Grap­pling with a big fu­ture

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Most school kids wres­tle with what they want to be when they grow up, but not Hoia Tay­lor.

As a three-year-old in his home­town Porirua, in 1987, Tay­lor saw the World Wrestling Fed­er­a­tion’s Wrestlema­nia III and made up his mind to be­come a pro­fes­sional wrestler.

Now 26, the Lower Hutt-based heavy­weight has been pro wrestling for eight years, and is a six-time win­ner of the New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling heavy­weight ti­tle.

‘‘That was my goal when I fin­ished school, I knew what I wanted to be – a wrestler,’’ he says. ‘‘This is pretty much my dream.’’ His years at Mana Col­lege helped to pre­pare him for his fu­ture ca­reer – but not in a way his teach­ers ap­proved of.

‘‘We used to break into the AV room [ to prac­tice wrestling] at lunch time un­til we got caught,’’ he laughs.

The 180cm, 115kg Tay­lor’s wrestling per­sona is D-Hoya, a street­wise char­ac­ter who isn’t as mean as he looks. ‘‘I’m the good guy.’’ His fan base is mostly school-age, he says.

‘‘I’m pretty much just a crowd pleaser, es­pe­cially just for the kids.’’

His big­gest fan is his six-year-old son, who wants to be­come a pro wrestler just like his dad, and re­cently had a wrestling-themed birth­day party.

The com­ing months are cru­cial to Tay­lor’s ca­reer af­ter an in­juryrav­aged 2010 which saw him crack his chest car­ti­lage and tear a knee lig­a­ment dur­ing matches. Now he’s try­ing to match Olympic hope­fuls in his train­ing, hit­ting the gym morn­ing and night six days a week to get back in form.

His day job as a pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant at Fraser En­gi­neer­ing means Tay­lor gets up at 4am to train be­fore work, then goes back to the gym from 6.30pm till 10pm.

His first goal is to re­cap­ture the na­tional heavy­weight ti­tle, then he’s aim­ing to go to the WWE in the USA.

‘‘That’s ev­ery wrestler’s dream. The States is the land of op­por­tu­nity.’’

A key event in the match calen- dar for 2011 is a Christchurch earth­quake fundrais­ing match, to be held in Lower Hutt town hall in Au­gust.

Tay­lor’s pro­moter, New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling, is hold­ing a se­ries of lead-up matches to the event, and will be in Porirua this week­end.

Pun­ters can ex­pect a show on par with the pro­grammes that in­spired Tay­lor as a kid, he says.

‘‘What you see on TV, I try and do it a bit bet­ter.’’

The Live Pro Wrestling tour is at Mun­gavin Hall on Satur­day, tick­ets $15/$10. Doors open 7pm, show starts at 7.30pm.

Match fit: D-Hoya, aka Hoia Tay­lor, is back in form af­ter a year of in­juries, and is rar­ing to fight in Satur­day night’s lo­cal match.

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