IWF event will at NAHS will benefit the Michael Robert Cammett Jr. Memorial Foundation.

The-late Michael Robert Cammett Jr.

As the founder of the Independent Wrestling Federation (IWF), Nutley native Kevin Knight has taken pride in the dozens of wrestling events the IWF has done in the area to support local charities and causes over the past 25 years. But for Knight, the IWF’s next event might be the most important one they do.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, the IWF comes to North Arlington High School to honor the memory of beloved former IWF star and North Arlington graduate Michael Cammett, who died in an innertube rafting accident in 2021.

Proceeds from the event, which begins at 7 p.m., go to the Michael Robert Cammett Jr. Memorial Foundation.

“This is the most important event we do each year where all the net proceeds from the event benefit Michael’s memorial foundation,” Knight said. “It’s very special for us to go to his high school, but it’s bitter-sweet that the event we’re doing benefits his memorial fund because obviously, we wish he was still with us.”

Cammett, who played football and ran track and field at North Arlington High School, dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler and started taking classes at Knight’s wrestling school in 2014 aged 17.

Nicknamed “Golden Boy” after his shoulder-length blonde hair, Cammett became one of the IWF’s top stars, being selected as the IWF Wrestler of the Year three years in a row and winning multiple titles.

Cammett had left the world of professional wrestling to focus earning a doctorate in physical therapy at Rutgers-Newark before his death aged 24.

Last November, the IWF hosted its inaugural event at North Arlington HS, raising $4,000 for the foundation despite crowds being limited to 25% capacity due to previous COVID-19-related restrictions.

“This year, we will be at full capacity and hopefully we’ll be able to raise a lot more this year,” said Knight. “The family uses the funds in his foundation to donate to other charitable causes and they also sponsor scholarships for graduating North Arlington students.”

WWE Hall of Famer Tony “Mr. USA” Atlas and former WWE Lightheavyweight Champion Gillberg are the legendary guests for Oct. 8, with each participating in the seven-match card.

Knight, perhaps better known by his in-ring nickname “Master of Chaos,” will partner with Atlas in the IWF Tag Team Championship match against Benjamin T. Asher and Jason “The Horizon” Hendrix. Gillberg will accompany IWF Heavyweight Champion Dark Oracle Sage for his title match against Robert Atkins, who is accompanied by radio star “East Side” Dave McDonald.

Tickets start at $20 for general admission with floor seats at $30. The doors open at 6 p.m. with Atlas and Gillberg signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

Knight, who appeared in multiple WWE and NWA events in the 1990s, admits he didn’t envision he’d still be wrestling 26 years after founding the IWF. But being able to support causes like the Michael Robert Cammett Jr. Memorial Foundation or American Cancer Society Relay For Life like it does for its annual event in Nutley are why the veteran continues to enter the ring.

“I did not think that I’d still be doing this, but it’s pretty cool (I still am),” said Knight, a seven-time IWF Heavyweight Champion. “I’m from Nutley, I went to Nutley High School, our first event was in Nutley. So it’s great to still be doing this in our home base area. It’s great that we’re still able to do it and bring in some of the wrestling hall of farmers and legends. The best thing about it is that we’re raising money for worthy causes, which is great.”

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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer

Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (nj.com, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)