Long Island's pro wrestling connections
Pro wrestling and Long Island are intertwined in numerous ways.
A picture shows Long Island natives Curt Hawkins, left, and Zack Ryder celebrating their WWE tag-team title win at Nassau Coliseum in 2008. Hawkins (real name Brian Myers) has this and other works of art displayed at his new Create a Pro Wrestling Academy in Hicksville on March 23, 2014.
Brian Myers, who wrestled in WWE as Curt Hawkins, talks to a prospective student at the opening of his Create a Pro Wrestling Academy in Hicksville on March 23, 2014.
WWE Superstar Zack Ryder came to the open house for the new Create a Pro Wrestling Academy in Hicksville to support former tag-team partner and Create A Pro co-owner Curt Hawkins (real name Brian Myers) on March 23, 2014.
Malverne resident and former WWE Superstar Matt Striker now plies his trade with WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz' World of Unpredictable Wrestling.
Three-time WWE champion and Ward Melville High alum Mick Foley stands in the school's gym in Setauket. (March 18, 2013)
WrestleMania II was held on Long Island at Nassau Coliseum, as well as in Chicago and Los Angeles. Each city hosted one hour, with the crowd watching the other two hours via closed circuit TV. Mr. T and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper highlighted the first hour at Nassau in their infamous boxing match, capping off a long verbal feud. (April 7, 1986)
A program from WWE's first show at the Nassau Coliseum in 1974.
On August 26, 2002, WWE held a pay per view in its entirety for the first time at the Nassau Coliseum when it brought SummerSlam to Long Island. The spectacular card featured Shawn Michaels returning from a five-year hiatus to battle Triple H, and Brock Lesnar defeating the Rock for the WWE championship.
WWE Superstars and Long Island natives Curt Hawkins, left, and Zack Ryder, won the WWE Tag Team Championship titles at home, in a Fatal Four-Way Tag Team match during the Great American Bash in 2008 at Nassau Coliseum.
WWE Superstars and Long Island natives Curt Hawkins, left, and Zack Ryder, won the WWE Tag Team Championship at home, during in a Fatal Four-Way match during the Great American Bash in 2008 at Nassau Coliseum .
WWE Superstar and Glen Cove native Curt Hawkins. (April 3, 2011)
Zack Ryder is a Long Island native, WWE Superstar and the self-proclaimed Long Island Iced-Z. His "Z! True Long Island Story" YouTube show turned him into an underground sensation and helped show WWE the power of social media.
Long Island native Trent Barreta, in the far upper right corner, returned to his NYWC roots for a show in Deer Park following a stint with WWE.
New York Wrestling Connection trainer Alex Reynolds, left, shows a student how to do a shoulder block. NYWC runs a pro wrestling school and promotes shows out of its Deer Park facility. Several of its students have later found work for WWE and TNA Wrestling. (April 24, 2012)
Dragon Gate USA held a 2012 card at the NYWC Sportatorium in Deer Park.
WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper came to Long Island's FTW on March 17, 2012 to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style.
The Greek God Papadon, an independent standout from the Long Island area for more than a decade, beat Tony Nese, Bobby Fish and Bandido Jr. to win the prestigious Super 8 tournament held in Newark, Del. (April 8, 2012)
TNA Wrestling has brought its show to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury several times, featuring stars like TNA Knockout Velvet Sky. (Jan. 6, 2012)
Total Nonstop Action pro wrestling star Bully Ray, left, who grew up in Huntington, hangs out at Rick's Cabaret in Manhattan. He was there as part of a bachelor party leading up to his storyline wedding with Hulk Hogan's daughter, Brooke, the following night on Spike TV's "Impact Wrestling." (Jan. 16, 2013)
Total Nonstop Action pro wrestling star Bully Ray, right, who grew up in Huntington, hangs out at Rick's Cabaret in Manhattan. He was there as part of a bachelor party leading up to his storyline wedding with Hulk Hogan's daughter, Brooke, the following night on Spike TV's "Impact Wrestling." Fellow pro wrestler and close friend Tommy Dreamer was one of the guests. (Jan. 16, 2013)
Wrestler Chris Jericho, who was born in Manhasset, holds up the book "The Outsiders," as Rep. Patrick Kennedy, left, looks on during a book reading on the lawn of the Hope street Providence Public Library in Providence, R.I. World Wrestling Federation superstars Chris Jericho and Lita joined Kennedy to promote literacy in America by reading to children at the library. (July 16, 2001)
WWE Superstar Chris Jericho retains his World Heavyweight Championship vs. Edge during WrestleMania XXVI at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Mar. 28, 2010)
WWE Superstar and Merrick native Zack Ryder.
WWE Superstar and Merrick native Zack Ryder cartoon image at one point graced his Twitter account, which now has in excess of 1 million followers.
Long Island native Zack Ryder, in his signature move, leaps onto Michael McGillicutty during WWE Monday Night Raw in St. Louis. (July 23, 2012)