Joel Bryant held the clipboard in his hand and looked up at the new signees standing in front of him. It was an interesting group of guys.
"Welcome to Texas Grappling League. This is going to be your home until you either get called up to the main roster or no longer work here. We've got a good crew down here. Experienced hands. Rookies. We work hard. If you listen and apply yourself, the sky is the limit. If you choose to disrespect the business, disrespect the coaches, go into business for yourself, or otherwise find someway to metaphorically jerk off in my ring, you won't last long. I've been in this business for thirty-four years. That's longer than any of you have been alive. This business is my life. I love this business with everything I have. Every fiber of my being. Trust me when I say, I love this business more than I like any one of you, but work hard, and you will earn my respect and I may come to like each of you."
He paused and looked around at the faces of the guys he was talking to.
"I know I come off like a hardass. Like some mean old veteran -- and some times I am that. But I am also your head coach and I want to see you do well. I will support you as long as you're doing what you're told. Any questions."
No hands go up.
"Okay. So let's meet each of you then."
He looks down at his clipboard.
Craig St. Pierre
: Big Heavyweight
Craig St. Pierre is a Brawler, trained at the Mid Atlantic Boot Camp, who joined the world of pro wrestling in July 2023. From Alabama, he is 6'6 and 319lbs and naturally plays the fan-favourite. He is well suited to playing bad asses. He uses the 'Summer Bulldog' as a finisher.
"You're a big bastard Craig. You trained with Sam Keith right."
Craig St. Pierre nods his head.
"Sam knows what's he's doing. He's a good trainer. Welcome aboard, kid. You're locker number 86. Go put your stuff away and start loosening up."
Craig hustles off to do as he was told and Joel looks down at the next name.
: Bulky Big Heavyweight
Ryan Jang is a Brawler, trained at the Golden Dojo, who joined the world of pro wrestling in December 2020. The Indonesian is 6'6 and 322lbs and is able to play face and heel. He is good at brutish characters and gimmicks. He utilises the 'Atomic Choke Bomb' as a finisher.
"What's your ethnic background, Jang?"
RJ: "I'm Indonesian, Sir."
"Have you ever met Brent Watson before? He works here too."
RJ: "No Sir, I haven't."
"Well, make sure you introduce yourself. The two of you could be a modern version of Savage Fury or Samoan Demolition Inc, or something. I have plans to team the two of you up. I think you could do big things."
RJ: "Yes Sir. I will Sir."
"Good. I like the respect. You're locker number 75. Put your stuff away, meet Brent, and start getting loosened up for morning drills."
Ryan Jang nods his head and hustles off. Joel looks back down at his clipboard. There are only three men in front of him now.
: Toned Light Heavyweight
Albert Turnbull is a Regular Wrestler, trained at the WWA: Australia, who turned pro in April 2021. Hailing from Melbourne, he is 6'2 and 270lbs and is a born heel. He represented Australia in the Olympics as a wrestler. He plays legitimate gimmicks well. He uses the 'Deadline Screwdriver' as a finisher.
"Turnbull. You were in the Olympics, correct?"
AT: "I was, coach. I placed fourth."
"Why didn't you medal?"
AT: "Truthfully? I just wasn't good enough."
"I appreciate your honesty. With your athletic pedigree, you could go far, kid. Keep your head down and put in the work."
AT: "I will coach."
"Locker number 19 is free. That's you. You know the drill by now."
Turnbull nods and exits, leaving just two. The two prized signings.
Malachai Roaring Bear
: Ripped Heavyweight
Malachai Roaring Bear is a Hunkpapa Lakota was born and raised on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. He spent most of his life in the Cannon Ball section of the reservation -- in a shotgun house that overlooked the Cannonball River. He had a troubled start to his life. Indian Reservations are known for poverty and addiction. His family life was no different. They were dirt poor. His father was in and out of prison for petty crimes fueled by an addiction he could not beat. His mother worked as best she could, but she had no real education to speak of and options for an Indian woman with five kids and no formal education were not good. Malachai was the second eldest -- he has an older sister, but she passed away his freshman year of high school from an OD. Malachai used this as motivation. He excelled as a high school football player and had several scholarship opportunities, but he shunned those in favor of moving to Hawaii to enrol in the Supreme Wrestling Unversity. His dream was to be the next Cheif Two Eagles. To be a Native American star. He wanted to bring pride to the Lakota tribe and his reservation -- but he also wanted to uplift his family out of poverty. He was not signed to a deal with SWF upon graduation from training camp, but CWL was there with an offer so he took it. He's 6'6" and 302". A natural heel -- though he can play face as well. Right now he's using a running kick as a finish, but that could change.
"Why didn't the Empire want you, Malachai? You seem tailormade to be a success there."
MRB: "Short-sighted foolishness."
MRB: "They said their RIPW roster was full and they were not ready to call anyone up. Said I could go to the indies and cut my teeth and get a deal later."
"And why did you sign with us?"
MRB: "If I'm going to cut my teeth, it's going to be in a developmental program to make a main roster. Not toil away for seventy five bucks a night."
"You don't want to pay dues."
MRB: "I don't believe paying dues means I have to suffer financially."
Joel grinned at this. This was a young man who knew what he wanted. Who believed he had worth and value. That kind of attitude -- the belief in oneself and ultimately the desire to make money in this business was what turned guys into stars. It gave them the extra edge. It meant they weren't satisfied being just another guy.
"Locker number 31. You know the drill."
Roaring Bear didn't say anything as he walked away and left Joel Bryant with the last one of the group.
"The Arctic Wolf" Brody Irons
: Muscular Big Heavyweight
Irons is a product of the Rocky Mountain School of Wrestling. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, the young man left his home upon graduating high school and travelled to the premier training ground for professional wrestlers. In high school, he was a standout hockey player known for being the enforcer of his team. He helped lead his team, Chugiak, to three state championships. At six feet eight and three hundred and fourteen pounds, he has the size to become a star. He was highly touted in training camp as perhaps being the best prospect the Rocky Mountain School of Wrestling had ever seen -- and this is including a prospect list that has seen Clyde Puder, Jakob Yoder, the Devil’s Rejects and so many more over the past seven years. It was said that when Irons walked into the school all of the heads turned. Head trainer Ricky Dale Johnson was quoted as saying this kid could be the next Sam Strong -- or perhaps bigger. Irons has shown great aptitude as a brawler and supposedly has a natural charisma and microphone skill that could propel him to superstardom. It’s also rumoured that Irons has been given the longest contract of any prospect CWL has ever had. He will be starting his professional career in the Texas Grappling League, but as highly touted of a prospect as he is, we here at CWL.com do not expect him to stay down for long.
"Everyone has told me you're the real deal. They've told me that you're the guy...The one to watch. The next big star in this business."
Brody Irons shrugs.
"You don't feel any kind of way about them saying that?"
BI: "I think that in thirty years, there is going to be a generation of kids getting into professional wrestling because of Brody Irons."
"So you do think you're the next big star?"
BI: "No. Thinking it implies that I could be wrong. I am the next big star in wrestling. I'm going to be the biggest thing since Sam Strong. I'm going to be the one who lifts CWL to the number one spot in the whole world."
"You've got a lot of people counting on you to do that."
BI: "I know. And they won't be disappointed."
"Good. You're locker number 65."
BI: "Okay. I'll go get ready."
Irons lumbers off and Bryant looks after him.
"He could make it. This is a good group of guys. They sent me some good ones... But if he and Bear can keep their heads on straight. God damn they could change the world."