WRESTLING IN WNY — Showdown in the Ring will feature southtowns resident Robby “Vegas” Van Houten, left, who is ready to take on all challengers, including this opponent in BCW Pro Wrestling action. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Championship Wrestling.
HAMBURG — When Southtowns resident Robby “Vegas” Van Houten steps in the wrestling ring, he does what he described as his best Shawn Michaels impersonation. Van Houten is a member of Buffalo Championship Wrestling, owning a personality and style that resemble that of “The Heartbreak Kid” from World Wrestling Entertainment.
“I love being there and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Van Houten, a 2005 graduate of Lackawanna High School, said, in regard to BCW Pro Wrestling. “It really is a great place to be.”
Van Houten is one of more than a dozen league wrestlers in BCW. They are each told to stay in character for the duration of shows and to engage their fans in a contentiously humorous way, although Rob added that if a fan is very young, he will oblige an autograph request and not be overly coarse. The Lackawanna native said that all BCW wrestlers are “very appreciative” of their hard-core fans, regardless of their ages. He added that BCW serves as a form of entertainment that does not cost an arm and a leg.
Van Houten credited fellow BCW wrestler Troy Buchannan for opening the door to his BCW career, as Van Houten began training in January 2012 and eventually became part of shows a year later.
Van Houten can often be seen maintaining his wrestling frame at Planet Fitness Gym in West Seneca.
BCW is one of 14 independent wrestling promotions based in New York state. Other WNY-based promotions include Empire State Wrestling of Buffalo, to go along with Next Era Wrestling, NWA New York and Pier 6 Wrestling of Rochester.
BCW performances take place at venues across Western New York, most recently with the “St. Patrick’s Slugfest” on March 15 at the F.J. Donavan Post in Cheektowaga. At that event, presented by the BPW & Entertainment Group, Rob served as special guest referee, while tag team title matches and individual bouts took place.
“We put on matches that you can’t see anywhere else around here,” Van Houton said, about BCW’s presentation and style. “BCW has a wide range of athletes who come in from all over the place.”
The athlete also handled open mic duties at the BCW’s “Bunkhouse Brawl 2014” on Jan. 18, also held at the F.J. Donavan Post. Upcoming BCW events include a show in Jamestown on Friday, April 18 and the Easter Weekend Extravaganza on Saturday, April 19 at the Mil-Sher Floor Hockey Center, located at 1520 Military Road in Kenmore. Doors will open for the Kenmore event at 5:30 p.m., with the bell time slated for 6:30.
These events will feature appearances from former stars “Rhino,” Al Snow and “Maria” from WWE, Extreme Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
More information about the BCW can be found at www.bcwwny.ne
t and on the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/buffalochampionshipwrestling.