|Founder(s)||Nightmare Danny Davis|
|Formerly||NWA Ohio Valley Championship Wrestling (1993–1997)|
Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) is an American independent professional wrestling promotion based in Louisville, Kentucky. The company is currently run by Al Snow, who took over from founder and former owner Nightmare Danny Davis. OVW was initially a member promotion of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) from its inception in 1993 until 2000, when it became the primary developmental territory for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). It remained in this role from 2000 until 2008. The promotion was unaffiliated from February 7, 2008 until November 2011, when it became the farm territory for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (now Impact Wrestling). The relationship with TNA initially ended on November 2, 2013, but on March 19, 2019 it was announced that OVW and Impact Wrestling had re-established their developmental agreement.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Founding and NWA membership (1993–2001)
- 1.2 WWF/WWE developmental territory (1999–2008)
- 1.3 Post WWE years (2008–2018)
- 1.4 Gladiator Sports Network Era (2018–present)
- 2 Television
- 3 Current champions
- 4 Roster
- 5 Notable alumni
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Founding and NWA membership (1993–2001)
OVW was founded by Nightmare Danny Davis in 1993 as a National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) member promotion under the name NWA Ohio Valley. The company primarily ran shows in the Kentucky and Indiana territories that were formerly run by the United States Wrestling Association, with weekly shows run out of the original Davis Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, with larger shows run out of the Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1997, OVW ended its relationship with the NWA and renamed itself Ohio Valley Wrestling. Later that year, Trailer Park Trash became the first OVW Heavyweight Champion by defeating Vic the Bruiser.
Launch of OVW's weekly TV show
On January 11, 1998, OVW taped the first episode of its weekly television series, emanating from the original Davis Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Louisville Gardens ring announcer Dean Hill served as play by play commentator alongside Faye Davis as the Ring Announcer. The show featured an introduction to the company by owner Danny Davis, with a main event of Nick Dinsmore and Rob Conway vs Juan Hurtado and The Intern.
WWF/WWE developmental territory (1999–2008)
Beginnings of the Jim Cornette era
In 1999, WWF creative team member Jim Cornette bought a stake in OVW and expressed his interest in starting a full-service developmental territory for up and comers. Cornette, a native of Louisville, was also looking to move closer to his home as he was not fond of living in Connecticut, where the WWF was based, nor did he get along with several of his colleagues (among them Kevin Dunn and Vince Russo).
Cornette, taking on the role of booker and show writer while appearing in an on-camera commentator role, made his first televised appearance on July 10, 1999, and spoke of the changes that were to take place. The first WWE contracted talent to be assigned to OVW would be Rico Constantino. The first group of developmental stars would prove historical as prospects developed under this class would go on to be the biggest names in pro wrestling and beyond in the 2000s.
Creation of the New Davis Arena
With the influx of new talent the company outgrew its small location in Jeffersonville and needed to expand. The final show at the original arena would be on August 21, 2002 headlined by a match between Damaja and Rene Dupree. On September 4, 2002 the company would debut its show at the current Davis Arena at 4400 Shepherdsville Rd in Louisville, Ky. This venue could seat up to 500. Even with the expansion, lines before the show would start hours beforehand with a large standing room crowd being let in after seats were filled. The first main event would be Doug Basham vs Chris Benoit.
The end of the Jim Cornette era
On July 10, 2005 Jim Cornette would be fired from the WWE which would include being relieved of his position overseeing OVW. This was after an incident where he was reported to have slapped one of OVW's beginners class students Anthony Carelli for having an inappropriate reaction when being confronted by a horror character called The Boogeyman during one of the companies shows. The two have not been on positive terms since, with them having a confrontation during an event in which both were booked as recent as October 2017. Cornette would be replaced in the OVW Broadcast booth by WWE Trainer Al Snow with his position overseeing creative being taken over by Paul Heyman. This would be short lived as Heyman would eventually be put in charge of the revived ECW brand leaving OVW television having a revolving door of producers which included many ECW alum as well as former AWA booker Greg Gagne. Eventually the booking duties would go to Al Snow who would have the longest tenure outside of Cornette. Jim Cornette was still part owner of the company for another two years before selling his end to Davis in 2007.
