Bodyslamming for Jesus: Inside the Bizarre World of Christian Wrestling

Harmon Leon in AlterNet:

Christian_wrestlingThe Christian Wrestling Federation bodyslams for Jesus—literally. On the surface, the CWF looks like a normal WWE wrestling event, with costumed characters jumping from the ropes and wrestlers being hit in the back of the head with chairs. Sometimes there’s blood. Sometimes there’s an elbow to the thorax. Except, these violent wrestling moves are all done for the love of Jesus Christ and to save souls. Welcome to the world of the Christian Wrestling Federation. Like a “sleeper hold” from above, for the past 14 years, the Dallas-based religious grappling group has performed more than 600 events, in 34 states, and has seen over 25,000 people giving their lives to Christ, while simultaneously enjoying the benefits and thrills of professional wrestling.

…In the non-ironic words of the Christian Wrestling Federation, their goal is, “To be a Christian outreach ministry that shares the love of Jesus Christ, through wrestling events around the world.” Sure, giving someone the Guillotine Maneuver or Sleeper Hold in front of a crowd of screaming fans doesn’t seem very Christ-centric, but the CWD can explain. According to their website, “The Bible says we are to use unique and different ways to reach people for Christ. This is what the CWF is all about… reaching people in a unique way. With wrestling’s popularity at an all-time high, many people can be reached, and in turn, our goal is to convert them to Christ’s love. The focus of the CWF is to win souls for Christ. Our passion is seeing the lost become saved. The CWF is committed to anything we can do to honor Christ and the local church.” “There were men in the Bible who dressed up in loincloths and ran through the marketplace all in the name of Christ, ‘Look at me! Look at me! I look crazy, I look freaky,’” explains Rob Adonis, a Christian wrestler who runs events in Georgia. “But now you’re listening to me so I’m going to give you some Jesus. Our philosophy is to get them in here. Do whatever you got to do and give them the truth. Give them the truth and the truth will set them free, you know, that’s our goal.”

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