A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting the first class of students to go through the Grindhouse Pro Wrestling Academy at The ArenA in Jeffersonville. This Saturday, the initial class invites you to come see their pro wrestling debut as Grindhouse Pro Wrestling Academy presents… RISE!
Trainers 2 Tuff Tony and Rudy Switchblade have poured their decades of knowledge and experience into the first class at Grindhouse. Now fans can get their first glimpse of the Buffet Brothers when they take on the Armada. They’ll also see Freddie Hudson vs. Toney Gunn, and a student versus trainer match when ZDP – Zach Dayton Pittman faces Rudy Switchblade himself!
Will this be the start of something new? Could the next ROH, NJPW, or WWE superstar be on the card Saturday? The students at Grindhouse are eager to convince you that anything is possible.
Show information is available on Facebook. For tickets, contact one of the students. Better hurry. They’ve hit the streets hard, and seats are going fast.
This is part two of a series of stories about The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the new Grindhouse Academy wrestling school.
When 2 Tuff Tony opened the doors of The Arena on Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana, one of the things he wanted most was to start a school for aspiring wrestlers. Tony is a seasoned veteran himself and knew he had a lot to teach, but he wanted a partner who could give students the things he could not. He wanted someone trained in a variety of wrestling styles, someone with in-ring experience and knowledge that would really challenge the students. Tony found all that in Rudy Switchblade.
Louisville area wrestling enthusiasts will remember Rudy from his run with OVW as well as appearances for other promoters and promotions in the area. What fans may not know is that Rudy is a twenty year veteran who began training and wrestling all the way back in 1997.
Rudy spent 10 years in the business before he came to OVW. He started his training at the School of Hard Knocks with Bill Anderson, Jesse Hernandez, and Chris Daniels. “They were pretty much the ‘it’ school at the time in Southern California, and I started with a group of guys who are all pretty famous now.”
Rudy moved on to UPW, then the Southern California developmental territory for the WWE, where he worked with future OVW and WWE stars John Cena and Rico Costantino. He spent two years in the New Japan dojo, and a few more years with Ring of Honor before coming to Louisville to train under Danny Davis, Rip Rogers, and Al Snow.
Rudy Switchblade is a student of wrestling well-versed in many styles and techniques. His is a very different path than the one his partner followed, but Rudy and Tony have become good friends as well as partners over the last six months.
Rudy and Tony are now training a half dozen students at Grindhouse Academy. Through trial and error, they’ve established a regular class schedule that seems to work best with the odd shoot job schedules of their students. It’s an open door type of setting, where students of all levels are welcome to come and go, and it’s ridiculously affordable: it’s only $10 an hour.
Wrestling purists are bound to raise an eyebrow and even a few objections to such a low price. Most training schools cost thousands of dollars and require large, up-front, non-refundable deposits. Those schools do their best to weed out the less serious students on day one, keeping the money and sending them packing. It’s an old school mentality that you won’t find at Grindhouse.
“Don’t get me wrong. We’re looking for serious students,” say Switchblade. “The difference is, we’re not here just to take you money. Tony and I are not getting rich off this. We’re doing this because we love it.”
Grindhouse is a place for those who can’t afford the big name schools. It’s a place to come and get your feet wet without getting your butt kicked. It’s a great place to see what wrestling is really all about without blowing your life’s savings on day one and having you love of the business battered by a hundred knife-edge chops.
Grindhouse Academy currently meets 3-4 times a week at the Arena. Schedule and times vary, but you can get more information on the school and the Arena by contacting 2 Tuff Tony on Facebook.
Tuesday night, the WWE will mark the 900th episode of Smackdown. Wednesday, Ohio Valley Wrestling will equal that mark with their 900th episode – the first ever broadcast in HD.
OVW has come a long way. Founded by Danny Davis as the Nightmare Wrestling Academy in Jeffersonville, OVW broke into the national wrestling consciousness when they were made the official training school for the WWE. When the fabled first class of OVW made its way to the main roster, wrestlers across the country began flocking to Louisville, knowing that OVW represented their best chance to make it to the big time.
The WWE banners are long gone, and the brief stint with TNA is now ancient history as well. Yet OVW today is as strong as ever, with a new generation taking the reigns in the ring as well as backstage.
It’s one thing for a multi-million dollar promotion to make it to 900 shows. It’s quite another for an independent promotion to reach the same milestone. It’s a tribute to the talent of the teachers, the quality of the program’s graduates, and the devotion of the OVW fans.
Congratulations goes to Danny Davis, Rip Rogers, Gilbert Corsey, Adam Revolver, Dean Hill, and everyone at OVW keeping the proud tradition alive. OVW is still one of the best places to learn your craft from master teachers. Their commitment to new technology is a signal that this small town promotion has hundreds more television programs in its future.
The WWE isn’t the only wrestling promotion with its own feeder system.
A year ago, Rockstar Pro in Dayton, Ohio began an experiment. LUDUS would be a place for aspiring wrestlers to test their mettle against the best of the best. Rockstar already had a stellar line up and a top notch training program, and if all went well, LUDUS would become the bridge for the beginners to reach the top.
LUDUS is celebrating their 1 year anniversary with a huge show on April 22. It’s going to be a huge party and a great show, and admission is only $5.
I saw all the video clips on Facebook last night and I’m looking forward to watching Raw. I don’t have cable, so I rely on Hulu to keep me up to date the day after, and only rarely do I regret not being able to watch live.
I wasn’t the only one who missed the show last night. I stopped by The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana last night and had the honor to watch Mitchell Huff running a handful of guys and one lady through their paces. The Grindhouse School, as it is now known, is in session every Monday. They don’t get together to gawk at the TV and dream. They are giving up family time and making other sacrifices so that they can help carry on a tradition more than a century old.
I can’t say this enough. If you’re one of the ones complaining that the WWE doesn’t get it; if you’re one of the ones who loves seeing those “indy” guys on WWE; if you’re one who is upset that the Diva’s Revolution is dying before it gets a chance to thrive; you are missing out if you don’t go out and see some live indy wrestling for yourself.
People will shell out $20, $30, even $50 for autographs from legends and stars who no longer wrestle. They’ll spend $30 and more on shirts and $50 on video games. But they won’t spend $5 to go watch an indy show.
Stop making excuses. Put your money where your mouth is. Go out, discover, and support indy wrestling. No, it’s not the same as what you see on TV. But no matter who is in the ring, TV can never give you the same rush as watching it live.