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Australian Wrestling Entertainment (AWE) champion, Vinnie Vain, talks up the levitating league and shares his success story so far…

BORN: July 1, 1988
OCCUPATION: Marketer by day, Pro Wrestler by night

When and how did you get into the world of wrestling?
I started training to become a professional wrestler in February 2014.
I became obsessed with the WWE as a teenager and wanted to be more than a fan. I looked into training and stumbled across the Australian Wrestling Entertainment training academy in Sydney and have never looked back.

Tell us about your first professional match. How was it?
I was very nervous and wrestled an Australian legend in The Masked Mauler (Lou Marcello) who used to compete in World Championship Wrestling in the late 1970’s. We had a decent match, but, unfortunately I lost. I was eager to get back into training and come back as a stronger performer with the aim of one day winning the AWE Championship.

How is Australian Wrestling Entertainment different to other wrestling leagues?
AWE stands above the rest as we consistently attract large crowd numbers with some of Australia’s best wrestlers. The best in the world have also come to perform for AWE including WWE stars, such as, Shelton Benjamin, ChavoGuerrero, Melina, Carlito and Buff Bagwell.

What do you love the most about being a professional wrestler?
The moment I walk through the curtain to a packed room of people making noise. The fact that I get a reaction is key to the sport and there is no better feeling than knowing that in that arena I have the power to make these people love me or hate me, just depends on how I am feeling on the night.

What is the most challenging thing about being a professional wrestler?
Handling the nerves before a match. No matter the amount of preparation, handling the nerves never gets any easier.

How do you prepare yourself before a big match?
I watch some of the greats that I can see my own character and wrestling style within. Such wrestlers include Cody Rhodes, The Miz, Eddie Guerrero and Randy Orton. I look to them for inspiration and somewhat study their movements and try and improve time and time again.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?
I find a corner of the arena where no one is around and say a little prayer that I don’t get hurt so that I can walk back through my front door in one piece.

How does a typical competition day roll out for you?
A typical day involves a good breakfast, hitting the gym for a quick pump, haircut, tan session, shower and straight to the arena with my entourage to get ready for the show. It is very intense, but, the satisfaction after the show is unlike any other.

How did you become the Australian Wrestling Entertainment champion?
The journey to my championship win started the night I won the inaugural Mario Milano Contenders Cup in February 2017. This was a tournament that paid tribute to Australian Wrestling legend that passed away a few months prior in December 2016. Mario helped build and establish the AWE in its early days and the cup was introduced to provide its winner the opportunity to challenge for the AWE Championship any time they elected. I teased that I would cash in on the champion throughout 2017, but didn’t do so until the last event (AWE Lockout) of the year. The Championship was being contested in a steel cage match between Hudson Hulk (the defending Champion) and former OVW Champion Mohammad Ali Vaez (Ohio Valley Wrestling at the time Vaez was Champion was developmental territory for the WWE). Vaez proceeded to win the match and then mouthed off at the special guest referee Anthony Perosh (former UFC light heavyweight contender). I rush out, handed in the cup to the official, ascended to the top of the cage, jumped and landed a crossbody straight on-top of Vaez to then pin him for the Championship. It was undoubtedly the highlight of my career. After having my hand raised, I climbed the cage and sat at the top for a about five minutes with the belt in my hands just taking in the moment. My wife, my family and fans were at ringside cheering me on. It was an amazing moment and I couldn’t help but feel satisfied knowing that years of training, beatings and perseverance paid off.

Describe the feeling after the win.
It was a great moment in my life. You work hard and make a lot of sacrifices to achieve and get to this moment and when it happens it is very surreal. Winning the title proves that I am the best and it was like a big “in your face” to my detractors.

Take us through your training regime.
I train in the ring practising my craft, then there’s weights and cardio to maintain my physique and look, plus, ensuring my nutrition is on-point. It is a very fine combination of all these aspects that allows me to look and wrestle the part.

Have you had many injuries during your career so far?
Yes! Concussions, a broken foot, moved vertebrae, bumps, bruises, torn supraspinatus… shall I go on?

Wow. Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
I am a former three times Australian Karate Champion. Before wrestling, I did Karate for almost nine years, achieved my Black Belt and represented NSW numerous times and fought in Japan at the World Championships for Australia in 2002.

What other athlete inspires you and why?
Georges St. Pierre. The former UFC champion’s work ethic is incredible. I love the fact that after a match, instead of hitting the showers and the club, he used to go back to the locker room and go over his match and analysed where he could have done better. That is very inspiring to me and something I try to implement into my own regime.

What do you do in your spare time. Got any embarrassing hobbies?
If I am not wrestling, I am working as a top end marketer and then trying to balance relationships with family and friends whilst maintaining my fitness. I rarely have a day off to do nothing so when I do, I just enjoy hanging around the house watching bad TV.

What are you looking forward to about this year?
Having a great reign as champion and hopefully wrestling some of the world’s best international talent when they come to wrestle at AWE. ■

Photographed by New Photography Studios

For the full article grab the June 2018 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.

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