|Ohio Valley Wrestling|
|Created by||Nightmare Danny Davis|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||23|
|No. of episodes||1136 (as of May 18, 2021)|
|Camera setup||Multicamera setup|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080p|
|Original release||January 12, 1998 -|
Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) is an American independent professional wrestling promotion based in Louisville, Kentucky. The company is currently run by Al Snow and Matt Jones, 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 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 (TNA; now Impact Wrestling). This relationship initially ended on November 2, 2013, but on March 19, 2019, OVW and Impact re-established their developmental agreement.
OVW also has streaming video via their YouTube channel and streaming service, the OVW Wrestling Network. OVW TV will be airing on FITE on Thursdays at 7pm EST starting March 18, 2021.The television shows originate from the Davis Arena in the Buechel neighborhood of Louisville.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On July 10, 2005 Jim Cornette would part ways 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
On April 6, 2018, it was announced that professional wrestler 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. 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 $4.99 a month.
In February 2019, OVW would announce a partnership with Impact Wrestling to produce an exclusive event for Impact's Global Wrestling Network. The event, titled Clash in the Bluegrass, would air live for free for the Louisville, Ky market on March 3, 2019 and then premiere as an Impact "One Night Only" special on GWN on March 9, 2019. This event would mark the first collaboration between OVW and Impact since 2013 and would be the first time the new Davis Arena has ever sold out an event via pre-sale tickets. On March 19, 2019, Impact announced that the company was once again in a partnership with OVW as its developmental territory.
In April 2019, local media in Louisville reported that OVW was developing a formal vocational educational program in professional wrestling through the Al Snow Wrestling Academy, and had applied for accreditation with the Kentucky Department of Education. Students who complete the two-year program, involving 60 credit hours (on the semester system) of instruction in in-ring wrestling, English, finance, business, marketing, and TV production, will receive a degree in professional wrestling and sports entertainment. OVW expected to receive state approval in the coming weeks; once approved, it planned to start accepting applications in May 2019 with instruction beginning that August. If approved, OVW will become the first officially accredited professional wrestling trade school. On September 15, the school was approved by the state of Kentucky.
In October 2020, OVW announced a partnership with Qatar Pro Wrestling.
On January 5, 2021, OVW announced that Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio and Craig Greenberg of 21c Museum Hotels were lead investors in a group that purchased a majority interest in the company. Snow continues to run the promotion's day-to-day operations.
As of June 15, 2021
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days
|OVW Heavyweight Championship||Ca$h Flo||1||May 6, 2021||40+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Omar Amir.|
|OVW National Heavyweight Championship||Jessie Godderz||1||September 29, 2020||259+||Louisville, Kentucky||Won a 21-man Rumble to become the first champion.|
|OVW Anarchy Championship||Amon||2||August 18, 2020||301+||Jeffersonville, Indiana||Defeated Mrs. Marvelous after she laid down in the ring for him due to putting her in a trance in storyline.|
|OVW Rush Division Championship||Star Rider||1||April 24, 2021||52+||Louisville, Kentucky||This was a four-way match involving Gustavo, Hy-Zaya and Atiba.|
|OVW Tag Team Championship||The Tate Twins
(Brandon Tate and Brent Tate)
|2||May 22, 2021||24+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Jessie Godderz and Tony Gunn.|
|OVW Women's Championship||Hollyhood Haley J||1||February 9, 2021||126+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Mazzerati at the OVW 1122 TV Taping.|
|OVW World Radio Championship||Arie Alexander||1||April 24, 2021||52+||Louisville, Kentucky||Defeated Shannon The Dude at OVW Saturday Night Special - Retribution 2021.|
|Championship||Years active||First champion(s)||Final champion(s)||Notes|
|OVW Light Heavyweight Championship||1999-2001||Jason Lee||Chris Michaels|
|OVW Hardcore Championship||2000-2001||Trailer Park Trash||Randy Orton|
|OVW Television Championship||2005-2019||Brent Albright||AJZ||On October 30, Tony Gunn threw the Television Championship into the Ohio River. OVW Commissioner Dean Hill announced on OVW TV that because of this, the Television Championship was deactivated.|
|OVW World Radio Championship|
|Promotion||Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW)|
|Date established||December 10, 2019|
|Current champion(s)||Arie Alexander|
|Date won||April 24, 2021|
|No.||Overall reign number|
|Reign||Reign number for the specific champion|
|Days||Number of days held|
|+||Current reign is changing daily|
|No.||Champion||Championship change||Reign statistics||Notes||Ref.|
|1||Shannon The Dude||December 10, 2019||OVW TV - Christmas Chaos 2019||Louisville, Kentucky||1||501||Shannon The Dude defeated Steven Rummage in a Steel cage match|||
|2||Arie Alexander||April 24, 2021||OVW Saturday Night Special - Retribution 2021||Louisville, Kentucky||1||52+|||
|Ring name||Real name||Notes|
|Adam Revolver||Jared Pridgin|||
|AJZ||Andreas John Ziegler|||
|Big Zo||Cowann D Owens|||
|Ca$h Flo||Mike Walden|||
|Co-Star Rex||Christian Stewart|||
|Dapper Dan||Daniel Anderson|||
|Hollywood Adam Swayze||Adam Gray|||
|Hy-Zaya||Unknown||OVW Rush Division Champion|
|Jackson Stone||Joshua Franklin||Signed with Impact Wrestling|
|Jessie Godderz||Jessie Godderz||OVW National Heavyweight Champion|
OVW Tag Team Champion
|Josh Ashcraft||Josh Ashcraft||Manager of The Legacy of Brutality|
|KTD||KarDaniel Terrance Dunn|||
|Luscious Lawrence||Lawrence Westley Key Jr.|||
|Mahabali Shera||Amanpreet Randhawa||Signed with Impact Wrestling|
|Omar Amir||Omar Francis||OVW Heavyweight Champion|
|Reverend Ronnie Roberts||Unknown|||
|Ryan Howe||Ryan Howe|||
|Sinn Bodhi||Nicholas Cvjetkovich|||
|Snake Williams Jr.||Unknown|||
|Tony Gunn||Anthony Gunn||OVW Tag Team Champion|
|Ring name||Real name||Notes|
|Cali Young||Kristen Young|||
|Hollyhood Haley J||Unknown||OVW Women's Champion|
|Jessie Belle||Jessie Belle McCoy||Manager of Southern Discomfort|
|Salena Dean||Salena Sebastian|||
|AJ McKay||Overdrive Commentator |
|Bryan Kennison||Lead Television Commentator |
|Eric Cornish||Overdrive Commentator |
|Shannon The Dude
|Television Color Commentator |
World Heavyweight Radio Champion
|Stephanie||Overdrive Ring Announcer|
|Steven Johnson||Television Color Commentator |
|Daniel Spencer||Head Official/Referee|
|Dr. Damon Patterson||Medical Staff |
|Dr. Paul Klutts||Medical Staff |
|Jessica Parriski Sarven||Medical Staff |
|Dean Hill||Former majority owner|
|Jesse Morris||OVW Superstar|
|Nightmare Danny Davis||Founder|
|Sarge||Chief Marketing Officer|