NAME: Robby Phoenix
HOMETOWN: Yaqui Indian Resevation: Yuma, Arizona
Robby Phoenix ia a modern day Native American warrior. Robby is modern day in the fact that he does not run around in a loin cloth, and does not run with a big fancy head dress, pretending to be an Indian Chief. Robby wears the fashion of today, while keeping the beliefs and practices of his forefathers. Since breaking into wrestling, Robby has adopted the style of American, Mexican, and Japaese wrestlin. Making Robby an even more dangerous “Native Warrior”.
My Journey –
The super kick hit the little cholo right in the nose, and broke it….
My interest in pro wrestling started out as a fan. I loved wrestling. I couldnt get enough of wrestling, even though wrestling was on T.V. a lot back then (this was the mid 80s). Id watch the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) programming. Shows like, Wrestling Challenge, WWF Superstars, Saturday Nights Main Event, and Tuesday Night Titans. I would also watch the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) and their T.V. shows, like NWA World Wide, NWA World Championship Wrestling, and NWA Saturday Night Wrestling. Then of course there was the WCCW (World Class Championship Wrestling), and the AWA (American Wrestling Association) T.V. programs. So as you can see, for a big wrestling fan like myself, it was great to be a fan in the mid 80s.
At this point I was consumed by wrestling. Wrestling was all I thought about. I would sit in class and draw wrestlers. When I was in the third grade, I had to write a paper on what I wanted to be when I grow up. You can probably guess what I wrote about. At home, if I wasn’t watching wrestling on T.V., I was watching it on videotapes (Again, this was the mid 80s. No DVDs). I also collected the wrestling action figures. I still do today (What a mark).
By the time I was twelve years old I knew that I really wanted to be a pro wrestler. From that point on I lived my life acting like a wrestler. I remember one time, my sister was just messing around with me, and she pushed me. Now she didn’t push me that hard, but I sold it hard. I threw myself into the wall, and fell to the floor, all the time selling that she really hurt me. My younger brother and I would act out wrestling matches. A lot of times we wrestled each other, but there were some times that we actually teamed together. Now that was crazy, cause when we teamed together we had to pretend there were opponents across from us. In other words, we had to wrestle the air. We would copy all of our favorite tag teams. We would copy The Road Warriors, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, The Rock N Roll Express, and The Midnight Rockers.
Back then I had two goals in life.
1 was to play football.
2, was to be a pro wrestler.
I accomplished my first goal rather early in life. I started playing football at eight years old, and continued in the sport till I was eighteen years old. While I was playing football, I still watched a lot of wrestling. And of course, when Nintendo came out (Old school baby) I had whatever wrestling games they had for the system.
Back then I was a pretty good street fighter, and I admit that I really didn’t know how to really wrestle, but I thought I did. So one day, as I was walking home from school with some friends, and for some reason some guys walked up to us, and one guy got in my face, and asked me where I was from. Now in most towns people would think that this guy was asking me my country of origin, but I grew up in East L.A., so I knew that wasn’t what he was asking me. I told him that I don’t gangbang, but that wasn’t a good enough answer for him. He pulled out a mini baseball bat. You know the ones that they give out at Dodger Stadium. Anyway, this little cholo( ha ha) pulled out a mini bat, and tried to hit me with hit. I dodged the swing, and now its on. I backed up a bit to give myself room, and waited for his second attack. When he did, I gave him probably the worst looking arm drag that Ive ever done. After the ugly arm drag, the bat flew out of his hand, but he still charged after me, so I gave him a well, placed super kick. The super kick hit the little cholo right in the nose, and broke it, but just to make sure that this fight was over, I walked over and picked up the mini bat, and walked over to the guy, and applied the camel clutch. But I didn’t apply your normal camel clutch no, I applied it with the mini bat under the guys chin. Basically I was choking the guy out with a combo of the camel clutch, while pulling on the mini bat that was on his throat. The little cholo finally gave up. And I won the fight (And won my first hardcore match).
While in high school, I did dabble in high school, amateur wrestling. I tried out for my high schools wrestling team my sophomore year, but I didnt last long. I found out real quick that amateur wrestling, and professional wrestling were, two different monsters. A lot of the moves I saw on T.V. were actually illegal in amateur wrestling.
So I quit the team. But not before I learned how to take care of myself on the mat. What I learned in that small amount of time has helped me still today in my wrestling career.
