FORTVILLE — A local church is making room for a wrestling ring as Wrestling Theology Fellowship returns to Fortville.

Dynamic Duels is a pro-wrestling-style event set for April 27 at Mercy Road Church Northeast, 611 Vitality Drive. Doors open at 5 p.m. with bell at 6.

One of the featured competitors will be Space Cowboy, the reigning WTF Belt of Truth holder — in other words, the Wrestling Theology heavyweight champion. He’s been wrestling in these faith-meets-pro-wrestling events for about three years now and says it’s a fascinating atmosphere.

“Kids are the absolute best audience because this matters to them as much as a movie,” said Stacee Alexander, the man behind the David Lee Roth-ish persona that is Space Cowboy. “… It being in a church is nice because I think it keeps the wrestlers honest.”

Richard Abbott

The family-friendly shows are the brainchild of Richard Abbott, a wrestling fan who was encouraged by a church friend to bring together his faith with his love of wrestling. At first that looked like getting people together to watch wrestling, or organizing a meet-and-greet and autographs with wrestlers who were Christians, but eventually it grew into the multi-match events that take place several times a year at different churches. Abbott said the upcoming event in Fortville is one of three shows planned for that site this year.

Space Cowboy won the Belt of Truth in February during Ring Riot at Mercy Road Church in Anderson, and he defended it earlier this month during Ring of Redemption at Life Church in Huntington.

WTF events feature a lineup of about seven matches. There’s a brief devotional talk during intermission, and volunteers are available after the event if any fans want someone to pray with them. Some of the wrestlers profess to be Christians; those who don’t agree to keeping their performance family-friendly.

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