EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

June 21, 2013

Wrestlers shooting for stars

Dreams to be the next Cena alive and well in North Andover pro wrestling school

NORTH ANDOVER — John Vitale scanned the New England Professional Wrestling Academy work room and admits it openly, the next John Cena or Triple H hadn’t walked through that door.

“But, you just never know,” said Vitale, known in the ring as “Johnny Vegas.”

Enthusiasm, and a childlike playfulness, dominates the group at this second annual “Fantasy Camp,” hosted by Brian Phillips, the owner of this tidy little pro wrestling development gym, tucked next to I-495 near the South Lawrence line.

“Athletes” from all over New England made the trip up Saturday afternoon for an intense four-hour introduction to the sports entertainment they have grown to love.

For Phillips, it’s new blood and new fire into the game he loves, bigtime professional wrestling.

For the true candidates, it’s step No. 1 on the longest road to the dream.

“Look, it’s tougher to make the WWE than it is the NFL, plain and simple,” said Phillips, who in the ring ignites the crowd as “The Firebrand,” Brian Fury. “There’s about 200 jobs total in the WWE. In the NFL, you’re talking thousands.”

Try telling that to Haverhill’s Tony Brogna, a 25-year-old sales manager at Paul’s TV and father of two by day.

Brogna has been at the Academy for about three months now.

“I’ve been a fan of pro wrestling since I was 8. It’s always been a dream,” said Brogna. “Now, the dream is alive. I’m having a blast, and you never know what or who they’ll be looking for.”

Perhaps, the WWE has its sights set on a baby-face do-gooder, like Salem’s Cam Zagami, a 19-year-old college student at Northern Essex, who also works at Chunky’s Pub in Pelham.

The “Zagami Tsunami” has already assumed at least one or two different rasslin’ personnas.

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