February 25, 2021

Response to Woonsocket Wresting Event


This is in response to a recent Providence Journal article written by Mark Reynolds: "Promoter says Woonsocket wrestling event is Covid-compliant". Due to the caronavirus, 2020 has been a bad year for the sport of wrestling, both here in Rhode Island, and other states in the US. As I'm writing this it's August 26th, 2020, no longer the cold days of February which caused so many businesses, schools, and churches to close. Things are different now as these same places have now reopened and American citizens are taking steps to go back to their normal lives. I wrestle under the name "Maniac Mike" and have done so for many years. I am the founder and run the American Wrestling League (AWL) and have not been able to run any events in this year of 2020. At this point I would be willing to run an AWL event even without an audience. According to the article, apparently we have to go through the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, their regulations for safe activities are just repeats of the same caronavirus rules we have all heard for several months now. "Six foot rule and cloth masks." This would be impossible to have wrestling matches by being tied to these regulations. Plus their rules require keeping records of whoever is there and the cleaning supplies being used. Would this really be required of a wrestling event?

First the article states the wrestling organization was ready to go with its event. But then it turned out that the municipality had gotten involved. How many government agencies does it take to approve a wrestling event during these crazy times? To avoid any confusion, I am discussing the Rhode Island independent wrestling scene not the big wrestling organizations on the national level like Impact Wrestling, the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance), AEW (All Elite Wrestling), as well as others. Independent wrestling events have already taken place in other states. I believe if the wrestlers want to wrestle, they should. They have that right. However, if people are not comfortable in taking part in a wrestling event due to the pandemic, then they do not have to. But, this should all be the choice of the people. I am not even discussing having an audience yet. At this point I would be alright with just having fans watching live on social media. If my AWL or another wrestling league was going to run an event, I know what’s going to happen. Government, state, or city officials would walk in and inspect the place. It is pointless as the arenas are always clean. So why would now be any different?

People are more frightened these days than ever before and with good reason. However things have improved. People who catch the virus no longer are destined to die. They are being cured. Also, a lot of people who have the virus are not a threat to other people, meaning others cannot catch the virus from them. A lot of good men and women participate in wrestling because they love it. Current laws and fears are preventing and denying all of us of doing what we love.

Michael Elias
East Providence


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