Preston City Wrestling has set its sights on finding the next Wade Barrett or even Hulk Hogan - right here in Lancashire!
The promotion is set to open a training school in Preston, with the aim of creating the stars of tomorrow.
Preston City Wrestling Academy will be led by some of the biggest names on the British grappling scene, who regularly appear alongside international talent in PCW’s sell-out shows at Evoque nightclub in Church Street.
Owner Steven Fludder said the school would run community classes and offer opportunities to disadvantaged youths.
He has been in talks with Coun Drew Gale, who represents the town centre ward, and is looking at registering the new academy as a Community Interest Company.
Steven, 30, from Ashton, Preston, said: “I want to do something that will have a really positive impact on Preston.
“A lot of wrestling schools struggle because there is no platform for the people training there to make that step up and get noticed. If they were to work on just one of my afternoon shows, there are 300 to 400 people watching, and that is more than most of the American independent shows get.
“It would run on week nights, at weekends, and as we get going we will be doing camps during the week.”
Trainers are set to include PCW stars Joey Hayes, Danny Hope and Rampage Brown.
Steven said he was looking at venues close to the city centre, which would be handy for people travelling to Preston.
He added: “I also want to do a youth class on Saturday mornings, involving very light physical activity, because there are so many children who love wrestling and would like to try it.
“It would be nice to do a relaxed, safe children’s class, that is more mat based than in the ring. In 10 years time there might be numerous wrestlers coming from Preston and we could make a star.
“I would love to have a top level UK wrestler saying they are from Preston.”
Coun Gale said around 35 per cent of PCW fans come from Preston and that it brings an estimated £100,000 a year into the city’s economy, with fans staying in hotels and visiting shops, restaurants and bars.
He said: “We need to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and Steven is talking about giving training opportunities to disaffected young people.
“Usually they might go to a boxing club or a Mixed Martial Arts club, but this is another strand of that, with less violence and more theatre, and it has the fitness and nutrition side of it too.
“There is also the filming, staging and production side of it, and youngsters could get experience in this to help gain qualifications.”
Preston already has one wrestling superstar, Wade Barrett, who is a household name in the United States with WWE.
The 33-year-old, from Penwortham, is a three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, and an avid Preston North End fan.
Meanwhile, PCW has launched an online ‘on demand’ service, where you can watch its events and DVD releases. This can be found at www.vimeo.com/prestoncitywrestling.
Its next event, Road to Glory 3 on February 28 and March 1, will feature former TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles, ex-WWE Superstars Chris Masters and Papa Shango/The Godfather, plus Ring of Honor’s Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis.