Professional wrestling, or “wrassling” as it is referred to in the south, has been not only a popular sport, but also a popular pastime since the1040s. What started out on dirt mats has grown into high tech and well produced matches that take place in modern arenas. While the major international wrestling dynasties come to Atlanta few times each year, it’s the smaller and independent leagues and organizations that produce the most shows and also the talent that will be the stars of tomorrow.

Josh Wheeler, the owner and founder of Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment (AWE), one of the popular wrestling alliances in Atlanta, says wrestling today is more than just the matches in the ring. “It’s about being interactive with the fans and letting the fans get a story they can enjoy. We get fans excited for the events and let the fans be a part of the show.” Wheeler grew up following the big wrestling alliances that formed in the 70s and 80s and in a way, he wanted to recreate that magic in Atlanta with AWE. “Shows in the 70s and 80s were some of the biggest shows of all-time. I wanted to bring that type of wresting back to Atlanta,” he says.

Wheeler has done just that as have others. Here are some upcoming dates where you can catch some wrestling near Atlanta.

Friday Night Adrenaline
All Star Wrestling Network Home
1361 Peach Parkway/
Fort Valley, GA 31030
www.allstarwrestlingnetwork.com

Date: Sept 2, 2016 at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7:30)

The All Star Wrestling Network puts on wrestling shows every other Friday night in Fort Valley. These are some of the up-and-coming stars of professional wrestling and they do a good job with mixing up the talent and the story lines. The fans really get into the matches and spend most of the night, cheering and on their feet. Come out and see grassroots wrestling that will entertain.

AWF “World Of Wild”
AWF Arena
4193 Hwy 41 North
Ringgold, GA 30736
(706) 935-8508
www.awfwow.com

Date: Aug. 20, 2016 at 8 p.m.

The AWF has the wildest collection of wrestlers you’ll fine east of the Mississippi River. Come out and see the likes of the “Natureboy” and the tag team of the Young Lions. The action on the mat is hard to beat and some cool twists are always thrown in to keep you on the edge of your seat. AWF produces events each month in Ringgold.

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Georgia Premier Wrestling
The Old Buffington Elementary Gym
Cumming Highway
Canton, GA 30115
www.gpw1.org

Date: Aug 20, 2016 at 8 p.m. (Meet and greet with wrestlers at 4 p.m.)

Georgia Premier Wrestling puts on family-oriented wrestling shows all over the South. On Aug. 20, they visit Canton in Cherokee Country with a stacked line up that includes the likes of Buff Bagwell and Cyrus. Expect the unexpected on Aug. 20 in Canton.

Rick Limpert is a freelance writer/photographer in Atlanta and he loves covering anything sports and tech-related. His work can be found at Examiner.com.