Freelance Wrestling combines acting and acrobatics for unique brand of entertainment at Logan Square Auditorium

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Freelance Wrestling will make your professional wrestling dreams come true.

At monthly shows in Logan Square Auditorium, pro wrestlers combines athletics, acrobatics, and acting into a brand of entertainment you can't find anywhere else.

Fans and wrestlers alike line the auditorium in shirts bearing the slogan: "Freelance is Home." Merchandise stands line one wall, where fans engage with their favorite wrestlers before and after shows.

Freelance Wrestling is the more intimate - and funnier - version of the professional wrestling programs you've seen on national TV, like WrestleMania or WWE.

"We primarily give up-and-coming talent opportunities here that they normally wouldn't get anywhere else," said Freelance founder Nick Almendarez.

Almendarez, who started wrestling in 2010, performs under the name Matt Knicks. In 2014, he saw a need for a more community oriented professional wrestling outlet in Chicago, and created Freelance.

Humble beginnings have led to a level of success that Almendarez did not see coming.

"I wanted something fun, something different than other companies here were offering," Almendarez said. "It's incredible. It's been an incredible journey."

About a year ago, Freelance started a wrestling academy to meet the high demand from diehard fans.

"We get emails probably daily, like, 'Hey, wrestling's been my dream my entire life. I've always wanted to do this. I just don't know how," Almendarez said.

"We give them the tools and the opportunity to go out there and live their dreams."

Pro wrestlers Isaias Velazquez and Bryce Benjamin are the head trainers for Freelance Wrestling Academy.

They also perform at the monthly shows, and travel the country to perform throughout the independent pro wrestling circuit.

"It's gotten to a point sometimes that I actually enjoy training more than wrestling," Velazquez said. "I see all of these students from their first day when they don't know how to run the ropes."

"And then eventually I see them on wrestling shows, and they're doing wrestling matches. Sometimes I'm happier than they are."

The academy offers classes a warehouse behind Pro Wrestling Tees in Bucktown, the main sponsor for Freelance Wrestling.

Classes are offered Monday through Thursday and usually include 20-25 students with a range of experience.

"Even if you don't like professional wrestling, I guarantee you'll love Freelance," Almendarez said. "Freelance is home."

For more information about upcoming shows, visit www.freelancewrestling.com. To join the academy, email them at freelancewrestling@gmail.com.
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