#TBT: Falls Township Wrestling

Wrestling has always held a special place in my heart. As a child, it was something I enjoyed watching and bonding over with my aunt. As I got older, it was something I wanted to do professionally. As I trained and did it in the backyard, it became a storytelling device. And, as I finally was able to do it in front of a crowd, it was a dream met.

As far as the “I want to do it” part of my life, there were/are several stages of what that meant. The most important stage was the Falls Township Wrestling portion of my life. Some could say that the date of this era started back in the fall of 2000. For me, that is only partially true. I believe we had one wrestling “event” that consisted of members from each faction (the Underground Wrestling Federation {UWF} and the Trampoline Wrestling Federation {TWF}) during that time frame (fall of 2000).

I came from the UWF side of things– which was formed by Mike and I. I was working with fellow wrestling fans at the time, who were in and/or helped form the TWF (I forget the specific founders of that group). At some point, we said let’s get both groups together, it could be a lot of fun. That first event was such a fantastical train wreck that I can’t believe we took it as far as we ever did.

There was a major differences between the two groups (some may argue talent was that major difference– I don’t know that I would argue that either): the UWF “wrestled” on the ground and the TWF wrestled on a trampoline. For us, the UWF, that meant we didn’t really do much in terms of wrestling. Anything that involved flipping each other onto the ground was just unheard of. Whereas the TWF wrestled on the trampoline and had a softer surface to work with, so it was much more realistic over there (if memory serves me correctly, it also didn’t hurt that at least one of, if not two of, their guys had a session or so of professional training).

Imagine our surprise when the TWF brought their way of doing things to our turf.

Those of us from the UWF were shocked at this display, but were quick to adapt. After that first event, we decided to combine forces and become the FTW, Federation of Teenage Wrestlers. And on March 24th, 2001 we debuted Saturday Night Brawl. In the beginning, there were four to six of us that would meet during the week to discuss the following Saturday and what we had lined up and where the stories were going from there. Each month, we’d have a “PPV” type event, the first of which we called (and would hold annually) When Worlds Collide.

We started out wrestling in an apartment complex courtyard (dubbed The Scott McCann Amphitheater). I believe the person who lived there that wrestled with us went on vacation, so we decided to temporarily relocate to another friend’s backyard. This era of the FTW was by far the greatest. Dubbing the location The Durex Stadium, there were many memories made here. Even though it was the backyard, two of my favorite matches happened here: 1) an Iron Man match and 2) a cage match, both with one of my favorite guys to wrestle; Mike Fox (I think he was wrestling as Johnny Arson at this point). We built, not bought (that came later), but BUILT a wrestling ring here. We put on our first “live” show here. We built friendships here. Whenever I look back at my wrestling days, I will always cite this era of the FTW as the best era; it’s when we all did it for fun and egos (mine included) didn’t get in the way.

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The above picture was taken during the next era of the FTW, when we will kicked out of Falls Township and moved to another backyard in a different township. Before I get involved with that, I do want to speak of the destruction of the home built ring. That was an emotional day. Probably more so in hindsight. At the time, it was just crappy that we had to destroy OUR ring. Leave OUR home. Now, when I think about that day and breaking down the ring before heading to work, I look at it as the end of what we started. The FTW was formed with the love of wrestling and to have something fun and creative to do with friends. That day, things changed. Not right away, but it was the start of change that I don’t necessarily think were positive. Good things came from the natural evolution of what we were doing, but it was never as fun as it was in The Durex Stadium.

Back to the above picture, that was taken in the new backyard and we rechristened ourselves. Most of us were closer to twenty, if not over already. Federation of Teenage Wrestlers really didn’t apply anymore and we were jaded kids in our late teen/early twenties. So, it only made sense to become Falls Township Wrestling. From here, we all grew as wrestlers and performers and even started to do it professionally. My memory of the history of FTW is a bit more hazy from this point on, but I know we came to this back yard after The Durex Stadium and briefly went elsewhere before returning to the initial home of Falls Township Wrestling.

We’d go on to get a warehouse, be trained by “Reckless Youth” Tom Carter, and put on our own shows. We’d stop doing it for a while and make random appearances until kind of just disappearing. Some of us would continue to wrestle, while others moved on and started families. The FTW is no more, but it is a happy memory. I tend to hone in on the early times, because it’s when (in my opinion) we were at our very best, even if that doesn’t mean talent-wise. I may not speak with most of those guys now, we’ve grown apart… it’s part of what happens when you get older, but I will always look at that core groupas a band of brothers.

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Falls Township Wrestling 2001-2008.

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Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr

Kev is the co-founder of Crude Humor Studios and That's Entertainment. He also writes, produces, and directs their skits, shorts, and web series, while sharing managing editor duties for That's Entertainment.

Kev is the host of the podcast, Everything is Awesome and is the co-host of The Zombcast. He is the former host of the podcasts Happy Hour with Steel Tip, Creepcast, Happy Hour, 30 Minute Outsider, The Muff Squad, That's Entertainment, 215th Entertainment Presents: Sounds of Philly, Academic Nerds, and OuaT: The Unofficial Once Upon a Time Podcast.

Kev also writes for Dark Knight News and is working on a science fiction series.

Most of all, Kev is a dad to two wonderful children.
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