TOWER — The message from Drew Sipila on July 28 will be to trust “The System.’’
The 2013 Virginia graduate, AKA pro wrestler “The System,’’ will be taking part in FortuneBaynia II at Fortune Bay that day as he lives out his dream of competing in the squared circle.
Sipila, a wrestling heel, will no doubt make himself heard in 11 days. As seen in one Youtube video of the 24-year-old, “The System’’ — long blonde hair and all — challenges the fans in a classic love/hate relationship.
“Everyone is booking me as a bad guy. I definitely enjoy being the bad guy, as well. You get a lot more freedom to interact with the fans and kind of control where your story goes. You kind of speak out on a lot of different things. You just have a lot of creative direction and swing of where you can go with stuff as a bad guy.’’
One such direction is adding a violin to his repertoire in 2019. He called himself an eccentric violinist who is kind of a stuck up.
“I just brought it out one day and used it in a promo to kind of rhyme it.’’ The event promoter then asked if he could actually play it. His answer was a distinctive yes. Considering the promoter wasn’t going to hire him without that, he added a new wrinkle to his character. Playing was no trouble at all since Sipila played in the Virginia/Eveleth-Gilbert Orchestra and also with the Mesabi Symphony Orchestra for a year.
According to Sipila, his character is patterned after wrestling superstars Ric Flair, Curt Hennig and Shawn Michaels.
“You can see a lot of that in the style I wrestle.’’
In an apparent takeoff on Flair, Sipila speaks directly into the camera in one of his videos and says he’s “stylin’ and pro violin. I’m fine tuned baby.’’
As far as Sipila’s match, he said it will be “The System,’’ David Arquette and RJ City against Colt Cabana and two partners of his choice.
Stepping in the wrestling ring is something Sipila has wanted to do since he was just a youngster.
“It’s always been a big passion of mine. I was always into it when I was little.’’
He got away from it as he played for the Virginia basketball team, but it
was always in the back of his mind.
“I got really back into it starting my high school senior year and it just kind of progressed into college. I was always thinking to myself it was just a phase, but now here I am wrestling so much.’’
The big step came after he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in management. He currently works for US Bank in the Twin Cities.
The idea of seriously becoming a pro wrestler came during his college days. “I think it was when I started doing my internships near the end of my college career. I started reading a lot more and started reading a lot more self help books that told him “You are what you do every day. Your time is your most valuable resource so you want to be spending it doing what you love.’’
Watching wrestling was what popped into Sipila’s head and he knew he had to give it a try. He had talked to his dad about it over the years and “he helped me pay tuition to wrestling school.’’
Sipila’s entry into the sports entertainment field came quickly. He graduated from the U of M in May 2017 and by June 2017 he was enrolled in wrestler Ken Anderson’s Academy School of Professional Wrestling out of Brooklyn Park.
“It’s turned into a really good school,’’ Sipila said, with lots of other wrestlers from there on the FortuneBaynia II card, as well. “It will be exciting to see where we all go.’’
Sipila is looking to his first show on the Iron Range at FortuneBaynia II.
“It’s very surreal to me just because I have made it a point that I want to do a show up here.’’ He considered running a show himself or going through some other wrestling promotion, but “it just never worked out.
“The fact that Heavy On Wrestling started running FortuneBaynias and the fact I get to be on one so early in my career, it’s perfect timing, perfect location. It’s awesome. I plan on having a lot of people coming. It’s a really, really cool experience.’’
At the second annual FortuneBaynia event, Sipila will get to rub elbows with wrestling superstars like Sting, Booker T, Jimmy Hart, Honky Tonk Man, Greg “The Hammer’’ Valentine, David Arquette, Tito Santana, Madusa, Victoria, ODB and many more at the two-day event (Saturday and Sunday). Arik Cannon and Darin Corbin will also battle for the HOW Undisputed Championship.
“I’m a big fan of Sting and Booker T and it will be really cool to see those guys because they will actually be on the show too.
Sunday’s events begin at 2 p.m. with a meet-and-greet session, followed by the show at 5 p.m. A Legends Q & A will be held Saturday (meet and greet at 6:30 p.m./Q &A at 7 p.m.) Tickets can be purchased at heavyonwrestling.com and at fortunebay.com.
Sipila has spent many weekends the last two years on the independent wrestling scene in Minnesota, competing with several different promotions.
Those include Heavy on Wrestling, the American Wrestling Federation, Showtime Championship Wrestling, Midwest All-Star Wrestling and Steel Domain Wrestling.
He is excited to perform July 28 for Heavy on Wrestling. “They’ve recently shown interest in bringing me on as a regular, too.’’
Sipila plans to keep wrestling as long as he can. I’m going to keep going until I don’t enjoy doing it.’’
That could be a while, as he loves what he is doing. That includes running his own Youtube show called “System Media’’ each week. It shows the AWF backstage, focuses on character development and shows the Minnesota independent wrestling scene.
Becoming a wrestler was something Sipila doesn’t look back on.
“It’s the greatest decision I’ve ever made.’’
His appearance in FortuneBaynia II also provided him the opportunity to be in the Mesabi Daily News — something his brother Rickey did less than two weeks ago with his U of M solar car race team.
“I saw that article and I accepted this interview because I wanted to one-up him,’’ he joked. “I couldn’t let him get that exposure without outdoing him.’’