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IWF Wrestling School Grads Receive WWE Opportunity

First-Class Justin Adams  Southside Slugger Tony Graves  The Atkins Brothers

Posted: August 6, 2017 

NEW JERSEY - Four more outstanding graduates from Independent Wrestling Federation Training School in New Jersey will receive WWE tryout opportunities in the coming weeks.  IWF American Champion First-Class Justin Adams, former IWF Tag Team Champion Southside Slugger Tony Graves, and IWF Tag Team Champions Brian and Robert Atkins have a chance to make their ultimate dream a reality.

Former standout baseball player turned professional wrestler, Justin Adams is the IWF American Champion, having won the title on June 24, 2017.  He is also a former two-time IWF Junior Heavyweight Champion.  A native of Staten Island, NY, he began training at IWF Wrestling School in November 2015, debuted on Live Events in January 2016, and graduated from the program in June 2016.

After spending nearly seven years in the United States Army as a Specialist, Tony Graves is one-half of the former IWF Tag Team Champions "The Street Kings."  Hailing from the streets of South Philadelphia, Graves began training at IWF Wrestling School in July 2015, debuted on Live Events in October 2015, and graduated from the program in March 2016.

The Atkins Brothers, former NCAA Division 1 amateur wrestlers, transitioned flawlessly into the pro game and won the 13th Annual Commissioner's Cup Tag Team Tournament on June 17, 2017.  The duo from Midland Park, NJ, then won the IWF Tag Team Titles on June 24, 2017.  They began training at IWF Wrestling School in November 2016 and graduated from the program in June 2017.

Adams and Graves will participate at WWE Events including SummerSlam, Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, and NXT at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, August 19 to 22.  The Atkins Brothers will participate at WWE Events in the Fall. 

Head coach at the nationally-accredited IWF Wrestling School is Kevin Knight, a 21-year professional in the sports-entertainment industry.  A total of 50 IWF graduates received WWE tryouts with 11 gaining full-time employment, both in the ring and behind the scenes.  Since its inception in 1999, home-grown prospects from 20 states and nine countries have competed in matches across the world, with many also appearing in TV shows and commercials.

Famous graduates include WWE Superstar Darren Young from Union, NJ, and WWE Referees Shawn Bennett from Butler, NJ and Danilo Anfibio from Woodland Park, NJ.  The school is endorsed by WWE Hall of Famers and Legends who serve as Guest Coaches, including Tito Santana, Honky Tonk Man, John Bradshaw Layfield, Bushwhacker Luke, Tom Prichard, Rip Rogers and more.



IWF Grads Shawn Bennett & Danny Anfibio Referee for WWE
Shawn Bennett / Darren Young / Danny E Anfibio IWF Grads Shawn Bennett and Danny E Anfibio referee for WWE NXT 

WWE Ref & IWF Grad Shawn Bennett at IWF School - July 3. 2014
Shawn Bennett / Kevin Knight

IWF Ladies on WWE RAW Hartford & Money in the Bank Boston - June 2014
IWF Girls on WWE

WWE Superstar Darren Young 
TNA Superstar Robbie E WWE NXT Referee Shawn Bennett Dangerous Danny E


Former IWF Champion Dante Dash joins WWE
Real Deal Flex Freeman  
Updated: May 1, 2012

(WOODLAND PARK, NJ)- Former IWF Heavyweight Champion and IWF Wrestling School Graduate Dante Dash has joined the WWE NXT Florida Championship Wrestling event roster.  
Formerly known as Real Deal Flex Freeman, he began training at IWF Wrestling School under the direction of Kevin Knight in September 2010, made his debut on Live Events on October 23, 2010, and graduated from the program on April 23, 2011.
Dash, a resident of Jersey City, NJ, is a former IWF Heavyweight Champion and a former IWF American Champion.  He won the 11th Annual 2010 Tournament of Champions competition, and the 9th Annual 2011 Commissioner's Cup Tag Team Tournament with Kevin Knight.
Dante was undefeated in his first 35 bouts, and held the Heavyweight and American Titles simultaneously.  He is the only man to ever accomplish that milestone.  Dante was signed by WWE in September 2011 and began training at FCW in October 2011.  He becomes the sixth IWF Wrestling School Graduate of Kevin Knight to sign a professional contract.  