End of the WWE partnership
Rumors eventually began to circulate that WWE was looking to relocate its developmental system, with WWE's talent not wanting to have to travel to Kentucky cited as the main factor, as many of them lived in Florida. In 2005, WWE helped establish Deep South Wrestling in Georgia, but it was never able to reach the popularity in its market that OVW had in Louisville, leading to its closure in 2007. Later in 2007, WWE helped create Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in Tampa, Florida to serve as a new developmental territory. OVW and FCW simultaneously trained WWE prospects for a brief period, but on February 7, 2008, WWE announced that it had ended its relationship with OVW, moving all contracted talent to Florida Championship Wrestling.
On September 23, 2009, OVW announced via a press release from WWE that Senior EVP John Laurinaitis had visited OVW while scouting prospective wrestlers, and that WWE intended to take "a much more active role in recruiting OVW developed talent". Throughout 2008 and 2009, OVW talent remained a large part of WWE's recruiting classes and were frequently used on WWE programming as extras or enhancement talent. WWE-contracted talent also made occasional appearances on OVW shows, including a John Cena vs Lance Cade main event for the final Kentucky Kingdom show. On February 22 and 23, 2010 the WWE held a two-day tryout camp for independent wrestlers in conjunction with OVW, the first event of this nature held outside of FCW since it became WWE's sole developmental territory. WWE eventually purchased OVW's video tape library, and has featured some of WWE's top stars' early matches from OVW on various DVDs and on its WWE Network. As of December 2011, over 100 OVW alumni have appeared in WWE.
Post WWE years (2008–2018)
Derby City Wrestling merger
OVW would see a drastic change in 2008 with much of its established roster being picked up by the WWE and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (now known as Impact Wrestling) that same year. Starting in the beginning of 2009 it would shut down its own developmental system Derby City Wrestling and merge the rosters with the remainder of the talent left in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Creative would initially go to Danny Davis and long time referee Ray Ramsey but in early 2009 the company fell on financial hardship. In an attempt to keep the company afloat OVW alumnus John "Bradshaw" Layfield would eventually leave the WWE and sponsor the company himself. Meanwhile, creatively it was decided to let some of the younger veteran talent as well as members of its production crew help "modernise" the show to draw new fans. These changes would include being one of the first full-time professional wrestling organizations to have a weekly online series and the introduction of monthly pay per view live events. Much like with its wrestler training, members of the post developmental transition team have gone on to make names for themselves not only in the front offices of major pro wrestling companies but throughout the sports and entertainment world with members including The Florida Panthers Bill Clark, Seminole Hard Rock Casino's Rob Longo, NXT's James Long and the NFHS's Jason Frost. The creative team included eventual TNA Impact tag champion Anarquia, Global Force Wrestling Australia's Ali Vaez and WWE star Viktor
Partnership with Ring of Honor
On September 8, 2010, in what was dubbed the company's season premiere, Danny Davis, who himself was making his return for the first time in over a year, announced that Jim Cornette was returning to his role as match maker of the company. Cornette, who was also executive producer of Ring of Honor's HDNet show, stated that Ring of Honor (ROH) talent as well as talent from other companies were going to work in OVW along with the current crop of stars and returning former OVW stars in an effort to return the company to its previous reputation as the best independent wrestling company to get recruited from. A similar claim was made by Cornette during the announcement of the ROH HDNet program moving its tapings to the OVW/Davis arena. This would also mark when Ring of Honor would start using the larger regulation sized ring which was provided to them by OVW.
