Aside from being a different type of intensive workout, a nondescript looking facility in a strip mall section of E. Lincoln Avenue also offers access to a dream.
A dream that is, if someone wants to try a hand, along with leg, body and all kinds of slams, in the wonderfully wacky, and somewhat mind-boggling, wild world of pro wrestling.
The dream takes a holiday turn Friday, Dec. 5 at the SoCal Pro Training Facility, 130 E Lincoln Ave. Doors open at 6:30 followed by a 7 p.m. bell-time for the SoCal Pro Holiday Toy Drive. Admission is $10 or appropriately enough, an unopened toy valued at $10 or more with all proceeds going to the toy drive.
The holiday card will feature eight or nine bouts and last about two hours, The main event features Renegade Ju Dizz vs. Ricky Mandel. A “non-title” tag team encounter was scheduled between The Wildsiders (Andre featureMachievski & Dark Usagi) versus Ryan Walker and Hunter Freeman. Another tag team match features Anthony Idol ad Joe Gamble vs. Tommy Wilson and Motros.
Jeff Dino, 33, started the wrestling troupe in 2007. He said it was a dream as a kid that grew into a full-time proposition. The company grip extends well beyond training and events. Wrestlers are available for corporate events and birthday parties. The company sells merchandise including action figures and videos.
This exercise and merchandising isn’t only for pros. Actually, a strong component of the SoCal Wrestling experience is an open-to-all workout program. Training takes place 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Wednesday. Participants don’t need any previous rasslin’ experience and can be active military. They need workout gear, knee pads and elbow pads. It costs $125 per month following a one-time $100 sign-up fee.
Training is a good exercise to be sure, but it also can lead to a somewhat professional life. SoCal Wrestling operates what is believed to be one of about 10 statewide companies that organizes professional wrestling events.
Kind of like the lower minor leagues of professional baseball, the dream for some to ascend the ladder to the major wrestling circuit, the World Wrestling Entertainment ranks of WWE. That dream is for but a few, however, as local pro wrestlers most often switch local circuits and occasionally take the show on the road to Mexico or even Japan.
SoCal Pro Wrestling Escondido events might draw a hundred people or so to the gym, who get into it in the 1980s wrestling fan way, that is to say up close, loud and personal. Oceanside contests are held at the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club, 401 Country Club Lane. Given the boutique nature of the contests, they can yell and scream, then turn around after the event and engage wrestlers in friendly chit-chat.
View from the arena
“You can see the action live, no commercials,” spectator Paul Weiner told a reporter earlier this year. “It’s a lot better than watching it on TV. I guarantee you that.”
As for the wrestlers, Ryan Colberg, who works it under the nom d’rassler of Anthony Idol, told the reporter, “If you think the crowd doesn’t matter, then we’d be just two guys fighting in our underwear. When people are enjoying themselves, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Abut 25 wrestlers, mainly men, fill the ranks. Techniques vary greatly with physical strength featured for some while others go acrobatic in the Mexican Lucha-Libre way.
The stable includes the likes of “I am Joe” Gamble, Ju Dizz, Motro, “Lovin” Nick Lovin, Peter Avalon and the twin Dynamic Brothers. Each has shtick and in the age of social media, extensive Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
The pinnacle of the SoCal Pro Wrestling world naturally enough is the The SoCal Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship is the most prestigious title in California any professional wrestler can hold, according to Dino.
|Since April 2008 this championship has been fought over month after month and in that time only nine men “have had the honor to hold the title,” Dino said. “Many competitors have tried their best to capture the SoCal Pro Heavyweight Championship, and all but nine have failed.”
SoCal Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Champions by ranking as of May 2015:
1. Tommy Wilson: 906 Days
2. SoCal Crazy: 403 Days
3. Jason Redondo: 290 Days
4. Big Daddy Destro: 249 Days
5. Big Duke: 231 Days
6. Ricky Mandel: 154 Days
7. Andre Machievski: 119 Days
8. Hector Canales: 119 Days
9. Kid Caramba: 98 Days
For more information call (760) 845-6978 or visit http://www.socalprowrestling.com.