Burrell grad Young returns home to wrestle professionally
When Mike Young attended Burrell High School, he didn't participate in the Bucs' successful wrestling program, but he always knew he wanted to become a wrestler.
Young wanted to be involved in a different type of wrestling: Studio wrestling.
When Young, a 2013 Burrell grad, was in elementary school, he watched Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wrestle Brock Lesnar in a WWE event on television. Afterward, he knew he wanted to become a professional wrestler.
Though Young said he regrets not wrestling at Burrell, it didn't slow his career path.
Over the past three years, Young, 22, has been traveling up and down the east coast and even overseas performing under the stage name “MV Young” in the independent studio wrestling circuits.
For the first time in his career, he will wrestle in the Alle-Kiski Valley when he competes at the Billtown Championship Wrestling's Ruthless and Aggression Tour at the Eden Center in New Kensington on Sept. 2. Doors open at 7 p.m. and wrestling beings at 8.
Young has wrestled locally in McKeesport and Connellsville, but has never had a show this close to home.
“I was trying to find a local show for over a year and when I was contacted by the promoter to do this show, I immediately said yes,” Young said. “I have a bunch of family and friends coming, so I'm excited.”
This will be Young's second time working with Billtown, which is based out of Williamsport. The main company Young works for is Vicious Outlaw Wrestling, based in Connellsvillle.
Young played for the Burrell Buckheads high school club rugby team in lieu of wrestling.
After graduating from Burrell, he was set to go to Edinboro to start college, but his path quickly changed when his father got a job in Orlando with NASA.
Young found a wrestling school run by WWE hall of famers Larry Zbyszko and Scott Hall in Orlando and decided to move there with his parents and forgo Edinboro.
“Once I saw (the school) I knew I wasn't going to pass that up,” Young said. “I thought I knew a lot about wrestling, but the first day of wrestling school I found out I had a lot to learn. I went to the training school for about a year and had about 30 matches down there.”
The biggest takeaway from wrestling school for Young was getting the balance between the theater side and the athletic side of the performance.
“No one is buying that the good guy is going to get beat up for 30 minutes and then come back and win anymore,” Young said. “What fans are looking for is a great athletic performance. I think anyone can come and enjoy a professional wrestling show. They can enjoy the showmanship along with the athleticism that we provide. You don't get that hybrid of athletics and theater anywhere else.”
After completing wrestling school, Young moved back to Pittsburgh, where he currently resides. He often travels on the weekends. He has wrestled in Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York. He also had a tour in the United Kingdom in February.
Young will take another tour in the UK again this February and is scheduled to wrestle in Finland and Germany.
Going through the independent wrestling leagues is a bit similar to going through the minor leagues in baseball before reaching the majors. Young said the majority of modern-day WWE stars all started on the independent circuits. Current WWE champion Dean Ambrose spent seven years in indy wrestling before signing with WWE.
Young's mission is to one day wrestle in WWE, but he knows he's got more time to put in before he can achieve that goal.
“The guys who are doing their time on the independent circuits are the ones putting on the best shows. That's why all the top WWE guys are coming from the independents,” Young said. “In modern day wrestling (indy) is where all the superstars start. I want to make the best of where I'm at. I want to get into the top indy levels before I try to get to WWE.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.