Grappling to join wrestling's elite

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Garage gargantuans and budding Hulk Hogans listen up: your shot at professional wrestling immortality could be just around the corner.

The US-based World Wrestling Entertainment organisation is coming to New Zealand for shows in Auckland and Christchurch in June, and bringing some of the sport's biggest names with it, including The Great Khali, The Undertaker and Kane.

And they will be on the lookout for antipodean athletes.

Auckland wrestlers Jordan Invincible and Double D Davey Deluxeo will be hoping to catch the eye of the WWE scouts.

"WWE is pretty much most people's dream. It's a worldwide stage and it's cool for people back home to see you there," says Jordan Invincible, also known as Dion Tremaine-Boon, of Hillsborough.

"I've been counting down the days - it's a pretty good opportunity."

The 26-year-old - a member of Auckland's Impact Pro Wrestling company - says a lot of Kiwis are "hard out" fans of WWE, watching the show every week.

He said having the franchise come to New Zealand would do more to promote the sport here, where wrestling promotions such as Impact Pro Wrestling and Kiwi Pro Wrestling were getting upcoming professional wrestlers coming through every day.

"A lot of kids come out to watch us and that's good - instead of them going out and getting into trouble," he said.

The eight-year veteran of the sport said wrestling involves a lot of hard work and dedicated training, with many wrestlers regularly leaving the ring with bruises.

"We do up to 400 to 500 squats at training.

"You get used to it. You go to the gym every day and train.

"It's just like rugby players and other professional sports people - you train the body and you get used to it.

Tagteam partner Double D Davey Deluxeo - aka Davey Willetts of Onehunga - said making it to the big time was simply a matter of dedication.

"There's a lot of hard work and you really have to have the drive to make it in this sport.

"You need to love doing it since you're doing it everyday. Otherwise you'd just get bored."

Wrestling was something of an acquired taste, but those who do it, love it, he said.

"If it appeals to you then you're going to like it no matter what someone tells you.

"With wrestling, you either enjoy it or you don't."

The pair are said to be the best tag team partnership since Kiwi tag team The Bushwhackers won the World Wrestling Federation - now WWE international - tag team championship in America in 1974.

HOW TO BE THE NEXT HOGAN:
* Developing an ability to stir up a crowd is useful
* Work on your trash talk
* Take a silly stage name
* Learn a signature move.

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