As we watch professional wrestling, marveling at the athleticism of the competitors and their equally impressive acumen on the mic, we sometimes forget that these entertainers are regular folks with families outside the squared circle. And their second family is the other men and women who pull together nightly to put on a professional wrestling show.
Every once in a while, we’re reminded about these behind-the-scenes realities. One of those reminders will take place Saturday at the Checkmates Boxing Club in Toms River, N.J., on the iconic Jersey Shore. A story in the Asbury Park Press provides details of a professional wrestling card billed as “The Ban Still Stand” presented by Find Yourself Wrestling. The evening will feature a 20-man battle royal with the winner receiving the Balls Mahoney Memorial Cup, sponsored by the New England Music Hall of Fame.
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Balls Mahoney was an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) icon during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, known for his outrageous love of violence, mayhem, and an omnipresent steel chair. He was hardcore, no doubt about it. And a three-time ECW tag team champion. He was billed as being from Nutley, N.J., a real place.
Balls Mahoney’s real name was Jon Rechner. He was a native of Spring Lake Heights, N.J., and a champion heavyweight wrestler at Manasquan (N.J.) High School. After graduating from high school, he wrestled professionally, primarily for Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1994-95), the WWE (1992-93, 1995-96, 2005, 2006-08) and the Philadelphia-based ECW (1996-2001).
He died of a heart attack in 2016 at age 44, a day after his birthday, at his home in Spring Lake Heights. He suffered from CTE, a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
Rechner’s son Chris, named for deceased pro wrestler Chris Candido, will be a special guest referee during the show that honors his father. Proceeds from the sale of Balls Mahoney Memorial Cup T-shirts will go to Chris’ college fund. There also will be a food drive of non-perishable items that will be donated to a food pantry in Toms River.
High School Freshman
Chris Rechner, 15, is a freshman at Manasquan High School. He’s putting together a documentary on his father along with Christopher Annino, a former pro wrestler who now is a filmmaker. Footage from “The Ban Still Stand” will be included in the documentary.
Annino said Jon Rechner the person was nothing like his professional wrestling character, describing him in the Asbury Park Press story as a “very well-spoken, highly sophisticated individual” who was able to provoke a reaction from professional wrestling fans, “which is very difficult to do. He was able to get into somebody’s psyche.”
Chris Rechner told the Asbury Park Press the documentary is going to be a tribute “to how amazing of a man my father was.”
Several former ECW wrestlers will be part of “The Ban Will Stand” card. So will two-time WWE women’s champion Jazz, and other former WWE, GLOW, NWA and WCW wrestlers. Tickets range from $20 to $28 and are available through simpletix.com.