Before Mike Lockwood got to see the business end of a chair, he had to pay his dues.
That is exactly what he is going to make his new wrestlers-in-training do starting tonight, when his school opens up.
Lockwood is better known as “Crash Holly,” a wrestler on the World Wrestling Federation circuit. He is opening “Crash Holly’s School of Professional Wrestling” in the old Duke Power building at 1325 N. Main St.
Tonight, six wrestling wannabes will begin learning what it takes to be a wrestler.But, they’ll have to pay their dues first.
“We’re not going to get in the ring,” Lockwood said.
Not the first thing, anyway.
The first thing that they’re going to do is take the ring down. Lockwood calls that “paying your dues.”
With this exercise, he said he can learn about a wrestler’s personality and attitude. It’ll show him what the wrestlers are willing to do for the wrestling community.
“You have to be humble,” Lockwood said. “You have to pay your dues.”
A major portion of paying your dues is showing respect for someone when they ask you to do something.
“If they do it and they don’t say anything, I know that person has a good attitude,”Lockwood said.
“If you don’t want to do it, I will find somebody else that will.”
The same principle drives professional wrestling. If he isn’t willing to fall off the corner of the ring backward onto the mat, then the show’s producers are going to find someone who will.
Lockwood is here to make sure that even if his students don’t go professional, they’ll be willing to do whatever is asked of them.
Of course, they also have to pay more than just dues. They have to pay Lockwood $4,000, payable over 12 months, including a nonrefundable $750 deposit. That pays for a year of classes, three times a week.
Lockwood said he believes that’s a reasonable price to pay for his insight and training.
The pros aren’t faking it when they smash each other with chairs and throw each other on the pavement, he said.
That’s part of what he’ll teach them. So they don’t get hurt — too badly.
Once the students start training, Lockwood said he’ll hold wrestling shows every week to give the students the opportunity to work in front of a group.
When the idea of the school first started stirring in Lockwood’s mind, it seemed like a natural progression.
He has been wrestling for 12 years and decided that a training school was the “new direction” in his life.
“It’s just something I’ve wanted to do,” he said.
Right now, he calls himself “the only WWF-ster with a school.”
Being on the road an average of 250 days a year, it’s hard to see how he’ll run the school — but he will, he said. He said he’ll teach every class held at the school.
Lockwood will still be wrestling as Crash Holly, but only from Saturday to Tuesday.
Wednesday to Friday, he’ll come to Salisbury, where he lives, to teach a class each of those days.
Lockwood decided to bring the school to Salisbury because his wife, the former N’keigh Wheeler, grew up here.
“She made me come,” he joked. He met his future wife when she escorted fellow WWF wrestler Mark Henry to the Unforgiven match in Charlotte three years ago.
They dated 112 years and were married on New Year’s Eve 1999.
“I think I’ll get a lot of business around here,” Lockwood said. He said he’s excited about the new turn his life has taken.
“This kind of inspires me,” he said. “There’s places to work out here.”
Lockwood has a school, complete with the ring and even a place for students to stay.
He bought the former Duke Power building on North Main so he could rent rooms to his students — cheap. The rooms are former offices, and the students will have to share a bathroom and shower, but they won’t have to worry about any utilities.
Lockwood hasn’t decided what the rent is going to be, but he says he’ll keep it fairly cheap.
“The advantage to living at the school is you have access to the ring anytime you need it,” he said. Right now, only one student plans to move to Salisbury to attend his school. The other five live in this area.
The wrestling wannabes who sign up for Lockwood’s school are not guaranteed a spot in the world of professional wrestling — but it increases their chances of getting seen.
“If some of my students are good enough, I might would put my reputation out there and take tapes in.”
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-797-4264 or email@example.com