F1ght Club Pro Wrestling brings independent professional wrestling back to the district

A scene from F1ght Club Pro Wrestling’s flagship show, Moechella. Photo courtesy of JayLee Photography.

Indie professional wrestling is making a comeback in the district, and this time it’s darker than ever. F1ght Club Fight Pro returned to the ring in person after two years with a series of battles at DC Brau on Sunday with a show that was their biggest yet.

The event, titled “In Grapitol We Trust”, brought together local wrestling promotions and 24 wrestlers from the so-called “Grapitol Region” to compete against each other. But the show also aimed to show the unity between these companies, despite the competitiveness of the independent wrestling community. “[DC] is a hotbed for pro wrestling,” said F1ght Club Pro co-founder Chris Christian Harris. “Instead of trying to steal tickets from each other, we can just work together and find a way to promote the way talent produces.”

The show drew over 400 people – some who had been waiting for independent professional wrestling to return to the city, and others who were simply intrigued by the concept of people throwing themselves into a brewery. Whatever the reason people showed up to the event, it was their biggest crowd yet. Harris describes the promotion’s success over the past few years as an out-of-body experience: “The energy for this show and these people was something I had never experienced before,” he says. “I could feel how excited the city was for wrestling to return.”

F1ght Club Pro began humblely when Harris and Jonathan “Jonny Xross” Martin launched the promotion in 2019. The duo were frustrated with the lack of black and LGBTQ+ representation in the wrestling community, so they decided to find a way to create space for wrestlers from marginalized communities who feel they don’t have the same opportunities as white or straight wrestlers. Their solution was to create championships that would create more buzz for black professional wrestlers: the Pan-African Diaspora World Championship (PAWDC, which Jonny Xross actually created a few months before the F1ght Club) and the Chocolate City Championship.

F1ght Club Pro’s first show drew only around 20 people in October 2019, but their next show, the following February, drew over 160. That night was also a monumental moment for the wrestlers. locals Trish Adora and Billy Dixon, who were crowned the African Diaspora World Pan Champion and Chocolate City Champion, respectively. “I was able to take this championship across the country in different states, defend it against a variety of opponents and create a legacy of a title from scratch,” Dixon said.

Then came the pandemic. F1ght Club Pro fought hard not to lose momentum. They began recording a series of shows – a mix of slam poetry, music videos and wrestling matches – that viewers could stream online on the independent wrestling streaming site. Independent wrestling television. The goal was always to elevate talent that was struggling to break into the wider wrestling world. “Black talent wasn’t getting the lead roles that other talent would get, no matter how popular they were with the crowd or how good they were in the ring,” Harris said. “They would be ancillary talent who just wouldn’t be able to make main events, be champions, or just have the same prominence as their white counterparts.”

Dixon was a person who had a difficult entry into the wrestling community. As an openly gay black man, he faced homelessness and homophobia while training at wrestling school at the age of 20. But, he says, the tide is changing: “It’s weird because we’re in the middle of this uprising of visible queer talent who are in big business and being trained with dignity and respect.” He won a match during the pandemic and successfully defended his title against rival O’Shay “Big Bad Kaiju” Edwards on Sunday. Now, Dixon will face Adora for the PAWDC title in June.

“For these people to trust us and spend the money they made to see the product we were giving them means to me that not only were they ready for the fight, but they were ready for us to come back and provide this fight for them.” said Harris. “I really think that started the era of the F1ght Club.”

Deputy Editor

Before becoming associate editor, Damare Baker started as a columnist at the Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She graduated from Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean and journalism.