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East Ridge High School principal Aaron Harper assisted American Wrestling Federation Champion Tony Denucci retain his title belt during a Saturday night match at ERHS. Staff Photo by Tom Carothers.

'April Apocalypse' at the Perch

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"Hey Ref! He pulled my kilt!"

The sights and sounds of the spectacle that is professional wrestling were on full display on Saturday night as performers from the American Wrestling Federation took over the Perch at East Ridge High School on Saturday evening for the "April Apocalypse."

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"This is a really good time," said East Ridge teacher Mike Tollefsbol, who attended the event with his wife and three children. "It reminds me a lot of the old-time wrestling -- like the old AWA."

After Woodbury resident Collin Johnson opened the show with a version of "The "Star-Spangled Banner" on his electric guitar, the six-match card played out to the delight of several hundred raucous fans in attendance.

The evening was put together as a fundraiser for the East Ridge wrestling program and raised over $3,500 dollars for the Raptor grapplers.

"The real payback was seeing all of the kids having a great time, that's what really made it worth while," said Jim Trevis from the East Ridge wrestling program.

Even ERHS principal Aaron Harper, who took on the moniker "The Hammer" for the evening, played a part in the proceedings.

"I thought it was an entertaining event," Harper said. "It was cool and unique and I got to ham it up a little bit."

Harper escorted AWF champion Tony Denucci to the ring for the final title match against Chris Black and stood in the champion's corner, while leading the crowd in cheers for Denucci for the majority of the contest.

However, after the match referee was "knocked out" during a maneuver between Denucci and Black, Harper entered the ring to ensure a fair outcome.

"The Hammer" cleared Black's corner man Mike Moreland, who attempted to thwart Denucci's pin of his partner, over the top rope and then gave the three-count as the defending champion pinned Black to retain his championship belt to the delight of the assembled throng of fans.

"There was a little bit of improv," Harper said. "I don't think anyone is looking at me like I'm a pro wrestler. My credibility as a high school principal is intact."

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