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   Wed, June 20, 2007



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Arts school turns to wrestling
Veteran trainer Wayne Cryderman tapped to tutor students
By COREY DAVID LACROIX - SLAM! Wrestling


It wasn't that long ago that former professional wrestler and trainer Wayne Cryderman decided to make a career change and walked away from the wrestling business. As it turned out, his life would once again lead him back into the ring as the lead instructor for a new wrestling school.

"The school for me adds legitimacy to the overall structure of what the training will be," said Cryderman to SLAM! Wrestling.

The school in question is the SRW Wrestling School, offered at the Atlantica Centre for the Arts based in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Atlantica offers a diverse array of entertainment and media training.

"We are a post-secondary education facility that offers full-time courses in recording arts, film and 3-D animation," said Jim Kuehl, campus director of the school. "We offer part-time courses in those fields and the visual arts -- acting, modeling; you name it -- anything that is related with the entertainment business."

You can now officially add professional wrestling to the list of programs offered at the institute, with the SRW Wrestling School now offering both beginner and intermediate programs. The expansion into professional wrestling upholds the school's drive to be a focal point for eastern Canadians to acquire training in the entertainment business.

"Wrestling is certainly a part of the entertainment business," said Kuehl. "It fits very well into what we do because it is another extension of acting, rock and roll and modeling. I've never been that familiar with the details of wrestling. The only thing I know about wrestling is how well it does in comparison to other forms of entertainment. When you look at the merchandise sales, you always come back to the WWE out merchandising the biggest rock acts by five times. Wrestling is a much bigger than what people think."

A one-time trainer at the famed Body Slammers wrestling school in Lima, Ohio, Cryderman mentored under veteran WWE wrestler/trainer, Al Snow. Having wrestled extensively in North America and overseas in the mid to late 90s, Cryderman (who wrestled under the guise of Crusher Kline) would rub shoulders with the who's who of the wrestling business, including stand-out instructors like Bruce Pritchard, Les Thatcher and Jim Cornette. That exposure has played a pivotal role in building Cryderman's credentials as an experienced and responsible trainer.

"There's a big difference between being a professional wrestler and a professional wrestler trainer," noted Cryderman. "Just because you're a wrestler doesn't make you a good wrestling trainer. I think the advantage I have is not only the fact that I was trained as a wrestler by the guys running the WWE development system (Pritchard and Snow), but I was also trained as a trainer. I've got a few references from people who have been around with me and trained with me. For people that come and decide to talk to me about training and wrestling, I certainly understand what I'm doing and I know how to make a good, solid wrestler."

A nagging elbow injury eventually forced Cryderman to return to his hometown of Osgoode, near the nation's capital of Ottawa, in 2001. In time, Cryderman would once again assume the role of wrestling instructor with the now-defunct Canadian Pro Wrestling (CPW) promotion in Hull, Quebec. However, a once in a lifetime career opportunity in the hockey world would lead Cryderman to Canada's east coast.

"I'm a huge hockey fan," said Cryderman, now holding the position of Director of Game Night Experience and New Business Development with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Saint John Sea Dogs. "It's in my blood. To get that opportunity to work within hockey, and on a level where you're still in front of fans, it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down. I left a lot of good people behind in Ottawa, but I thought they were at a level where they would be able to continue the success they were creating for themselves."

Cryderman and Kuehl would eventually cross paths with each other through events with the Sea Dogs organization.

"I ran into him (Cryderman) on numerous occasions, and we've worked on different promotions together," explained Kuehl. "Wayne mentioned to me at one point that he use to run training camps for wrestlers. It was just a conversation that people would have over a beer, although we didn't have a beer at the time. My interest got sparked, his interest got sparked, and here we are."

For prospective students, SRW Wrestling School has distinct advantages over other wrestling schools. As the wrestling industry has evolved into sports entertainment, acting skills have become the key ingredient in rising to the upper echelon within WWE.


Wayne Cryderman
"We have acting classes, so we can show people how to act because there's certainly amount of acting involved," explained Kuehl.

"We have a recording studio, so every good wrestling show needs some good music. When we develop professional wrestling characters, we can produce a certain kind of music for that character. We have film students that can produce videos. We can do a lot of things that go beyond what happens in the ring wrestling wise."

That kind of infrastructure will go a long way in fulfilling Cryderman's vision of taking the school beyond being a learning facility.

"We're looking into putting together full shows and building a promotion through the school," said Cryderman, not hesitating to advocate the school and its infrastructure as being a prime locale for a WWE Canadian development territory.

"They (WWE) spend a lot of money sending Canadians down to the United States (work visas). I think we can save them some money, and Saint John is a cheap area to live in. I think we can provide a legitimate shot in providing that for them if they are interested."

For more information on enrollment, please visit the below link to the SRW Wrestling school.

RELATED LINKS

  • December 16, 2003: Trainer stresses work outside of the ropes
  • SRW Wrestling School website
  • Atlantica Centre for the Arts website
  • Saint John Sea Dogs website

    Priorities change as life goes on. With that, Corey David Lacroix wishes to announce his amicable departure from SLAM! Wrestling. Many thanks to Greg Oliver for providing the opportunity to tell the kind of stories that are not told enough about in this industry.