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The Scarlet & Black

A Maddog wrestles his way back to Grinnell

By Lee Purvey

Somebody alert the Baha Men—there’s a Maddog coming to town.

The Grinnell Eagles Club will play host to an assembly of spandex-clad brawlers tomorrow, Feb. 25, when 3XWrestling (3XW), an independent pro-wrestling organization (think low-budget WWE) based out of the Des Moines area, brings their 2012 live wrestling tour to town. The family-friendly event, which is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. and should include about three hours of entertainment, featuring six wrestling matches and at least 14 wrestlers, including Grinnell native Mark “Maddog” McDowell. The matches will exhibit a plot-heavy, cartoonish brand of wrestling entertainment that had its heyday during the 1980s.

Grinnell native Mark “Maddog” McDowell will wrestle in his hometown for the first ime on Saturday. Contributed.

“We really try to stick to [an] old school style of wrestling,” McDowell said. “We have a little bit more character development involved with it [and] more gimmicks. It’s not just [Mixed Martial Arts].”

Created in 2005, 3XWrestling has come a long way over the past seven years. It has changed from what McDowell—who, in addition to wrestling, is also a co-owner of and Marketing & Advertising Director for the organization—described as little more than a hobby to a sustainable and ever-expanding business.

“It’s an interesting learning process,” said Company President and co-owner Todd Countryman. “Our shows have gone from being in high schools and middle schools to just a basic ring set-up … to now where we run in bigger venues … and have full-production: professional lighting rigs, a professional sound system, and a projection system where we can show highlight videos and backstage interviews during events.”

Since its start in 2005, 3XW has established a regular schedule—with at least two events every month—built an impressive wrestler roster and begun to record its events for DVD and local broadcast television.

Saturday’s match—the first pro-wrestling event in Grinnell history—is part of 3XW’s continuing efforts to reach a broader audience. For McDowell, it will be the first time wrestling in his hometown.

Born and raised in Grinnell, McDowell graduated from Grinnell High School in 1993, where he was a member of both the track and field and football teams. McDowell spent two years at Upper Iowa University and five years in the U.S. Army, before finally returning to Grinnell. It was here that he began to watch the MTV wrestling show WWF Tough Enough, which reignited his childhood love for pro-wrestling and first gave him the idea of pursuing the sport as a career. It wasn’t until a few years later, however, while living in Des Moines, that he was finally able to make the transition from fan to participant.

“I had been an athlete all my life and was just sitting on my computer working, getting fat … I figured I needed to do something,” McDowell said. “I remember seeing a sign with local pro wrestling, so I figured I’d go check it out. I was thoroughly impressed by the professionalism and the whole vibe of it all … I trained for 8 months and just started wrestling.”

On Saturday, McDowell teams up with “Jon West” to form the American Bulldogs tag team, in order to face team Octanova; made up of wrestlers “Gage Octane” and “Casanova”. Also on the schedule for the event are 5 Singles Matches, including a 3XW Heavyweight Championship and a women’s match. 3XW Lead Commentator and co-owner Cody Saveraid anticipates a great show. To him, wrestling is a sport that anyone can enjoy.

“Pro-wrestling is the absolute pinnacle of entertainment in this country,” Saveraid said. “Its elements of comedy, it’s drama, and it’s athleticism. It’s like if you took the NFL and you added your favorite sitcom actors. … Literally everything that is great about American entertainment is presented to you in a 3-hour package that you can see in-person.”

Twelve dollar  advance tickets are available at Otherwise, adult tickets can be purchased for $15 at the door, while tickets for children 10 and under are $6 (children 3-and-under get in for free). The Grinnell Eagles Club is located at 616 4th Avenue, just off of West Street. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. for advance ticket holders and 7:00 p.m. for the general public. The first match will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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