TNA developmental territory
On November 7, 2011, it was announced that OVW and TNA, had reached an agreement for OVW to become TNA's official training and developmental territory. TNA's Director of Talent Relations Al Snow returned as booker of the company, replacing the outgoing Jim Cornette. The announcement which was first announced on Twitter by Dixie Carter abruptly ended the ROH/OVW relationship. The deal was put together when former WWE talent relations executive and OVW proponent Bruce Prichard was hired by Impact to a similar position. Impact immediately sent younger talent to Louisville for seasoning and Doug Williams was also sent down as a veteran trainer to work with younger talent on the show and help them in ring while veteran wrestlers Josie and Epiphany would hold a similar role for the female wrestlers. OVW would also become the primary home to the winners of TNA's Gut Check and TNA British Boot Camp contests with owner Danny Davis even being a judge on Gut Check during its final segments. OVW and TNA would mutually ende the relationship on November 2, 2013 after a financial dispute.
Gladiator Sports Network Era (2018–present)
Al Snow ownership
On April 6, 2018, it was announced that Al Snow was purchasing the promotion from Danny Davis, who was planning to retire but didn't want to shut the company down. On September 12, 2018 it was announced that Ohio Valley Wrestling would be merging with Top Notch Boxing, a major boxing promotion in Louisville, to form the Gladiator Sports Network. The goal of Gladiator is to expand both companies to a bigger audience. OVW's first event under the Gladiator Sports banner was the 1000th episode special of its television series on October 10, 2018 from Louisville's Fourth Street Live!. This was OVW's first ever live televised event and it was streamed on FITE TV. The event featured a tournament to crown the vacant OVW championship featuring both current and past stars as well as a tribute to the companies founders.
On October 29, 2018, the brand announced an international expansion of its wrestling school and television product to the European Market labeled OVW-EU. Most of the schools now affiliated with the OVW Brand outside the United States were formally with the "Al Snow Wrestling Academy" brand which was merged with OVW upon the purchase by Gladiator Sports. This expands Ohio Valley Wrestling to a total of 17 wrestling schools worldwide. An on-demand service, which will air past and current editions of the original American brand plus the possibility of a future OVW UK Brand, was also announced. The service would officially launch on the third week of March 2019 at a cost of $4.99 a month.
Impact Wrestling developmental territory
In February 2019, OVW would announce a partnership with Impact Wrestling to produce an exclusive event for Impact's Global Wrestling Network. The event, titled Clash in the Bluegrass, would air live for free for the Louisville, Ky market on March 3, 2019 and then premiere as an Impact "One Night Only" special on GWN on March 9, 2019. This event would mark the first collaboration between OVW and Impact since 2013 and would be the first time the new Davis Arena has ever sold out an event via pre-sale tickets.
The joint production was well received by fans of both companies and ended with a promise of possibly more crossover events between the two companies from Impact Wrestling Executive Vice President Scott D'Amore. On March 19, 2019, Impact announced that the company was once again in a partnership with OVW as its developmental territory.
Launch of a vocational school
In April 2019, local media in Louisville reported that OVW was developing a formal vocational educational program in professional wrestling through the Al Snow Wrestling Academy, and had applied for accreditation with the Kentucky Department of Education. Students who complete the two-year program, involving 60 credit hours (on the semester system) of instruction in in-ring wrestling, English, finance, business, marketing, and TV production, will receive a degree in professional wrestling and sports entertainment. OVW expected to receive state approval in the coming weeks; once approved, it planned to start accepting applications in May 2019 with instruction beginning that August. If approved, OVW will become the first officially accredited professional wrestling trade school. On September 15, the school was approved by the state of Kentucky.
|Created by||Nightmare Danny Davis|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||1044 (as of August 17, 2019)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original network|| WBNA-21|
OVW currently airs a 60-minute television program on Saturdays in the Louisville area on WBNA-21 at 11:00AM and replay at 9:00PM, and on WBON-LD in London, Kentucky at 9:00PM. OVW also has streaming video via their website, where new episodes are streamed on Thursdays following the previous Wednesday's television taping. The television shows originate from the Davis Arena in the Buechel neighborhood of Louisville.
