Chops, kicks, slams and a tribute at women’s pro wrestling extravaganza

FRANKFORD – Some drew boos.

Some drew cheers.

Choke holds, dropkicks, throat chops and many more acrobatic maneuvers were the order of the day Saturday night at the Frankford Fire Hall during the First Annual Raven Black Memorial Tournament.

Promoted by the Capital Wrestling Alliance, the all-women event featured some well-known professional wrestlers.

“I’ve been in the business for 11 years, but I’ve been wrestling for five. The other six, I was ring announcer, photographer, backstage correspondent …,” said 35-year-old pro wrestler Nyla Rose, who hails from the Washington, D.C. area. “I was a wrestling fan growing up. I used to watch it with my grandmother, ever since I was maybe four years old. It’s always been a part of me. And when I learned it is something you can actually do, it was a no-brainer.”

Another star and crowd favorite: Tijuana, Mexico native Thunder Rosa, a full-time professional in her third year on the women’s wrestling circuit.

“I did this to disconnect from reality,” said Ms. Rosa, 31, who now resides in Texas with her husband. “I worked in a very hostile environment. I used to work in a mental health facility in a school. We had to restrain kids because they could not do things on their own. It was very stressful. So, I found wrestling as a fan and it just took my head away from all the issues that I had at work. Then I started taking it more seriously and then I became a wrestler. It’s escape from reality.”

Saturday night’s wrestling program served as a fundraiser for a local first responder who is battling breast cancer.

There was also a memorial connection.

The tournament name Raven Black is in tribute to the late Kimberly Lynn Griffin MacDonald, a native of the Frankford area who lost a battle with cancer on Jan. 26, 2014. By one day, the tournament marked the four-year anniversary of her passing.

Jason Baker, who assisted in the Raven Black tournament promotion, said Ms. Griffin MacDonald aspired to be Raven Black as a professional wrestler but was never able to realize that dream.

Ms. Griffin MacDonald’s sister, Cheryl Griffin is a CWA owner/ promoter.

“Raven’s sister is one of the owners and promoters of the show. She wanted to do this as a memory of her,” said Ms. Rosa. “Raven went through cancer. In Mexico, we celebrate the life after death. So, for me to be here on the first show, it means a lot.”

Ms. Rose, who works as a private caretaker when not moonlighting on the wrestling circuit, said audience response is the name of the game.

“I get joy out of seeing smiles on people’s faces. Or frowns, sometimes you make people frown,” said Ms. Rose. “But as long as you’re getting a reaction from the crowd and you can see that they are enjoying themselves, then I enjoy myself.”

In the ring highlights

The Amazing Maria emerged the surviving winner in the mayhem of the Battle Royale.

In the quest to become the first-ever Capital Wrestling Alliance women’s heavyweight champion, Kylie Rae toppled Santana Garrett to also reign as the first annual Raven Black Tournament champion.

In semifinals, Santana Garrett defeated Jordynne Grace and Kylie Rae topped Solo Darling.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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