Word Life! Wrestling Around The World: African Wrestling Alliance
Welcome to another installment of Word Life! Wrestling Around The World. For those of you who haven't read any of the previous installments, I've covered the French women wrestling promotion, "Queens of Chaos" and the Italian wrestling promotion, "Nu-Wrestling Evolution".
The next stop on this world tour is Africa as the title shows. In 1995, the African Wrestling Alliance (AWA) was founded in Cape Town, South Africa. The founder was is named Shaun Koen and he's a three time All-African Heavyweight champion.
There is another promotion that goes by the name of AWA and that is the American Wrestling Association. The African Wrestling Alliance isn't the same. In fact, they're different. You can check out a promo here.
The promotion didn't take too long to take off. There were thousands of wrestling fans who supported the AWA. The promotion was influenced by American and European wrestling promotions. It's original name was the African Wrestling Federation.
The name stuck from 1995 to 2003.
During those times, the company began to expand. Like any other growing wrestling promotion, it branched out to other areas. Soon they were having shows in Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
The African Wrestling Federation's big break finally came in 2004. The promotion signed a year long television contract with eTV, a popular television station in South Africa. Having a promotion televised cme with it's perks of course.
The African Wrestling Federation no longer wrestled outdoors of in stuffed arenas, nope, they got to wrestle and put their shows on in some of the most prominent arenas on the continent.
Shows took place at marvelous places like the Carnival City Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa, The Good Hope Centre in Cape Town, South Africa and the prominent Coca Cola Dome, also in Cape Town, South Africa.
The dome is certainly the MSG of South Africa. Musical performances the likes of Madonna, U2, and so forth were held there along with the WWE, who held house shows there in 2007.
The future looked bright for the African Wrestling Federation. Ratings started to decrease in late 2004 and the AWF couldn't reach new terms with eTV for a new contract.
The television channel didn't take it too lightly as they made sure that the AWF lost their trademarks and ownership of their name, thus the inception of the African Wrestling Alliance. The transition seemed similar to the likes of the WWF and they changed to the WWE.
The newly named AWA were sure to keep striving for success. Like WWE, they have an annual Royal Rumble which is sponsored by Coca Cola in the Coca Cola Dome. The winner doesn't earn a title shot for an African Heavyweight title, they win the Royal Rumble title.
The last winner was William McQueen, one of AWA's top superstars. McQueen won on December 3, 2007. They're more similar to WWE than you think. WWE is a huge influence on them.
Not only do they have a Rumble, but they have their own Night of Champions as well. Their annual Night of Champions is dubbed "House of Pain: Night of Champions". The last Night of Champions were held on April 7th, 2009, not too long ago huh? Below are some matches on the card.
House of Pain: Night of Champions, April 7th, 2009
Johnny Palazzio vs William McQueen (African Crusierweight Title)
The AWA has reached the ceiling in South Africa. They continue to put on the shows that their fans love and even have their own training academy with Cape Town, South Africa. All of their top stars the likes of William McQueen, Shuan Koen, and Johnny Palazzio all went through the academy.
They have gained nods from sponsors from all around. The AWA didn't forget about their loyal fans and they give back to the communities. Amongst their sponsors are the Reach For A Dream foundation, which they reward ill and unprivileged children around South Africa and give them free tickets to shows as well as letting them meet their favorite superstars.
The African Wrestling Alliance continues to flourish in South America and is the WWE of the continent known as Africa. Until next time, Word Life!
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