As of October 19, 2019
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days
|OVW Heavyweight Championship||Justin Smooth||2||June 1, 2019||140+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Michael Hayes at an OVW Saturday Night Special to win the title|
|OVW Television Championship||Tony Gunn||3||October 1, 2019||18+||Louisville, Kentucky||Won title in a Gauntlet match at an OVW TV Tapings|
|OVW Anarchy Championship||Sinn Bodhi||1||May 8, 2019||164+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Shiloh Jonze in an empty arena match|
|OVW Southern Tag Team Championship||The Legacy of Brutality
(Big Zo, Ca$h Flo, Hy-Zaya and Jay Bradley)
|1||August 3, 2019||77+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Big Zo (replacement for Leonis Khan) and Maximus Khan at OVW Saturday Night Special|
|OVW Women's Championship||Megan Bayne||1||June 1, 2019||140+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Cali Young at an OVW Saturday Night Special|
|Championship||Final champion||Date won||Notes|
|OVW Light Heavyweight Championship||Chris Michaels||April 12, 2000||Defeated Sean Casey on OVW TV. Retired on March 1, 2001|
|OVW Hardcore Championship||Randy Orton||May 5, 2001||Defeated Flash Flanagan on OVW TV. Retired on May 12, 2001|
|Ring name||Real name||Notes|
|Adam Revolver||Jared Pridgin|
|Apollo Garvin||Jason Garvin|
|Big D||Jerome Bliss|
|Big Zo||Cowann D Owens||OVW Southern Tag Team Champion|
|Billy O||Shane Marit|
|"Bluegrass Brawler" (BGB)||Dereck Higdon|
|Ca$h Flo||Unknown||OVW Southern Tag Team Champion|
|Crazzy Steve||Steven Scott|
|Dapper Dan||Daniel Anderson|
|David Lee Lorenze III||David Lorenze|
|Hy-Zaya||Unknown||OVW Southern Tag Team Champion|
|Jay Bradley||Bradley Jayden Thomas||OVW Southern Tag Team Champion|
|Jax Dane||Jaxson Dane|
|Jessie Godderz||Jessie Godderz|
|Josh Ashcraft||Josh Ashcraft|
|Justin Smooth||Unknown||OVW Heavyweight Champion|
|KTD||KarDaniel Terrance Dunn|
|Leonis Khan||Morgan Hill|
|Maximus Khan||Christopher Hill|
|Michael Hayes||Michael Hayes|
|Randall Floyd||Randy Kaufman|
|Roberto De Luna||Roberto De Luna|
|Ryan Howe||Ryan Howe|
|Sinn Bodhi||Nicholas Cvjetkovich||OVW Anarchy Champion|
|SK Eveslage||Steven Eveslage|
|Tommy Dreamer||Thomas Laughlin|
|Tony Gunn||Anthony Gunn||OVW Television Champion|
|Ring name||Real name||Notes|
|Cali Young||Kristen Young|
|Hayley Shadows||Tina Stock|
|Jessie Belle||Jessie Belle|
|Maria James||Marie Evans|
|Max the Impaler||Unknown|
|Megan Bayne||Unknown||OVW Women's Champion|
|Brittany DeVore||Ring Announcer |
|Gilbert Corsey||Play-by-play commentator |
|Mercy Keller||Assistant Ring Announcer|
|Shannon The Dude||Color commentator |
World Heavyweight Radio Champion
|Ted McNaler||Color commentator |
|Joe Wheeler||Senior Official|
|Charlene Mackenzie||Head Official|
|Dean Hill||Former majority owner|
|Rip Rogers||Head trainer in the advanced class|
|Nightmare Danny Davis||Founder|
- Alicia Fox
- Beth Phoenix
- Big Show
- Bobby Lashley
- The Boogeyman
- Brock Lesnar
- Charlie Haas
- CM Punk
- Cody Rhodes
- Curt Hawkins
- D'Angelo Dinero/Elijah Burke
- Damien Sandow
- Deuce 'n' Domino
- Dolph Ziggler
- Doug Basham
- Drake Maverick
- Eve Torres
- Jessie Godderz
- John Cena
- John Hennigan
- Kelly Kelly
- Mr. Kennedy/Mr. Anderson
- Kofi Kingston
- Lei'D Tapa
- Marc Copani
- Mark Henry
- Maryse Ouellet
- Matt Cappotelli
- The Miz
- Mickie James
- Randy Orton
- René Duprée
- Rob Conway
- Rob Terry
- Rodney Mack
- Rosa Mendes
- Ruby Riott
- Santino Marella
- Shelton Benjamin
- Sojourner Bolt
- Taeler Hendrix
- Taryn Terrell
- The Spirit Squad
- Tye Dillinger
- Vladimir Kozlov
- Wade Barrett
- Zack Ryder
- Sports in Louisville, Kentucky
- List of National Wrestling Alliance territories
- List of independent wrestling promotions in the United States
