May 17, 2019 6:35 pm

‘Learning the ropes’ at Napanee’s Chinlock Wrestling School

They're larger than life athletes, power slamming their way to victory inside the “squared circle”. But to dominate the rings of WWE or other groups around the world, you have to start somewhere, and a pair of lifelong friends are helping people from the Kingston-area follow their pro wrestling dreams. Paul Soucy has more.

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Running the ropes, taking a bump, hitting the turnbuckles.

These are all terms you may be unfamiliar with but at the Chinlock Wrestling School, they make up the first few lessons.

“(We) bring people up all at the same speed, and at the same pace, and see them be successful,” instructor, Justin Cousineau said. “Because this was my dream when I was a kid, and this is everyone else’s dream here too.”  

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Cousineau, and his best friend Jan Murphy, started Chinlock Wrestling four years ago as an independent wrestling promotion. In that time, it’s grown from one show per year to several.

But earlier this year, their long-term goal of opening their very own wrestling school became a reality, and their first students are ready to impress.

“They’re all very good, they all bring different skills to the ring with them,” Murphy said of the recruits. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and what I like about them is they’re raw and eager to learn.”

Murphy and Cousineau said they didn’t expect the first class to have so many applicants. Six men and one teenage girl, all hoping to learn a skill they’ve admired on television for so many years.

“I’d thought that I had put this off long enough, and I didn’t have any more excuses,” student Jesse Bell said. “It was put up or shut up.”  

Atira Hill, a 16-year-old from Belleville, is the youngest of the students. Her parents found the Chinlock Wrestling School listing online and signed her up immediately.

“I’ve wanted to wrestle my whole life,” Hill said. “So when the opportunity came it was the best choice.

“It makes me happy because I guess it’s me being able to do what I’ve always wanted to do.”

While their progress may be slower at times, all their instructor hopes for is that they get a little better with each class, and before long they might body-slam their way to the top of the card.

“Some people want to have just one match in front of their friends and family, and other people want to main event Wrestlemania,” Cousineau said.

“If I can be a small part of that success story along the way, that’s all I’m really here to do: try to help people accomplish their dreams like people helped me accomplish mine.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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