Powerhouse Hobbs is emerging as an interesting person on the pro wrestling circuit. The 6'2'' specimen from East Palo Alto, CA is currently filling our TV screens with thundering clotheslines and devastating spinebusters during thrilling matches on Dynamite (TBS) and Rampage (TNT), but alongside his mountain of muscle lies flesh and blood and a vulnerable one side, just like the rest of us.
Although Suicide Prevention Month only recently ended in September, the 31-year-old sat down with M&F at the end of the month for a candid and heartfelt chat about his inspirational journey to date.
"I grew up in a rough neighborhood," says Hobbs. "The quick version: My brother did some things he shouldn't have done and paid the cost with his life. He saved my life by pushing me out of the way. Unfortunately he was shot. I got shot. It's a tough subject. It's been about 12 years and it still feels like yesterday. That's just the short version of it, but as for the mental health thing, like I said, I have a background where [people think that] Seeking help like therapy means you are crazy. but [having reached out for therapy], I feel great. They always want a third party, someone actually outside the household, to help. I have three children: two boys and a daughter, and I tell them myself: It's okay to cry. My grandma used to say whenever I was frustrated that crying is like that smell after the rain so everything is clean and sunny and shiny. And that's how I explain it to my kids. That's how I see things. If you have a mental health issue, that's fine, you know?"
September is Suicide Prevention Month. AEW is committed to the spiritual well-being of our talent, employees and our fans. @RefAubrey, @MadKing1981 & @TrueWillieHobbs share their message.
We encourage anyone struggling to reach out and get help: @afspnational pic.twitter.com/heulX0aGHd
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 23, 2022
Powerhouse Hobbs relieves stress with workouts at the gym
"I can go [to the gym] and hit as hard as I want,” he says. "There are times the gym kicks my ass and there are times I kick its ass."
Today, Hobbs is in a great place. He's living his dream and now even has his own action figure. This warrior is never prouder than when he can tour Walmart with his kids while they look forward to seeing his replica on the shelves. "It's one of the best feelings in the world," he says.
Excelling as an athlete has always been a driving force for Hobbs, who bench presses more than 480 pounds. "I've been exercising since I was 4 years old," he says. "I grew up with little league, basketball, baseball and football. Growing up, I was always interested in some form of athletics.” Also at the age of four, he discovered pro wrestling. “I knew then; when I went to my very first show," confirms Hobbs. “In kindergarten we wrote down what we wanted to be. I knew I wanted to be a professional wrestler. My grandmother still has the note in the attic,” he smiles.
Powerhouse Hobbs is committed to its craft
After graduating from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California, Hobbs took stepping into the ring seriously. "It was now or never," he says. "I went to a show, I got motivated. In the end I scraped together the money and the rest is history.”
The young upstart enrolled at All Pro Wrestling School in Hayward, CA and honed his craft for more than a decade, racking up numerous titles along the way. In 2014, he used the tongue-in-cheek ring name "Will. I.IS” before settling down with Will Hobbs in 2016. After honing his skills in a series of independent promotions, Hobbs was finally promoted to the big leagues in 2020 after impressing the All Elite wrestling top brass during a one-off appearance on the company's Casino Battle Royale at the All Out".
Today he is known to millions as Powerhouse Hobbs. "It's one of the hardest jobs I've ever done," he says when comparing pro wrestling to his many other athletic endeavors. “There are no shoulder pads, there are no helmets. It's your body and the mat and that's it. It's tough, I've had some injuries but luckily nothing too serious. Wrestling is a brutal sport.”
Pro wrestling comes in all sorts of styles and flavors, and many fans have praised Hobbs for his smash mouth technique, which favors the traditional, hard-hitting approach over acrobatic moves that often look more like a gymnastics show than an actual fight. "I'm not a high achiever, I don't do flippy - it's just not my style," he says. “I like using these fists. I like to grind and pound.” Hobbs holds up his giant hay choppers to illustrate the damage he can inflict on his in-ring rivals.
For a big man, however, Hobbs can move between the ropes with the same explosive power he picked up in his soccer practice. He's also shed body fat to keep up with these dastardly high-flyers. "I think the more I cut... I get more flexible. That's what I'm working towards," says the star, who has dropped from 280 pounds to his current weight of 267 in recent weeks. "It's about showing another side of the beast, that 'monstar' you know?"
Following the advice of his coaches and nutritionists, this hungry student of the game believes he's made a 180-degree turn with his progress this year. "Some days, [training] it's all agility stuff,” shares Hobbs. “There are a lot of box jumps. Sometimes it's sprints, sometimes sprints with a weighted cable on me so I can show my explosiveness in the ring."
Hobb's dedication to his art has not gone unnoticed by the matchmakers at AEW. Case in point, when pro wrestling icon CM Punk made his debut there after a seven-year absence from a pro wrestling ring, our powerhouse was booked as his first opponent. The highly anticipated fight gave Hobbs a chance to mix it up with a man who has held world heavyweight titles and wrestled in multiple WrestleManias.
The Monstar repaid the trust AEW placed in him and gave Punk the match he needed in front of a red-hot crowd and millions watching AEW Rampage on TV at home. "It was one of those things where I took it personally, as a challenge," Hobbs recalls. “I think a lot of people wanted to see what I could do and how I would act under pressure. You know, I'm a huge baseball fan and it felt like a grand slam that night." The Powerhouse might not have won the match, but he's garnered millions of fans and proved he can be trusted when he plays at the highest level.
Powerhouse Hobbs never stops working
Away from the square circle limelight, Hobbs' lifestyle shows that what matters most is how hard you work when you're not in front of the camera. When at home, the grappler gets up at 7am and gives his kids their breakfast while he eats his first meal of the day. He then tackles the school run before hitting the gym. When traveling to games with AEW, Hobbs finds that his mental clock still wakes him up at 7am PST no matter what time zone he's actually in, so he tries to stick to his routine and hits the gym as usual in the mornings. "
Yesterday I got up at 3am and flew from San Francisco to New York City at 5:25am. It's across the country," he says. "I was tired and the plane was full so there wasn't much room but I got to the hotel, ate and then I had to go to the gym. I had to make it and I felt great afterwards. A day off means someone else is working a little harder than me.” It's an inspirational attitude that will no doubt tie AEW gold around his waist in the future. "I just feel bad for anyone who gets in my way. This is my time to shine, so everyone sit back and watch... and enjoy."
Courtesy of AEW
AEW Powerhouse Hobbs shoulder workout
Pre-exhaust with 90 seconds of dumbbell lateral raises and front raises for 2 rounds each.
- One-arm upright row with dumbbells
- Overhead press standing
- Cable with wide rod
(Big superset, 4 rounds, 10-15 reps each)
- Front raise with incline dumbbell
- Upright curl bar row
(3 sets, 10-15 reps)
- Seated one-arm dumbbell press (3 sets, 12-15 reps)
- Run the rack shrugs (2 working sets of 3 dropsets of 5-6 reps)