Shooter Shane wrestles with nerves
Shane Whitehead is freaking out.
The former New Plymouth man will next month try to become a wrestling superstar with World Wrestling Entertainment when he auditions for the company in Melbourne.
"Being a professional wrestler, it's a very, very big deal. I would say it's fair to compare it to an All Black trial for a rugby player.
"I'm freaking out, but all I can do is train as hard as I can," he said.
The 26-year-old former Francis Douglas Memorial College student, who goes by "The Shooter" Shane Sinclair, has a history of success at both amateur and professional levels.
In 2008 he took a silver and gold at the Oceania Wrestling Championships and later moved to Wellington to train toward his Olympic goals.
But he soon grew bored with amateur wrestling and moved into the professional sphere known for its big muscles, acrobatic moves and a heavy element of theatre.
Since swapping he has won the Kiwi Pro Wrestling championship twice.
Success at Melbourne could see Whitehead join the big league and the likes of American wrestling superstars as the Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin performing in packed stadiums across the United States for as many as 300 days a year.
"If nothing comes from this I will ask them what they would like to see from me and work towards getting there," he said.
At 1.91m Whitehead has the height he needs but a bit more weight would be useful. He is currently working on adding bulk to his 99kg frame. As a measure of how far he needs to go, WWE champion John Cena weighs in at 114kg.
"I need to get as big and impressive looking as possible but still be able to move," Whitehead said.
The last New Zealanders to make it big in the world of American pro-wrestling were Luke Williams and Butch Miller. The pair wrestled as The Bushwhackers and were infamous for eating a can of sardines before their bouts and then licking their opponents.
Whitehead will audition for WWE in Melbourne on August 7 and 8.
Taranaki Daily News