WCW Power Plant

The WCW Power Plant was a professional wrestling school located in Atlanta and owned and operated by World Championship Wrestling. The Power Plant, which was developed from a school operated by Jody Hamilton, was in operation throughout the 1990s, and produced a number of highly successful wrestlers. It stopped holding tryouts in December 1999, and closed in March 2001 when WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation. It had a reputation for pushing trainees to the limit.Fact|date=July 2008

Criteria for entry

The Power Plant was advertised on "WCW Monday Nitro", and potential trainees could schedule a three day tryout session costing $250 where they would attempt to impress the trainers. If the applicants were suitably impressive, they would earn an invitation to join the school at a cost of $3000 for six months training. On one occasion, Sonny Siaki and two other wrestlers were admitted out of a field of twenty three applicants. In order to be accepted, applicants had to be physically fit and between the ages of eighteen and twenty eight. Male applicants had to be at least 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) tall and 180 lb (82 kg) in weight, and were forced to undergo a physically taxing three day exercise session. Potential trainees unable to keep up were asked to leave. In the course of the three day period the applicants would often vomit and suffer from muscle spasms and cramps.

Training routine

The Power Plant had an infamous reputation, with many graduates comparing it to a boot camp. This was exacerbated by the presence of head trainer Dwayne Bruce, who acted like a drill sergeant. To succeed, the trainee was required to display a great deal of strength and stamina, with less focus on basic wrestling skills. Bret Hart, who was forced to retire when a stiff kick from Power Plant graduate Goldberg tore a muscle in his neck and gave him post-concussion syndrome, blamed the end of his career on the Power Plant training regime, saying "I don't think it was a priority to protect your opponent." [cite web|url=http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/Hitman/2004/08/21/595830.html|title=School of Joe|last=Hart|first=Bret|accessdate=2008-08-06|publisher=SLAM! Sports]

The Power Plant was equipped with four 18' by 18' (5.5 m) rings and a gym. A typical weekday would see the trainees begin at 9am with a half hour warm-up session consisting of calisthenics such as vertical squats, push-ups and sit-ups. They would then spend three hours practicing bumps. After a forty minute break for lunch at 12:40pm, the trainees would take more bumps and then work on promos, finishing at 5pm.

The daily fitness regime saw trainees perform between 500 and 1000 squats for up to six hours. They would also execute 200 to 500 push-ups, 200 leg lifts and 200 abdominal crunches. In addition, trainees underwent weight training and cardiovascular conditioning exercises. There were few breaks for rests or water, and the trainers were rarely sympathetic to complaints.

The drop-out rate was 85%. The typical student would train for between six and nine months before graduating.

The motto of the Power Plant was "Pain is temporary, pride is forever."

Whilst researching professional wrestling for a BBC documentary, journalist Louis Theroux visited the Power Plant. He volunteered to take part in some training in an effort to show some respect for the business, but as he had asked Dwayne Bruce some questions about kayfabe, he was forced into very hard exercise. At one stage, Bruce encouraged the other trainees to call him a cockroach whilst Theroux was struggling to regain his breath. Theroux was later shown vomiting on camera.

Trainers

Male trainers

*Director Jody Hamilton
*Head Trainer Paul Orndorff
*Head Trainer Dwayne Bruce
*Bobby Eaton
*Michael Haynes III
*Lash LeRoux
*Harrison Norris
*Buzz Stern
*Big Ron Studd
*Mike Wenner
*Pez Whatley

Female trainers

*Nora Greenwald
*Debra Miceli

Graduates

Male graduates

*Tank Abbott
*Bryant Anderson
*C.W. Anderson
*Chad Brock
*David Flair
*Alan Funk
*The Giant
*Goldberg
*Sean O'Haire (began training in November 1999)
*Shane Helms
*Horshu
*Mark Jindrak
*Chris Kanyon (began training in May 1995)
*Evan Karagias
*The Demon
*Kid Romeo
*Aj Styles
*Lash LeRoux (began training in 1997)
*Lodi (began training in 1997)
*Steve McMichael
*Ernest Miller
*Shannon Moore
*Scotty O
*Diamond Dallas Page
*Chuck Palumbo (began training in 1998)
*Dean Power
*The Renegade
*Reno
*Mike Sanders (began training in 1998)
*Shark Boy
*Sonny Siaki
*Sick Boy
*Elix Skipper
*Bob Sapp
*Johnny Stamboli
*The Wall
*Alex Wright
*Jimmy Yang (began training in 1999)

Female graduates

*Asya
*Major Gunns
*Midajah O'Hearn
*Stacy Keibler (began training in 1999)
*Leia Meow
*Sharmell Sullivan (began training in 1999)
*Tygress
*Daffney Unger
*Queen Debra
*Torrie Wilson

Legacy

The WCW Power Plant produced three future WCW World Heavyweight Champions (The Giant, Diamond Dallas Page and Goldberg), one future World Heavyweight Champion (Goldberg) and a future WWE Champion, The Big Show. Dave Batista, a future World Heavyweight Champion, tried out at the WCW Power Plant but was told he would never make it in the wrestling business by Dwayne Bruce. The later Power Plant graduates, however, many of whom were part of the stables The Natural Born Thrillers and The New Blood, largely failed to achieve considerable success. This has been blamed on WCW training wrestlers out of the blue, and not adopting a feeder system of promotions like rival WWF/E.

In April 2003, Dwayne Bruce opened his own wrestling school in Jasper, Georgia known as The Super Power Plant.

References

External links

* [http://www.ddtdigest.com/features/powrplnt.htm United Airlines advertisement for the Power Plant]
* [http://www.alanwojcik.com/id77.html Interview with Sonny Siaki]
* [http://www.ddtdigest.com/features/leroux/ "Mad dogs and glory"]


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