WWE FCW Rookie Fady The Bull 
Joins WWE Developmental FCW in Tampa July 2010

Kevin Knight / Fred Sampson 
Darren Young signed with WWE in 2009 at FCW

Kevin Knight on WWE SmackDown Knight WWE SmackDown

Kevin Knight as EMT on WWE SmackDown, August 7, 2009

@ Nassau Coliseum with CM Punk and Jeff Hardy.




IWF Graduate Fred Sampson wrestles at WWE Raw
@ Continental Arena, East Rutherford, NJ (Jan 2006)



Fred Sampson with Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels
on WWE SmackDown @ Albany, NY (March 2005)


Kevin Knight, Travis Blake, Fred Sampson & Roman Zachary 
as Security Guards on WWE Raw (MSG 2004)

Kevin Knight, Fred Sampson & Roman Zachary
as Druids for The Undertaker at WrestleMania 20 (MSG 2004)


IWF Wrestlers in 2003 WWE Survivor Series TV Ad
Kevin Knight / Fred Sampson WWE  
John Cena, Ron Simmons, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, JBL, Big Show, Hurricane, Kurt Angle & Dudleyz take on IWF in WWE Survivor Series commercial.  IWF Wrestlers as Football Players...Kevin Knight (#64), Fred Sampson (#58), Shawn Donavan (Assistant Coach), Roman (#38), Brandon Young (#28).
Posted: September 25, 2003

(Mount Vernon, NY) - Picture it…a struggling football team needs to be toughened up, so their coach surprises them with a scrimmage against a menacing practice squad made up of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars.  That's the premise of the upcoming television commercial to promote the WWE "Survivor Series" pay-per-view, slated for November.

On September 10, Independent Wrestling Federation (IWF) wrestlers Kevin Knight, Roman, BoneCrusher Fred Sampson, Shawn Donavan and Brandon Young participated as members of that struggling football team in the film shoot to create the commercial at Memorial Stadium in Mount Vernon, NY.

WWE superstars who took to the gridiron opposite the IWF'ers were Kurt Angle, The Big Show, Chris Benoit, The Dudley Boyz, The APA, John Cena, The Hurricane and Rey Mysterio.

Back to the commercial. After the coaches' locker-room pep talk falls on deaf ears, the struggling football squad hits the field only to see the larger-than-life WWE grapplers salivating at the chance of dishing out some unnecessary roughness. At kickoff, all hell breaks loose.

The carnage sees Roman fall victim to Kurt Angle's ankle-lock. Sampson and Young receive a double choke-slam courtesy of The Big Show. Roman gets caught in Chris Benoit's crippler cross-face while John Cena hits the FU on Donavan. Faarooq blindsides Sampson with a shoulder tackle at the water-cooler, while Rey Mysterio takes out Roman with a head-scissors. Last but not least, Knight feels the wrath of The Hurricane's reverse neck-breaker.

However, the most devastating scenes saw Brandon Young receive the clothesline-from-hell by Bradshaw, and a 3-D through a table from The Dudley Boyz at the 50-year-line.

Making all the stunts difficult was the fact that the IWF performers were dressed in full football gear and had to receive the moves on a grass field that was slightly softer than concrete. But the production crew and WWE superstars made sure that safety was a top priority.

A production crew and support staff of about 35 individuals spearheaded the 12-hour day of filming, and the footage will be edited down into a thirty-second commercial that airs world-wide starting in mid-October.

The IWF is pleased to continue its working relationship with WWE.  In June, Knight and Roman wrestled at the Raw and Smackdown TV tapings at Madison Square Garden. Knight and Roman are slated to compete at the Raw TV taping October 21, 2003 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and at the Smackdown TV taping October 22, 2003 in Albany, NY.



Kevin Knight / Dawn Marie

Kevin Knight & former WWE Diva Dawn Marie during her first-ever match after training @ IWF Wrestling School (Feb 2001) Courtesy: Star-Ledger