Bryan Kennison Bryan Kennison Lead Commentator[69]
Dancin' Stevie J Steven Johnson Color Commentator[69]
Eric Cornish Eric Cornish Ring Announcer/Backstage Interviewer[69]
Josh Ashcraft Josh Ashcraft Color Commentator/Manager
Linda Kay Linda Kay Ring Announcer/Backstage Interviewer[69]
Shannon The Dude Shannon Grigsby Color Commentator/Manager
World Heavyweight Radio Champion[69]

Referees[edit]

Name Title
Charlene McKenzie Referee[69]
Daniel Spencer Senior Official[69]
Jake Cloyd Referee[69]
Josh Patterson Referee
Shane Chess Referee[69]

Management[edit]

Name Title
Al Snow Owner, Executive Producer[69]
Amazing Maria Coach/Producer[69]
Andrew Jefferson Owner
Chad Miller Owner
Craig Greenberg Owner[69]
Dean Hill Management
Commissioner
Doug Basham Coach/Producer[69]
Jeffery Tuvlin Owner[69]
Jesse Morris Producer[69]
Joe Reeves Owner[69]
Larry Benz Owner[69]
Matt Jones Owner[69]
Mickie James[37][70] Creative Director
Head of Female Talent
Executive Producer
"Cornbred" Bryan Roof Director of Admissions, OVW Academy
Nightmare Danny Davis Founder

