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Md. State Athletic Commission fines two pro wrestling firms for use of barbed wire, blood

CHILDS WALKER
The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
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The Maryland State Athletic Commission has fined two professional wrestling companies for the use of weapons and blood in matches late last year.

All Elite Wrestling, a rising competitor to industry giant World Wrestling Entertainment, agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for actions taken by wrestlers Tyson Smith (who performs as Kenny Omega) and Jonathan Good (who performs as Jon Moxley) in the main event of the company’s Nov. 9, 2019 show at Royal Farms Arena.

Ring of Honor Wrestling, owned by Hunt Valley-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, agreed to pay $4,000 for actions taken by wrestlers Mark LoMonaco (who performs as Bully Ray) and Mark Haskins on the company’s Dec. 13, 2019 show at UMBC. That fine could be reduced to $2,000 if the company commits no further violations in the next year.

Both companies agreed to consent orders with the athletic commission “in the spirit of conciliation and cooperation in an effort to avoid litigation.” Either could be suspended from the state for future violations.

“The Commission considers the actions it has taken in the consent orders, and the requirements within, to be a deterrent to any future violations of a similar nature by this organization or these individuals,” Patrick Pannella, the athletic commission’s executive director, wrote in an e-mail.

The commission’s consent order against All Elite Wrestling says Smith and Good “introduced foreign objects into the ring including a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, a broom with bristles wrapped in barbed wire, and a tool similar to an ice pick. Mr. Good used the baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire to strike Mr. Smith three times across his back and cause lacerations from which Mr. Smith bled.”

The order goes on to describe other acts carried out with weapons and says the match violated state laws prohibiting “unsportsmanlike or physically dangerous conduct” and “deliberately lacerating oneself or one’s opponent.”

The event was AEW’s first in Maryland. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company was founded in 2018 by Tony Khan, the son of Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

The commission penalized Ring of Honor for LoMonaco’s use of “a large plywood board which had been laced with coils of barbed wire.”

“During the match, Mr. LoMonaco lifted Mr. Haskins and threw him onto the table which held the plywood-barbed wire apparatus,” the consent order reads. “The impact of Mr. Haskins against the plywood barbed-wire apparatus and table caused the table to break in half, and Mr. Haskins suffered lacerations due to coming into contact with the barbed wire.”

ROH frequently runs shows in Maryland and was scheduled to stage its “Best in the World” pay-per-view at the UMBC Event Center on June 19. But the 18-year-old company canceled that date because of the coronavirus pandemic.