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Going to the Mat From Center Court.

WEST WARWICK, R.I. -- Chuck Palumbo was once known for his jump shot, but now makes a living throwing flying forearms.

The former star community college basketball player is a rising star in World Championship Wrestling as a member of a group of new faces called Natural Born Thrillers.

Until a few years ago, he had never even seen a wrestling match.

After high school, Palumbo joined the Navy, then returned to school at the Community College of Rhode Island. At CCRI he was a national Division III All-American basketball player. He went on to play at Central Missouri State, where he became interested in professional wrestling.

He paid his own way to a wrestling training school in Atlanta, selling everything he owned, he told The Providence Sunday Journal.

"The first three days there, they just killed us. I can't tell you how excruciating it was. They really pushed us hard," Palumbo said. "They were just trying to find out who was serious about it, who had the heart to do it.

"The first seven months I was there, I did not get paid a dime. It was a struggle," he said. "You had to find other means of income, but that was hard because you had to be at camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m."

Palumbo survived financially thanks to his girlfriend, Shannon, who worked while he was learning how to be a professional wrestler.

Palumbo's big break came last year with a successful monthlong stint in Japan.

After that, "The Event," as he is billed, quickly became a part of major WCW events.

"On an average week we're working three to five days," he said. "The most I've done is 12 days in a row. We usually have TV shows on Mondays. A lot of people don't realize that we do house shows, too, which are not televised."

The WCW Magazine recently called Palumbo the likely rookie-of-the-year.

"I love what I'm doing. It's hard, but it's a great life," Palumbo said. "I feel like this is something that was custom-made for me."
COPYRIGHT 2001 Autumn Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:switching from basketball to wrestling
Publication:Community College Week
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U1RI
Date:Feb 19, 2001
Words:347
Previous Article:Around campus.
Next Article:Grants & Gifts.
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