At the end of 2021, Darius Lockhart seemed to be on the verge of a breakout. Long a well kept secret of the Carolinas wrestling scene, he was primed to start making his name more well known across the Indies.
He got the attention of many within NWA with his viral “I Can Fix That” promo, where he challenged the company to bring him in. At that point, there had been just one Black NWA champion, Ron Simmons. Lockhart was brought in for the NWA Junior Heavyweight tournament, where he advanced to the Four Way Match for the title.
Lockhart also competed twice in AEW in 2021. He wrestled a well received match with Ricky Starks. A few months later, he faced fellow North Carolinian, Matt Hardy. Then, life happened and put things on hold for “The Revolutionary Ourself”.
Fast forward to 2023. Lockhart has announced his new venture, Asé Wrestling. Asé is an affirmation meaning “life force energy” and “the power that makes things happen and produces change.” In a video explaining what Asé is, it was revealed that the show will feature six matches, a live musical performance from Grammy award winner, LUTE, and live sets from DJ Steel Wheel.
Asé’s first show is Friday, December 1 and will emanate from the historic Grady Cole Center. D’Lo Brown will be joined on commentary by Chris Lea and Gerard Bonner. Big Swole will be the hosting the show. Faye Jackson and Billy Dixon are also scheduled to appear.
The matches are:
- Kiera Hogan vs. Charity King
- The Infantry vs. TME
- Jonathan Gresham vs. Darius Carter
- Kevin Knight vs. JAH-C
- Team Georgia (Suge D, Trevor Aeon, Ashton Starr, and Owen Knight) vs. Team North Carolina (Yahya, Movie Myk, Ian Maxwell, and Reyhan Inteus)
- Trish Adora. vs Aja Kong
I had the opportunity to interview Lockhart and Sugar Dunkerton about this incredible event.
What is Asé Wrestling?
Asé is not a promotion, but an entity. “It’s a celebration of pro wrestling. It’s my love letter to pro wrestling. But what it’s also doing is putting wrestling through a new lens. I felt like we can be really stagnant In professional wrestling; in terms of what do things look like, style, what we expect from the content we watch. I wanted to kind of put a remix on things and show people how dope wrestling can really be.”
The idea of Asé started in 2019. He was having a conversation with fellow wrestler, Saieve Al Sabah about what they’d like to see out of pro wrestling. Negative things about people that are close to Lockhart were said and he “kind of took it personally.” That pushed him to move forward, but COVID happened and changed his perspective. “I think it allowed the vision of Asé to grow into what it is now, which is more family-friendly, family-oriented. It’s a lot more inclusive, a lot less niche.”
“It’s not just a pro wrestling company. We’re on Instagram giving you original content. We’ve filmed an original series. We have podcasts, we have DJ sets, we have livestreams. We’re a content hub. We’re going to give you a pro wrestling show, which is ultimately the heart and spine of this company.”
Grady Cole Center is iconic in Charlotte wrestling
When asked why he chose Grady Cole Center for their first show, Lockhart said he’d wrestled in the venue before. “I remembered the venue. I remembered how it was to pro wrestlers. It has a good locker room. It has space to move around. It has a big event feel, you know what I mean? When lit properly, it’s one of those that can make it a spectacle. It looks amazing when it’s all produced up.”
“Those are incentives to go, but also the history of the building itself. It’s NWA territory. It’s Dusty’s house. It’s Steamboat’s house. All the people that have been there. I’m not sure anything like Asé has existed there, especially with the musical element added to it. We have a live performance there. It’s cool thing, but I also thought it would platform us as a big deal. If you see it at this venue, you know I’m for real. It’s place to also make history. I don’t know if two Black women have ever main evented there before.”
On Adora vs. Kong
Adora and Kong are headlining the show. There was a lot of surprise and excitement around this match, particularly because it’s match people may not have known was possible. “Thinking of matches that people don’t necessarily know that they need or know that they want. I have a lot more up the sleeve and hopefully I can show you guys what those are, but yeah, I have plenty of cool ideas you guys are going to love.”
When asked how he pulled someone of Kong’s stature for his very first show, Lockhart replied, “respectfully speaking, I’m Darius Lockhart. I like to think that I’ve been good to a lot of people. I do business the right way. I’ve been professional, so when I had to make some calls, those relationships you build, the people you’re good to, the people you’re kind to, that pays off. And people know you as someone who they can trust, or hopefully trust. And someone who’s good to them and hasn’t really asked for much. I haven’t asked for anything. I show up and do my job to the best of my ability.”
“But other than that, people had faith in me that I’m eternally grateful for. That poured into the equity that I have now to be able to do something like this. So it was a matter of knowing who to call, how to call, when to call.”
Lockhart knows there’s going to be a lot of lariats and back fists in the main event. Dunkerton spoke about wrestling Adora for the first time and how he underestimated her. “Obviously, (she’s) a very beautiful woman, very athletic, this, that, and the third. I don’t think people realize the power that she has on her, like when she throws and tries to hit you with a suplex. Yeah, I had to learn a lesson that day. I got humbled very much that evening.”
Of the main event, Dunkerton remarked that “this is what he’s talking about with having a different lens. Because sometimes with the lenses that are out there, they’re not seeing that match to pull that out of the ether.”
Lockhart says that some people in charge of shows might not see that match or even Adora as a main eventer, but others do. They can make matches like this happen and give it to fans.
Lockhart to address his future at Asé
Over a few months leading up to Asé’s announcement, Lockhart hinted a return to wrestling. The assumption was a comeback to the ring. Thus far, “The Intergalactic Soul” has been tight-lipped about his plans. The only answer he’s supplied is that he will address his future at the first show.
If you want to hear Dunkerton’s thoughts on the 8-man match, how Lockhart selected talent, and more, you can watch the full interview.
To watch the show, you can purchase a link to watch via Asé’s website. The livestream along with LUTE’s performance begins at 7:30 PM. Bell time is at 8 PM ET.