Connell coaches bring WWE wrestling to life for charity
There was no mistaking Hulk Hogan’s theme song as it blasted through the gym.
The packed house at Connell High School on Friday afternoon went crazy. Sting’s mysterious entrance added to the excitement, and by the time Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio appeared, the roar was deafening.
The elaborate WWE spoof, coordinated by Connell wrestling coaches Seath Kimball (Sting), Scott Forsyth (Hulk Hogan), JJ Magana (Eddie Guerrero) and Hernan Serra (Rey Mysterio), was a reward for all the hard work the high school and junior high students did the past two weeks as part of the Pennies for Patients fundraiser that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“Being part of wrestling, and being coaches, we have a bond together,” Magana said. “You are going to make a fool of yourself, but what a great cause. We were reliving our childhood dreams. We could not have done this without the community’s support.”
The Connell students raised $8,136, and combined with contributions from their community partners — Easterday Farms, Back to Basics Chiropractic in Kennewick, Klaustermeyer Farms, Zurcher Dairy, Coulee Flats Dairy and Ed Poe Insurance Agency — that amount grew to $12,791. There were more donations at the door, so that number will go up.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a national organization, and multiple schools throughout the nation have been participating in the Pennies for Patients fundraiser since 1994.
Once all four wrestlers made their way to the ring, and the referee started the tag-team match, there was more than 20 minutes of nonstop action.
From body slams to Mysterio’s acrobatics to getting hit by folding chairs, the wrestlers took their turns dishing out punishment, and they had the battle wounds to show for their efforts.
“I’m grateful I didn’t have a heart attack in the ring,” Forsyth said. “Nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Every punch, every kick is amped up 100 percent. Wrestling may be fake and choreographed, but it hurts. I’m beat.
“This all started as a joke last year. They wanted us to wrestle folkstyle, but we said ‘let’s wrestle.’ ”
Kimball, who is the Eagles’ head wrestling coach, at one point drove Mysterio through a folding table — Guerrero had placed it in the ring in hopes his partner would make good use of his offering.
No such luck. Minutes later, Sting pinned Guerrero to the delight of the crowd.
“It was a lot of fun,” Kimball said. “But so painful.”
And in the end, so worth it.
“We are wrestling coaches and we are young at heart,” Kimball said. “Our physical fitness lets us do this. The more connections we can make with the kids, the better teachers we will be.”