MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Throughout the history of professional wrestling, Minnesota has been a hotbed for famous wrestlers.
Now, those who’ve dreamed about getting inside the ring and turning pro have a chance to do exactly that.
In this week’s Finding Minnesota, we went to a wrestling academy in Brooklyn Park, where they are always ready to rumble.
“It was something we decided to do 5 or 6 years ago,” said co-owner Ken Anderson. “There was really nothing here in Minnesota.”
Anderson was once known as “Mr. Kennedy” in the WWE. These days, he’s team-upped with another WWE alum, Shawn Diavari. Together, they’ve opened The Academy: School of Professional Wrestling.
“It was through a lot of trial and error and a lot of wasted energy that we decided we wanted to have a school where [students] can learn everything from the ground up,” Anderson said.
At the Academy, corporate executives, teachers and stay-at-home dads learn backbreakers, hammer locks and body slams.
They also learn that it’s not that easy.
“Everything you are doing, your body and your instincts are telling you, don’t do this,” student Tom Dalbacka-Hoogenboom said.
No one knows that better than Nora Benshoof.
In her WWE days, she was known as “Molly Holly.” That’s back when she worked with the “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
“I was a sandwich artist at Subway and someone invited me to a pro wrestling training camp. Not as nice as this one, but something similar,” Benshoof said.
That’s how she caught her break. Now, she’s trying to help others catch theirs.
“Some people are natural athletes,” Benshoof said. “You tell them something once or twice and they’ve got it. Other people, it takes them a while to get the hang of it.”
It’s possible the Brooklyn Park school has the next Ric Flair or Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Anderson said that there are 41 students in class and all are at different levels.
They train both men and women ages 16 and older.