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The Pioneer

Wrestling electrifies Hayward gym

Photo by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer

Photo by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer

Louis LaVenture,
Editor-in-Chief

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For many people, wrestling brings back memories of childhood. Early Saturday mornings waking up to see Hulk Hogan destroy some unnamed opponent or huddling around a cable box to watch pay-per-view events like Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble or Summer Slam.

The WWF and later the WWE captivated kids like myself, who would go out after the shows and recreate the moves and matches with their friends.

This atmosphere came to life all over again in Hayward on Sunday at the U.S. Karate & Boxing Gym when they hosted a professional wrestling and lucha libre event. There were men, women, cheating referees, banter between the wrestlers and audience, flying maneuvers off the top ropes, chairs used as weapons and much more.

Samara, a Bay Area native, lost her match to Lisa Lace, but was a clear crowd favorite evident by the positive reaction she got before, during and after her match.

“Maybe I get a good crowd response because I am genuinely myself and don’t try and be anything else,” Samara said. “Somebody told me the best character is yourself turned up to 11. That’s what I try to do everytime.”

Attendees could buy and wear the gear and masks of their favorite wrestlers to support them during the matches, which they did emphatically. A group of young children had several verbal altercations with “bad guys” who cheated and chastised the crowd while breaking all of the rules.

This small gym could have been Oracle Arena or Levi’s Stadium, the atmosphere was that electric thanks in large part to the raucous crowd that screamed, yelled and provided a huge comic relief as well.

The historic gym that has been a fixture in Hayward for years, which helped produce Andre Ward, provided a perfect backdrop for a sport that is still as popular at it has ever been.

Photo by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer
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Wrestling electrifies Hayward gym