Cody Hawk became a professional wrestler 23 years ago and still wrestles about 100 times a year. But he recently won a top honor as a wrestling trainer from the Cauliflower Alley Club.
Hawk, 45, who graduated from Bellbrook High School as Jason Myers, operates Hawk’s Pro Wrestling Training Camp at the Elite Fitness Training Center, 190 N. Brookwood Ave. When people graduate from that school, their first matches happen at Future Great Wrestling events on Friday evenings at the same location.
Being a trainer “wasn’t anything I set out to do. It sort-of happened,” he said. “I signed up to be a wrestler, but the company I used to work for was based out of Evendale, Ohio. It was called the Heartland Wrestling Association, and that company at one point in time was contracted to the WWE, and while they were there, the non-contract talent, my trainer kind-of put me in charge of those guys, so I just sort-of fell into training.”
The Cauliflower Alley Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1965 that raises money to pay expenses, especially medical ones, of former wrestlers.
Hawk’s award was presented by his top student, former WWE Champion Dean Ambrose, now known is Jon Moxley, as a wrestler with All Elite Wrestling.
“They’ve only given out that Trainer’s Award three times — I was the third person to get it,” he said. “So, pretty cool.”
“It was amazing,” he said. “It was a great three days out there. I got to get up on stage and give a speech to about 500 people who are in the wrestling business, a lot of big-name older stars that were stars when I grew up as a kid. It was an overwhelming, awesome experience.”
“To wrestle in our industry and be recognized as one of the top trainers in the world, it is pretty mind-blowing to me,” he said. “To be there with my peers, and people I grew up watching, and to have people who are famous come over to talk to me — and my Mom and Dad were there.”
Bo and Carol Myers live in Kettering were enjoying their first trip to Las Vegas, “and for them to be out there with me was just a pretty awesome experience.”
Sitting at the table directly in front of him were former wrestlers Sgt. Slaughter, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Gerald Brisco.
His parents, who watched wrestling with him when he was growing up, knew celebrities who congratulated the current Fairfield resident, who also has trained Eli Drake, Sami Callihan, Hailey Hatred and Shawna Reed, who wrestles with Future Great Wrestling and has been doing work for WWE. He also dates Reed.
What does a trainer do?
“When people sign up, I start them at Ground Zero, learning how to fall in the ring and not get hurt too bad,” Hawk said. “We build our way up from there — learning the moves, learning how to use the ropes, how to run the ring, how to construct a match, how to tell a story with what you’re doing in the ring, how to try and invoke people’s emotions and bring them along the roller-coaster ride that you’re trying to do with your match, backstage etiquette, how to get along with everybody in the back and not step on toes, how to become your own self-promotional vehicle — as wrestlers, we’re all independent contractors, so we’re all pretty much responsible for getting our own work, and when we get that work, we’re also responsible for our own merchandise sales and travel, and everything that goes along with being a wrestler.”
Future Great Wrestling owner Brian LeVick, who himself has trained with Hawk, praised his training as “top-notch.”
“He’s trained some of the greatest wrestlers in the world, and I think that speaks for itself,” LeVick said. “I think it’s really good to have a world-class wrestling trainer here in Hamilton.”