New York City’s greatest grapplers will descend on St. Finbar Church in Bath Beach for a battle of epic proportions during Five Borough Wrestling’s Feb. 5 showcase (see page 44 for more). The lycra-clad bruisers come from all over the city, but their commissioner found his passion for pugilism while coming up in Marine Park.
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A born-and-bred native has transformed his love of pile drivers and elbow drops into a burgeoning wrestling enterprise that has grown to become one of the city’s biggest independent purveyor’s of over-the-top, muscle-bound antics. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound, 23-year-old couldn’t see himself stepping in the ring, so he did the next best thing, he said.
“I was a fan my whole life, but I never saw myself as being a wrestler. I’m a small guy,” said Five Borough Wrestling chairman Troy Thompson. “But I always had passion for it, and if you can’t do it, you might as well tell other people how to do it.”
Thompson grew up on E. 31st Street between Avenue P and Quentin Road, where he would occasionally sally out to the city with his old man and friends Mike Verna and PJ Stackpole to catch a World Wrestling Federation match whenever the show came to Madison Square Garden.
But a young Thompson always dreamed of bringing wrestling to his neck of the woods, and being able to walk around the corner and see his larger-than-life heroes, typically relegated to the silver screen, alive and battling in Marine Park.
“As a kid, I always wished that we could go 10 blocks away and have this thing that was just only on TV,” said Thompson. “I got to go to shows, but not often and never in that area.”
Two years ago, the young Marine Park man was sitting around with his friends at the Bull’s Eye Sports Pub on Quentin Road, sipping cocktails and talking about how awesome it would be to own a wrestling business, when he decided to go for it.
“I was sitting at the bar with three of my friends, wrestling was on TV, and we were talking about how we could do the same thing but better, and one of my friends said, ‘Let’s do it,’ ” Thompson explained.
So he wrote a script — yes it is scripted — booked a venue, and hired his friends to help out, he said.
Building a reputation, however, proved more difficult.
“That first show was hectic,” said Thompson. “When you’re new, nobody knows about you, so you don’t know who’s going to show up.”
But now, Thompson’s wrestling business has taken off, and Five Borough Wrestling is now the only act producing shows every month in Brooklyn, including routine shows at the American Legion Hall on E. 56th Street near Avenue N, he said.
Thompson still has his day jobs tending bar at Bull’s Eye and at the Nostrand Avenue Knights of Columbus, but he’s going to keep at his passion until he makes it big, he said.
“I think it’s so cool for people to see the 20-year-old kid who’s busting his a-- to, hopefully, make it on TV,” he said.