"To me," says Phillips, 33, "wrestling is the single greatest form of art and entertainment in the world." At Andover's New England Pro Wrestling Academy, Phillips — who also works the Chaotic Wrestling circuit as Brian Fury — teaches that art to a new generation. Wrestling takes grace, strength, and training, he says, but also acting chops. "You have to have charisma," Phillips says. "What is your character going to be? What would they do in this situation?"
When Phillips was tapped to train actors in last summer's Company One production of a play about wrestlers, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, it was a natural fit. The cast already had charisma to spare — they just weren't expecting the physical toll. In the ring, "I'm hitting you really solidly," Phillips says. "Granted, it's in the safest place possible. But it still has to make that sound." The cast was "quick to catch on," he adds, "but pretty sore and beat up after the first day."
His school attracts a colorful cast too. One of the things he loves about wrestling is that there is room for all body types. "From girls to midgets to really fat guys to really in-shape guys," he says, "all under one roof, and somehow it all works."