When Tommy and JP Grayson -- born Spencer and Justin DuBoff -- first drove to Lake Hiawatha two years ago it was the furthest distance they’d driven on their own. Tommy leaned over toward his brother.
“Get used to these roads because we’re going to be living on them,” he said.
The Amazing Graysons, who hail from Stony Point and graduated from North Rockland High School, are a tag team wrestling duo who derive their name from the DC Comics hero, Nightwing.
Thursday night will mark the third time the brothers have wrestled in front of their hometown crowd at the Rumble in Rockland in Pomona, but it’s perhaps their biggest show yet with WWE legends headlining, like Ric Flair, Booker T, and the Hardy Brothers, who the Amazing Graysons draw inspiration from.
Growing up the two brothers were big wrestling fans. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport’s history and easily rattle off the wrestlers they idolized growing up: Rob Van Dam, Rey Mysterio, Stone Cold Steve Austin for Tommy; Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and Christian for JP. At the top of that list are the Hardy Brothers, Matt and Jeff, a brother tag team.
“They weren’t the biggest guys so they had to make up for it by doing outrageous stunts,” Tommy said over the phone.
Still in high school Tommy and JP attended several wrestling shows that came to the area. Enamored with the stars and the sport, the brothers had their own ambition of one day wrestling in the ring.
“It was just a matter of how,” Tommy said.
The impetus to actually pursue this dream came when Tommy was 20 and attending Rockland Community College and JP was a senior in high school. At the time Tommy worked at the Palisades Climb Adventure in the mall. His manager, Kevin Clarke, referred the brothers to East Coast Professional Wrestling in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey to get started.
Both brothers wrestled in high school, and that experience helped immensely with forging a path in professional wrestling by preparing them physically, mentally, and ensuring discipline. (They both work full-time jobs and manage to train just about every single day of the week.)
When they’re not training, working, or going to school, the brothers are “paying dues” at wrestling shows around the tri-state area. Whether or not they're wrestling in the show, the brothers help out any way they can with the production: working security, vending, handling merchandise, referring matches, or even some camerawork for Tommy.
“That’s where a lot of the learning takes place,” Tommy explained. Technique is learned at wrestling schools but the life is learned on the road.
At the time, Tommy and JP were driving out to Queens for a show.
It’s taken the brothers just two years to start wrestling in the shows they used to attend. And they now train at gyms all over the area learning new techniques: ECPW, House of Hardcore in Poughkeepsie, and gyms in New Jersey like WrestlePro in Rahway, ACE Prowrestling in Wallington, and Monster Factory in Paulsboro, run by former WWE star Danny Cage.
As far what people can expect on Thursday, the brothers style themselves after the Hardy’s given the size similarities (the brothers stand around 5 feet 8 inches and weigh around 170 pounds). Big man moves like body slams and power bombs are replaced by drop kicks, and other high risk moves.
“Taking a bump” is the term used when a wrestler slams onto the mat, and is equivalent to being hit by a car traveling at 40 mph; the brothers will take a few.
Despite their size and the WWE's preference for big men, they take encouragement from the success of guys like Van Dam and more recently Daniel Bryan, who recently retired but held the world heavyweight title.
“The fact those guys held those titles, it makes us think if they can do it maybe we can,” JP said.
The gates open at Palisades Credit Union Park for the show at 4:30 p.m. and the wrestling starts at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.