December 5, 2023

Words: Mimi aka #TheWrestlingChic

The inaugural ASÉ Wrestling show took place at Charlotte, North Carolina's Grady Cole Center on Friday, December 1st. Unlike your typical wrestling event, this groundbreaking Black promotion featured a unique blend of Black music, culture, and combat sports entertainment, attracting more than 300+ fans in person (with more watching via livestream).

ASÉ is more than just a wrestling promotion; it celebrates Black excellence and creativity. ASÉ Wrestling is the curated vision of "The Revolutionary" Darius Lockhart, a pro wrestler whose motto is "where there is people, there is power." Lockhart wanted to provide a platform for Black wrestlers and performers to showcase their skills.

With support from some seasoned veterans in the industry, Lockhart delivered more than we expected.  WWE Hall of Famer and Busted Open co-host Mark Henry provided kind words that aired during the broadcast, which also featured the fantastic play-by-play commentary team of former WWE Legend and IMPACT Wrestling producer D'Lo Brown and WRAL-TV's anchor and reporter Chris Lea; while the incomparable and unstoppable Big Swole was the night’s host, showcasing her crowd-hyping charisma. With confidence and style, Nadiah Hunter announced each match and Gerard Bonner from BattleSlam and South Honor Wrestling conducted pre- and post-match interviews like a true pro. ASÉ1 not only featured some of the best Black indie talents; fans in attendance got a special live performance from the Grammy-nominated, platinum recording artist Lute, who is signed to Dreamville Records, a label founded by Charlotte's J. Cole.

The show featured six stellar matches; here are some highlights from the event.

Trish Adora vs. Aja Kong
One of the most anticipated matches of the night was Trish Adora vs. Aja Kong, a clash of generations between two phenomenal Black women main eventing at the Grady Cole Center for the first time. Former Pan-African Diaspora Champion Trish Adora has undoubtedly risen in the Black independent scene by making a name for herself with her skill sets. Aja Kong is a legend in the wrestling business who has been dominating opponents for over three decades, and also known for her brutal power moves and intimidating presence. She has won numerous championships in Japan and has faced some of the best wrestlers in history. This match was a test of skill, strength and will between two women who represent different eras and styles of wrestling.

Jonathan Gresham vs. Darius Carter
This bout was a battle of style and personalities between two of the greatest Black wrestlers today, "The Octopus" Jonathan Gresham vs. "The ALL FATHER" Darius Carter! Gresham has traveled the globe and honed his craft as one of the most skilled and versatile grapplers in pro wrestling. He's won accolades and championships, including the Ring of Honor World Championship, and was ranked No. 7 on the #BRP50 list in 2022. Currently ranked No. 15 on this year's #BRP50 list, Darius Carter has built up his name on the Black independent wrestling scene worldwide, becoming one of wrestling's most notoriously arrogant and ruthless heels, while blending the style and look of pro wrestling in 2023, with the foundational in-ring skill of many wrestlers from the '80s and '90s. Gresham faced a tough challenge in Carter, but Dastardly Darius claimed victory, proving he is worth more than any title or accolade in the industry. Overpower your opponent and outcheat; you can't hate 'em for it!

Kiera Hogan vs. Charity King
Another highlight of the night was Hogan vs. King, two Black women who did their thing that night. Kiera Hogan has made waves in All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and IMPACT Wrestling as a former Knockouts Tag Team Champion. She showed King why she's one to watch in this business. She was ready for anything King threw at her. Charity King, a newcomer to the indie scene with only two years of experience, impressed everyone with her power and resilience. She gave Hogan a tough fight, but Hogan's speed and tenured skills were too much for her to handle.

The night included three more bouts: Jah-C faced Kevin Knight in a spectacular, high-flying opener, Infantry (Trish Adora’s homies Carlie Bravo and Sean Dean) took on TME (Gannon Jones, Jr. and Duke Davis) in a tag team match, and Team Georgia (Owen Knight, Trevor Aeon, Ashton Starr, and Suge D) battled Team North Carolina (Yahya, Movie Myk, Ian Maxwell, and Rehyan Inteus) in a four-on-four match that featured Darius Lockhart’s favorite moment of the entire evening. The event was also blessed with special appearances from Faye Jackson and Billy Dixon.

There was nothing short of impressive about this show. Undoubtedly, Darius Lockhart put a lot of thought and effort into crafting the art of ASÉ Wrestling. The product's branding, show rollout, production quality, and output style are outstanding. A person on the outside looking in cannot help but feel joy seeing the Black community unite and support this historic debut.

"The first ASÉ show may be one of my favorite first shows for a pro wrestling organization in some time. It being all-Black is a primary key, but it felt like TV. Business picked up when Darius Carter walked into the ring, but I must give it to TME. Gannon Jones, Jr.—who picked up IWC gold the following night—was really impressive. Need that ASÉ2 date confirmed ASAP!" — Khal, Disputed BRP Predictions Champion

If you didn't catch the live show, don't worry, you can still enjoy the thrilling action of ASÉ1 on their website. Check out all matches and the incredible talent of Black wrestlers. ASÉ Wrestling is the new sensation in the wrestling world; you don't want to miss it!

Mimi, aka #TheWrestlingChic, co-hosts #TurnbuckleTalk every Tuesday at 6:35 pm ET and contributes to the Black Rasslin' Podcast.

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