By day, mild-mannered Marc Perry is a reservations staffer at Queenstown skydiving company NZone.
Come night-time, he’s an oiled-up, muscle-bound pro wrestler fighting people in mock combat for money in front of frenzied fans.
Perry, 22, does what many World Wrestling Entertainment-obsessed teenage boys dream about – and he wants to teach local boys his skills.
“Anybody can do it,” he says. |
“Wrestling’s an all-round sport, you can adapt to a style that suits you, whether you’re a big guy or a small guy.”
Incidentally, Perry – who hails from Birmingham, England – admits he was a “skinny little kid” when he got into it aged 14.
“I used to be a footballer like most kids in England.
“I remember telling my Dad one day that I wanted to be a wrestler. I remember the look he gave me as if to say, ‘What? You can’t be a wrestler, you’re a 14-year-old kid’.”
By 18, having learned how to perform wrestling moves, a bulked-up Perry did his first pro show. He found a six-week gig going round summer camps in England and putting on shows with other wrestlers. He’s also performed in Europe.
“It can be good money. You can make a living out of it if done properly, if you make a commitment,” he says.
Perry – or Marcus Kool as he’s known in character – became a hit in the United Kingdom pro wrestling scene before moving to Queenstown 18 months ago.
He’s what the wrestling world calls a “high flyer” – someone who takes on the bigger, tougher guys with fancy moves and jumps around the ring.
“I’m an underdog,” he explains.
“I get thrown around a lot. I do back flips onto the bad guy off the ropes. My finishing moves are a super kick, which is a straight kick to the guy in the jaw.”
Perry loves the “sport’s entertainment” element.
“I became a completely different person, you just morph into a character. I’d be the cool, hip guy.”
Pro wrestling draws criticism. Its pre-conceived story lines mean the performance is “fake” – and the flak isn’t lost on Perry.
“I say to people, ‘What’s your favourite movie? It’s fake’. The actors, the sound effects, special effects, they’ve all got stunt men.
“But we are all of that. We’re our own stunt men…we can’t do retakes. We have to make it look good there and then.
“People call it fake or a show, but it’s like any other kind of physical contact. You can get hurt if somebody doesn’t execute a move on you safely.”
Perry hasn’t been in the ring much since he came to Queens-town but returns as Marcus Kool tomorrow night for a Kiwi Pro Wrestling show in Wellington.
“I’m against Fixation Jimmy Fox, one of their bad guys who’s been on [KPW’s] TV show. He’s an ego-maniac, arrogant, self-obsessed. I’m there to shut him up.”
Next Thursday, he plans to meet teenagers at Wakatipu High who want to learn more about wrestling and hopes to offer tuition at the new Fight Science gym.
“I used to teach kids back home and got a lot of enjoyment out of it.
“I just want to get wrestling out there because it’s a great thing to get into.”