For Love of the Ring

You know their names: Hulk Hogan, The Rock, & Andre the Giant.

But do you recognize Vic the Bruiser, "The Real Deal," Derek Neal, or "The Headliner" Chris Michaels?

Probably not.

These guys don’t wrestle for the money, they don’t wrestle for the fame, and they certainly don’t wrestle to hear their names chanted by thousands of fans packed into stadiums.

They simple do it for love of the ring.

It’s inside this building, formerly known as Emmanuel Spiritual Baptist Church, that the American Wrestling Alliance-New South calls home. If it weren’t for the small sign outside, you would probably miss it.

"[It took] a lot of painting, a lot of cleaning," AWA wrestler-turned-referee, Anthony Wayne, says. "[We] contacted some guys and put the ring up."

AWA-New South is home to many faces…from people like Anthony, who have been in the business for nearly 20 years…to bright-eyed youngsters, like Brandon Wolfe, who want to prove that he is more than just someone with autism. It’s a place he feels welcomed and comfortable.

"I’m just a man that wants to defy the odds, and live his life the way he wants to," he says.

This is NOT a full-time job, however. And, according to Anthony, it’s very hard to find somebody who can wrestle for a living…but there are those select few who can. One of those, is Chris Michaels. He has wrestled everywhere from TNA to the WWE. These day’s, he’s traded in the arenas filled with thousands of fans, to a small venue with a few dozen passionate patrons.

"I still get as jittery and giddy today as much as I did from day one," Michaels explains.

While this may not be a career for most, but the people at AWA-New South takes it VERY seriously!

Just, you know…