TheInsider here. First, let me apologize to all of you who may have gone to the PhW website YESTERDAY expecting to read about PhW's first ever "Open Try-outs." I misplaced my scheduler and got the dates wrong. Oh well, no blood, no foul. I just appreciate everyone's patience.
Next, I would like to thank Dave Wilder for letting me come to the try-out, and allowing me to follow up with a report on it. Given PhW's dubious financial situation I was suprised to even hear there was a try-out. Originally there wasn't going to be, but it turns out that in an off-handed way we have "Combat" Chris Walker and Robbie Kawanaho to thank for it. Each man donated a sizeable chunk of money to both Wilder and PhW, and Walker paid the gift tax on it.
Turns out Walker used his One hundred thousand dollar cash prize he won from his last mixed martial arts fight and fifty thousand he made on his most recent capture pooled with fifty thousand of Robbie's "toughman" money and gave it Dave Wilder to pay off some bills, and get some rent paid on a space!
I asked Walker about this at the try-outs and he just looked at me. "Why shouldn't I help Dave out? He gave me a job and a place to stay when I was down and out, I owe him so much I felt this was the least I could do." Robbie echoed roughly the same thing. "Combat approached me with a proposition and I wholeheartedly agreed, Chris and I are two of the few athlete's who didn't leave PhW when it folded. We worked doing other things, but never asked to opt out of contract's to pick up other wrestling work. Mr. Wilder kept us on, unpaid when we could have left, but out of loyalty we stayed, now we're helping him like he helped us."
I wanted to get a statement from the boss himself, but Alex Lobo (along with Youngblood to "evaulate" and if need be, train the talent) told me he was still in a slight bit of shock from Robbie and Chris's suprise (apparently it happened without his knowledge, he was caught off guard and was said to be very touched) that he left the training space to get some fresh air.
Let me just say, I haven't seen this sorry a group of freaks since the last time I went to the Puyallup Fair. I didn't envy "The Hitmen" but I thought if anyone could find gold in this pile of turds it would be these two.
The try-out call brought out both men and women from all walks of life. Among the hopefuls were two models, an ex fireman, two physical trainers from local gyms, and a various assortment of strippers and wanna be's. Observing the try-outs were a handful of PhW talent, the aformentioned Hitmen, Xaviera Renner, Combat, and Vampire.
Not many people stood out, and after the try-outs fewer were standing up. The Hitmen "stretched" all the male talent, and Xaviera Renner took out a lot of her agressions on the females. One tense incident came when a Wrestler from some obscure Canadian federation decided he wanted to "shoot" on Lobo and bloodied him. Danny Youngblood came unglued and nearly T-bone suplexed him right out of his boots. he then tossed the guy over the ropes, where I think it was "Combat" screamed at him to have some respect then made the guy piss himself by slapping on the "Lock-N-Load!"
After that, Walker and The Hitmen procceded to tell the wide-eyed and slightly scared crowd that this wasn't a game, and they needed to show some respect. Walker added that none of them could carry Alex Lobo's jock, and if they were just going to treat this like some game, or stand around playing grab ass that they could leave. No one left.
A lot of the strippers thought twice about locking up with Xaviera, the ones who did were stretched pretty good. I think that and getting berated by the trainers opened a lot of eyes. A couple of the female talent were rated as "passable" by Renner. No one got a "good" rating. At the end the only woman who made through the whole training and didn't quit was a female ex-firefighter named Alison Coleman. She took a lot of tough moves, but hung with Renner through the entire day long session. You could tell that Coleman was definetaly into the athletics of it and not the cheesecake aspect so I think that got her some respect from Xaviera. (Though, to be honest I didn't ask Renner what she thought because, frankly she scares the piss outta me!)
No one on the men's side stood out that much. The trainers from the local Golds Gym looked good, but got gassed by Lobo and Youngblood, especially by Danny, who even though he's got about the same type of physique really seems to resent ripped, muscle bound guys.
Apparently not having learned anything from seeing "The Canadian Destroyer" get dropped on his head hours earlier a former Army ranger who had been outside the ring making sarcastic comments all day trashed talked some of the students saying that "it was all fake" and "why didn't these pussies just kick ass?"
Youngblood asked him if he was so tough how about he prove it in the ring. The guy obliged, and I was actually getting a little worried for Younblood after seeing all this guys scars and tats but I didn't get a chance to worry much and neither did Danny because Walker asked him if he could do the honor.
