Why You Should Give Riverworks Professional Wrestling a Chance

Riverworks Wrestling

Photo x Riverworks Professional Wrestling

Minor league athletics can come across as a carbon copy of a carbon copy of a carbon copy of a carbon copy of a carbon copy of a carb…

The Nth-generation version is so far removed from the original, it pales in comparison so much, it usually calls for the ultimate performance-enhancing drug: beer.

That’s not necessarily the case with Riverworks Wrestling.

Professional wrestling is absurd and over the top. It’s visceral. It’s easy to understand and it’s guilt-free. Those elements translate to great entertainment at any level.

Riverworks is home base for one of Buffalo’s professional wrestling outfits. The wrestlers hold events there, they train there, and they even hold a wrestling school that accepts all comers.

Recently, I went to Riverworks to meet up with the wrestler known as Dr. Leo Hardwick, an old friend of mine from the local garage-punk scene. Walking up to the practice ring, tucked under a few of the facility’s massive iron girders, the sounds of bodies slamming and feint howling grew louder and louder.

In turns out, these guys aren’t the oily roid-raging hulks you see barking on national TV. They’re the barman, the cable guy, the dude who sits next to you at the Bills game and the guy who clearly spends hours in his mom’s basement playing an old Halo game. If there’s a legal version of Tyler Durden’s Fight Club for the everyman here in Buffalo, this is clearly it.

Dr. Leo (not a licensed practitioner) explained to me that wrestling’s All-American simpleness appeals not just to the audience, but also to aspiring local performers.

“The best thing about wrestling is that it’s all visual and very easy to grasp,” he said. “You don’t need a Pokemon booklet to know who’s who and what’s what.”

Riverworks Wreslting is also about more than just body slams and macho posturing. The wrestling organization recently held an event that celebrated the legacy of local wrestling icon Ilio DiPaolo with proceeds going to Children’s Hospital and the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Fund.

The wrestling organization has many events planned into the future and they are open to having aspiring wrestlers join their ranks. Held three times a week, practice sessions are designed to reprogram the body’s natural physical reactions.

Between double clotheslines in the ring in front of us, Dr. Leo told me the first 45 seconds of a match takes about six months of training to learn.

“Everything that you do in a wrestling match is so not natural,” he explained.”You have to force your body to do it. Just falling backwards, your body says ‘no’. Even falling forwards, your body says ‘no’. So you have to beat the instinct out of you.”

In addition to the big events and regular practice schedule, RiverWorks Wrestling now has a weekly TV show on WBBZ. The programming will develop storylines, build up characters and feature wrestling matches. The show’s storyline will ramp up to each big event at Riverworks.

“The goal is to have the very best family entertainment in the area,” Riverworks Wrestling founder Jason Daniel told me.”We have the content, and as word keeps spreading and things get bigger more people will know about it. With the television show, that’s going to make it even better.”

For more info on Riverworks Prodessional Wrestling and updates on future events head to their Facebook page.


The next event for Riverworks Wrestling is:

River HeatWave

Friday August 19th

Doors at 6pm, Opening Bell at 7pm

$25 Upper Balcony/ $20 Ringside/ $15 General Admission

@ Buffalo RiverWorks – 333 Ganson St, Buffalo, NY 14203

Facebook Event



    • wrestlingfan says:

      “Riverworks is home base for Buffalo’s only professional wrestling outfit.”

      Not true. There’s a company called Empire State Wrestling (ESW) which runs shows all over WNY, including Buffalo. They recently held a show in Lockport that drew 1,000 fans, headlined by former WWE stars DX: X-Pac and Billy Gunn. They also have a show this weekend, on Saturday at The St Johnsburg Fire Hall, featuring former ECW star Raven. More info at http://www.eswwrestling.com.

      There is also a lesser known wrestling company in South Buffalo / Lackawanna, and another in nearby Dunkirk, all 3 run full time.

      I understand your article was written to help out your buddy, but please be accurate, there’s more than 1 wrestling company in our area.

      • Brett Smith says:

        According its official Facebook page, ESW hasn’t had an event in Buffalo in at least four years. OSPW is closing its doors and mostly operated in the suburbs. But your point is taken, there’s a lot of more wrestling in the WNY area.

        Also, this article was not published to “hook up a buddy.” It was approved by SOB editorial because it was deemed to be newsworthy to their readership, a readership they built up through years of hard work and journalistic integrity.

    • wrestlingfan says:

      Hello Brett,

      I feel like your statement is still very misleading. You’re using the claim that technically they are the only promotion within the Buffalo city limits, but the way you worded it can lead readers to believe they are the only company in the entire WNY region, while that is simply not true. Step Out Buffalo has many articles regarding businesses and activities outside of the city of Buffalo, there are currently several articles about the Erie County Fair, which is not held within Buffalo, so it’s not an issue of only highlighting businesses that run within the city.

      We’re not saying Riverworks does not deserve promotion, but our biggest issue is lack of exposure and getting the word out to as many potential fans as possible that there are many alternatives to the WWE product, and your choice of words can mislead readers and inadvertently discourage them from seeking out the entire wrestling scene. I would invite you to attend the ESW show this Saturday and check out another flavor of indy wrestling. Some of the same Riverworks wrestlers also appear with ESW, and I would encourage you to help the entire scene succeed.

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