Steve Corino was set to come to Fairfield, Maine to defend the AWA World Heavyweight Championship and it was generating a lot of buzz. The match was being billed as the "first" time the AWA Championship has ever been defended in Maine. That statement is not entirely true for various reasons however we will discuss this in a later post. As for right now, let's take a trip to 2007 and check out an article promoting this great bout.
From the Morning Sentinel newspaper, Waterville, Maine
FAIRFIELD -- Twenty-one year old wrestler Cameron Mathews of Winslow finally gets a shot at the American Wrestling Association title this coming week. Mathews, who wrestled for Mt. View High School in Thorndike, goes up against AWA World Heavyweight Champion -- "The King of the Old School" -- Steve Corino at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Fairfield Community Center.
It is being billed as the kid against the champ, and it is the first AWA heavyweight title match ever to be held in Maine. "The kid is like Rocky vs. Apollo Creed," said promoter Sonny Roselli of Dexter. "I think the kid might have what it takes to pull this one out. We haven't been to the central Maine area since September, and it's going to be one heck of a night. All the titles will be on the line. All new champs -- and maybe a new world champ?" Mathews, whose real name is Luke Robert, is the kid, the challenger, the contender. Corino is the veteran with several wrestling titles to his credit. Doors open at 7 p.m. for a card of six wrestling matches. Bell time is 7:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for children and $9 for adults in advance at Joseph's Clothing on Main Street in Fairfield. Tickets are $9 and $11 at the door. "Ever since I was born, my uncle would sit me on his lap and we used to watch wrestling," Mathews said. "When I was about 12, I was like, 'This is something I really, really want to do.' And luckily, a year or two later, a school opened in Bangor." The Unity native and one-time cruiser weight champion (170 pounds and under) said he would drive an hour to classes at Rampage Pro Wrestling in Bangor with a family member every day, five days a week until he felt he could handle himself in the ring. "I learned the basics, how to fall, how to protect yourself, the moves you see on TV," Mathews said. "I trained about six months before my first match. I had just turned 15."
His first match was a memorable one. "I was in Bangor, Maine, in a 30-man battle royal -- I got thrown out three times -- you have to go over the top rope to get eliminated from the match," Mathews said. He said he has been injured, but not too seriously -- a bulging disk in his neck -- but a friend of his broke his neck in the ring and was in the hospital for two months. Mathews said he continued to wrestle through his teens, getting more matches every year -- and getting beaten up every year -- until he turned 18 and started getting serious about his training. He said he studied under World Wrestling Entertainment professionals to sharpen his game. Mathews trained in Philadelphia, Houston and Nova Scotia and Vancouver, Canada, where he learned the finer points, such as the pile driver and the moonsault. "Off the top rope I do a back flip, it's called the moonsault," he said. "It's just a back flip. I also do a pile driver." Mathews said in a pile driver, he puts the challenger's head between his legs and raises him up him and then jumps, landing hard on his rear end. "The pile driver is probably one of the most dangerous moves," he confided. "So if you don't know what you're doing, you can get really hurt." Mathews said the matches are manipulated to a certain degree by promoters to maintain maximum excitement for the audience, but the moves inside the ring are real and the wrestlers really get hit. "There is contact, it's not as fake as people seem to think," He said. "You're landing on him, but you're not trying to kill him. There's real grudges out there." Since becoming a professional at age 15, Mathews has had 375-400 matches. His first victory came in his fifth match against a wrestler called Rain, in Howland at Penobscot Valley High School. He now weighs in at 165-175, is 5 feet, 11 inches tall and gets paid $50-$70 per bout. Mathews works for Community Correctional Alternatives, a program for ex-prison and jail inmates on College Avenue in Waterville. Sonny Roselli, the promoter, said he has been in wrestling for seven years, from Nova Scotia to Tennessee. "I wrestled twice for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, which is a big wrestling company that has a TV show on the Spike TV network," he said. "I'm a heavyweight and have been champ several times." New Wrestling Horizons is the world sanctioning body for this event, he said. The American Wrestling Association has been around since 1960, he said, and has produced some of the biggest stars of wrestling. Hulk Hogan got his start in the AWA. As for predictions for the big match between the kid and the champ from Philadelphia, who is a veteran of WWE and Extreme Championship Wrestling, Roselli had only one answer. "It'll be one great night of family entertainment," he said.
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