Oskaloosa.com

Local News

December 9, 2010

Penn student helps wrestling go pro

OSKALOOSA — Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Central Empire Wrestling.

Austin Bayliss, a digital broadcasting major at William Penn University, will graduate this spring having already established a professional wresting empire of his own.

Since the summer of 2007, Bayliss has helped organized Central Empire Wresting events in Oskaloosa. At first, these events were held at the YMCA, but have been held at Bradbury Hall on the Nelson Pioneer Farm for the past year and a half. This January will mark the CEW’s fifth year in existence.

Professional wrestling has had a place in the forefront of Bayliss’ mind for most of his life.

“I started watching wresting in fifth grade and I sort of became hooked,” said Bayliss, noting that the soap opera-like storylines and action are what really drew him in.

By the time he was in high school, Bayliss had already began training to become a professional wrestler at a facility in northwest Iowa. 

While attending Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Bayliss said he wanted to turn his hobby into a business and decided to start Central Empire Wrestling. Today, Bayliss’s CEW is licensed with the state of Iowa as a legitimate business for which he serves as owner, event promoter and trainer.

“It’s a hobby, but it’s a legitimate hobby and not a ‘fly-by-night’ thing,” said Bayliss.

Bayliss also works to pass on his knowledge of professional wrestling at the Central Empire Wrestling Academy, located close to his home in Wellman. For about four hours every Thursday evening, training sessions for a half a dozen or so aspiring professional wrestlers from around Iowa are held. Bayliss added, there is a group of wrestling students from Pella and Oskaloosa who car pool to these Thursday night training sessions.

“Wrestling is very physical, and in order to not get hurt, you have to learn the proper techniques like how to fall, how to take a bump and how to give a move to your opponent, and how to entertain the crowd,” explained Bayliss. “It’s really a place where tomorrow’s stars are born.”

When asked what kinds of people aspire to professional wrestling greatness, Bayliss said everyone who learns at the CEW Academy is a fan of the sport first. He said many of these folks may not have excelled in a conventional sport such as football or basketball, but they remain athletic individuals with a need for an outlet to showcase their physical talents.

“Personally, I was never that great of a football player,” said Bayliss with a laugh. “I’m short and slow, so that leaves basketball out too. Wrestling has always been something I’ve been able to keep up with.”

Professional wrestling in the CEW and other organizations is, of course, based in entertainment rather than reality. However, Bayliss stressed that his wrestlers are trained professionals who put a lot of training into their craft.

“It’s a simulation of an altercation, but, at the end of the day, it’s entertaining for the crowd,” Bayliss said. “But, people do get hurt and you have to be very athletic to do this.”

Much like the more mainstream professional wrestling organizations, wrestlers in the CEW perform as characters in twisted plots of “good guys” versus “villains.”

“People love to hate the bad guys and sometimes the good guys,” said Bayliss. “We are masters at provoking emotions.”

CEW puts on events fairly regularly featuring up to 20 wrestlers per show. This Saturday, Bradbury Hall at the Nelson Pioneer Farm will play host to the most ambitious event CEW has ever held. Bayliss said this particular event has been the largest he’s ever put on with CEW, taking six months to organize.

The big names involved in this Saturday’s event are Scotty 2 Hotty and Al Snow, both of whom have wrestled with the WWE, the largest professional wrestling organization. Both of these wrestlers have participated in CEW events in the past, as well.

“The wrestling fan base knows who they are,” said. Bayliss. “They’re family-friendly characters that I took  an interest in because they were fun characters to watch on TV.”

Before Saturday’s evening event, CEW wrestlers and Scotty 2 Hotty will be on hand to greet fans at Bradbury Hall from 8 to 11 a.m. for the Oskaloosa Lions Club’s pancake breakfast. Donations given at the breakfast will go toward the Lions Club and their efforts to get glasses and hearing aids for local people in need.

Tickets for Saturday night’s event are available at Summer’s Car Credit, 911 A Ave. W., and Doty Computers, 312 A Ave. E. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. with the show slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.

——————

Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • North Mahaska Jazz North Mahaska Jazz Band are Class 1A state jazz champions

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • DOT photo Public learns latest about Northwest Bypass at DOT meeting OSKALOOSA -- Many area residents learned the latest about the U.S. 63 Northwest Bypass of Oskaloosa at a public information meeting held Wednesday evening at Oskaloosa Middle School. The two-hour meeting featured tables with maps of the three propose

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Windmill photo Windmill undergoes restoration OSKALOOSA -- The Mahaska County Historical Society is pleased to announce that the Mahaska County Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is funding the restoration of the Baker/Gilchrist Windmill. The Baker windmill at Oskaloosa's Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museu

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women's Club photo Oskaloosa Women's ClubSpring Luncheon set for April 25 OSKALOOSA -- The annual Oskaloosa Women's Club Spring Luncheon will be held on Friday, April 25, at noon at the First Presbyterian Church. All local talent is appearing for the program. Performing will be the men's quartet from the Central United Met

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alcohol, prom, graduation don't mix DES MOINES -- April is Alcohol Awareness Month and marks the beginning of the prom and graduation season, a time when the spotlight turns to celebrations that can lead to underage drinking. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division is encouraging retail

    April 17, 2014

  • Artifact 4-17 Do you know what this is?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Zones photo 2 Blue Zones kicks off OSKALOOSA -- Blue Zones Project held its Oskaloosa Kickoff Monday evening at the Oskaloosa High School gym to help improve the community's health. Blue Zones originated with Dan Buettner of National Geographic. He was asked to find areas of the world

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Motorist dies in one-vehicle accident Sunday

    April 14, 2014

  • Special Olympics photo 1 Oskaloosa hosts Special Olympics spring games OSKALOOSA -- About 250 athletes from around southeast Iowa gathered at the William Penn University Penn Activities Center Saturday to compete in the Special Olympics. Athletes tested their mettle in a variety of track and field events at the Special

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • Statesmen announce cross country/track signees OSKALOOSA -- William Penn track and field coach Allen Friesen has announced the signings of numerous individuals to National Letters of Intent to compete for the cross country and/or track and field programs. Malik Brown, the son of Carrie Jones-Brow

    April 13, 2014

Obituaries
Oskaloosa Shopper
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Photo reprints