New Vancouver Island school wants to help you wrestle with your dreams

It wasn’t exactly the bright lights and glamor of WrestleMania, but on a midweek night earlier this month, some curious eyes turned to a ring at the upper end of the Campbell River.

365 Wrestling Academy celebrated its Open House from April 3 to April 7, and founder Michael Becher believes that professional wrestling — like the Campbell River Storm in late November — can be part of the city’s local sports culture important parts of.

“When I started, I had to move to Ontario to do it,” said the 39-year-old Campbell River native, who wrestled pro wrestling as Eddie Osbourne. “So to be able to come home, to be with my family, and to give back to professional wrestling, on my island and my city, is very special.”

On this particular Wednesday night, trainers Corey Van Dyke — known in the ring as “Havico” — and Nolan James put the recruits through the drills and moves they might have to do in the ring , these actions are called blobs.

“I remember when I was a kid, everyone loved wrestling,” recalls James, 37, who is rehabbing from a torn ACL in his knee and has been suspended for about 18 months. “The storyline is really interesting, and that’s what really draws me in. For me, it’s more about being an athletic player who can do different things, rather than being above everyone else.”

Professional wrestling originated in sports and theater. While the athleticism and moves are very real, the show is as scripted as a live show in a theater. This isn’t Becherer’s first attempt at opening a wrestling school in town, either, as Van Dyk was one of the original school’s first graduates.

“I’m just getting started in terms of training,” said Van Dijk, who watched his first gig at Campbell River and thought he might give it a go after being sacked. “I’ve worked with Eddie (Mike) for many years. His approach and the way he likes to train, I want to help him develop a lot of new student wrestlers.”

With his rebuilding at Campbell River, Becherer hopes he’ll be helping the next generation of performers from Vancouver Island in a few years.

“If you asked 100 people here in Campbell River if they had a wrestling school, maybe one or two would know. Those would probably be friends and family,” Becherer said. “It’s just getting the word out. I think we can have a great culture here, and we can have a big family and bring more people into that family and that culture.”

Edward Higgins
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