Ohio Valley Wrestling
|Founder(s)||Nightmare Danny Davis|
|Formerly||NWA Ohio Valley Championship Wrestling|
Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) is an American independent professional wrestling promotion based in Louisville, Kentucky. It 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 (now WWE). It remained in this role from 2000 until 2008. The promotion was unaffiliated from February 7, 2008 until November 2011, and is currently run by Al Snow, who took over from founder and former owner Nightmare Danny Davis.
In 2012, OVW became the farm territory for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) (now Impact Wrestling). The relationship ended on November 2, 2013. As of December 2011, over 100 OVW alumni have appeared in WWE.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Founding & NWA roots (1993-1997)
- 1.2 TV Era (1998-Present)
- 1.3 OVW becomes Developmental Territory for WWE (1999-2008)
- 1.4 New Davis Arena
- 1.5 The end of the Jim Cornette era
- 1.6 End of the WWE era
- 1.7 Post WWE era
- 1.8 Partnership with Ring of Honor (2010-2011)
- 1.9 TNA Impact Developmental (2011-2013)
- 1.10 Purchased by Gladiator Sports Network (2018-Present)
- 2 Television
- 3 Current champions
- 4 Roster
- 5 Notable alumni
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Founding & NWA roots (1993-1997)
OVW was founded by Nightmare Danny Davis in 1993 as a NWA member under the name NWA Ohio Valley. The company primarily ran in the Kentucky and Indiana territories that were formerly run by the USWA with weekly shows run out of the Original Davis Arena on Mechanics street in Jeffersonville, Indiana and larger shows run out of the Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1997 OVW would end its relationship with the National Wrestling Alliance and rename itself Ohio Valley Wrestling. Trailer Park Trash would become the first OVW Champion defeating Vic the Bruiser on August 17 of that year.
TV Era (1998-Present)
On January 11, 1998, OVW would tape the first episode of its weekly television series. It would emanate from the original Davis Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Louisville Gardens ring announcer Dean Hill did play by play duties with Faye Davis as the Ring Announcer. The show would also feature an introduction to the company by owner Danny Davis. The main event would be Nick Dinsmore and Rob Conway vs Juan Hurtado and The Intern.
OVW becomes Developmental Territory for WWE (1999-2008)
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.
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 era
Rumors circulated that WWE was looking to relocate its developmental talent. The main reason given being location of OVW being a main factor with WWE's talent relations not wanting to have to travel to Kentucky with the preferred location being Florida where many of them lived. Deep South Wrestling was established in Georgia but did not last long as it was never able to reach the popularity in its market that OVW had in Louisville. In 2007 the rumors were proven true when WWE helped fund Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa, Florida.
Initially the two operated together but on February 7, 2008, WWE announced that it had ended its relationship with OVW as a developmental territory, moving all contracted talent to Florida Championship Wrestling. However, on September 23, 2009, OVW announced via a press release from WWE that Senior EVP John Laurinaitis visited and scouted OVW wrestlers and that WWE will take "a much more active role in recruiting OVW developed talent". Throughout 2008 and 2009 WWE-contracted talent would make occasional appearances on OVW shows including a John Cena vs Lance Cade main event for the companies final Kentucky Kingdom Show and OVW talent has remained a large part of WWE's recruiting classes with many talents signed to the WWE since February 2008 and many more being used on WWE programming as extras or enhancement talent. On February 22 and 23, 2010 the WWE in conjunction with OVW held a two-day tryout camp for independent wrestlers. It was the first event of this nature held outside Florida Championship Wrestling since FCW became WWE's sole developmental territory. WWE would eventually buy OVW's video tape library and has featured some of its top stars early matches on various DVD's and on its WWE Network.
Post WWE era
OVW would see a drastic change in 2008 with much of its established roster being picked up by the WWE and TNA 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 (2010-2011)
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 Impact Developmental (2011-2013)
On November 7, 2011, it was announced that OVW and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (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 British Bootcamp contests with owner Danny Davis even being a judge on Gut Check during its final segments before OVW and TNA mutually ended the relationship on November 2, 2013 after a financial dispute.
