Cole Radrick will take on Nate Matthews in the singles match during EMERGE 63 Friday evening on the Hope Town Square in downtown Hope, Ind. Photo credit: Submitted.
Cole Radrick will take on Nate Matthews in the singles match during EMERGE 63 Friday evening on the Hope Town Square in downtown Hope, Ind. Photo credit: Submitted.

Absolute havoc will be wrought in the wrestling ring on the east side of the Hope Town Square as EMERGE Wrestling makes its Hope debut with EMERGE 63 Mayhem on Main St. at 6 p.m. Friday.

Presented in collaboration with Main Street of HOPE, EMERGE 63 is the first of its kind to come to Hope in decades.

“I wanted to bring wrestling back to Hope because it had been a while,” says Matt Lee, executive director of Main Street of HOPE. “Last time was at the Old Hope Gym. Some of the big stars who were going up in the WWE, like Big Show [Paul Donald Wight II] and Mark Henry, were there. That’s been a long time ago, before they were big stars.”

Organizers hope EMERGE 63 will serve as a proper introduction to local professional wrestling for a whole new audience. EMERGE spokesman Ricky Ruckus, who is no stranger to the ring, says those who attend Friday’s event will certainly witness some great matches.

“I think we are going to make the same impression we always do,” Ruckus says. “And that’s that we are the best wrestling around and I look forward to the people of Hope seeing that.”

Since 2015, EMERGE Wrestling has become a staple in the local wrestling scene with some of its talent going on to the WWE, Ruckus says.

“We bring in the best and I think our fanbase would be the first to tell you that,” he says.

Friday’s free event will feature five matches, including two singles, culminating in the EMERGE Championship match between Big Mike D and Justin Kyle.

Ruckus may have retired from the ring, but the enthusiasm he has for the sport is evident when he speaks about the wrestlers coming up and making their way through the ranks. For instance, Paragon is an Ohio native who has wrestled all over the Midwest and Cole Radrick, a Bloomington native, has wrestled in matches in Japan and most recently in England.

“We have a lot of young cats out there doing really well right now,” Ruckus says. “I want to focus on them.”

As the ring itself will be positioned literally in the middle of Harrison Street, attendees are encouraged to bring a chair for seating and an appetite as delicious BBQ will be available for purchase courtesy of Hillbilly BBQ, Lee says. Main Street of Hope will also have an information booth set up, so visitors can stop by and say “Hi.”

Since taking on the role of executive director, Lee says he has strived to bring new and entertaining events to Hope, and this is no different.

Wrestling has always held a special spot in Lee’s heart as he is no stranger to the ring. Back in the day, Lee says he dipped his toes in and wrestled some for Hoosier Pro Wrestling, but he doesn’t aspire to jump in the ring Friday… even if invited.

Like Ruckus’, those are days gone by. Today, both gentlemen offer support from outside the ropes.

“This is something else people can come out and enjoy,” Lee says. “Some of the people may not like the cruise-ins or the big crowds of other events, but this is something else that will have a niche audience.”

Lee adds he hopes this event serves to rekindle community excitement for wrestling and additional events of its kind moving forward.

“We are expecting a great turnout and are already talking about a possible October date for 2023,” Lee says. “It’s a free event, so come out and bring the family.”