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Wrestling Stars Hold Fans In the Palm of Their Hands

Call it Wrestlemania, Brooklyn style. The Regina Pacis Youth Center’s Regina Arena, 1258 65th Street, was packed to the rafters on January 13 as professional wrestling came back to Brooklyn for the first time in over 10 years. “It was an amazing night. Wrestling came back in a huge way,” said Anthony Passaro, executive director of the Regina Pacis Sports Program. “The best part of the whole thing was the feedback we were getting from families who said, ‘I never liked wrestling, but we came out to the fundraiser and had the best time of our lives,’” he added. The wrestling event was a benefit for the community center and former Catholic school that has kept thousands of kids on the straight and narrow. “The goal of the Regina Pacis Sports Program is to keep the children of our community off the streets and on the courts and fields,” said Passaro. The show featured Pro Wrestling Legends and Hall of Famers Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Tito Santana and Captain Lou Albano. Also on the bill were International Superstars Low Ki and Josh Daniels, plus current superstars Mike Kruel, Crowbar, John Walters, Prince Nana, Rob Eckos, Mike Tobin, Arch Kincaid, Andrew Ryker, Scotty Charisma, Billy Bax, Brian and Matt Logan. “People were coming to us and saying, ‘Where else can you come on a Friday night and spend $20 for a ticket and get this kind of entertainment?’” said Passaro. Passaro also thanked Monsignor Ronal Marino, pastor of Regina Pacis, for providing the space to hold the fundraiser. State Senator Marty Golden and City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who jokingly told the crowd they would go up against each other in a cage match, also deserve thanks, said Passaro. Passaro also noted the participation of U.S. Air Force Major Chaplain Timothy Hirten, who opened the event with a prayer for all religions, and the elite U.S. Air Force Honor Guard from New Jersey. The intermission featured Mike Bove and Rosa Casella, executive directors of the St. Rosalia-Regina Pacis Neighborhood Improvement Association. Passaro said about 1,000 people attended the sold out event and another 500-700 were turned away. The event united the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Sunset Park, and drew people as far away as Downtown Brooklyn, he said. “We’re going to keep doing stuff like this for the community and the kids, and to keep our youth center running and open,” Passaro said. “We don’t have another date yet, but hopefully we’ll announce one in the future,” he added. For further information, call 772-7471 or email reginawrestling@aol.com.

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