Purchased by Gladiator Sports Network (2018-Present)
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 more national audience. OVW's first event under the Gladiator Sports banner was the 1000th episode special of its television series on October 10 from Louisville's Fourth Street Live!. This was OVW's first ever live televised event and it was streamed on FITE TV.
|Created by||Nightmare Danny Davis|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||1002 (as of October 29, 2018)|
|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 WOBZ-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 February 15, 2019
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days
|OVW Heavyweight Championship||Tony Gunn||1||January 30, 2019||16+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Abyss to win the title|
|OVW Television Championship||Justin Smooth||1||January 9, 2019||37+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Colton Cage for the title in a Gauntlet match at an OVW TV Tapings|
|OVW Anarchy Championship||Tommy Dreamer||1||November 3, 2018||104+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Shiloh Jonze at an OVW Saturday Night Special|
|OVW Southern Tag Team Championship||War Kings (Crimson and Jax Dane)||2||November 3, 2018||104+||Elizabethtown, Kentucky||Defeated The Bro Godz (Colton Cage and Dustin Jackson) at an OVW Saturday Night Special|
|OVW Women's Championship||Brittany Devore||1||December 14, 2018||63+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Jaylee at an OVW Christmas Chaos 2018|
|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 Zo||Cowann D Owens|
|Billy O||Shane Marrit|
|"Bluegrass Brawler" (BGB)||Dereck Higdon|
|Crazzy Steve||Steven Scott|
|Crimson||Anthony Mayweather||OVW Southern Tag Team Champion|
|Dapper Dan||Daniel Anderson|
|David Lee Lorenze III||David Lorenze|
|"Big D"||Jerome Bliss|
|Jay Bradley||Bradley Jayden Thomas|
|Jax Dane||Jaxson Dane||OVW Southern Tag Team Champion|
|Josh Ashcraft||Josh Ashcraft|
|Justin Smooth||Unknown||OVW Television Champion|
|KTD||KarDaniel Terrance Dunn|
|Michael Hayes||Michael Hayes|
|Randall Floyd||Randy Floyd|
|Roberto De Luna||Roberto De Luna|
|Ryan Howe||Ryan Howe|
|Sam Thompson||Samuel Thompson|
|SK Eveslage||Steven Eveslage|
|Tommy Dreamer||Thomas Laughlin||OVW Anarchy Champion|
|Tony Gunn||Anthony Gunn||OVW Heavyweight Champion|
|Ring name||Real name||Notes|
|Brittany Devore||Brittany DeVore||OVW Women's Champion|
|Cali Young||Kristen Young|
|Hayley Shadows||Emily Canady||Hasn't appeared in over 30 days|
|Jessie Belle||Jessie Belle|
|Maria James||Maria James||Hasn't appeared in over 30 days|
|Megan Monroe||Megan Doheny|
|Nutty Nancy||Unknown||Hasn't appeared in over 30 days|
|Rebel||Tanea Brooks||Hasn't appeared in over 30 days|
|Brittany DeVore||Ring Announcer|
|Mercy Keller||Assistant Ring Announcer|
|Gilbert Corsey||Play-by-play commentator |
|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
- Jessie Godderz
- John Cena
- John Hennigan
- Kelly Kelly
- Mr. Kennedy/Mr. Anderson
- Kofi Kingston
- Lei'D Tapa
- Mark Henry
- Maryse Ouellet
- Matt Cappotelli
- The Miz
- Mickie James
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- René Duprée
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- Rodney Mack
- Rosa Mendes
- Ruby Riott
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- 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.
- "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.
- "TNA-OVW RELATIONSHIP ENDING, IMPACT ON THE ROAD IN 2014 AND MORE TNA NEWS". PWInsider.com. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- Marshall, Anne (December 7, 2011). "Learning the ropes". Louisville Eccentric Observer. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- "Danny Davis Sells Ohio Valley Wrestling | 411MANIA". 411mania.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
- "TNA News: Jim Cornette says TNA needs a developmental program, criticizes WWE's developmental program". PWTorch.com. 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- 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.
- "Big Update on Impact Road Tapings, More on TNA/OVW Relationship". Wrestlezone.com. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "Former WWE superstar Al Snow purchases Ohio Valley Wrestling". Louisville, KY: WDRB. April 6, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "Streaming Television Episodes". Ohio Valley Wrestling. Retrieved September 30, 2011.