Gardner woman to wrestle this Sunday at Eagles Hall
GARDNER — Evie Rodgerson and Anthony Greene were sitting in the G-Vegas Café on Central Street earlier this week, looking like a typical twenty-something couple having lunch, enjoying each other’s company.
But Rodgerson, a 2013 Gardner High graduate whose professional wrestling name is Ava Everett, and Greene will look a lot different on Sunday afternoon when they, in their full grappling regalia, slip between the ropes and onto the wrestling mat and compete together in a mixed-gender tag team match against Cheeseburger and Sumie Sakai.
That match is the seventh of eight on the Zero1USA Northeast card Sunday at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall in Gardner (71 City Hall Avenue) as professional wrestling returns to the Chair City after a 10-year hiatus. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. and the official “opening bell” time is 4. General admission is $15. Children under 5 are free.
Tickets are available at the door on Sunday, although the available 64 front row seats have been sold out.
Rodgerson, 24, who still lives in Gardner, was actively involved in sports while a student at Gardner High, playing varsity soccer and winter and spring track and field. She was also a member of the swim team during her senior year, 2012-13.
“Independent pro wrestling is incredibly athletic, but it’s also a performance,” said Rodgerson, who had plenty of experience on stage in high school in chorus, band, school plays and several musicals including “Legally Blonde,” and “The Sound of Music.”
Rodgerson, who is also a marketing and social media specialist for Texas Roadhouse Restaurant in Leominster, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing at Assumption College in Worcester and, in addition to wrestling, assists in the social media and marketing for Zero1USA Northeast.
“I had never watched WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) on TV, but when I did it was when the women’s revolution was beginning and I saw all these women being athletic and doing things that the men were doing and I thought it was something I wanted to try,” Rodgerson explained.
She enrolled in the New England Pro Wrestling Academy in North Andover. Her first match was nearly a year ago and, since, she’s wrestled throughout the Northeast and also in Florida and Canada.
Greene, 25, from Randolph, graduated from Cardinal Spellman in Brockton. He, like Rodgerson, was very involved in theater, performing in shows such as “Once on this Island,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
About the performance aspect of professional wrestling Greene, who did not play sports in high school, smiled and said, “I like to call what we do, ‘Shakespeare with steel chairs.’”
“Growing up, it was always the colorful characters on television like Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Triple H who got me interested in wrestling,” said Greene who has been a pro wrestler for seven years. “And I loved an old MTV show called “Tough Enough” a reality show where I found my favorite wrestler of all time, ‘Maven,’ who I later ended up wrestling against.”
Previewing her tag team match with Greene on Sunday, Rodgerson said, “It will be fun. We’re premising the whole match around the facts that Cheeseburger and Sumie are best friends and Anthony and I are a couple and also best friends.”
Rodgerson and Greene met in North Andover at the wrestling academy.
“What a love story,” said Rodgerson with a laugh. “I beat him up.”
“I thought Evie was really pretty,” added Greene, who stands 6-1 and weighs 202 pounds, “And then it was love at first fight.”
“Sometimes we’re bad, sometimes we’re good,” said the 5-foot-8, 125 pound Rodgerson, not giving anything further away about their upcoming bout. “Wrestling is the hardest sport I’ve ever done. The conditioning you need to have is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever been in better shape than I am right now.”
Greene, who owns this particular wrestling franchise, said his organization is a sister company of Zero1 Midwest. He is focused on having future Zero1USA Northeast wrestling matches streamed live on the Independent Wrestling Television Network.
“I want Zero1USA Northeast to be the best regional wrestling organization in the Northeast area,” said Greene, who has already booked another show in October in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. “And we would like to come back to Gardner every four to six months.”