Wrestling school starts in Vienna

Show on tap for Saturday

Photo courtesy of Graham Godwin West Virginia Wrestling Alliance owner Greg Shriver, left, and local businessman Graham Godwin have teamed up to start the West Virginia Wrestling Alliance School of Professional Wrestling at 102 12th St. in Vienna.

VIENNA — Greg Shriver and Graham Godwin realized their goals of becoming professional wrestlers. Now they’re working to help others do the same.

Shriver, who founded the West Virginia Wrestling Alliance more than 20 years ago, and Godwin, a local businessman who learned the ropes from Shriver, have started the WVWA School of Professional Wrestling. It’s run out of the Vienna facility where Godwin’s Elite Auto Detailing is based and where the WVWA will have its first event of 2017 on Saturday.

“It’s a dream of mine to be a pro wrestler,” said Shriver, who goes by the name Wildcat in the ring and started training to be a wrestler in 1993. “I like to make their dreams happen too.”

Located behind Cheddar’s in Vienna at 102 12th St., the former site of Yellow Beard’s and Radioactive, the school welcomed its first class of seven individuals on Feb. 11. Godwin said he was pleased with the turnout and the attitudes of those involved, none of whom had met each other prior to that day.

“Everybody got along and everybody was helping each other out,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Graham Godwin Seven people attended the first class of the West Virginia Wrestling Alliance School of Professional Wrestling on Feb. 11.

The classes are open to anyone, male or female, whether they’ve trained before or never been in a ring, Godwin said. Participants must be at least 16 years old, with a parent’s consent, and be in “pretty good physical shape,” although not necessarily muscular, Shriver said.

“They need to basically have the ability and the heart to do it, and also to take the bump,” Shriver said, referring to falling and hitting the mat. “The ring’s not as soft as everybody thinks it is.

“That’s usually what makes ’em or breaks ’em,” he said.

Godwin said he won’t judge anyone based on body type and the most important attributes are charisma and character.

Classes are currently slated for 1 p.m. Saturdays.

The first session is a tryout and costs $50. The tryout consists of learning the basics, including how to take a bump, running the ropes, how to lock up and doing a front flip, Shriver said. Subsequent classes are $25 apiece.

Godwin said he believes 10 is a good number for the class, and if more people than that join, a new class would be added.

After working with another area promotion, Godwin learned about Shriver’s WVWA in 2015. He went to Shriver for training and now wrestles as Elliott Graham, part of the tag team duo, the South Beach Boys.

“We’re heels, which is bad guys in the wrestling world, but in the real world, I’m (a) kind-hearted business person,” he said.

The South Beach Boys and Wildcat are on the card for Saturday’s event, the Valentine’s Day Massacre. It starts at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6. Tickets are $6 in advance or $10 at the door, with kids 5 and under admitted free.

Godwin said the plan is to run two events a month. When trainers feel they are ready, students in the school will be able to join in.

More information about the school is available online at www.facebook.com/wvwaschool.