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Tara Park /Nevada Sagebrush Reno Wrestle Factory students Kareem Green (top) and Joseph Brown (bottom) practice their moves on Saturday, Jan. 31. The Reno Wrestle Factory trains students with the aspirations of becoming pro wrestlers.

As a child, Zachary Zolowicz, a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, dreamt of mastering a sport that some refer to as “fake” or “staged.” As he grew older, he became so intrigued by the sport of wrestling that he decided to start a club. Zolowicz named it The Nevada Pro Wrestling Club.

“Me and my friend had been [WWE] Raw fans for a couple years,” Zolowicz said. “We had lost a bit of interest but were reinvigorated when WWE came up here a couple years ago. One day I looked over to him and said, ‘Do you want to start a professional wrestling club?’ He said, ‘Hell yeah.’”

After making the decision to start a club, all Zolowicz needed was a place to wrestle. That was where the Reno Wrestle Factory came into play. The Reno Wrestle Factory is a school where people are trained to wrestle and perform like professional wrestlers in its venue on Longley Lane.

THE VENUE

The head trainer at the Reno Wrestle Factory is Steven Pienkoski, a wrestler that goes by the wrestling name “Paul Isadora”. Pienkoski has wrestled in multiple companies, including Supreme Pro Wrestling and Costal Pro Wrestling. He also has connections to the university, where he played basketball for the Wolf Pack from 1996-1998.

“I think it’s cool to have that connection,” Pienkoski said. “I played basketball at the university and I have always tried to give back whether its helping coach or run camps and I think this was the perfect opportunity to give back. It’s something I am passionate about in pro wrestling and I am also very passionate about the University of Nevada and I think it’s the perfect combination.”

Students train at the Factory and some even participate in house shows held by the school. During the Factory’s most recent event on January 17, it held open tryouts with the winner getting a year of wrestling school paid for. The winner was decided through both technique in the ring and talking skills on the microphone.

UNIQUENESS AND BIGGER PLANS

According to Zolowicz, Nevada is the only university that has a pro wrestling club. Although the club has had its learning curves, it so far has been able to sell tickets with 87 people showing up to watch the tryouts. While the turnout was a positive start, Zolowicz has much bigger plans for the club.

“My dream would be to have monthly shows on campus,” Zolowicz said. “We are hoping to become a staple for the university in the next few years.”

GETTING THE MOST FROM ITS MEMBERS

While the club is small, the members have a lot of passion and are getting the most out of the experience of interacting with other people who are also striving to become professional wrestlers.

“I really liked meeting all of the local talent,” said junior Spencer Wyman. “All the experienced wrestlers put on a show and they’re all compelling characters, and learning how to be that kind of showman is fun.”

INFORMATION FOR FANS AND POTENTIAL MEMBERS

The Nevada Wrestling Club’s next show is on Feb. 21 at the Reno Wrestle Factory. For people interested in joining the club they can contact Zolowicz on his personal Facebook page to figure out meeting and practice times.

“Give it a shot,” Zolowicz said. “The first session is always free and as soon as you take your first bump you will know if this is for you or not.”

Stone Harper can be reached at sharper@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.