Michael Young wants to show that there’s more to professional wrestling than what many people think.
Young, 27, a Lower Burrell native living in Bloomfield, is the current singles champion for Pittsburgh-based Enjoy Wrestling, where he’s known as MV Young. He is opening a wrestling school, Technique 2 Train Pittsburgh, on Aug. 1 in downtown New Kensington.
The school is not affiliated with Enjoy.
Young grew up watching the World Wrestling Federation — now World Wrestling Entertainment — and tried out for WWE, which was, until June, headed by Vince McMahon.
“I watched WWF obsessively,” Young said. “I don’t have a memory of a time I wasn’t watching wrestling.”
But, Young says, WWE didn’t want him, and he doesn’t want to be there.
Young said comparing WWE’s style of wrestling to his is like comparing pop music to punk.
“Vince McMahon’s wrestling is not the only wrestling, and it never will be,” he said, adding that professional wrestling is in a “boom” period.
“People are discovering it in a different light than Vince McMahon has portrayed it for years,” Young said.
The public can get an introduction to Young’s wrestling when he defends his title Saturday outside Voodoo Brewing New Kensington. His match of him will be the last of seven beginning at 3 pm
“If you give it a chance, it will completely change your perspective on professional wrestling,” he said.
Technique 2 Train will be at 880 Fifth Ave., a building owned by Olde Towne Overhaul. Built between 1895 and 1900, it was home to Renee Jewelers.
Michelle Thom, operations manager of Olde Towne and Voodoo, said the building was in relatively good shape and has a unique mezzanine level above the back of the store.
“We stabilized the sidewalk out front to stop further water infiltration from damaging the foundation of the building, painted and cleaned the space to allow enough room inside for the full-sized wrestling ring,” she said. “We’re excited to see such a progressive new business coming to New Kensington. Where else can you get professional wrestling training?”
Young, who earned an associate degree in business management from the Community College of Allegheny County, made his professional wrestling debut at age 18. Wrestling has been his full-time job for a few years since he can make a living from it.
He started with Enjoy in January 2021 and won his belt in a rumble match in July 2021.
Wrestling has taken him across the country and around the world, but he’s now happy to be home. Opening the school has been in the works for about a year; he looked at the building in November and secured it in April.
“Now that I’m home, this is my way of giving back to the community in a way,” he said.
Young said 18 people are already signed up for the school.
Ganon Jones Jr. will be coaching with Young. A New Kensington native and resident, he met Young about seven years ago through wrestling.
“He knows I’m from the area. It made sense,” Jones said. “I think it’s cool. When I started training, I had to drive over an hour twice a week to go train. It would have been nice to have a school closer. It’s nice that we’ll be able to give people that opportunity on this side of town.”
When not working in the mortgage industry, Jones, 33, is part of a tag team, “The Mane Event,” with the International Wrestling Cartel. He and his partner lost their title to the Hardy Boyz in April.
Jones had a tryout with WWE in December 2019. He said it went well, but what the company was looking for changed after the covid pandemic began.
At the school, Jones said he will spearhead tag team training.
“Basically, we’ll be teaching how to become a professional wrestler from the beginning to the end,” Jones said. “A lot has to do with safety and how to safely execute moves as well as get moves done to you.”
Young said students will need to be at least 18. They also will train those interested in being managers and referees.
Young said the school will have a green screen studio where students can work on developing wrestling characters.
“A lot of people get into wrestling, and they’re not sure what character they want to portray,” Jones said. “We’ll help them figure out what works best for them.”
Young said they plan to host wrestling shows and other events at the school. A punk music show benefiting Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue is planned for Aug. 26.
Jones said seeing the revitalization in New Kensington is uplifting.
“Growing up, there was hardly anything to do in New Kensington at all. By the time I was a teenager, all the shops downtown were basically all closed and not being used at all,” he said. “It’s nice to see businesses in those storefronts. It’s nice to see the Fridays on Fifth every month. It’s nice to see people from outside New Ken having interest in New Ken, come in and start a business or invest in a business. It’s good for the community all together.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .