Over its 116 year history, the Homer Opera House has hosted everything from vaudeville acts to high school graduations. Today it is home to the UWC, the United Wrestling Coalition. The UWC began in the mid-2000’s but relocated to Homer in 2016. Ross Robinson, UWC Operations Director: “At the end of 2016, the owner of UWC decided he wanted to retire from the business. Myself and several others in UWC didn't want to see it end, so he allowed us to purchase the ring from him and allowed me specifically to continue to cultivate the brand of UWC.” Now owned by the Creative Dramatics Workshop, the UWC reopened in 2017 in Homer.

That the UWC calls the Homer Opera House its home seems appropriate since an important aspect of wrestling is its theatricality, often expressed in Homer-esque (no pun intended) matches that unfold as overwrought morality plays. Yet nagging critics have dismissed the sport as “fake” for generations. That dig misses the point. Professional wrestling is as much an art form as it is a sport. (Even the UWC plays with the knock in its slogan: “Life is fake. Wrestling is real.”) And the dismissive criticism unfairly overlooks the athleticism of the wrestlers, the physical risks they take, and their personal devotion as long-time fans of pro wrestling. For instance, discussing the origins of his daring “suicide dive” Shank Barzini said his signature move from the top rope is a tribute to past pro wrestling stars Harley Race and The Dynamite Kid.

The UWC returns to the Homer Opera House Saturday, March 24, from 7 to 10 p.m. UWC Online champ Jimmy Karryt will defend his title against Oliver Cain. In a video message Cain accused Karryt of being “reckless”. Karryt agrees: “He's right. I am reckless with my own body. And if I don't care about my own bodily harm, imagine how little I'm going to concern myself with his.”

$7 in advance or $10 at the door. Here are some photos from last year:

The Homer Opera House, home of the United Wrestling Federation

The National Anthem marks the beginning of each event.

Referee Shawn Rife looks on as Mark Vandy launches from the top rope at Justin Meyers.

Xander Killen corners Dante Leon.

Khail Savant

Oliver Cain, “the Five Foot Seven Gift from Heaven” dominates Darnok for the moment.

Phabian Barbosa restrains Darnok, who suffers Jimmy Karryt's taunts.

Shank Barzini launches from top rope executing his signature "suicide dive". Spencer Wallace on the mat. Barzini has suffered multiple whiplashes doing the move. In one instance knee injuries sidelined him for five months.

Then-reigning champion, Phabian Barbosa. Barbosa took the title from Jimmy Karryt early in 2017 under controversial circumstances.

Challenger Jimmy Karryt goads Barbosa before the match.

Phabian Barbosa roars at fans as Jimmy Karryt hangs from ropes.

Jimmy Karryt executes a dramatic aerial move to finish Barbosa late in the October title match.

Jimmy Karryt cradles the belt after reclaiming the title from Phabian Barbosa.