A local wrestler has taken his shot at the big-time.
Marc Perry, a sales coordinator at Queenstown skydive company NZONE, joined more than 40 hopefuls – including rugby league and AFL players, as well as lingerie football women – at a gruelling two-day World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tryout camp in Melbourne on August 6 and 7.
Overseeing the camp was Bill DeMott, WWE’s head coach at its Florida-based performance centre.
At the end of it, potentially, is a contract to enter the wrestling juggernaut’s developmental system.
“It was amazing, mate,” says a still-buzzing Perry.
The first day at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena – usually a tennis venue – put participants through a series of cardio-vascular drills, including running up and down the arena’s steps.
“A lot of people did struggle,” says high-flying 26-year-old Perry.
At 178cm and 85kg, he was the smallest guy at the camp but he says that gave him a fitness edge over heavier wrestlers.
By the end of the day there had been three injuries and several pull-outs.
“Anyone who says WWE is faked and just a set-up needs to come to one of these tryouts.
“It’s just insane.”
Day two was about showing personality in front of the camera – something second nature to England-born Perry, who started wrestling in England at age 15 and uses the moniker Marcus Kool.
“I think I did really well,” Perry says of the Melbourne tryout, attended by seven other New Zealand-based wrestlers.
“And I got along great with the head trainer. We’ll get feedback in six-to-eight weeks.”
Footage from the tryouts will be viewed at WWE’s Florida centre to decide who makes the cut, if anyone.
Perry says: “They could sign everyone or nobody – it’s an open tryout to see the talent in Australia and NZ.”
After the tryout Perry mucked in at a Melbourne City Wrestling gig in front of a 500-strong crowd. It was fun, he says, but the results didn’t go his way.
All tryouts got free tickets to the professional WWE show – with Perry back to being a spectator but still in his element, watching his heroes.
“What they do is amazing: it’s impressive and hard work.”
It’s surreal to be back in the resort, he admits: “It’s kind of a downer to be back in Queenstown, even though it’s amazing here.”
He’d leap at the chance if he gets the call from WWE.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”