Starting a brand new pro wrestling promotion is a supreme undertaking. Between booking venues, defining an identity and building a roster of pro wrestlers that will pull in audiences (plus countless other details), the learning curve is always steep.
Pittsburgh-based upstart Enjoy Wrestling has fielded all of those pitfalls while navigating a global public health crisis since launching officially earlier this year. The company is gearing up for its first live event with full attendance, “Night Moves,” on Friday after recording the first two seasons of its YouTube series Canned Heat under Covid restrictions.
Despite the hurdles, Enjoy continues to establish itself within the Pittsburgh pro wrestling scene and beyond, drawing fans across the nation to its stylish presentation without being able to let them in the building.
But growing exclusively through the company’s online presence proved a double-edged sword.
“That left us strangely isolated from the rest of the wrestling fans around here, I suppose,” Kurt Hackimer, co-owner of Enjoy Wrestling, told Outsports.
“I don’t exactly know how we’re going to build upon our local fan base, but I’m pretty sure our current method is just to keep putting on really good wrestling shows and hoping that after this first one everybody goes out and tells a few of their friends how much fun they had.”
That grassroots approach isn’t foreign to the independent wrestling world, but it feels baked into the group that brought Enjoy to life. Hackimer and fellow co-owners Taylor Gregg, Maxx Gregg and Scotty Swemba draw inspiration from the do-it-yourself attitude of punk culture when getting Enjoy off the ground.
Enjoy Wrestling— Enjoy Wrestling (@EnjoyWrestle) September 13, 2021
Live at The Priory Grand Hall
& Much More!
Event will be taped for eventual release on YouTube.
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When the company was nothing more than a Twitter handle, they dove headfirst into building relationships with Pittsburgh’s growing pro wrestling audience. Even when that meant pulling weeds and mixing drinks instead of flyering the Steel City. Enjoy linked up with out pro wrestler and Pittsburgh native MV Young early on, pitching in to help clear the yard that would house Polyam Cult Party 2, and manning the bar during the show.
“MV Young was our first real wrestling friend,” Hackimer said. “We all just went over and spent three days in that yard. It was trashed. The house had been condemned for like 15 or 20 years. We just wanted to help and now we have a new friend who is going to bat for us whenever he can.”
That commitment endeared the Enjoy team to not just Young, but a wide array of wrestlers and fans that flocked to Canned Heat when it launched. But their fans’ dedication also speaks to how they wanted to define the company to “non-traditional wrestling fans.”
Enjoy’ endears itself to many with its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“We looked around at all the wrestling companies around here and thought ‘Where do we fit in?’ Hackimer said. “One of the things that stood out was that a lot of the promotions in Pittsburgh were largely just white men. We don’t want to be the gay promotion, Black promotion or female promotion but we want to present everybody on equal footing. That’s what we think is important to notice with wrestling right now.”
We have this disclaimer on the screen where you’d purchase tickets for Night Moves. It’s there for a reason.— Enjoy Wrestling (@EnjoyWrestle) September 27, 2021
If anyone who attends our events feels targeted, intimidated, or harassed by anybody in the building, let someone know and we’ll sort it out on the spot.
Zero tolerance. pic.twitter.com/M1d8hG0pwT
Taking one look at the card for “Night Moves” solidifies that approach. Staples of Enjoy’s short life are all over the show, placing major names from underrepresented communities in prominent matches.
LGBTQ pro wrestling’s biggest rivalry, Billy Dixon vs. EFFY, will be contested for the third time with EFFY’s Fest Wrestling title on the line. MV Young makes his first Enjoy Wrestling championship defense against Ring of Honor’s non-binary beastbreaker Max The Impaler
Ziggy Haim and Edith Surreal will settle the company’s original feud in a hair vs. mask match. Darius Lockhart and Lee Moriarty faceoff in a battle of two of the hottest rising Black stars in pro wrestling. Similar levels of representation are present in every other match scheduled for Night Moves.
“[Enjoy] is truly showing that pro wrestling is something that is not just a cisgender white male-based thing. There are so many others that have so much talent,” Haim said on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring. “It shows how important this step is because of how serious they’re taking it.”
“I was really heartened when, at the last Canned Heat taping, we had a lot of people come up to us who had never been to a wrestling show before,” Hackimer said. “They were all members of the LGBTQ community and they all came because we made them feel welcomed.”
“I would like to invite everybody who likes Enjoy Wrestling to tell somebody that you think might be interested in wrestling who doesn’t give a shit about wrestling,” Hackimer added. “We want to create a fun, welcoming, inclusive experience that everybody can enjoy - as long as you’re not a bigot.”
Enjoy Wrestling’s Night Moves will be held Friday, Oct. 8, at The Priory Grand Hall in Pittsburgh, PA. Tickets are available at enjoy-wrestling.com. The show will be released on Enjoy Wrestling’s YouTube channel starting on Thursday, Oct. 21. Follow Enjoy Wrestling on Twitter @enjoywrestle.
Listen to the full interview with Ziggy Haim on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring. Download and listen to new episodes every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other podcast services.