New Breed Wrestling bringing chaos to venues throughout RGV

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Steven Badillo locks his opponent during the main event in New Breed Wrestling’s anniversary show on Sunday, March 24, 2024, at The Landmark on Tower in Alamo. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

ALAMO — The loud clang of wood and metal and early 2000s hip-hop music seeped out through the large opened garage door and into the parking lot of the New Breed School of Wrestling in McAllen.

Inside, 39-year-old Alberto Galvan, who goes by Alberto Vega in the ring, was already drenched in sweat as he ran from one side of the 18-foot by 18-foot wrestling ring — bouncing off the ropes and jumping over a large black dummy at the center of the ring. He did this a few dozen times before finally dropping a seemingly vicious elbow on his imaginary opponent.

A few wrestlers began to trickle into the facility, as he then picked up the 70-pound dummy and fireman carried it as he continued running against the ropes before slamming it onto the mat.

“Is this music OK?” he asked, taking a moment to catch his breath as “Stay Fly” by Three 6 Mafia thumped through a speaker.

“I was going to tell you to turn that sh— up,” Javier Franco, who goes by Mooncat Franco, responded as he stretched.

The wrestlers of New Breed Wrestling were preparing for an anniversary show at The Landmark on Tower in Alamo on Sunday, March 24. The show featured four matches, including a tag team championship match, a six-way ladder match, and a heavyweight championship match.

Galvan, who works in administration for a supply company, has been wrestling professionally for about two years since he moved back to the Rio Grande Valley from Greeley, Colorado. He said that he is usually the first person to show up to practice because he likes to push himself to his limits physically in order to put on a better performance during shows.

“It has to be done. Just like anything — any performance, any sport, any job, if you want to succeed, you want to do well, right?” Galvan said. “We all want to get in there and do well. We know coming through this door and stepping in that ring, it means the world to us. We could be doing anything else in the world. We can be with our families. We can be working on other things. But this is a passion of ours.”

Galvan was eventually joined in the ring by Franco, Julio Lopez, who goes by Big Papi Felix, and a new trainee. Franco, 23, who said that he does not consider himself a trainer, called out commands to the other wrestlers. He joined them as they did up-down exercises and practiced falling flat on their backs on the mat.

They were soon joined by Steven Badillo, who goes by James Blackheart, the current New Breed heavyweight champion. The seasoned wrestlers offered tips and guidance to the new trainee as he learned the ropes, literally.

“Just take your time. Focus on getting it right,” he told him.

As they watched the new trainee run against the ropes, he continued to offer advice.

“You’re not hitting the ropes. You’re letting the ropes catch you,” he said. “You need to hit the ropes.”

“We all can kind of see a little bit of ourselves in him,” Galvan said. “We’ve all been him. We’ve all been there, curious, nervous, tired, a little beat up from the ropes. … We would not be where we are if people didn’t do that for us. There’s a lot of that in wrestling — always paying it back. That’s kind of the tradition of the brotherhood of wrestling.”

The day prior, Franco practiced with his tag team partner Daniel Galvan, who wrestles under the name Daddy Daniel Ismael. Together, they are known as the Moon Daddies and are the current tag team champions.

“It’s just so much fun, even though it hurts a lot,” Galvan said. “You just take some time and you heal and you get better. For those that aren’t aware, pro wrestling is just a magical world and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

Badillo, who recently wrestled with AEW during their Feb. 4 show at Bert Ogden Arena, said that he wants people to become aware of the local talent and the hard work that his fellow wrestlers are putting in.

“I want new people to show up, I want new fans, I want everyone to see the talent that is here at home,” Badillo said. “People don’t realize how good we are down here. If I get all these new fans, I turn everyone into a believer in New Breed Wrestling, and it’s like, ‘Yo, these guys are for real,’ that’s what I want people to take home.”

“We’re real right here, and we’re at home.”

Calavera Diamante during a performance at The Landmark on Tower Sunday, March 24, 2024, in Alamo. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

New Breed Wrestling is owned and promoted by Daniel Villarreal Valdez, who also wrestles under the name Danny Chance. He began training for wrestling during his junior year of high school just after his family moved to the Valley from Chicago.

On Sunday at The Landmark on Tower, he walked at a fast pace throughout the venue and the backstage area, overseeing everything and making sure that everything was up to speed.

“I’ve always been told that if you’re nervous before your match, it just shows that you still care,” he said as his fellow wrestlers prepared for the show. “I do get nervous to an extent. I’m more nervous about the turnout. I’m nervous about the wrestlers, the show, the production value, the quality that I’m putting out there. If I have a bad feeling about a match like the day of I’ll change it.”

Backstage, the wrestlers sat around a table as a large TV showed a college basketball game between Clemson University and Baylor University. As they put on their gear, some took time for quiet reflection while others did push ups and went over their upcoming matches.

Danny Coronado, who goes by The Juicy One, is in plain clothes. He was not wrestling on Sunday, but he stood backstage with his arms crossed and watched intensely as the six participants of the ladder match made some last minute preparations.

As someone who has trained this group of wrestlers, he said that he gets especially nervous before the wrestling events.

“I’m always nervous for them every time that they’re going to go out there and perform, not just here but anywhere,” he said.

Lopez, who goes by Big Papi Felix, took control of the pre-match preparations and gave out instructions to his fellow wrestlers about the match. Sunday’s event marked his fifth ladder match.

“From past experiences, it can be chaotic,” Lopez said. “People can get hurt, and I just want to make sure it is organized where it looks good for the fans, and on top of that I want to make sure they can come out walking in all honesty. It’s a big role, but it doesn’t hurt to have that kind of support.”

Describing the ladder match as chaotic was putting it lightly. The match was complete and controlled mayhem from start to finish with wrestlers striking each other with the ladder and folding chairs, launching themselves at their opponents from the top turnbuckle to the outside of the ring, and at least one wrestler being slammed through one of the ladders.

The crowd played an integral role in the energy during the event, chanting the names of their favorite wrestlers and erupting with applause with each dangerous stunt.

Among those in attendance was 32-year-old Ashley Juarez of La Feria, who wore a blue and red luchador mask and called herself Da Barber. She said that grew up a wrestling fan but lost interest as she grew older. The New Breed Wrestling events have since ignited her love for wrestling.

“They put on a great show every Sunday, and for free. That’s crazy,” Juarez said. “I’m becoming a fan again thanks to these guys. I mean, they put on a great show, and they make it easy to follow.”

New Breed Wrestling will be bringing their show to The Moon Rock in Harlingen on Saturday for a free event that begins at 5 p.m.

To see more, view staff photographer Delcia Lopez’s full photo gallery here:

Photo Gallery: New Breed Wrestling’s anniversary show in Alamo