At 3:30 the bell rang, and former pro wrestler Bobby Allen addressed more than 40 people in the stands. “Let us have a moment of silence in honor of those we lost in [Newtown] Connecticut,” said Allen. It was a clamorous Sunday afternoon at the community building in Franklin.
The turnout was all part of Save Our American Youth Club’s Pro-Wrestling Clash Before Christmas Spectacular Anti-Bullying Event — designed to raise awareness of the plight of bullying many youth face today.
Some may remember Allen if they were wrestling fans in the early ’90s. From 1993 to 1996 he wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation, now called World Wrestling Entertainment, as part of the Men on a Mission [M.O.M.] tag team. In 1994, M.O.M. won the World Tag Team championship title in London from the Quebecers.
The broad message and entertainment of the wrestling ring was not new to Allen, as he prayed with the rest of the room.
After the moment of silence, Allen introduced U.S. Army Private First Class Tim Teague, of Franklin. “Early on in my life, from about the ages of seven to 12, I was bullied every day at school,” he said. “I found that it was easier if you just ignored it… But it never went away and I had to learn the hard way.” Teague, who went into the armed services after graduation, advised children and parents of children who are bullied to find ways to enjoy their lives instead of avoid their lives. “My advice is go to the gym, play basketball, get a pet to play fetch with. Bullying is wrong, and if you know somebody who is being bullied and you do nothing, you are just as guilty as the bully.”
“I want to encourage parents to spend a lot more time talking with your kids,” said Allen, cautioning parents that showing anger towards children will often result in those children taking their anger out on others. “When you put them down, it’s a defense mechanism that they’re going to put someone else down.”
With that, Allen rang the bell again and the wrestling began—four matches in all, which all included high flying action, dramatic dialogue and crowd-raising for nearly an hour.
Following a heated first match between Freight Train Jones and Josh Steinborn, both of Spartanburg, a tag team match between Deion Johnson and Diandre Jones and KC Thunder and Stan Lee, a quick women’s match between Lady Tapa and D’arcy Dixon, the hot headed American G.I. came out criticizing Allen for his anti-bully sentiment.
“I’ll take on anybody here! AND I’ll win,” said G.I. “Bring it on!”
With that, none other than Santa Claus appeared, and G.I. begrudgingly accepted his challenge, after Claus declared he was permanently on “the naughty list.” G.I. was beaten in 20 seconds — proving that bullying never pays off.
According to Allen, a similar event will be held next Friday in Shelby, and then on Feb. 24 with special guest star Matt Hardy, of the legendary tag team The Hardy Boyz.
“Some parents rely on teachers to raise their kids. We thought we would get kids and adults out here, because everyone likes wrestling. Don’t let your kids suffer in silence. Talk to them,” he concluded.