Earlier today, as part of WrestleMania Weekend, Ohio Valley Wrestling announced a half-million-dollar investment in the art, sport, business, and future of professional wrestling during a press conference at the Wrestlecon event in New York. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company will host the industry’s first professional wrestling combine on June 1st.
“We came to New York, during WrestleMania week to capture the world’s attention because we are setting a new standard in our sport,” began Ohio Valley Wrestling owner and CEO Al Snow, who spoke exclusively with Sportskeeda the evening before this announcement. “This combine addresses the sport in sports entertainment. It’s not a training camp or a seminar… It’s never been done in professional wrestling.”
A combination of certain sport-specific drills to determine speed, strength and skill level, a "combine" includes both I.Q. and mental testing. These abilities are put on display for coaches and scouts for the overall evaluation of an athlete. It is a common scouting-related concept within major sports like football and basketball.
As part of this innovative combine, OVW’s parent company Gladiator Sports Network is recruiting college and professional athletes, military professionals and wrestlers alike from across the country to participate. The top 15 athletes will be “drafted” to OVW earning a full-tuition scholarship including room and board to the newly-redesigned Al Snow Wrestling Academy at Ohio Valley Wrestling.
This OVW combine event -- titled Breakout -- is a search for the next professional wrestling superstar. The combine will introduce the "Snow Scale," a standardized ratings-based evaluation of mental, physical, and the intangible personality traits which a performer will need in order to succeed within sports entertainment.
Explained Snow of the aforementioned Snow Scale: “It’s a first of its kind quantifiable measurement that allows us to evaluate an athlete’s potential performance... We use that scoring system to help coach and develop a talent to their fullest potential.”
With provision approval, pending a final vote from Kentucky’s Commission for Proprietary Education, OVW is on-track to be the first accredited professional wrestling and sports entertainment trade school in the world. In addition to in-ring training, its redesigned curriculum includes courses in exercise science, nutrition, broadcasting production, marketing and business. The first class of this curriculum is set to begin in September.
As a refresher on Ohio Valley Wrestling, within the last 15 years, 21 world title matches at WrestleMania have featured OVW alumni, including 10 main events. Notable OVW alumni include John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Batista, Randy Orton, CM Punk and Cody Rhodes, although more than 150 of Superstars who went onto the national stage.
The company recently unveiled its own streaming channel, as found online at OVWWrestlingNetwork.com, which already includes around 60 hours of content. Beyond its weekly television shows and monthly specials, OVW's network includes seminars with Road Warrior Animal, Hurricane Helms, Billy Gunn and Tommy Dreamer.
Between the upcoming Ohio Valley Wrestling combine, the recently-launched OVW streaming network and the pending accreditation of OVW as the first accredited professional wrestling and sports entertainment trade school in the world, it becomes abundantly clear that the wrestling business is currently in the midst of a golden age.