In 2019, OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) held the first ever professional wrestling combine. They invited 60 athletes to take part, with the top sixteen receiving a two year scholarship to ASWA (Al Snow Wrestling Academy).
As we reported before, the Al Snow Wrestling Academy is the only accredited wrestling school in the world where one is taught not just in-ring work, but also how to produce and manage a show behind the scenes, which offers them a chance to run their own shows if they decide that’s the way they want to go.
We often hear of a combine being a meat market, as athletes are brought out and run through their paces. Every measurable physicality of the athlete is done, and in this case, there were numerous tests many of us that follow the NFL would recognize.
Some of those include bench press, BMI (Body Mass Index), squats, pull ups, vertical leap, etc. Instead of a 40 yard dash, they have a ten yard shuttle, had a psychological profile done, and an IQ test.
They also relied on the DARI system that measures functional motion assessment. This is broken into various things like range of motion, joints in space, and hip rotation among other things. It’s a create way for them to see what an individual’s physical flexibility, strength, and weaknesses are. It could help prevent injuries by knowing someone’s limitations right away and not pushing them into doing something they can’t physically do.
What made this really cool is it wasn’t just limited to wrestlers, as it was open to athletes and others that wanted to change careers or try something new.
It’s a great way to allow people that may otherwise not have been there to take part. More than that, it gave some hopefuls that didn’t fully understand what wrestling entailed physically a glimpse into whether they were made for this or not.
Because of it, they uncovered some unexpected talent, including Corey Storm (OVW’s youngest Television Champion at 18 years old. Storm’s ability is tremendous, and he had his WWE television debut on 205 Live on January 5, 2020.
Sure, Storm may have found his way through another promotion or means, but OVW’s combine helped give him the opportunity. It’s been a source of talent influx to OVW’s roster, and three others made an immediate impact at OVW’s shows. Names like Nephlem, Damone Saladino – part man, part angel. Crixes the Scottish Gladiator, who was reportedly trained in England and is a former bare-knuckle fighter. Jesse Goddard, Mr. Pectacular, is a former talent that returned and scored the highest on the combine scorecard.
Since purchasing OVW from Danny Davis, Al Snow has shown he’s interested in doing more to enhance OVW and the wrestlers than just turn out future stars. He’s intent on giving them the tools to make something more in their career than just marching them out to the ring night after night. He’s revolutionizing the sport piece by piece, and he’s doing so largely under the radar.
It’s going to be fun to see how fast other promotions adopt these policies.
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