OklaCon and OklaMania hit wrestling fans right in the nostalgia 

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Jerry Bostic of Imperial Wrestling Revolution (IWR) puts the Sting back into wrestling. A former wrestler whose finishing move was The Termination, Bostic grew up admiring the heroes of Mid-South Wrestling, the legendary regional federation that helped define the character of sports entertainment from 1979 through 1986.

With OklaMania 6 p.m. Sunday at Cox Convention Center, Bostic and IWR bring back the spirit of Mid-South Wrestling as well as many of the stars from that era, including Sting, Jerry Lawler, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Kevin Nash.

Bostic, who blew out his knee after seven years in the ring, started IWR two years ago when his friend Ky-ote, a.k.a. the Chickasaw Warrior, suggested they make a move in wrestling promotion.

“I told him, ‘OK, but if we’re going to do it, we’re going to get out of Ardmore and we’re going to travel.’ He was like, ‘How are we going to do that?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out,” Bostic said. “For the first few months, we took a U-Haul everywhere. That’s not the cheapest thing in the world.”

Yet IWR quickly gained momentum with a series of small events in Ardmore, Durant, Broken Bow and Anadarko. The game-changer was IWR: When Worlds Collide, a January event at Firelake Arena that sealed his partnership with Jim Ross, legendary wrestling commentator and former executive with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

The result is an event promising to bring back some classic Mid-South excitement.

“I think really, this event reaches more than just wrestling enthusiasts,” Bostic said. “It reaches families trying to find good entertainment to bring their children to, and it reaches all ages — it reaches the fans from the ’80s as well as the fans now. It’s like Oklahoma’s version of Wrestlemania.”

Oklahoma occupies a significant place in wrestling history. Mid-South Wrestling promoter Bill Watts, a former pro-wrestler, was an Oklahoma City native who eventually went on to headquarter Mid-South Wrestling’s nationwide successor, Universal Wrestling Federation, in the city.

“This area has such a rich tradition in wrestling,” Bostic said, “and this will be the first time since the Mid-South years in the ’80s that we’ve seen a show of this magnitude.”

In addition, IWR hosts its first convention, OklaCon, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Cox Convention Center. It features question-and-answer sessions with Ross, fellow commentator and manager Jim Cornette and Global Force Wrestling’s Jeff and Karen Jarrett. In addition, personalities such as Sting, Ross, Nash, Lawler and the newest generation of Dallas’ legendary Von Erich wrestling dynasty, Marshall and Ross Von Erich, will be on hand for photos and autographs.

Bostic said that independent promotions such as IWR play a significant role in pushing the next generation of talent up to the top echelons. While there are many legacy acts participating in OklaMania, there are many younger wrestlers who will step into the ring, too.

“Indie wrestling has had a surge in the last few years,” he said. “Honestly, if you look at WWE, a lot of the talent they have now came from the independent scene.” 

Print headline: Ring bearers, Imperial Wrestling Revolution deploys its finishing move with OklaMania.

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