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Following a year that included too much heartbreak and sorrow, the pro wrestling community is banding together to start off 2021 on a positive note.

As announced by AEW star Joey Janela during Friday night’s pre-show for Game Changer Wrestling’s Good Riddance pay-per-view, the independent promotion is launching a 24-hour special to support indie wrestlers.

The free live stream of GCW’s Fight Forever card will begin on Friday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. ET and run a full 24 hours. The show will include a digital telethon with all donations going directly to the wrestlers.

“This is a history-making event for us,” GCW owner Brett Lauderdale says. “We were at a point where indie wrestling was at its hottest, but now it’s at its lowest point ever due to the pandemic. There are so many talented performers out there going through a tough time. They’re still hungry and looking for that breakthrough, and they are going to make Fight Forever a historic show.”

Pandemic-related restrictions on live entertainment have dealt a crushing blow to independent wrestling as a whole, particularly affecting the wrestlers. Indie wrestlers provide a heartbeat to the industry, but opportunities for work have been severely limited throughout the past nine months. Fight Forever, which Lauderdale says will include talent from all over the nation, marks an opportunity for a payday, as well as the chance to hone their craft in front of a sizable audience.

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“This is going to feature stars from all over independent wrestling, including ones we’ve never seen before in GCW,” Lauderdale says. “People are looking for a platform to be seen, and our goal is to safely have as many people involved as possible.”

Funding for the event has been donated by Orange Crush: The Journal of Art & Wrestling, a cutting-edge zine that just announced its second issue, featuring a cover story on Jon Moxley. Fight Forever will take place on a closed set, and negative COVID tests will be mandatory for wrestlers and staff working the show. Sponsorship opportunities, Lauderdale mentioned, are still available.

“We’re going to make this an interesting, exciting 24-hours,” Lauderdale says. “It’s not just going to be one match after another. There are going to be one-hour and two-hour blocks with themes, ones that highlight certain areas of the country.

“It’s going to be different the whole way through, and people aren’t going to want to miss it.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.