Pro wrestlers entertain kids and families to benefit Brawley Firefighters

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Robbie Phoenix autographs a fan’s mask after defeating Luca Riley on Saturday night during the Desert Pro Wrestling fundraising event to benefit the Brawley Firefighters Association at Lions Center in Brawley.
Photo by Joselito N. Villero.

BRAWLEY — Desert Pro Wrestling fighters entertained an audience full of families and kids with live wrestling matches to benefit the Brawley Firefighters Association Friday evening at the Lions Center in Brawley. 

Wannabe lucha libre wrestlers, some as young as six-years-old, donned bright masks brought by their parents at the promotional table at the entrance. One mother was seen wearing a mask at a front seat next to the ring. The same children mimicked wrestling moves near the ring as parents obligingly took photos with their cellphones.
Fire Captain Eloy Martinez of the Brawley Firefighters Association said funds raised from the evening’s event would be used toward scholarships for deserving students at the fire academy and paramedic programs at Imperial Valley College as well as community projects in Brawley. The association’s previous projects include a pull-up exercise station and flag donations. 
“Tonight we have the best wrestlers coming from Mexico City in Mexico, San Diego, Los Angeles and surrounding areas,” said Richard Ignacio, Desert Pro Wrestling promoter. “We have one-on-one matches and a tag-team match.” 
Highlighting the evening was a title match being defended by Desert Pro Wrestling champion Arez and his challenger, Eli Everfly. The closely-matched fighters exchanged blows, threw and slammed each other on the mat, and even fought outside of the ring.
Some of the audience had to move to give room to the wrestlers. Once back in the ring, Arez dominated the match and finally pinned Eli Everly lying flat on the mat, motionless for several seconds. In the end, Arez retained his championship belt. 
Arez is a wrestler from Mexico City and was interviewed with a Spanish translator. “I had a great match and I’ve underestimated Eli Everfly,” Arez said. “I’m satisfied because I was able to retain the Desert Pro Wrestling championship belt for one year.” 
Results of the other one-on-one matches include Oziel winning over Vaquero, and Onyx vanquishing Uday Ukleja. However, in his second match, Onyx lost to Jake Atlas. Lucas Riley dominated over Robby Phoenix. 
Tag team Cheetah and Alonzo Alvarez prevailed over Koto Hiro and Hombre de Oro.
Ignacio said the wrestlers were encouraged to outdo each other in a clean fight without using objects. Outmaneuvering each other in the application of their training and using controlled force without seriously hurting opponents was the goal. And for good reason — without injuries, they can continue entertaining the audience in the next show. 
At the end of each match, children lined up to get their prized autographs from admired wrestlers. The kids were equipped with finger-sized Sharpies which wrestlers used to sign flyers, photographs and lucha libre masks. 
Five-year-old Andrew Avila Balderas struggled to peek through the eye holes of his lucha libra mask during an interview. He validated the wrestling with a single word, “Good.” Faith Fuñez, 10, said, “It was awesome.” Caitlyn Sheehan, a ten-year-old girl said, “It was amazing.” 
Earlier in the evening, several minutes before the wrestling started, Capt. Martinez said, “I’m expecting a good show.” And by all accounts, it was.