Grindhouse Academy: Rudy Switchblade

This is part two of a series of stories about The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the new Grindhouse Academy wrestling school.

When 2 Tuff Tony opened the doors of The Arena on Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana, one of the things he wanted most was to start a school for aspiring wrestlers. Tony is a seasoned veteran himself and knew he had a lot to teach, but he wanted a partner who could give students the things he could not. He wanted someone trained in a variety of wrestling styles, someone with in-ring experience and knowledge that would really challenge the students. Tony found all that in Rudy Switchblade.

Louisville area wrestling enthusiasts will remember Rudy from his run with OVW as well as appearances for other promoters and promotions in the area. What fans may not know is that Rudy is a twenty year veteran who began training and wrestling all the way back in 1997.

Rudy spent 10 years in the business before he came to OVW. He started his training at the School of Hard Knocks with Bill Anderson, Jesse Hernandez, and Chris Daniels. “They were pretty much the ‘it’ school at the time in Southern California, and I started with a group of guys who are all pretty famous now.”

Rudy moved on to UPW, then the Southern California developmental territory for the WWE, where he worked with future OVW and WWE stars John Cena and Rico Costantino. He spent two years in the New Japan dojo, and a few more years with Ring of Honor before coming to Louisville to train under Danny Davis, Rip Rogers, and Al Snow.

Rudy Switchblade is a student of wrestling well-versed in many styles and techniques. His is a very different path than the one his partner followed, but Rudy and Tony have become good friends as well as partners over the last six months.

Rudy and Tony are now training a half dozen students at Grindhouse Academy. Through trial and error, they’ve established a regular class schedule that seems to work best with the odd shoot job schedules of their students. It’s an open door type of setting, where students of all levels are welcome to come and go, and it’s ridiculously affordable: it’s only $10 an hour.

Wrestling purists are bound to raise an eyebrow and even a few objections to such a low price. Most training schools cost thousands of dollars and require large, up-front, non-refundable deposits. Those schools do their best to weed out the less serious students on day one, keeping the money and sending them packing. It’s an old school mentality that you won’t find at Grindhouse.

“Don’t get me wrong. We’re looking for serious students,” say Switchblade. “The difference is, we’re not here just to take you money. Tony and I are not getting rich off this. We’re doing this because we love it.”

Grindhouse is a place for those who can’t afford the big name schools. It’s a place to come and get your feet wet without getting your butt kicked. It’s a great place to see what wrestling is really all about without blowing your life’s savings on day one and having you love of the business battered by a hundred knife-edge chops.

Grindhouse Academy currently meets 3-4 times a week at the Arena. Schedule and times vary, but you can get more information on the school and the Arena by contacting 2 Tuff Tony on Facebook.

Grindhouse Academy: The Man Behind the Arena

This is part one of a series of stories about The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the new Grindhouse Academy wrestling school. 

2 Tuff Tony knows there are people who don’t share his vision for pro wrestling. He knows because someone keeps trying to shut him down. But in the words of the long time veteran, “They only make me stronger.”

Just two weeks ago, the Clark County Health Inspector received another phone call about The Arena, located on Spring Street across from Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana. While some promoters might have told the inspector where to go, Tony welcomed him, as he always does. He gave the inspector full access and complied with the one request given.

“He asked me to put in a sink,” said Tony, who demonstrated the brand new plumbing in the Arena’s tiny concession area.

Tony may have one or two detractors, but wrestling fans, promoters, and the workers themselves are raving about the Arena. It’s a work in progress that has taken a lot of time, money, and move, but Tony is proud of the work that has happened. In addition to the new sink, there’s a wider, easier-access entrance in the back to allow for more accessibility for the disabled. The DJ booth has been re-designed and re-built, the downstairs locker area is constantly evolving, and one of three murals is nearly done on the wall behind the DJ.

Tony opened the Arena because he saw a need. Over the past few years, multiple promoters have tried to run in a variety of buildings, from the former Production House in New Albany, to the Colgate Gym in Clarksville, to Jammerz Rollerdrome in Clarksville. The Arena was conceived as a place where anyone could come in and, for a low price, put on a show. The Arena has the ring, the DJ booth, the locker room area, and the concessions area. It’s up to the promoter to bring the people, the wrestlers, the music, and the food.

The Arena now has three regular promotions running on a regular schedule. OSWA runs every Sunday afternoon. IWA Mid-South runs on Thursday nights. Pro Wrestling Freedom Runs on the second Friday night each month. The building has also hosted special events sponsored by Terry Harper, several Girl Fight women’s shows, and Chikara Pro Wrestling.

“One of the promoters told me he didn’t like seeing other guys’ fliers hanging up in the Arena,” says Tony. The solution: Tony put a drop down curtain over top of the cork board that holds show fliers, so promoters can cover up the other fliers during their own events.

The newest occupant in the building is Tony himself, along with partner Rudy Switchblade. Together they have begun a program called Grindhouse Academy. “Grindhouse is a place where anyone who wants to become a wrestler can give it a try,” he says. “We don’t require a large deposit up front, and we don’t take your money and try to run you off the first day. It’s low priced to give anyone a chance to give this a shot and see if they have what it takes.”

Tony’s had a few trainers in house since the Arena opened its doors, but Rudy Switchblade brings a new level of experience and knowledge to the program. “He’s been to OVW, Japan, Mexico. He knows a lot that I don’t, and he’s a great teacher.”

Grindhouse Academy meets a few afternoons every week. Interested students can contact Tony on Facebook to get more information on times and fees. I’ll share more about all of this, Tony’s partner, and their students as the week goes on.