Wrestlers given chance at big time (+photos)

New Zealand wrestlers will get a shot at the big time as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is to host trials in Auckland.

The WWE is touring Down Under and before the Auckland show on June 11 Kiwi Pro Wrestling (KPW) chief executive Rip Morgan will pick around 12 locals to perform in front of the organisation's talent scouts.

KPW director Janine Carline said a lot of people had put their hands to take part in the audition and despite the massive jump in scale to the WWE - "they have 70,000 people in stadiums, they do Madison Square Garden and Wembley Stadium" - there were some who had a real shot at selection.

"It's our credibility at stake. We're not going to put people across that we don't feel have the potential to make it in the WWE. We're not time wasters here, we're serious."

She said KPW had several former pros tutoring the current crop and they knew what to expect on the international circuit .

Mr Morgan said two of the organisation's top wrestlers - current champion H-Flame ("The Man of the Hour, the Tower of Power, just too sweet to be sour!") and Max "The Axe" Damage (finishing move: Collateral Damage) - had recently returned from a stint performing in Australia.

It has been almost 20 years since New Zealand tag team The Bushwhackers carried the flag in America and with 2008 the first year trials have been held here, it was about time to put New Zealand pro-wrestling back on the map, Mr Morgan said.

Candidates will be judged on ring skills, charisma, drive and fortitude.

Anyone who makes the cut will travel to a training camp in Florida to be groomed for a spot in the WWE.

KPW will name those selected for the try-outs on its website on June 3.

- NZPA

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