Friday night could be a historic one in the pro wrestling world. Out pro wrestler AC Mack is set to challenge Alex Shelley for the IWTV Independent Wrestling World championship at independent wrestling mega-show Southeast First.

Mack is no stranger to championships, racking up belts and honors in numerous promotions across the Southeast. His near-800 day reign as ACTION Wrestling champion cemented both himself and the Atlanta-area promotion as a major player in the American indie wrestling scene.

But Friday’s championship main event is about far more than gold. It’s about making a statement, both for Mack, the region he calls home and the LGBTQ fans he represents. With a victory Friday night, the “Mack of All Trades” would become the first out LGBTQ man to hold a world title in the history of pro wrestling.

The significance of the potential accomplishment left the proud loudmouth Mack at a rare loss for words during an appearance on Outsports’ LGBT In The Ring podcast.

“I just assumed ‘Oh, there’s been somebody. There’s got to have been.’ but I did look,” Mack said. “It just blew my mind. I’m trying to keep it together. It’s such a responsibility, you know? You automatically think I have to represent XYZ or I have to do this, I have to do that. It’s a lot of pressure. You don’t want to put the pressure on yourself, but it’s kind of inevitable.”

His status in ACTION Wrestling proves that he can handle the pressure, but Southeast First represents another line in the sand: indie wrestling can’t sleep on the South anymore.

“I started training to wrestle in 2016. 2018-19 was when I really started to hit my stride and becoming somebody, I guess you could say,” Mack said. “And the whole time I was grinding, the only thing I kept hearing about is, ‘Oh, you need to get up north.’

“Every name I heard about wasn’t from the South. So, it was kind of like, damn. We’re doing all this work. We’re all grinding this hard and it’s like nobody cares,” he continued. “We were down here putting on great shows, we have great talent. Some of the best matches I’ve ever seen in my life took place south of the Mason Dixon Line, and it seemed like nobody really cared. So yeah, I definitely have a chip on my shoulder. Not in a super negative way. But like, ‘Oh, we got to show you.’ You keep ignoring us and that just fuels us even more.”

Mack and the best of southeastern independent wrestling will be out to prove just that when Southeast First gets underway on Friday, Jan. 21, at 7:30pm ET streaming live on IWTV.

Check out the full interview with AC Mack on Outsports’ LGBT In The Ring podcast. Download and listen to new episodes every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other podcast services.