“It’s harder than you think it is,” said Superfan Dave, a burly 51-year-old from the Tappahannock area.
He doesn’t care whether you know his name or exactly where he lives.
It’s just that on Saturday, he was Superfan Dave, hanging on the periphery of the gazebo at the Heritage Park Commons apartment complex in Fredericksburg.
Beneath the gazebo, in the shade on the sweltering afternoon, was a 20-by-20 ring awaiting muscular and just plain big men with costumes and assumed names who were going to pretend to beat each other up.
More than a dozen wrestlers with TCW—True Championship Wrestling—hit the ring in front of about 50 people, about half of whom were kids.
They came to watch the wrestlers throw flying leg kicks and clotheslines, body-slam and punch each other, and talk a lot of trash, often with world championships title belts on the line.
The show was free, and TCW collected school supplies for area children, which were handed out during an intermission. At that point, Superfan Dave reappeared, outfitted in a devilish skull mask and a jester costume and wandering through the crowd. One boy cried for a bit, but was soon OK. Others took selfies with him.
Superfan Dave is an aspiring wrestler, and said he once jumped into a battle royal, adding that he managed to toss a few men before going over the ropes himself.
After the intermission, five wrestlers took part in a battle royal of their own.
Just before the intermission Aristotelis Kastrinos, one of the headline wrestlers in the show, battled for the title with his tag-team partner on Licensed to Kill, which won the match.
Kastrinos, a 30-year-old assistant store manager at a Lowe’s in Ruckersville, is a lifelong professional wrestling fan who bought TCW four years ago.
TCW started as what is known as backyard wrestling, where rings are put up in backyards for performances. TCW and other independent wrestling companies run paid events, but also many community benefits, similar to the kind Edward Dao promotes.
Dao, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Department of Transportation, was on hand Saturday to perform emcee duties. Most of the shows he promotes are in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. They typically draw 250 to 300 people, and sometimes more, he said.
TCW has a YouTube channel where it runs a series of videos on the faux battles between the wrestlers.
Kastrinos said he does about one show a month. In the shows, he plays a villain.
And on Saturday, in between throwing flying leg kicks and being slapped around, he talked trash to his opponents and fans, even the kids, who gave it right back to him.
“I think it’s hilarious he’s a villain,” friend Christina Satkovich, who came with her husband, Scot, and son, Joshua, said after the show. “He’s one of the nicest guys.”
In classic pro wrestling fashion, Kastrinos and his tag-team partner won the title in dirty fashion, only to lose it after a pair of men from the so-called Board of Directors ordered them to put up their titles for the shenanigans.
The License to Kill duo then promptly lost the belts, promising to get them back next time.
“Our main foundation is giving to the community,” Kastrinos said after the show.
Kastrinos also is trying the climb the ranks in the independent wrestling circuit. He wrestles for other independent outfits, traveling up and down the East Coast.
“Following a dream,” he said, adding that it demands a lot.
“People don’t understand the sacrifice that goes into it,” he said after the show, dripping in sweat, as the crowd left and the ring was being torn down.
He said his adrenaline was still pumping, even as he, his daughter and fiancee were prepping to hit the road.
The next show was two hours away.