In a local scene once dominated only by yearly World Wrestling Entertainment appearances, Devotion Championship Wrestling has arrived to fill the void that is the Utah independent professional wrestling landscape.
Located at The Gateway Mall at 400 W. 12 S. in Salt Lake City, DCW holds monthly shows where heroes and villains collide in the name of pride and championship gold.
“DCW was created to provide a change of culture to the Utah professional wrestling scene,” says DCW owner Manny Smith. “We want to help train students who want to grow and develop as performers.”
Titled “Festivus Fights” for the holiday season, DCW officially held its first show for local professional wrestling fans on Dec. 22, 2018, at the Art Factory in Salt Lake City.
DCW’s monthly events differ from other Utah wrestling promotions by including more out-of-state talent for the local shows. Notable international stars that have entered the DCW arena include the likes of Vince Russo, Cheeseburger and Jordynne Grace.
A typical training session at DCW includes warm-ups and cardio to get the body moving. Training then depends on the individual’s previous wrestling experience. These weekly trainings at the arena help create a sense of comradery among its wrestlers.
“You’re doing things [in the ring] that a regular person tends to avoid,” states Charlotte Kaihau, a DCW trainee. “[At training] we help each other break mental barriers and become the best professional wrestlers that we can be.”
Mike Schroeder, a ten-year veteran in the world of wrestling, is grateful that DCW has given him the opportunity to perform in front of local audiences.
“You are only as good as your organization,” says Schroeder. “I’m thankful to be given the chance to be seen as a hero for the younger fans.”
Outside of the ring, the DCW community (known as the Devoted Ones) have created a close-knit environment where inspiring professional wrestlers can develop their craft.
The wrestlers are not the only ones who speak highly of DCW. Matthew Roblez, co-owner of both Phoenix Championship Wrestling and Destiny Wrestling, has high hopes and expectations for DCW.
“There has been a void for a major league type of wrestling promotion in Utah,” states Roblez. “[DCW] succeeds because it has a community of performers that believe in a common goal and work to make the company the best that it can be.”
Roblez also praises Smith for his work as DCW’s owner.
“[Smith] has excelled in engaging the public with a mixture of home-grown and international talent,” says Roblez. “He understands that running a professional wrestling promotion is exactly like running a business.”
When asked about long-term goals for DCW as a whole, many wrestlers say that the end goal is to put Utah independent wrestling on the map. No one believes in that idea more than Smith.
“[Eventually] I want DCW to be a stepping stone for companies such as WWE, All Elite Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and Impact Wrestling,” says Smith. “I want to help make DCW one of the biggest companies in the world.”
DCW’s next monthly show, “Heartbreak Showdown,” will take place Saturday, Feb. 22 at 400 W. 12 S. inside the Gateway Mall. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets range from $5 to $18.