While many congregations across the country organize events like Vacation Bible School and bingo nights, one church in Ohio has decided to start a professional wrestling organization.
First United Methodist Church of Martins Ferry has launched Rugged Cross Championship Wrestling (RCCW), with its first event, titled "First Genesis," being held Sunday evening at a church facility.
According to the RCCW Facebook group, the new wrestling organization is affiliated with Black Diamond Wrestling, All Things New Ministry, and Call The Eternal. The goal is to provide family-friendly professional wrestling entertainment.
"Our goal is to bring the excitement of Professional Wrestling set in a faith-based environment that is family friendly and that promotes the old school wrestling philosophy mixed with the story of the eternal battle between good guys and bad guys," reads RCCW's "About" section on its Facebook page.
"2 Sundays a month Rugged Cross Championship Wrestling will bring the excitement of Professional Wrestling that is faith based. RCCW will feature the wrestling Stars of Black Diamond Wrestling as well as new up and coming future wrestling stars."
Co-creator of RCCW Tony Wensyel explained to local television media the purpose behind launching such an endeavor.
"It's a way to help the church with its fundraising, its community outreach," said Wensyel in an interview with WTRF channel 7.
"We are using this as a way to reach out to the youth. Not only in Martins Ferry but the Ohio Valley and provide them with exciting fun family sports entertainment in a Christian environment."
At First Genesis on Sunday, the card featured Destin Vaine versus Black Diamond Wrestling Champion Dan Sandwich and Ric Rumskey versus Edric Everhart. The main event was an over-the-top rope elimination match in which the winner was crowned the first RCCW champion.
BDW and RCCW are not the only wrestling organizations in the state. Ohio Valley Wrestling, a territory organization, has been known to be the starting point for many professional wrestlers who later become stars in major wrestling organizations.
On its alumni page, OVW's list of notable personalities includes stars from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and TNA Impact Wrestling. These individuals include John Cena, CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, Ken Anderson, and Bobby Lashley. At present, OVW is listed as an "official territory" for TNA.
While affiliated with RCCW, Black Diamond Wrestling is itself a relatively new organization, having been founded in June of 2003.
Rugged Cross Championship Wrestling of First United Methodist Church of Martins Ferry, Ohio did not return comment by press time.