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Modesto gets ready to rumble

Modesto’s John Thurman Field is best known as home of minor league baseball team the Modesto Nuts. However, on Aug. 13 John Thurman Field will be the host site for Big Time Wrestling. The event will feature popular sports entertainment figures Damien Sandow, Chris Masters and Shelly Martinez, among others. Serving as ‘Commissioner’ at the event will be World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer and professional wrestling icon, Bret “The Hitman” Hart.

Big Time Wrestling is celebrating 20 years of entertainment. Based out of Newark, California, BTW is making its first stop in Modesto since opening its doors in fall of 1996.

“Modesto has a rich wrestling history. In the ‘70s and ‘80s Modesto’s then Uptown Auditorium would have guys like Rocky Johnson, High Chief Peter Maivia, Ray Stevens and others that wrestled in the territory. We want to bring that rich history back to the area,” said Big Time Wrestling owner Kirk White.

Sandow and Masters will be battling each other in the main event of the evening. Also on the card will be fan favorite “The Fighting Unicorn” Kimo clashing with former World Wrestling Entertainment champion Santino Marella (now known as Anthony Carelli).

“Kimo is one of the most popular guys on our roster, amongst kids and women. His merchandise is arguably the top seller at our shows,” White said of his up and coming grappler.

Fans will also see the extreme side of BTW as Synn and Mr. TA face off in a hardcore match.

“The best part about an independent wrestling show, is that everyone gets to be a part of the action. Fans go to bigger, more established shows and they will not get the opportunity to get up close and personal with the superstars, as far as meet and greets. We pride ourselves in that,” noted White. “After a show we go out to eat and we see fans in the restaurant that went to the show and we talk and interact with them at the restaurant. It is a lot of fun and we love the feedback from the fans.”

Hart, who will not be wrestling at the event, will still make his presence felt as he oversees the action in the ring. He has been wrestling since the late ‘70s when he made his wrestling debut in Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling, run by his late father and fellow Hall of Famer, Stu Hart. In the mid ‘80s Hart landed a job with Vince McMahon in New York to wrestle for the then-World Wrestling Federation (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment).

“The Excellence of Execution” made a name for himself in the tag team ranks with his partner and brother-in-law Jim “Anvil” Neidhart as The Hart Foundation managed by Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart. Together The Hart Foundation captured the tag team titles twice before they split up in 1991. From there Hart went on to become one of the most charismatic superstars in wrestling history. His feuds with Mr. Perfect, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith and even his own brother, the late Owen Hart are widely considered to be some of the best and most memorable in professional wrestling history. Hart held the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship belt a total of five times and won the World Wrestling Federation Championship twice during his singles stint.

Like many professional wrestlers have in the past, Hart left the World Wrestling Federation in the late ‘90s for the then rival, and now out of business World Championship Wrestling. Hart’s stint in WCW may best be remembered for his rivalry with Hulk Hogan and Bill Goldberg. Hart won the WCW Heavyweight title twice and also won the WCW United States Championship.

Hart will be signing autographs and doing a photo shoot prior to the event at John Thurman Field.

Sandow, Masters and Martinez will also be in action and will join Hart in signing autographs and posing for photos with fans prior to the start of the show. Amongst these recognizable names and familiar faces, Big Time Wrestling provides up and coming superstars on their respective rosters. New wrestlers on the rise include World Champion Flex Armstrong. The 235-pound champion also won the BTW Television Championship and is an established Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Also with bright futures on the BTW roster are Bam Shaw, “Dynamite” Danny Miles, Don Vega, “King of NY” EC Negro and Teddy Goodz.

The event is scheduled to get underway at 7:30 p.m. with the meet and greet scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at

, the John Thurman Field Box office or by phone at (209) 572-4487. John Thurman Field is at 601 Neece Drive in Modesto.