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Battle of Bash Beach: Pro wrestlers battle at St. Finbar Church

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They are ready to rumble!

New York City’s greatest grapplers will converge on St. Finbar Church in Bath Beach on Feb. 5 for a battle of epic proportions. The conflict between the Herculean bruisers of Five Borough Wrestling will determine the mightiest brawler in town.

“We’re going to find out who’s the best wrestler in New York,” said Troy Thompson, 23, a Marine Park native who founded Five Borough Wrestling. “There will be a ton of action.”

The local professional wrestling league, which has staged monthly bouts for the last two years, has all the features of televised national leagues, including over-the-top characters, finishing moves, and stories that pit heroic “faces” against villainous “heels.”

Thompson records the drama that occurs outside of the ring for the Five Boroughs Wrestling Facebook, so that newcomers to the body-slam scene can catch up on the ongoing conflicts behind the ring’s bone-crunching mayhem.

“I’ll put up a video so, even if you’re new, you can get caught up on the storyline, and say, ‘Oh I remember, they hate each other,’ ” said Thompson.

At the “Standing Tall” brawl on Feb. 5, the biggest beef will be between defending champion Brian Myers, who once competed for World Wrestling Entertainment, and Bay Ridge challenger Kevin Matthews. The two have an on-again, off-again friendship that has soured into pure hatred over their competition for the championship belt.

“We were friends once, then enemies, then friends, and now we’re enemies again,” said Matthews.

Fans at these match ups are notoriously vocal about their love — and loathing — of the wrestlers, and fighters are forced to roll with the proverbial punches if they hope to survive the limelight, according to Matthews.

“With the crowd Troy gets, if you suck, you’re going to get crucified,” the wrestler said. “They’ll chant ‘Don’t come back,’ and shove a middle finger in your face.”

For Matthews, a born-to-wrestle brawler who started training at age 16, his cockiness and devil-may-care attitude turned the crowd’s antipathy into outrageous support, he said.

“I was a bad guy forever, and I kept giving all these gestures to the crowd. I would pretend to jerk off when they gave me the middle finger, and shoot snot rockets, and they thought it was awesome,” said Matthews. “So I became a good guy, but I never switched off my antics.”

The title fight is hardly the only draw to the Bath Beach rumble, which will feature six one-on-one and two-on-two match ups, plus an apocalyptic 30-man free-for-all, with a new wrestler entering the stage every 30 seconds in a bid to hurl the competition out of the ring, Thompson said.

“The free-for-all is the big selling point for the evening,” said Thompson. “It’s the first one we’ve ever done, and it should be pretty crazy.”

“Standing Tall” at St. Finbar Church [138 Bay 20th St. between Benson and Bath avenues in Bath Beach, (718) 236–3312]. Feb. 5 at 8 pm. $20 ($30 front row).

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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