Grappling with a big future
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.