- "About OVW | Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ovwrestling.com. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- Cactus Back Wrestling (2017-05-31), OVW TV #1 (January 17,1998), retrieved 2018-04-18
- "WWE to cease affiliation with Ohio Valley Wrestling". World Wrestling Entertainment. February 7, 2008. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- "TNA Impact Wrestling and OVW Sign Developmental Deal | Ohio Valley Wrestling". Ovwrestling.com. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- IMPACT (2019-03-19). "BREAKING: We are thrilled to announce that we have re-entered into an agreement with @ovwrestling to serve as an official development and training territory for IMPACT Wrestling.pic.twitter.com/Wm8g20VwPT". @IMPACTWRESTLING. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
- "Danny Davis Sells Ohio Valley Wrestling | 411MANIA". 411mania.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
- Van Drisse, Trent (2011-06-02). "OVW TV report 6-1 tapings in Louisville". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Archived from the original on 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
- "OVW TV Taping (January '98 #1) at Davis Arena (Original) wrestling results - Internet Wrestling Database".
- "OVW TV Taping (July '99 #1) at Davis Arena (Original) wrestling results - Internet Wrestling Database".
- "The kids from OVW that changed WWE".
- "OVW Jeffersonville Show (Aug '02) at Davis Arena (Original) wrestling results - Internet Wrestling Database".
- "More Videos and Details from Jim Cornette - Santino Marella Incident at Wrestling Convention". 2017-10-08.
- "TNA News: Jim Cornette says TNA needs a developmental program, criticizes WWE's developmental program". PWTorch.com. 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "OVW Summer Sizzler Series '08 (#4) at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom wrestling results - Internet Wrestling Database".
- Marshall, Anne (December 7, 2011). "Learning the ropes". Louisville Eccentric Observer. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- "Florida Panthers Club Directory".
- "WWE Hires Longtime Impact Wrestling Producer". 2018-08-15.
- Caldwell, James (2010-09-09). "ROH/OVW News: Jim Cornette announced as new OVW matchmaker; "working relationship" announced between ROH & OVW". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Caldwell, James (2011-11-07). "TNA News: TNA announces official training program with WWE's former developmental territory". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
- "FRI. UPDATE: More TNA cost saving moves, Carters send e-mail to talent denying sale, Video game promotion, real story behind birth of one of greatest world title reigns, Legednary mafch, Classics on Demand, Weekend preview". F4wonline.com. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "Former WWE superstar Al Snow purchases Ohio Valley Wrestling". Louisville, KY: WDRB. April 6, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "OVW UK•EU". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-02-25.
- "Exclusive: Al Snow on the Gladiator Sports Network & Ohio Valley Wrestling's future". 2019-04-06.
- CURRIER, JOSEPH (March 19, 2019). "IMPACT WRESTLING & OVW RE-ENTER DEVELOPMENTAL AGREEMENT". F4W. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
- Bard, Jessica (April 3, 2019). "Ohio Valley Wrestling to open first professional wrestling trade school". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
- "The Al Snow Wrestling Academy is Now a State Accredited Trade School". September 15, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- "Streaming Television Episodes". Ohio Valley Wrestling. Retrieved February 19, 2019.