Youngblood and Lobo just kind of grinned and told "Combat" they'd be getting some water if he needed any help. Walker sized the guy up and introduced himself. The guy (who insisted everyone call him "Cobra") just kind of looked at Walker and snickered. I guess he noticed Combat's Marine Corps tattoo because he said something about it being a long time since he got to show up a Marine and tried to suprise Walker with a shoot to a double leg pick-up.
"Cobra" was able to get Chris on the ground, but thats about all he was able to do before Walker just dis-mantled him. Walker just kept brutalizing the guy's right arm. Cobra got in some hard punches, and at one point gouged Combat's eye, but Walker just kept locking different submission moves on Cobra's arm.
After working Cobra's arm to the point where it was hanging at his side Walker kept kicking him the thighs with Muy Thai shin kicks. Cobra did get in some more solid punches and a low blow. After hitting Walker in the groin he tried to come off the ropes but Combat planted him with a spinebuster.
This was the first time I had ever gotten to see Walker use "The Combat Rock" a kind of "Burning Hammer"/"Ace Crusher" type manuever that he'd been working on with Alex Lobo. Devastating and very impressive. Walker wiped up the floor with the now curiously silent "Cobra" who never said anything and just sort of sulked for the rest of the try-out.
Suprisingly the most impressive person there turned out to be a guy who didn't even come to try out. Youngblood wound up striking up a conversation with a kid he had seen watching with a lot of interest. He noticed the kid was wearing a t-shirt printed with the words "Meridian High School Wrestling" and decided to chat the kid up.
Turns out the kid had come to the try-outs with a friend and wound up staying to watch. He was very informed, articulate and polite. He had a lot of old time wrestling knowledge and I think he made a really good impression with Walker, Lobo, and especially Danny. He was quite taken aback when Lobo asked him if he wanted to try out. Seemed excited and geniunely honored. He took his jacket off and climbed into the ring. Lobo seemed impressed with his grace and size and asked him if he was indeed on the wrestling team and what was his name.
Kid introduced himself as Peter Kharavi and said he was on the Meridian wrestling team. He told Lobo that he'd gone to school back east in New York and was on the wrestling team and football team in school there. I asked him how he'd wound up in Seattle and he told me that after 9-11 his father took a job in Seattle and moved his family to the west coast. Peter said that his dad was an Iraqi that worked at Microsoft. He told me that his moms American and his dad had lived in the U.S. for thirty years but that after 9-11 all his friends stopped talking to him and his family just couldn't keep up with being hassled all the time so they all agreed to move to the first city Peter's dad could get work in.
The impressive thing to me is that all the time while relaying this story Peter didn't seem bitter or angry. He really just seemed kind of laid back about it. He just told all of us- "What would've been the use of getting angry, it would have justified everyones negativity." "Besides, he said, all his new friends in Seattle didn't care where his dad was from."
After that we all just kind of looked at each other. Danny was quiet and Walker looked a little sheepish. Lobo asked Peter how big he was and who was his favorite wrestler? Peter answered by telling him that he was 6'3" and weighed 253 and that his favorite wrestlers were Jake "The Snake" Robert's who he got to see as a kid when his uncle took him to an event in MSG, and that even though he didn't wrestle anymore he was a big fan of "Taz" because of his judo background, and that he (Peter) had started taking judo after seeing Taz on the old ECW t.v. shows.
So for the next six hours Walker, Youngblood and Lobo worked out with this kid Peter Kharavi while myself, Xaviera Renner and the handful of auditioners left just watched them all. Everything wrapped up like an hour ago. Wilder came back with Pizza and Subs for everyone and informed all who came that they'd be in touch and thanks for coming.
I cornered Peter to get to know him a little better and noticed as Alex Lobo spoke to Dave Wilder while gesturing towards us. Wilder came over and thanked me for coming. I reciprocated as I was just glad he remembered me. He introduced himself to Peter told him that he'd made quite an impression. Wilder asked Peter how old he was, and I was shocked when he sheepisly replied "seventeen." He said that his birthday was in January.
Wilder thanked Peter again got his contact information. It was relayed to me that they aren't going to officially speak to Peter other than to offer him a job setting up the ring, and that if he was still interested that they'd sit down in January and hammer out a developmental deal. Wilder then went over to meet with Alison Coleman. I don't know what exactly they spoke about but afterwards I saw Wilder, Xaviera Renner and Alex Lobo leave together to apparently discuss the potential new talent.
Chris Walker left to go to his job bouncing at the club and Vampire had to go home to study for a poly-sci midterm. That left me with no one to interview or go chug a few with so I raced home to post this report for you fans.
So thats how PHW's first open try-out went, keep logging on here for other news, events and PHW related gossip.