LIMA — Hundreds of pro wrestling fans packed into Lima’s United Auto Workers Hall not only to watch a show, but to also celebrate 10 years of the W.A.R. Wrestling organization Saturday night.
Before the 7 p.m. show, seven wrestlers were inducted into the Wrestling and Respect group’s inaugural hall of fame, including Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment’s Al Snow. He was widely known for carrying around a manniquin head while in character.
The other wrestlers who were inducted into the W.A.R. Wrestling Hall of Fame included “Big” Jim Lancaster, The Nightmares with Count Maurice Demon, Crusher Kline and the late “Sweet” Stevie Lee.
Al Snow’s grown children Brittany and Jake Sarven accepted the plaque on his behalf.
“I just remember Jim Lancaster being around when I was a kid,” said his son Jake Sarven. “I mean, this has been my life since I’ve been a kid.”
“I’m just very thankful that WAR has always been our home,” said his daughter, Brittany Sarven. “We’re so excited to come back for the 10th anniversary show even though my dad can’t be here. We’re so excited to grow up in wrestling, travel and hang out with all these great guys, becoming friends with them and family, too.”
W.A.R. Wrestling has organized more than 50 shows throughout the region in the last 10 years, and that’s thanks to Promoter Tom Williams.
“Lima’s got a rich history of pro wrestling. Jim Lancaster started it all in the ’70s and ’80s, and he trained Al Snow,” Williams said, who also helped in organizing Saturday’s show.
“He was one persistent son-of-a-gun,” Lancaster said, recalling the days when he trained Snow.
The event attracted a lot of families that traveled from near and far. Jim Hyatt and his 10-year-old son, Caden, came up from Celina. As a former ring announcer in the late ’90s, it was also a bit of a reunion for Hyatt.
“I worked with some of the current guys and some of the ones that were inducted,” said Hyatt, 45. “Some of the guys I haven’t seen in 10 years.”
While Hyatt was more excited about seeing hall of fame inductees, his son, Caden, was more excited to see the show with the current wrestlers. It’s a mix of old and new, so it’s an event for multiple generations to enjoy.
“Lima has become exciting for pro wrestling,” he said. “There’s good guys and bad guys, but really, in the end, it’s all one big family.”