BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Many wrestling shows start with a battle royal, where all of the promotion’s zaniest characters gather in the ring for an over-the-top-rope challenge.
But the battle royal that kicked off All-Star Wrestling’s “Bash in Beckley” was a little different than most. This one was to honor Dwayne Richardson Jr., the Woodrow Wilson basketball standout who passed away in May.
“I think someone on the management team had heard about the tragedy and said, ‘let’s do something to honor that young man,'” explained ASW commissioner Stephen P. New.
And honor him, they did. Before the match took place, New presented Richardson’s family members with a plaque. Then the entire Beckley-Raleigh convention center showered them with a round of applause.
“He was loved very much, he’s shown love, we loved him,” said Richardson’s aunt Darlene Matthews. “The community has shown love and they let us know that they won’t forget him.”
Professional wrestlers pick up wins and losses on a near-daily basis. But for the winner of this match, this victory really meant something.
“His family was speechless,” said pro wrestler Kolbe Max, a Charleston native. ” It was very touching. It was knowing that I would’ve been more than happy to meet him.”
And as a wrestling fanatic, Richardson would have been more than happy to soak up the action in Beckley.
“When it first started getting discussed, I didn’t know that about Dwayne,” said New. “It’s been great to learn that about him since. So happy that we can honor him.”