Big Vito opening wrestling academy in Clearwater; WrestleReunion with Bobby Heenan, Mean Gene Okerlund in Tampa


Big Vito LoGrasso, who worked in ECW, TNA, WCW and WWE, is opening a wrestling academy in Clearwater, Fla.

Big Vito said: “There are some fine schools out there, but this is an academy. You will learn two things: discipline and wrestling. You will become regimented -- eating habits, training habits, wrestling, mixed martial arts, the business side of things. You will leave the complete package. You will not leave without the skill and mindset needed to become a pro. You will be able to take care of yourself anywhere in the world. No matter what style there is, you will be able to compete. If you come there with a dream, I will make sure I can do all I can to help you live it. It does not matter what you look like in the beginning. In the end, you will look like a pro wrestler.

“I tell everyone the same thing. Not everyone makes it. It is true, but who is someone else to tell you, ‘You can’t.’ That is not allowed in my academy. Everything is I can. Never let anyone stop you from your dream. It is your life. If you let people dictate to you what you can and can’t do, then you might as well be a puppet. Every challenge in life is something. I have taken all the chances. I am not afraid. I made something of myself. You can do the same at my academy. I am currently doing movies, commercials and still wrestling. The school becomes a part of my everyday life. I am the only trainer at the school. I will train you. No one else. Hands on. If you have heart like Big Vito, you can do anything.

“Training sessions can be viewed by parents. I want to make this something good in the community. I would like to work with kids. There will be an afternoon program for them. They will be taught respect. ‘School work is important; clean your room; be polite to your parents.’ The one thing you will also learn from here is you will be able to stand on your own two feet in life. You will be able to handle not just wrestling but life itself. You can’t put a price tag on that.”

The grand opening is 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31. There will be giveaways and trivia.

Big Vito’s Wrestling Academy is at 2147 Pine Forrest Dr., Clearwater, 33764.

Call 813-409-0469. Email Visit

• WrestleReunion will have an autograph and photo event on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Hogan's Beach House in Tampa.

It includes Jimmy Hart, The Nasty Boys, Demolition, Koko B. Ware, Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby The Brain Heenan. It will be a daytime autograph signing and photo session. For pricing and package information, check out

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