NUTLEY, NJ – When Bloomfield High School senior Victor Celi hits the mat next month, it’s not the type of normal competition he is used to at the scholastic level. He’s entering a world of gigantic athletes with backgrounds ranging from pro football, collegiate wrestling, rugby, martial arts and powerlifting.
Celi joins four of the most recognizable professional wrestling legends for the adrenaline-charged excitement as IWF presents a family-friendly Live Event on Saturday, April 13, 7:30 pm to benefit American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. It happens at Parks and Rec Center, 44 Park Avenue, Nutley.
“Relay For Life of Nutley is having LOUD & PROUD once again with IWF, who have done more for Relay than just about anyone,” said Nutley Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci, Director of Parks and Recreation. “It’s a wonderful night full of excitement and cheering, and for what better cause than to eradicate cancer in our lifetime.”
Celi, a standout varsity soccer player and wrestler for the Bloomfield Bengals, is an honor roll student currently participating on club soccer and amateur wrestling squads. Being a long-time WWE fan, he has been learning the ropes since January in preparation for his big charity match.
“Going into the April 13th
event, I will be the decided underdog since this is my first professional wrestling match,” Celi told TAP. “Although I will be at a disadvantage, I am participating in this fundraiser to show my support and fight for those individuals who are battling cancer.”
Headlining IWF’s star-studded 22nd Annual LOUD & PROUD extravaganza are WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana, Tag Team Legend B. Brian Blair of The Killer Bee’s, Former WWE Light-Heavyweight Champion Gillberg, and Legendary WWE and WCW Ring Announcer Gary Michael Cappetta.
“I am so honored to be back in the place that made myself and The Killer Bees so famous,” said Brian Blair. “Hey Jersey and my New Yorkers...you guys are always buzzing and together we’ll sting the evil of cancer!”
Santana and Blair are international WrestleMania megastars from the 1980’s and 90’s, with Blair making his first area appearance in five years. Gillberg made his mark nationally in the 1990’s and 2000’s on Monday Night RAW. Cappetta, from Kearny, traveled worldwide providing introductions for Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant.
“I'm psyched to return to my home base of North Jersey to join IWF for a super event to benefit American Cancer Society,” said Gary Cappetta. “Looking forward to reuniting with B. Brian Blair and Tito Santana to bring you a fun night of pro wrestling.”
Nutley's Master of Chaos Kevin Knight is slated for action. Knight, recipient of Jaycees 2018 Distinguished Service Award, wrestled for WWE in Madison Square Garden and was featured on CBS News, NBC News, FOX 5 Good Day New York, ABC News, WOR 9 News, PIX 11 News, MTV, TMZ and MSG Network.
Also scheduled are Fifth Element Roman Zachary, Outlaw Shane O'Brien, First-Class Justin Adams, Southside Slugger Tony Graves, Dark Dragon Kareen West, The Atkins Brothers, Heartless Hellraiser Dracko, Dark Oracle Sage, Soul Train Nick Shin, Eloy Fiesta, Mr. Mike Winner, AJ Sparxx, Barry Delaney and The Weasel.
Witness unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable moments as the best of sports and entertainment collide to create a memorable family event. Fans of all ages will enjoy the hard-hitting, high-flying energy.
Special guests include Hall of Fame Broadcaster Bert Baron from Jersey Central on 1450 WCTC-AM, East Side Dave McDonald from Compound Media and 95.9 WRAT-FM, and David LaGreca from Busted Open on Sirius XM.
“WCTC is honored to take part in LOUD & PROUD once again,” said Bert Baron. “This is a special community event that positively impacts the lives of so many people, and we’re excited to partner with the organizers, sponsors, and of course the wrestlers.”
BHS Girls Basketball Coach Zac Dearwater and Bengals Wrestling Coach Ryan Smircich also make special guest appearances during the April 13th event. Both were named ‘Coach of the Year’ for their respective success during the winter sports season.
All Access Pre-Event FanFest, included with event ticket, begins when doors open at 6:30 pm. Supporting the event are Nutley Recreation Department, and Ocean Beach Sales and Rentals of Lavallette.
This experience delivers edge-of-your-seat thrills and is affordable for the entire family. The jaw-dropping displays of power and gravity-defying feats promise to be long-remembered.
Tickets are $26 and $20, and available at CampIWF.com, Nutley Parks and Rec Office during business hours, or at the door.
“While it’s only been eight years for IWF with Relay, it’s been 22 years IWF is raising funds for local charities – that’s quite an accomplishment,” Tucci added. “We couldn’t be prouder of Kevin Knight and the wrestlers – we will be eternally grateful.”
Each spring, IWF’s anniversary event supports a charity, with American Cancer Society being the beneficiary over the past seven years. Prior to 2012, events benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Tomorrows Children’s Fund, Twin Towers Orphan Fund, American Red Cross, United Way, and Nutley Policemen and Firefighters’ Benevolent Associations.
Established in 1998, award-winning IWF produced 705 Live Events in 29 cities throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Nationally-accredited IWF Wrestling School, based in Woodland Park and Nutley, saw 50 graduates receive WWE tryouts with 11 employed.
13th Annual Relay for Life of Nutley, the signature event for American Cancer Society, is Friday, May 17, 2019, 6 pm at DeMuro Park. For information, visit RelayForLife.org/NutleyNJ.