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Acid Rocks the Ring


Since his early teens, when Trent Acid attended WWF and WCW shows with his grandmother, he wanted to become a pro wrestler.

His interest in the ring often got in the way of homework. The South Philly resident spent most of his time after class going to wrestling gyms, even if it meant taking two or three buses into bad neighborhoods.

Now the 21-year-old Acid — who keeps his real name sealed like a top-secret FBI file — has achieved his goal by joining the flashy, globe-trotting world of pro wrestling.

Although he has competed as far away as London and Japan, Acid also tussles at the Southwest Philadelphia-based Combat Zone Wrestling. In the last two weeks, Acid has wrestled in California, London and Amsterdam, but returned home this week in time to be on Saturday night’s CZW card at 61st Street and Passyunk Avenue. The arena opened just last month.

He’ll team up with longtime partner Johnny Kashmere, and as the Backseat Boyz, they’ll challenge the H8 Club for the CZW tag-team championship.

Acid gives Kashmere a lot of credit for helping him advance in the business.

"I owe a great deal of my success to Johnny because we are best friends and doing something we enjoy doing," he said.

At this point in their careers, both of the wrestlers have to be ready to travel at a moment’s notice. The Easter before last, the then-World Wrestling Federation called in the middle of the afternoon to ask Acid and Kashmere to come to New York for a taping of Sunday Night Heat.

It was the type of opportunity that up-and-coming wrestlers don’t pass up, so the team left immediately for New York. Once there, they were transformed into the Backseat Dudleys, a combination of their tag team and one of the WWF’s more popular duos. After taunting another wrestler named Albert, the local team was thrown through a table.

The experience was worth every bit of the pain, according to Acid.

"It was real different and a cool place to work," he said.

Now known as World Wrestling Entertainment, it’s an organization Acid dreams of working for full-time. For wrestlers, it’s considered the major leagues.

"Any wrestler who said they didn’t want to go to the WWE from the beginning is a liar," he said. "That’s what I grew up on. I watch my own tapes and study the WWE.

"Everything I do now is just training and preparing at doing this for a living."

At age 14, school took a backseat to wrestling for Acid. He attended St. John Neumann, but said he was expelled for bad behavior. He eventually transferred to Furness, George Washington and Northeast before graduating.

But Acid insists he was no slacker without a cause. He saw his future clearly, even as he traveled to "hole-in-the-wall gyms" in Port Richmond and Kensington, where he trained with wrestlers he knew from local shows. The teen even put on makeup in an attempt to appear older.

Along the way, he developed the Trent Acid character, which he describes as "something edgy." Only his friends and family know Acid’s real name, and the wrestler plans to keep it that way.

"I like my privacy," he said. "I am not Trent Acid 24 hours a day. I keep a very separate life outside the business.

"There are wrestlers who don’t even know my real name."

Early on, Acid couldn’t get in a lot of shows because Pennsylvania required competitors to be 18. He instead competed in New Jersey or smaller venues where he could get some experience.

"I was totally working bad shows," he said. "When I got older, I started doing a little more."

By the time he turned 18, Acid’s career was picking up and he had more bookings at house shows. Right around the same time, though, he had to deal with the death of his grandmother. He described it as a very tough period in his life.

"I was around friends who helped me get through the time," he said.

The wrestler kept busy by working out with CZW wrestlers at a gym in Mantua, N.J. At that point, the organization was still in its developmental stages.

One day while training, Acid was showing a fellow wrestler how to kick him in the eye, a stunt that wasn’t supposed to end with Acid getting 12 stitches. The wrestler said he has suffered mostly mild injuries during his career, with the most serious being a broken wrist, a broken rib and a grade-2 concussion — a result of getting hit in the head with a VCR. That blow required 27 staples in his head.

The South Philly resident won’t deny that the results of wrestling are predetermined, but insists the entertainers still have to be well-trained to perform in the ring.

"How fake is when I am getting thrown from 12 feet in the air to the floor?" he questioned.

By now, Acid’s body has become accustomed to bumps and bruises, as he wrestles in 10 to 12 shows a month. He can be out of the country for three to four weeks at a time, and is always on call.

Many of the promoters contact independent wrestlers through their Web sites. Acid has his own as well as one he shares with Kashmere. One day, they could be future challengers of the WWE tag-team belts, but for now CZW will remain home base.

"It’s always where I felt the most welcome," Acid said. "I feel everyone shares the same love for wrestling and has family in the locker room."

For more information about Saturday night’s wrestling card at the CZW Arena, call 856-468-9147.

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