(The featured image is a sketch done courtesy of @ElfDragon12)
In Glendale, AZ, there is this very nondescript business center, which, at first glance, looks to be empty. While a closer look does show that there are some businesses open here, nothing about this place suggests that a wrestling company operates out of it. This is where you can find Arizona Wrestling Federation , which operates both a wrestling academy and a monthly show out of the corner of this strip mall.
I only recently started attending live wrestling shows, with my first 3 being AWF events from June through August. It was on August 27, 2016, I witnessed something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
The AWF Arena, as mentioned before, is in a business center. In order to accommodate the ring and compensate for the height of the wrestlers, and their moves, the ceiling has been stripped of every thing except for the lighting fixtures and the air conditioning vents. The way the ring is placed in the building leaves the fans in attendance praying the wrestlers do not strike any of these objects because it could cause serious harm to the wrestlers, and the fans. It is not uncommon to see a wrestler hunching over just a tiny bit more than usual as they climb to the top rope, or execute high flying maneuvers.
The crowd was bigger than usual this day. So much so that the AWF staff had to make a run to purchase more chairs. This was easily the biggest crowd I’ve seen as it was around 400-500 people attendance to start things off. The Main Event was Alexander Hammerstone vs Evan Daniels in a Tables, Ladders, & Chairs match for the AWF State Championship. While they were mostly likely responsible for the size of the crowd, and having put on a fantastic match, it was not the Main Event that captured everyone’s attention.
It was Devin Sparks vs The Prophet. It has been over 2 months and I just can’t stop thinking about this one moment in this one match in a place that you only come across if you’re meant to. Finding it difficult to put the proper wording to this moment, I reached out to The Prophet ( @AZProphet ) for comment:
The air vent and the lights have never been a concern of mine since I am very agile and aware of my surroundings. I’ve executed my top rope twisting backflip armdrag numerous times in that ring and venue, but went to the well one too many times as Devin Sparks realized, threw me off balance and easily redirected me into the metal air duct with a simple nudge.
And the crowd groaned collectively groaned, flinched, made odd noises of shock, and then fell mostly silent. I looked at the people in the room that I knew, as everyone was looking at everyone, and no one could believe what they just witnessed. Instinctively I looked at the referee, Grahm Long. Even he looked completely shocked and beyond concerned at what we just witnessed. It was one of those things that just DEMANDS your attention at every level.
The only man unaffected by this gut wrenching moment was “American Kaiju” Devin Sparks ( @devinsparks ) and he was willing to pull the curtain back a little bit and had the following to say:
It was my debut so I wanted to do something memorable. When I got to the venue I saw that the ring was off center a bit and one of the vents was a little close to the ropes for comfort… My mind immediately started racing with ideas… The only other time I wrestled Prophet was also in Arizona at EXW several years back and he ended up breaking his elbow during the match on a dive to the outside… I wanted to look vicious and I think I accomplished that. The reaction from the crowd was exactly what I wanted. The combination of that sickening sound coupled with such an unexpected bump worked great.
This bump is the epitome of why I love wrestling. It made me question everything.
It is 100% expected, with that AWF crowd, for wrestlers and spots to avoid the overhead lighting and the vents because, again, that shit is incredibly dangerous for every one in attendance. When The Prophet smacked that vent, I couldn’t tell if what just happened was real, an accident, a botch, or a figment of my imagination. I’ve watched it time and time again and it still kicks me in the gut.
And isn’t that the point of wrestling? To grab your attention and to make you truly feel something, even if you didn’t want to? To make you actually care?
It is with the utmost thanks and gratitude to these two wrestlers for being so bold and to be willing to share their thoughts about this moment. Without these two quotes, I simply cannot do justice to the story of The Sickest Bump I’ve Ever Seen.
There is volume, so please turn your sound up.
Here it is. What everyone was talking about. pic.twitter.com/irDe60oPWJ
— The Prophet (@azprophet) August 28, 2016