How Pizza Skills Transfer to the Wrestling Ring

Luigi Primo is proof that restaurant workers are primed to be professional athletes.

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It takes a lot of strength and skill to throw pizza dough. The pros make it look easy, but there’s precision, power, and persistence that goes into making a crust that’s good enough (and sturdy enough) to eat. And to be tossing and spinning dough while expertly working your way through a series of wrestling moves, well, that’s enough to make you an elite athlete. It’s the signature move of Texas-based wrestler Luigi Primo, and he’s starting to get attention for his pizza-inspired style.

Who is Luigi Primo?

Luigi Primo is the alter ego of Chris Monica, Sports Illustrated reports, who spent time as an actual pizza maker and delivery driver before entering the ring. “Luigi Primo” was born seven years ago during a backyard wrestling match when Monica decided to step into the role of the heel, taunting the crowd by saying Italy is better than Texas and throwing mozzarella cheese into the face of his opponent. But in his next match, he “topped his opponent like a pizza” and was met with cheers. Now, Luigi Primo is a face (or good guy) in the wrestling circuit.

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Since that first mozzarella-throwing move, he has incorporated a number of pizza-related signatures into his arsenal:

  • Rolling out the crust: a body slam or hip check to get the opponent down
  • Topping the pizza: an elbow drop or senton (jumping and landing back first on an opponent)
  • Putting the pizza in the oven: jumping onto the opponent from the top rope of the wrestling ring
  • The pizza cutter: an RKO, a move that involves jumping toward the opponent and grabbing their face in a three-quarters headlock before slamming them into the ground
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But it’s still the dough tossing that fans crave, and it’s those moves that are catapulting him into the spotlight. Maybe some kitchen skills really do make you a champion.

How restaurant workers are like athletes

Ask anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant: Whether you’re front or back of house, you’re always on your feet. There’s a precision that’s required of servers and cooks alike, maneuvering through tight, crowded spaces with heavy trays of food or dangerous cooking tools. The footwork and twirls can be reminiscent of a basketball team making its way across the court while keeping the ball out of the opponents’ hands, maintaining stamina the whole way.

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It’s not just the physical aspect, but also the mental strength. When you’re out on the floor of a busy dining room or trying to keep track of tickets in a slammed kitchen, there are several metaphorical balls to keep in the air. You need to always be plotting not only your next move but the moves of others. Is table 6 really going to wrap up and leave after dessert? Will the veg station finish those mashed potatoes at the same time you’re finishing up the steak they accompany? It’s not unlike when Luigi Primo enters the ring and needs to be steps ahead of his opponent in order to deploy a perfectly timed match-ending pizza cutter.

Luigi Primo might be the best pizza wrestler in all of wrestling, but now the door is open for other food professionals to follow in his footsteps and bring their own menu-worthy moves into the ring.

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