Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2002

Wrestling like a bear

PRO wrestler James Grizzle sharpens claws, entertains fans

January 17, 2002

When James Grizzle steps into the ring to wrestle, he does what is needed to give the most extreme effort possible and he even gets to wear tight, vinyl pants while he does it.

Grizzle, a 32-year-old De Soto resident, has been a semi-professional wrestler for five years. Grizzle, also known as "Griz" to his fans, is a member of Total Xtreme Wrestling of Excelsior Springs, Mo. Grizzle compares his wrestling to the World Wrestling Federation seen on network television.

"It's still the same thing but you're not on TV," Grizzle said. "A lot of people like to say semi-pro. I've worked with a lot of the guys that are on TV. It's the same, but you're not quite there yet."

Grizzle said his love for wrestling began when he watched professional wrestling on television in the seventh-grade. He became interested in other competitive sports as a student in middle and high school, but wrestling was his true passion.

"Always in the back of my mind I said, 'That's what I want to do,'" he said. "In the back of my mind, it was always wrestling."

Grizzle found getting started in the business wasn't easy. He signed up for Worldwide Wrestling School in Hamel, Minn. His training included learning the specialized moves for the sport. It also included strength-conditioning. For that challenge, he and his peers lifted wooden logs to build strength and endurance.

"The first two weeks, all I did was wrestle, eat and sleep. I couldn't do anything else I was so sore," Grizzle said. "That is probably about the hardest thing I had to complete in my life. Almost the first month was conditioning."

After three months of training, halfway through the school, Grizzle and the other students were allowed to enter the ring. Then, all they had learned came to fruition. After he completed his schooling, Grizzle decided to get some experience under his belt.

"I stayed in Minnesota for awhile and wrestled up there for another year and a half," he said, "just to get my feet in the door get my feet wet."

Now, Grizzle said he works between 70 and 100 shows a year. His son, James, is also involved in wrestling, but of another kind. Five-year-old James Jr. is a member of the De Soto Wrestling Club.

"It's funny, he's likes to get in the ring and do some moves that I taught him, but you know, he's just a little kid," Grizzle said.

Grizzle can be seen in action Saturday, when he will participate in a fund-raiser for the De Soto Wrestling Club and De Soto softball program. He and other wrestlers will put on a wrestling match at 8 p.m. Saturday at the De Soto Community Center. Tickets are $10 each.

Wrestlers from across the country who have also worked with the WWF and in the WWF's "Tough Enough" will present the match. During intermission, member of the De Soto Wrestling Club will wrestle.

A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to either the De Soto Wrestling Club or the De Soto softball program.

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