Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Pro Wrestling in the country


Benthin/Baeden brought the WCWC to Colton High School as a fundraiser for Colton Boosters

by: CINDY FAMA - Photo by Cindy Fama
Colton's professional wrestler, Erik (Benthin) Baeden, The Prussian Wolf, throws Colton's professional wrestler, Erik (Benthin) Baeden, The Prussian Wolf, throws  
Colton's professional wrestler, Erik (Benthin) Baeden, The Prussian Wolf, throws down on a Hippie in a fundraising event hosted by the WCWC to benefit the Colton Boosters.In his early twenties, Erik Benthin said, he sometimes wondered how you could get involved in professional wrestling.

“I happened to be at a local wrestling show with co-workers when they announced there would be open try-outs,” said the 1993 Colton High School graduate. “I took a gamble, and they accepted just two of us for training. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Benthin, who wrestles as Erik Baeden the Prussian Wolf for the West Coast Wrestling Connection (WCWC), has quite a resume. He started amateur wrestling at the age of 7, and after graduation, helped his older brother, Kerry, coach the Colton High School wrestling team for eight years.

After Benthin was accepted by WCWC, he was trained by Tony Kozina, a famed Canadian and northwest wrestler.

Benthin has a WCWC Northwest Championship and four WCWC Northwest Tag Team championships. He has wrestled for a number of professional wrestling teams including Portland Uncut and Championship Wrestling from Hollywood but he calls WCWC his home base.

“Because I spent most of my life as an amateur wrestler, I've been able to bring a lot of my amateur wrestling into my professional wrestling, giving me a somewhat unique in-ring style,” Benthin said.

He is now the head trainer at the West Coast Wrestling Training Academy in Salem and answered the most asked question, “is it a sport?” He described professional wrestling as exhibition.

“It is not a sparring match, but we still get hurt. Professional wrestlers are trained athletes and acrobats, but the most important part of our training is to protect yourself and your opponent. We take that very seriously. Safety is our priority,” said Benthin.

by: CINDY FAMA - Professional wrestler, Erik (Benthin) Baeden, The Prussian Wolf, explains to the crowd how he is going to single-handedly annihilate  the tag team 'The Hippies.'Benthin is married and has three children including a middle- school age daughter.” Our rule for any boys interested in her as a ‘girlfriend’ is simple; they have to go to a wrestling show and watch Daddy in action,” he said.

On Sat., Jan. 4, Benthin/Baeden brought the WCWC to Colton High School as a fundraiser for Colton Boosters. A crew set up the ring and event staff was there for security. The local Salem television station filmed the wrestling show. There were seven matches. Standout wrestlers included former WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment-formerly World Wrestling Federation) stars Gangrel and Matt Striker.

The audience got into the moment- hollering, booing and hissing as needed. The music was rocking, the kids were stomping and the concession stand and barbecue pit were busy serving up meals and snacks.

Quiet filled the gymnasium as Benthin/Baeden stepped through the curtains, fielding the humorous, biting question asked by the announcer. Then Baeden took to the ring, his tag team partner home sick, and single handedly beat the two-man team, “The Hippies”. Life was good in his old high school gym, where once again the rowdy crowd was cheering on the local wrestler. Benthin’s last amateur wrestling event was the 2001 State Games of Oregon. He said his wife, Lyndsay, encouraged him to get into Professional Wrestling.

“She wanted me to do what I was passionate about. I couldn’t do this without her support.”

The Boosters said they received about $629 from the show alone with more to come as they add in the concessions.

“I laughed so hard; it was total entertainment,” said Cathy Schmidt.

The WCWC will be in Molalla for a Locks of Love fundraising event in February.