Denfeld News

March 2010
Twin Cities Metro

Wrestle Mania
By Kelly Westhoff

Lenny Lane is a man of vision. He is also a man of action.

For example, at the ripe old age of eight he decided on his career, then set about making that dream come true. “I wanted to be a pro wrestler,” he says. “I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but all the wrestlers were big guys, muscular, so I knew I needed to be strong.” Once in his teens, he played football and basketball and lifted weights, and by 24 he competed in his first match. Before climbing into the ring, his trainer, Eddie Sharkey, (who also trained Jesse Ventura) gave him this advice: Jump off the top rope as high as you can.

“It worked out,” Lane says with a shrug and a smile. “I won.”

What was it about professional wrestling that called to him? Thinking back on his Duluth childhood, Lane, now a Mound resident, says, “My dad used to take me to matches, and we’d [also] watch it on TV. I liked how the wrestlers made me feel,” he says. “They could make me hate them, love them, feel sorry for them, feel excited for them. I loved the puppetry of the people. Pro-wrestlers are puppeteers.”

By default then, Lane is a puppeteer. Even though he’s wrestled under several names (anyone remember the West Hollywood Blondes?), he gained pro-wrestling fame as part of a tag team called “Lenny and Lodi” in the late 1990s. Dressed for a show, Lane sported long blond pigtails, tight (and tiny) pink shorts and a lollipop. In this role Lane won the World Championship Wrestlings’ World Cruiserweight Championship in 1999. It was a controversial act, however, and was discontinued after four months in response to protests.

Lane continued wrestling the circuit as a different character, but says “we were only around four months, but we did close to a hundred matches in that time.”

Nearly a hundred matches in four months? That’s a hectic—not to mention physically demanding—schedule. Lane acknowledges the grueling pace, but he’s quick to point out the positives, too. “I’ve been to Japan, Australia, England, all 50 states. If it wasn’t for wrestling, I wouldn’t have been to half those places. Wrestling allowed me to go, as I’ve said in promos, to places you’ve only seen in magazines. It made me look at the whole world differently,” he says.

No matter how passionate professional athletes are about their sport, the physicality of their careers eventually takes its toll. Lane, now 39, is grateful he never sustained serious injuries in his pro wrestling career. While he’s left the exhausting professional circuit behind, he still headlines an occasional independent show. He knows, however, that sooner or later he’ll have to throw in the towel altogether. “When I don’t look good in tights,” he says, “that’s when I’ll know I maybe ought to hang them up.”

Lane has gotten creative as he plans for that day, finding ways to use his wrestling skills in new ways. He has opened a dojo (a martial arts studio) in Golden Valley and started throwing birthday parties for kids. His wrestling parties are popular with 7- to 12-year-old boys, although some all-girl parties have been big successes. Lane teaches the kids some basic wrestling moves, including learning how to bounce off the ropes, puts them in a real-life wrestling ring, and lets them act out a wrestling sketch, encouraging them to play to the audience. But it’s always play; he makes sure no one gets overenthusiastic and hurts anyone. And he doesn't set up scenarios that create a winner and a loser. He spends time with the kids addressing their goals and talking about the importance of nutrition, exercise, school and “how to stack the odds in your favor,” he says.

Lane also trains up-and-coming wrestlers at his studio and works with clients as a physical trainer. To better serve all his trainees, Lane recently earned a life coaching certificate and became a certified instructor of Commando Krav Maga, which he explains as “self defense with a workout spin.”

Lane takes great pride in his training business, investing hours with each of his clients, drawing on skills he learned in the wrestling world. No matter whom he’s working with—kids, wrestling protégés, or physical training clients—he always stresses the importance of discipline and drive. “Passion,” he says, “is essential. No matter what you’re working for, if you’re passionate about it, you can make it happen.”

To learn more about Lenny Lane, his wrestling birthday parties and his personal training business, visit wrestlingparties.com or theresultz.com.

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