In the classic film “On the Waterfront,” the character of Terry Malloy — played by Marlon Brando — reflects on a boxing career that could have been, but never was.

“I could have had class,” he says. “I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.”

I feel Malloy’s pain.

It’s been over two months since I last stepped foot in the squared circle of professional wrestling, and thanks to the novel coronavirus, the biggest shot of my young career is a thing of the past, canceled for the sake of social distancing.

Kalvin Strange and I formed the tag team “Classic Corps,” and were set to take on “The Stigma” — the duo of Eric Johnson and Brandino Davis — for the Let’s Wrestle tag team championships last month at the American Legion Post 84 in Orono. It would have been my first championship match. I was so excited that I started to make plans. I was going to make sure my 3-year old daughter, Scout, had good seats to see her dad (possibly) become a champ. I was ready to carry the title belt everywhere I went, to annoying levels. I was even considering wearing it around my waist at the Kennebec Journal office in Augusta, strutting around and “Wooing” like Ric Flair. The title would’ve sat on my desk.

But one pandemic later, that shot is gone. That show is gone. At least for now. It’s no one’s fault, obviously, but it felt like a chair shot to the back (A feeling that I have some experience with) when the state of Maine — along with the rest of the nation — shut down.

Not all wrestling organizations and shows across the country shuttered. World Wrestling Entertainment not only continued to have its weekly TV shows — Raw, NXT and SmackDown — out of its Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, the company also managed to host its key show, WrestleMania, at the same facility in a two-night event. Fellow national brand All Elite Wrestling has also been running empty-arena shows out of Jacksonville, Florida.

Maine has no such luck, and with the state jobless rate hitting 11 percent last month, even when the state reopens, it might be difficult to get fans to jump in the car, go to the matches and open up their wallets for tickets, food and merchandise.

Limitless Wrestling and Let’s Wrestle — run by Randy Carver Jr. — will be OK, thanks to a loyal fan base that includes over 678,000 subscribers on its YouTube page. For them, it’s more of a matter of when, not if, the show goes on again. But other area promotions may take a hit, particularly ones that depend on running shows at summer festivals and fall fairs. New promotions like Mat & Muscle Pro Wrestling — which ran a successful opening card in January at the Buker Community Center in Augusta — hope the momentum of the first show can be carried to the next show in the fall, or even the winter.

More than anything, I feel bad for my fellow wrestlers. Independent performers in Maine are exactly that, independent contractors that work on a per-match basis. They have everyday jobs like everyone else, jobs that help support their families and their “wrestling habit.” Like others in the state, they’ve been hit with hard times. Depending on how hard they’re hit, some wrestlers may have to take a break to get right financially before hitting the ring again. Some may have to step away from the ring for good.

Professional wrestling is just one industry of many that will need help getting back on the tracks as restrictions are slowly lifted. But for wrestling fans, it’s an industry worth investing in.

So fans, if you can, when the state does open up, be sure to support your local shows and events.


Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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