It’s only appropriate that the Independent Wrestling Federation’s (IWF) annual event at North Arlington High School has been titled “When Legends Rise.”
That’s because this year’s event, set for Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., is composed entirely of wrestlers trained at the Nutley-based IWF Wrestling School that Kevin Knight has run since 1999.
Proceeds of the event go to The Michael Robert Cammett Jr. Memorial Foundation.
“This live event features all graduates from IWF Wrestling Schools,” said Knight, the founder of the IWF and Nutley native. “It’s all guys and girls that I’ve personally trained over the years.
“It’s very rewarding to see them go out there and do their thing and have the audience and the fans truly appreciate what they’ve accomplished in their training and many years of wrestling. The spotlight is solely on the local guys.”
Saturday’s seven-match event honors Cammett, one of the wrestling school’s top alumnus.
A North Arlington High School graduate and two-sport standout, first attended Knight’s wrestling school in 2014 at the age of 17. Soon Cammett, nicknamed “Golden Boy” for his long blonde hair, became one of the IWF’s top stars, winning multiple titles and being named IWF Wrestler of the Year three years in a row.
Cammett tragically passed away in an innertube rafting accident in 2021 at the age of 24.
“We knew that when Michael was still with us how much he meant, not only to the IWF and the North Arlington community and the Rutgers-Newark community,” Knight said. “After his passing we saw the outpouring of love from our staff and fans as well as the North Arlington community and the Rutgers-Newark community where he went to college and was pursuing his doctorate in physical therapy. The support that his memorial foundation has received is overwhelming.
“It’s bittersweet to have to do this event because it’s an event we wish we didn’t have to do, but we’re glad that we can donate and give back to his memorial foundation.”
Knight anticipates total donations to the foundation from its annual event at North Arlington to pass the $10,000 milestone this weekend.
The IWF also does an annual event every spring in Nutley benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Nutley as well as an even that benefits New Brunswick Recreation.
“It’s really the least that we could do to give back in the memory of someone that was such a good person and valuable to the community,” said Knight. “He was a volunteer in a number of organizations, not only in North Arlington, but Nutley as well. His parents not only use that money for the scholarships for North Arlington High School seniors, but they also donate to other charities in North Arlington and Nutley. They continue to give back to the communities that Michael was involved in.”
Knight, perhaps better known for his wrestling persona of “Master of Chaos” is part of the event’s triple main event when he goes up against “First-Class” Justin Adams, who will be accompanied by local radio star “East Side” Dave McDonald. The seven-match card also features IWF Heavyweight Champion Dark Oracle Sage, who will defend his title against “All-American” Brian Atkins. The IWF American Championship is also on the line when current title holder “Supersonic” KC Bonilla faces “All-American” Robert Atkins.
Overall, there are seven matches on the card, which begins at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $15 for general admission for kids to $32.50 for front row seats and can be purchased online at campiwf.com or at the door starting at 6 p.m.
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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.)