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Us".
  2. ^ "About OVW | Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ovwrestling.com. Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  3. ^ Cactus Back Wrestling (May 31, 2017), OVW TV #1 (January 17,1998), retrieved April 18, 2018
  4. ^ 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 February 7, 2008.
  5. ^ "TNA Impact Wrestling and OVW Sign Developmental Deal | Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ovwrestling.com. November 7, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  6. ^ IMPACT (March 19, 2019). "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 March 19, 2019.
  7. ^ Marshall, Anne (December 7, 2011). "Learning the ropes". Louisville Eccentric Observer. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "OV Wrestling". OV Wrestling.
  9. ^ "Watch OVW".
  10. ^ a b "OVW Adds Game+ As 7th Network To Growing Platform; Owner Al Snow Comments". Forbes. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  11. ^ "Danny Davis Sells Ohio Valley Wrestling | 411MANIA". 411mania.com. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Van Drisse, Trent (June 2, 2011). "OVW TV report 6-1 tapings in Louisville". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  13. ^ "OVW TV Taping (January '98 #1) at Davis Arena (Original) wrestling results – Internet Wrestling Database".
  14. ^ "The kids from OVW that changed WWE".
  15. ^ "OVW Jeffersonville Show (Aug '02) at Davis Arena (Original) wrestling results – Internet Wrestling Database".
  16. ^ "Jim Cornette Fired From World Wrestling Entertainment - WrestlingInc.com". www.wrestlinginc.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2018.
  17. ^ "More Videos and Details from Jim Cornette – Santino Marella Incident at Wrestling Convention". October 8, 2017.
  18. ^ "TNA News: Jim Cornette says TNA needs a developmental program, criticizes WWE's developmental program". PWTorch.com. April 10, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  19. ^ "OVW Summer Sizzler Series '08 (#4) at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom wrestling results – Internet Wrestling Database".
  20. ^ Johnson, Mike (March 8, 2009). "More details on JBL-OVW story (updated)". PWInsider.com.
  21. ^ Caldwell, James (September 9, 2010). "ROH/OVW News: Jim Cornette announced as new OVW matchmaker; "working relationship" announced between ROH & OVW". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  22. ^ Caldwell, James (November 7, 2011). "TNA News: TNA announces official training program with WWE's former developmental territory". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  23. ^ "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. November 1, 2023. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  24. ^ "Former WWE superstar Al Snow purchases Ohio Valley Wrestling". Louisville, KY: WDRB. April 6, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "OVW UK•EU". www.facebook.com. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  28. ^ "Exclusive: Al Snow on the Gladiator Sports Network & Ohio Valley Wrestling's future". April 6, 2019.
  29. ^ CURRIER, JOSEPH (March 19, 2019). "IMPACT WRESTLING & OVW RE-ENTER DEVELOPMENTAL AGREEMENT". F4W. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  30. ^ Bard, Jessica (April 3, 2019). "Ohio Valley Wrestling to open first professional wrestling trade school". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  31. ^ "The Al Snow Wrestling Academy is Now a State Accredited Trade School". September 15, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  32. ^ Johnson, Mike (October 23, 2020). "OVW announces partnership with Qatar Pro Wrestling". PWInsider.com.
  33. ^ Melchor, Michael (January 5, 2021). "Matt Jones and Craig Greenberg Purchase a Majority Interest in Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ohio Valley Wrestling. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  34. ^ Draut, Sam (August 31, 2021). "Former UofL fitness center proposed as pro wrestling academy". WDRB. Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  35. ^ Otterson, Joe (August 21, 2023). "Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Ohio Valley Wrestling Docuseries 'Wrestlers' From 'Cheer,' 'Last Chance U' Creator (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 21, 2023.
  36. ^ Russell, Skylar (December 12, 2023). "OVW Announces Strategic Partnership with Genvec Ventures, Ed Payer Revealed as New CEO". Fightful. Archived from the original on December 12, 2023. Retrieved December 25, 2023.
  37. ^ a b DeFelice, Robert (January 11, 2024). "Mickie James Joins OVW; Named Creative Director, Head of Female Talent, and Executive Producer". Fightful. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  38. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (May 2, 2024). "OVW Double Crossed - Pay Per View @ Waterfont Park in Louisville, Kentucky, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  39. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (November 21, 2023). "OVW TV #1266 - Thanksgiving Thunder - TV-Show @ Davis Arena in Louisville, Kentucky, USA". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  40. ^ "OVW Rise 2/15/24 Results: NWA World Champion EC3 vs. Luke Kurtis, Leila Grey Celebrates Her OVW Women's Title Victory, Mick Foley Introduces A New OVW Championship".
  41. ^ a b "OVW Results: Tough Love 2024". February 11, 2024.
  42. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip (March 16, 2024). "OVW March Mayhem 2024". Cagematch - The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  43. ^ Melchor, Michael (November 20, 2019). "Ohio Valley Wrestling Announces RUSH Championship". Ohio Valley Wrestling. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  44. ^ "OVW Rise 2/15/24 Results: NWA World Champion EC3 vs. Luke Kurtis, Leila Grey Celebrates Her OVW Women's Title Victory, Mick Foley Introduces A New OVW Championship".
  45. ^ "Adam Revolver". OV Wrestling.
  46. ^ "Big Zo". OV Wrestling.
  47. ^ "Ca$h Flo". OV Wrestling.
  48. ^ "Crixus". OV Wrestling.
  49. ^ "The Fallen". OV Wrestling.
  50. ^ "EC3". OV Wrestling.
  51. ^ "Roster". OV Wrestling.
  52. ^ "Hy-Zaya". OV Wrestling.
  53. ^ "Jack Vaughn". OV Wrestling.
  54. ^ "Mr. Pectacular". OV Wrestling.
  55. ^ "Joe Mack". OV Wrestling.
  56. ^ "Kal Herro". OV Wrestling.
  57. ^ "Luke Kurtis". OV Wrestling.
  58. ^ "Luscious Lawrence". OV Wrestling.
  59. ^ "Mahabali Shera". OV Wrestling.
  60. ^ "Omar Amir". OV Wrestling.
  61. ^ "The Fallen". OV Wrestling.
  62. ^ "Ryan Von Rockit". OV Wrestling.
  63. ^ "Star Rider". OV Wrestling. Archived from the original on December 27, 2021.
  64. ^ "Tony Gunn". OV Wrestling.
  65. ^ "Outrunners". OV Wrestling.
  66. ^ "Outrunners". OV Wrestling.
  67. ^ "The Fallen". OV Wrestling.
  68. ^ ""Hollyhood" Haley J". OV Wrestling. Archived from the original on January 17, 2021.
  69. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Team". OV Wrestling.
  70. ^ Ato, Antonio Rubio (January 11, 2024). "Mickie James se une a OVW como productora". Solowrestling (in Spanish). Retrieved January 12, 2024.

External links[edit]