UCF student a wishful pro wrestler
The dramatic storylines, the vivid, and sometimes graphic violence, the pageantry and spectacle — these are the qualities that make up a professional wrestling show. And while some wrestling fans find solace among other admirers in the stands, others dream of being in the spotlight themselves.
Joey Barry, a freshman business major, is one such dreamer working diligently so that he can one day make it in the ring.
"I want to be a pro wrestler more than anything," Barry said. "I can get in the ring and become an athlete, an orator and an entertainer all in one."
Barry recently began training at the Team Vision Dojo of Professional Wrestling school every Monday and Wednesday night with the hopes of one day performing in front of a live audience.
Video: Pro Wrestling. Video by Arnold Godoy, Central Florida Future Arnold Godoy
"Becoming a pro wrestler takes a lot of time, patience and commitment," Barry said. "You have to have athleticism and charisma on top of that if you want to be successful."
The head trainer for "I Believe in Wrestling" at the Team Vision Dojo, Chasyn Rance, is a former Knight himself. Rance graduated from UCF in 2007 with a degree in general business management, though he began his career in pro wrestling as far back as 1998. The Dojo opened in 2008 and since then, Rance has helped foster a lot of new talent, including a hopeful Barry.
"[Joey has] been really excited and he's been picking stuff up quickly," Rance said. "He's starting at a really good time. He's an athletic kid and if he could gain some size, he'd have a shot".
Right now, Rance, along with his fellow trainers, are teaching Barry and his peers the basics of wrestling, including basic calisthenics, technical maneuvers such as safe falling, and when and why to execute certain maneuvers.
While Rance may think Barry has potential, he also understands the long road Barry has ahead of him.
"It takes years to get really good at this. It takes six months to a year before [a wrestler's] first match — and years before you don't suck," Rance said.
Terry Taylor, second-in-command at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, also understands the time, practice and commitment needed to succeed in pro wrestling. Taylor wrestled for 27 years before retiring from the ring and becoming an integral part of the action behind the scenes.
"The biggest realization to most once they get into WWE is the amount of work it takes to make it, and then how much more work it takes after they make it," Taylor said. "The physical toll and expertise to become proficient is mind-numbing."
However, the dream of becoming a WWE superstar is not impossible. As Taylor puts it, the WWE has "a vast network" to find, recruit and sign potential talent.
"Get as much information about the WWE and the lifestyle, such as the extensive travel every week, as possible. Most importantly, one must search their heart to make sure this is what they truly want to do," Taylor said for WWE hopefuls. "Decide if this is what you really want to do, then with all that passion and desire, pursue your dream."
But while some Knights dream of being in the ring, others aren't as passionate about it.
Ryan Baksh, a freshman finance major who wrestled athletically all throughout high school and hopes to join UCF's wrestling team, looks at professional wrestling, in his own words, as "a complete joke".
"Their acting and performing can't even compare to the hard work we do and the hours we put into practicing," Baksh said. "They're all for show and looks."
Baksh isn't alone in this thinking. Fellow freshman Anna Fetzer, an elementary education major, agrees.
Fetzer, who is heavily involved in volleyball and weightlifting, doesn't see the appeal.
"It's all just scripted acting," Fetzer said. "It's not a sport, and winners don't gain anything from it because it's predetermined."
But despite the skeptics, Rance said professional wrestling comes with its own set of challenges.
"[It takes] someone who's ready to learn and start with a humble attitude," Rance said. "It takes a lot of heart. It's not as easy as most people think."
Where to catch pro wrestling action in Central Florida:
* Team Vision Dojo of Professional
* Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. at 6923
Narcoossee Road, #620, Orlando
*$10 general admission tickets
*WWE presents NXT Live!
*Oct.09 at 7:30 p.m. at Orlando Armory, 2809 S. Ferncreek Ave., Orlando
*$10 general admission tickets, $20 ringside tickets