On Friday, Feb. 4, the Chamberlain Student Center became the arena for the proud return of wRAHstlemania, the most pulse-pounding, high-flying and hard-hitting professional wrestling event this side of the Delaware River.
Attendants filled the pit, the stairs and all six balconies, cheering with excitement as over a dozen wrestlers fought to be the champion of the night, more than a few of which were Rowan alums.
Once a staple annual event, wRAHstlemania was a casualty of the pandemic. With staff and resources stretched thin, it’s been two years without a wRAHstlemania match. But now that it’s back, it’s hopefully here to stay. The crowd’s energy proved that even if the event itself was gone, the spirit behind it never left.
Normally, RAH events are highly interactive, with multiple activities for attendants to enjoy in groups. WRAHstlemania, however, is a spectator-based event. With a full-size ring constructed in the center of the pit and all available space filled with onlookers, it was hard to distinguish the Student Center from Madison Square Garden as the wrestlers taunted, jeered and body-slammed each other in their brutal pursuit of the victory belt.
One such wrestler was Ty Thomas, a Rowan alum. Hailing from Tuckerton, New Jersey, Thomas graduated in 2018, financing his own education whilst training to become a professional wrestler, his true lifelong passion.
“Other than my wife and kid, I love it more than anything in the world,” Thomas said, after his first win of the night.
Thomas has fought in wRAHstlemania before and sprung at the chance to make his triumphant return home.
“Win, come back and show Rowan some pride,” Thomas said. “Any time I get a chance to come back, I’ll take it.”
Other big names included Lince Dorado, founder of the Lucha House Party wrestling stable during his ongoing time at the WWE. Dorado began his wrestling career in 2007 and his third public event was wRAHstlemania 2008.
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Dorado attended the University of Camden while training to be a professional wrestler in Philadelphia. Like Thomas, Dorado’s passion can be traced back to his youth.
“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since the first grade, but I wanted to be a wrestler since kindergarten,” Dorado said.
Known for his elaborate mask resembling a cat (the name “Lince Dorado” means “Golden Lynx”), Dorado took to the ring to thunderous applause as the clear crowd favorite and went home the winner of wRAHstlemania’s main event.
Attendants went home shocked and awed at the return of wRAHstlemania, having been reminded that even in school, even in a time as bleak and uncertain as this, thrilling events are just a walk down the boulevard away.
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