When I graduated high school, I had no idea where, or how to get into pro wrestling. A couple of years went by, and then one day I was at home listening to a cable T.V. radio show, and the host plugged a wrestling school that was located in Sun Valley, California. The school was called Slam U (Slammers University). I wrote down the number, and called the next day. I told the person that answered the phone that I was really interested in becoming a professional wrestler. So they took down my name, address, and my phone number, and told me that they would get in touch with me. A couple of weeks later I got a package in the mail from Slam U, and the SWF (Slammers Wrestling Federation). After I read through everything, I came across an order form, with a note on top of the form saying that I was required to order, purchase, and watch some video tapes in order to get an appointment with the owner of Slam U, Verne Langdon. So I ordered, purchased, and watched the videotapes. It took a while but I finished watching the two videotapes, and when I was done, I called Slam U to set up an appointment, but there was one problem, no one would answer the phone.
I tried calling for a couple of weeks, and still no answer. So finally I gave up. I later found out that Slam U, and the SWF had closed down right around the same time I was trying to get into the school (1st road block). So there I was, wondering when, and if I would be a pro wrestler. Another couple of years would pass before another wrestling company would start up a wrestling school. That company was XPW (Xtreme Pro Wrestling).
The school was the Asylum. The asylums head trainer at the time was The Real Deal Damien Steele. But by the time I contacted the Asylum, there was a new head trainer. His name was Dynamite D. Now I had been to a few XPW shows before I contacted the Asylum. So I was real familiar with XPWs product, and characters. Out of all the characters, or wrestlers in XPW, including some wrestlers that were previously in ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), there was four wrestlers that became my favorites. The first wrestler was a young dare devil, high flyer named Kid Kaos. The second wrestler was another athletic young guy named the Messiah. Now the third wrestler was a crazy, out of control, hardcore, human horror film named Supreme. The fourth wrestler was a real entertaining character, and a real good wrestler named Mr. 80s Dynamite D.
So now I contact the XPW office to start my training. The person I talked to was XPWs vice president Kevin Kleinrock. Kevin informed me that there would be an orientation a couple of weeks from our conversation. Kevin also informed me that I would be in the second Asylum class. There was an Asylum class that started when Damien Steele was the head trainer, so Dynamite D just took over that class. So now I’m excited, I’m finally going to start training to be a pro wrestler. I’m going to live my childhood dream. The next week while I was at work, I was driving a stand up forklift. As I was passing by a big doorway, out came another guy on a forklift full speed, and crashed into me. The guy hit me so hard that I bounced out of my forklift and crushed my ankle (2nd road block). The day after my accident, I called Kevin Kleinrock, and told him what had happened, and also to cancel my orientation. Kevin was real cool about everything. He told me to give him a call when I was healed, and he also told me get well soon. Now here’s a guy who number one, doesn’t know me at all, and has a wrestling company with all kind s of wrestlers to worry about, but yet he still took the time to wish me well. I always thought that that was cool of Kevin.
While I was recovering, the then WWF was in town for Wrestlemania. Ten months of relaxation, and rehabilitation, and I was healed. The first thing I did after I went back to work was called Kevin Kleinrock. He told me that he was glad to hear that I’m all healed up. We set up another orientation, but this time I would be in the third Asylum class. Now this is it, its now or never. I was going to be a professional wrestler dammit!!
So I showed up to the XPW office that was located in Van Nuys, Ca. I walked in and was greeted right away by Kevin Kleinrock. He led me into an area where there was seats set up. I looked around and saw the set where Kris Kloss and Larry Rivera sit on the XPW TV show. As I sat down, I noticed four other guys sitting down. I didn’t talk to any of them at first. Then Dynamite D walked in. He handed all of us a brochure that basically told us the schools curriculum. Then D went over the cariculum verbally. After D explained the curriculum, Supreme, who was there as well, gave a speech. I would go on to hear this speech plenty of times throughout my career. But I always get fired up after hearing the speech, even to this day. After the speech, we walked into a small room where the wrestling ring was set up. I looked around, and man was this place small. There was very little space around three sides of the ring, and on the fourth side there was no space at all. Because, the ring was up against a steel mesh fence. On one side of the fence was a wrestling ring, on the other side was aisles and aisles of porn.
