The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 20, 2012

Area wrestlers square off in TNA Gut Check

OTTUMWA — Pat Kenney’s days in the professional wrestling ring are over, he says, but the man once known as Simon Diamond can still execute a perfect hip throw.

He was coaching seven focused, in-shape and hopeful fans on both wrestling technique and showmanship. The experience, part of TNA Impact Wrestling’s popular “Gut Check” program, allows amateurs who think they have the right stuff to go pro.

“They pay a fee and get, what, two hours for us to evaluate them,” Kenney said Saturday. “They’re wrestling for a chance to be on our Gut Check segment on our national television show — and earn a contract to wrestle in the TNA. The stakes are high.”

Now a producer for TNA, he started professional wrestling around 1991 and had to break down doors just to get someone to watch him. So this audition experience is almost unheard of, he said.

The last city this team of producers did a Gut Check in was embarrassing, he said — a debacle. These guys were better, but Kenney is looking for that undefinable gift that draws fans.

During one part of the training and evaluation, he shouted, “Don’t wow me with fancy dance moves. Wow me with a character!”

They started with drills which, despite the muscle definition on the participants, soon had most out of breath and covered in sweat.

During the promo recording part of the afternoon, Kenney told them “You have one minute to sell your character.”

One wrestler began ticking off, one by one, some of the exercises he does to get so ripped — and why no one else is worth watching.

Kenney and TNA official Brain Hebner told him that the public has no idea what those exercises are — and probably doesn’t care. The wrestler was on the right track, yet the promotional video was lacking something, Hebner said.

Wait, said Kenney. He went over and whispered a tip to the wrestler.

This time, still with a lot of energy, the wrestler dropped to the mat and began performing his grueling exercise routine, including pushups, while simultaneously staring into the camera to tell the TV audience why he’s the best.

It instantly lent an air of crazy energy that had been lacking just a minute earlier — and the fighter thanked Kenney, grateful for the tip from “Simon Diamond.”

If they do find someone they think has the right combination of qualities for the TNA — and it’s rare — Hebner said the next step could be TV. He and Kenney thought perhaps one of the ripped group in front of them might have a chance. Maybe.

“This is like an audition,” said Hebner, who is also a TNA referee. “And so is the next [step], on the Gut Check segment.”

If a wrestler does well on both, he said, then they’d be sent to TNA’s training school.

“No one is going to come out of [a regional search] as polished as we need them to be,” Hebner said.

In training, they learn more than just the moves. Because again, besides athleticism, there’s a show business side to televised wrestling. Producers say they are looking to present an image to the fans.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be.The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew p

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday

    DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver's license services temporarily suspended KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office has notified the Iowa Department of Transportation that it has suspended driver’s license services due to staffing issues in the county treasurer’s office. It is anticipated suspension of the services

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Canoe Camp color photo -L -M -T Canoe Camp teaches water safety OTTUMWA — Six children at Pioneer Nature Area and Nature Center pond were making waves and getting wet as they flipped their canoes over in attempt to rescue each other. Since summertime and water activities go hand-in-hand, the goal of the activity

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three appointed to Board of Adjustment OTTUMWA — Three new faces will appear on Wapello County Board of Adjustment, thanks to help from the county’s newspaper of record, the Ottumwa Courier. Four applicants applied for the positions and three were selected. New members include Marcia Week

    July 22, 2014

  • Slain woman's boyfriend: I didn't kill her DAVENPORT — A married man who had an affair with a slain Wapello County woman testified this morning that he did not kill her. Jason Tinnes, a jailer who worked with the late Lisa Caldwell Techel, said their affair ended shortly before she died. Tinn

    July 22, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook