By Rick Buttacavoli
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The stars of Total Nonstop Action’s “Impact Wrestling” program are coming to MCU Park on Saturday, July 21, and they’re looking for a fight.
Luckily, TNA officials have assured the Brooklyn Eagle that the pro wrestling superstars will not leave Brooklyn disappointed, and neither will the thousands of fans expected to attend the company’s third annual live event at the ballpark.
Several matches have already been booked for the show, which provides fans of the sport the unique opportunity of seeing their favorite wrestlers up close and personal.
Among the highlights for Saturday night’s “Basebrawl” show will be a TNA world title match between champion Austin Aries and the man he defeated for the title at the recent “Destination X” pay-per-view event, Bobby Roode.
In addition, fans will be thrilled to see a rare performance by “The Icon” Sting, a wrestling legend who will also be signing autographs before the show and during the intermission. His opponent that evening will be Bully Ray.
There are also two BFG Series matches scheduled for that night as Jeff Hardy takes on “The Phenomenal” A.J. Styles and Mr. Anderson grapples with Robbie E.
Styles, who was TNA’s first-ever X-Division champion as well as a four-time heavyweight champion, said he welcomes the interaction with Brooklyn fans.
“The fans are the best, are you kidding me?” he told the Eagle. “The crazier the better! I love that fans can associate with me and always come out to support what we do.”
Styles will be visiting Brooklyn for the third straight year as part of TNA’s innovative “Basebrawl” tour, through which the company’s biggest stars perform at various minor league ballparks. The event provides plenty of opportunities for fans to interact with their favorite superstars, with special backstage passes and VIP ticket packages made available.
“I’m excited about it,” Styles said. “It’s always a good time when I get there.”
Last year’s Brooklyn show drew the largest crowd for a non-televised show in the company’s history, according to TNA officials.
So, does performing in front of such a big crowd increase the pressure on Styles to bring his “A” game? The confident high-flyer says he doesn’t worry about it.
“My game’s never where it shouldn’t be,” he said. “I know the fans spend their hard-earned money to see me, so I give it my best each and every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 people or thousands.”
Also on the card will be a match between TNA Knockouts Rosita and Gail Kim that is sure to be emotional for one of the combatants.
Rosita, who made her debut in TNA in January 2011, said she is excited to be performing in Brooklyn, a place she considers home.
“I grew up in Queens and I lived in Brooklyn for a while, so I come back to see family whenever I can,” she told the Eagle. “Brooklyn has some of the liveliest fans, plus my family will be there and they’re like 20 people at least, so it’s going to be crazy.”
MCU Park holds a special place in Rosita’s career, she said, because it’s where she met wrestling legend Tommy Dreamer in 2010. That meeting led to an audition and, ultimately, her big break.
Rosita’s story is one of hard work, determination and, sadly, unimaginable loss. Her interest in pro wrestling stems from her father, an amateur wrestler who perished in the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, when she was just 10 years old.
“He was the one who got me into wrestling,” she said. “He took me to ECW shows when I was 6 years old. He taught me to appreciate the effort of the guys in the ring.”
When she told him that she wanted to be a wrestler, her father had some important advice.
“He told me, ‘I think you can do it, but you gotta know what you’re doing in there,’” she said. “He definitely wanted to be a pro, but it was hard with a family and a career.”
When she won the TNA Knockouts tag team championship shortly upon her arrival to TNA, she realized she was living her father’s dream as well as her own.
“I said, ‘This one’s for you, dad.’ I realized I was doing this for him just as much as myself and, hopefully, making him proud,” she said.
Tickets for the TNA “Basebrawl” event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), are still on sale at www.brooklyncyclones.com, or by phone at (718) 507-TIXX. Fans who purchase a $75 ticket will receive a special meet-and-greet with Impact Wrestling Superstars at 5:30 p.m.
The TNA “Impact Wrestling” program can be seen every Thursday at 8 p.m. on Spike TV.