Dynamite D and Supreme climbed into the ring, and decided to treat us to an exhibition wrestling match. The match wasn’t long, but it showed us where we could be if we started training. So now D is about dismiss us, but not before he and Kevin could collect a down payment from each of us. So I gave Kevin a check for $500, and D gave me a list of things I would need for class. As we said our good byes, D informed us that class will start in two weeks.
The two weeks went by rather quickly. In order to train, I had to work out a deal with my supervisor at work. Training started at 6 p.m. till 8 p.m. My usual work schedule had me start work at 6 p.m. Luckily I had a cool supervisor, and he let me start work at 9 p.m. During the two weeks before the start of training, I had gone out and got the things that I would need, per D’s list. I got amateur wrestling knee pads, and some white athletic tape. I used the same wrestling spats that I still had from high school.
On the first day of training, the first thing D had us do was fill out a release form. The release form stated that XPW would not be responsible for any injuries we get from wrestling training. Then D put us through some stretches to help limber us up, and to make sure that we do not get hurt or injured. The next thing D showed us was rolls. We did forward rolls, backward rolls, rolls with the right arm, and rolls with the left arm. Dynamite D was extremely knowledgeable about wrestling, and the mechanics, the reason, and the history of everything he taught us. D stressed technique on everything we did. And even though D explained how doing the rolls correctly, and getting the technique down would save us in our wrestling career, I never appreciated that until I actually started wrestling. And for as many great wrestlers Ive worked with, well there’s a few shitty workers Ive had to be in the ring with. There’s nothing scarier than a guy who doesn’t know what the hell hes doing, and basically tries to dump you on your head. But thanks to D’s training I have avoided serious injuries.
After we learned the rolls, D put us through some cardio drills. Cardio was another thing D stressed to us. If you don’t have air, you cant finish the match. D always told us. Some of the drills we did, I was actually familiar with from my football days, drills like up downs or Greenbays. Up downs is a drill where you run in place, then when the coach or trainer blows the whistle, you drop face down flat on the ground, then pop right back up. Two other drills we did that was from my football days were squats and lunges. Now, like I said I was familiar with these drills from when I played high school football. But, it had been a few years since Ive played football. So needless to say, I was pretty soar after those drills.
Before I started training for wrestling, I worked out with the weights, and did some running, so I wasn’t totally out of shape. I knew training would be hard, but not as hard as it actually was. I think my classmates didn’t think training was going to be as hard as it was, because they didn’t seem prepared. I guess that’s why I’m still wrestling today, and they’re not. One guy whose name escapes me right now, was real short, and didn’t seem to be in any kind of shape. He wasn’t fat by any means, but you can tell that he didn’t weight lift or run. So when he went through the drills, he blew up very quick. The guy was a little older than the rest of us. He decided to be a pro wrestler at 32 years old. There was also two best friends in my class. One guy was a short, skinny, long haired kid named John. And his friend was a big sloppy fat kid named Matt. John was actually able to get through the drills with some ease. But his boy Matt had troubles getting through the drills, and actually puked (haha). The next guy in my class was a guy named Jose. Jose was about my height, and thinner than me. And looked to be in good shape. You can tell that Jose worked out with the weights. Jose and I became pretty good friends. I still keep in touch with him. Jose also got through the drills with no problem. The last guy was a tall skinny guy named Brett. Brett started out in very bad shape, but later worked hard and got into good shape. Later on in our training, D actually pulled Brett and myself aside, and told us that Brett and I were two of his best students, and if we can help him with the training of other students. That was, and still is one of the highlights of my wrestling career.
Anyways, back to the first day of training. So after all the stretching, warm ups, and drills, I can safely say that the whole class was real soar. But D put us through some cooling down stretches, then D dismissed the class. I was extremely soar, and I still had to go to work. I know most people would have not gone back, but I was raised old school, where it was no pain, no gain. So if I wanted to be a wrestler, I had to suffer through the soreness, bumps, and bruises. And you know what? I would do all over again. Well I hope you enjoyed my story, and journey to becoming a pro wrestler. And if you have any questions, or want to hear any stories, just ask me when ever you see me, or hit me up on myspace. I just want to take this opportunity to thank the man who is responsible for me achieving my dream. Darren Dynamite D McMillan. I miss you, and love you. I would also like to thank the Santino Bros. Kaos and Mongol for allowing me to tell this story, and for allowing me to give back to what D did for me, and also for allowing me to be a part of the SBWA.