This fall, the Oakdale Mall will welcome a new business into the ring as Xcite Wrestling opens their new 6,000-square-foot entertainment complex, The X: The Xcite Wrestling Xhibition Hall.
While Xcite Wrestling is a company that specializes in professional wrestling matches, The X has plans to provide a more diverse catalog of events, ranging from stand-up comedy to birthday parties. The X will also include training for aspiring professional wrestlers in the area, focusing on growing the local talent pool. The venue’s grand opening will fall on Saturday, Nov. 2 with the “Oakdale Brawl,” the first match at Xcite’s new permanent location.
According to Sean Carr, head coach at Xcite’s new wrestling school, the company has held matches at the American Legion Post 80 on Main Street for nearly 15 years. However, when they had the chance to establish their own location, they couldn’t turn it down.
“It was hard to step away, but you know, this was an opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up on — our own place that we could call home,” Carr said.
Part of the reason that having a permanent home was so appealing to the company ties into the complicated logistics of setting up a wrestling match. Renting a venue, transporting equipment and setting up the stage just to tear it down immediately after the show is expensive and tedious, according to Carr. But beyond that, the wrestling scene in Binghamton has become large enough that a dedicated venue is necessary to meet demand.
“Wrestling in Binghamton has always done amazing,” Carr said. “It got to a point, with years and years of growth, that we realized it’s been harder to fit people into the American Legion. There was one show we did this past year with Xcite where, I mean, we had to turn people away from the door. There were just so many people.”
With the Oakdale Mall looking to revitalize following a string of store closures in the past several years, Xcite found a home that could solve their growth problem. They join Lourdes Hospital and Beer Tree Brew Co as some of the new companies setting up shop in recently closed storefronts, with Xcite taking over the space that once belonged to rue21. Carr sees Xcite’s relationship with the mall as mutually beneficial.
“With the mall — kudos to them — they are definitely on board behind us,” Carr said. “They want to see us succeed and we think that it’s gonna go hand-in-hand. It’s gonna help them out and it’s gonna help us out. What place of business wouldn’t want 300 people coming in at least once a month? That’s 300 people that before a show walk around the mall, I mean, you can help out other businesses that way.”
Carr also emphasized the company’s desire to gain more of a foothold and spread awareness about their events, particularly among the student community in Binghamton.
“We really want to start pushing the advertisement more into the college — the colleges in the area,” Carr said. “We’ve done things before where we’ve hung fliers up there and everything, but we would definitely really want to have more of a promoting aspect.”
While Xcite has put on matches for over a decade, the wrestling school is a new addition to their brand. According to Carr, the company has trained a handful of wrestlers previously, but the new venue provides an opportunity to have an established program that has drawn plenty of interest.
“There’s a lot of people out there that want to live their dream of being a professional wrestler, and we’re gonna do our very best to get them on the best track possible and give them the best opportunities possible to live their dreams,” Carr said.
To start aspiring professional wrestlers off, Carr offered some free advice.
“If you choose to do this, be ready for a very entertaining and never-dull-moment lifestyle,” Carr said.