Pro wrestling is hitting PAX 23 television next month, but don't look for flying drop kicks and tons of trash-talk. This is not what "The Rock" is cooking.
This is a real professional wrestling league, complete with different weight classes, scoring and rules that are more Olympian than over-the-top. Brian Keck, 33, a Cleveland resident, Pan American gold medalist and USA National Team member, is among the 56 wrestlers placed on one of eight teams grappling for a $250,000 cash prize. He will compete in the series' heavyweight class as a member of the Oklahoma Slam.
"It will give more exposure to the sport," Keck says. "You always see football, baseball and basketball on TV. It will be good to see something different. People always hear about wrestling. Now, they can see what I have been doing all my life."
Real Pro Wrestling co-founders Toby Willis and Matt Case invited Keck to participate in the show's pilot episode and then brought him back for the whole series, which was taped in Los Angeles over the course of three days last October.
Along with training and competing, Keck runs camps for young wrestlers and is an assistant coach at Cleveland State University.
"I love coaching," he says. "There are 30 different guys each year that I take under my wing and hope to make them champions not just in wrestling, but in life."
The syndicated, 15-week "Real Pro Wrestling" series will premiere locally Sunday, Feb. 13, at 4 p.m.