Contributor: Jesse Pratt
It was a happy accident when an episode of Appalachian Mountain Wrestling (AMW) found its way into my YouTube recommendations earlier this year. The Hazard, KY-based promotion is a throwback to old-school southern wrestling that follows in the footsteps of ICW and SMW, both of which ran shows in the area once upon a time. Unlike many independent promotions, AMW runs in dozens of towns and communities throughout eastern Kentucky and other regions of Appalachia. The commendable amount of charity and community fundraising that AMW participates in and facilitates should be noted as well. When I watched my first weekly television episode, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about these folks I was seeing. So I watched another episode, then another, then before I knew it, I was all caught up on available shows and storylines. I patiently waited each week to see what happened on the previous week’s loop, and subsequent reactions from the wrestlers on the TV show. I have had a lot of fun watching AMW, so in this article, I’m going to introduce a few of the current guys on the roster and their significance to AMW in the hopes that you, my readers, will be interested enough to give this promotion some of your time.
Current AMW Champion John Noble
First, we have current AMW Heavyweight Champion John Noble. In addition to being a champion in the ring, he is also a champion at the basketball court as the coach of Breathitt County High School team. Since winning the title from former champion Al Snow in a fatal four-way match back in May of this year, Noble has been using his athletic ability and Russian Leg Sweep finisher to turn back the challenges of Daniel Richards, Derek Neal, among others. The current task at hand seems to be handling members of The Reformation.
A perennial hometown favorite in AMW, Kyle Maggard is the first champion in promotion history, as well as the first man to win the title on more than one occasion. Maggard has had lengthy, memorable feuds with Stan Sierra and Daniel Richards. The Reformation and Derek Neal appear to have gotten Kyle’s attention more recently. His fiery interviews are delivered well and lots of fun. He likes to finish off opponents with a well-placed Rock Bottom.
"Handsome" Beau James
Whether as the avatar of the Appalachians, the King of Kingsport, or simply the man who likes to hurt people, Beau James has certainly established himself as the meanest man in AMW. Memorable AMW feuds include those against former Family members Stan Lee and currently his former AMW championship tag team partner, the Mega Destroyer. A wily veteran in southern wrestling having had roles as referee, manager, promoter, and wrestler, Beau draws from his experience, ornery disposition, and superb verbal assaults to get the edge on opponents.
"Progressive Liberal" Daniel Richards
I could write a whole article about this guy, and I very likely will in the future. Politics in wrestling typically runs the risk of automatically alienating half of the audience. As AMW is based in conservative Appalachia, Richards doesn’t have this worry. He brazenly draws the indignation of the crowds through his partisan promos and rule-breaking in-ring tactics. Even his ring gear elicits this response at a mere glance. His finisher is the Liberal Agenda, a cross-arm neck breaker. His feud with Kyle Maggard received national media attention and produced some damn entertaining pro-wrestling in the process. Their matches at AMW SummerBash events in 2017 and 2018 come to mind immediately.
The former manager of the 7-ft. 500-lb Big Rig Jake Brake, Lemonjuice McGee has been a thorn in the side of not only his former client but also of Stan Lee and Beau James. One could make a solid argument that he was even responsible for the recent tag team title loss (and subsequent split) of Beau James and the Mega Destroyer. Receiving comeuppance from Big Rig in the form of the big chokeslam on multiple occasions, as well as an embarrassing cake to the face from Stan Lee on the 100th episode of AMW TV, I’m curious to see how he will avoid similar retribution at the hands of Beau James.
Pictured left to right, we have Adam Newsom, Michael Jameson, A.J. Colley, and Arson. Jameson looks like he’d knock a dude out in a bar fight, doesn’t he? Manager A.J. Colley wishes to obtain legendary status within AMW, however, not everyone has been receptive to his message. Champion John Noble turned down A.J.’s services, and as a result, The Reformation wreaked havoc in a recent title match between Noble and Kyle Maggard. Local favorite Bobby Love has also been a target. This is a group to keep an eye on with their ruthlessness and strength in numbers.
Nathan Lyttle & Devin Combs
Last but not least, we have our announcers. Every promotion has a voice, and the voice of AMW is provided by Nathan Lyttle (left) and Devin Combs (right). These guys are great, they call the action with enthusiasm and they clearly have a love for the product. Lyttle also conducts a large percentage of backstage interviews. He takes the verbal abuse from certain roster members in stride. Good announcers harmonize with the action in the ring, and bad announcers alienate viewers from the product. Lyttle and Combs are good announcers.
AMW weekly TV is available on YouTube, and they also have their own streaming service at AMWWrestlingNetwork.com. New TV episodes are available there, as well as their shows filmed for DVD. For only $4.99 per month, this is a real treat for fans of old-school southern wrestling. If this sounds up your alley, head on down and give them a try. I’m glad I did.
Also by Jesse Pratt: An EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with AMW star Kyle Maggard!
(Jesse Pratt is a pro wrestling fan from the mean streets of Kentucky. In addition to his love for the “Sport of Kings,” Jesse is a passionate foodie. Always looking to push his limits, he has yet to meet a spicy dish that he won’t try. Sometimes it leaves him tossing fireballs like Jerry “The King” Lawler.)