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Wrestling referee makes historic claim to fame

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Aluminum trash cans, a staple gun, duct tape, a diaper, an old guitar and a plunger were packed in a shopping cart alongside the ring inside the Underground Arena. The crowd in the old movie theater in Capitol Hill bristled as Rick "Party Man" Garrett and Travis Ahboah, aka Hardcore Champion Kareem Sadat, prepared for the Sooner World Class Wrestling Hardcore title match on May 3.

SWCW is one of a handful of small-scale wrestling federations within Oklahoma, with all the action and colorful characters of TNA Impact! or World Wrestling Entertainment, minus the big screens, pyrotechnics and television time.

What the SWCW lacks in high-dollar production value, it makes up with the immediacy of ringside action, where hecklers are within a few feet of the wrestlers, and villains " or "heels" " engage in shouting matches with the fans on the front row.

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Earlier that night, commissioner "Miss Sheila" Brooks learned that the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame out of Amsterdam, N.Y., had validated Brooks' claim as the first black, female commissioner in pro wrestling history. PWHF historians and Brooks admitted that with so many small federations scattered across the country, it's hard to verify with certainty, but she giggled and clapped with a beaming smile.

"I'm also the first black female referee," she said, referring to her start in pro wrestling in 1998. "Another wrestler came later in the WWE, in 2002, but I was still the first." "Charles Martin

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