Why Would Someone Get Into The Pro Wrestling Business?
“Why would someone even want to get into the rasslin’ business?” It is a question I hear every day. Why would a seemingly normal person want to get into a business that creates larger than life characters, displays the human body in a glorified way, and is often considered low-brow entertainment? My answer? Why not? The professional wrestling business is something that I truly love and have since youth.
Saturday mornings as a child started off like any other child’s Saturday mornings. The television was turned to Bugs Bunny, He-Man, and an assortment of animated friends. I sat on my parent’s shag carpet with an unhealthy bowl full of the latest fad in sugary cereal. As lunch time rolls around and most cartoons are winding down, another show comes on that I have been eagerly waiting for. While most kids venture outside after the cartoons, my Saturday morning ritual is just starting. Professional wrestling is getting ready to start and I have to know who is displaying their athletic prowess today.
Myself with TNA Impact Wrestling's Robbie E
Professional wrestling is the ultimate story for me. The “good guy” who eats his vitamins, plays by the rules, and is a hero to me and my friends, takes on the “bad guy”. The bad guy cheats whenever he can, never plays by the rules, and often does things that I know my mother would not approve of. These characters play out a story that is as old as stories themselves. Good versus evil. White hat cowboy versus black hat cowboy. Both contestants will display feats of strength and athletic ability that I have never seen done otherwise. I am captivated. My mother is partly to blame. She watches these shows with me. She has her favorite wrestlers and we sometimes argue over who is better. I tell her that I am going to be a wrestler someday and she smiles and says, “Sure you will honey.”
I never really stopped watching wrestling. As I got older, I watched it less because other interests became much more important: High School, girls, football, girls, friends, and did I mention girls? I would still watch wrestling. Things had changed a little since those Saturday mornings. Wrestling was now mainly on Monday nights, the content was flashier, the characters wilder, and the action was more dangerous but it still fascinated me. I would lay in my bed on Monday nights, curled up with my favorite blanket, volume turned low so my family couldn’t hear it, and be taken back to childhood for a while.
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When I graduated high school, I joined the Marine Corps. While stationed in California, I found other wrestling fans and we would watch the Monday night wars as the two biggest promotions had their flagship shows on the same nights and at the same time. We cheered on Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and all the other superstars of that time. One night I turned to my friends and, once again, stated, “I am going to be a professional wrestler someday.” I got the same looks and nods that my mother gave me all those years ago. I did not understand. If anyone would believe me, it would be these guys. I never second guessed it again and continued to watch from the comfort of my living room.
I came back home from active duty after a few years and found myself in a rut with my life. I no longer had that activity that occupied my time. No big time hobby. No motivating desire for any particular activity. Then I found a show on television. I found one of the worst productions of low budget, local independent wrestling in North Carolina. I knew I had found my calling. I immediately called the station trying to find out who this group was. I bounced around a few dead ends and disconnected phone numbers until I almost gave up. A local group was promoting a professional wrestling school and I jumped at the chance. I met with the owners, got trained, and started to wrestle. I loved it. This was the perfect combination of athletics and performance that I could find. I wrestled everywhere I could, anywhere I could, and for anyone who would let me. I met a lot of my heroes that I watched growing up on Saturday mornings, wrestled a few of them, and partied with a few, too. I felt like a rock star. I made it. I was a professional wrestler.
All professional wrestling careers come with hazards and heartaches. Mine was no different. I limped when I walked, I hurt ten to twenty hours a day, and my joints popped and groaned with the slightest of movements. I wanted a family, not a wheelchair. I decided to hang up my wrestling boots and chalk it up as a dream fulfilled. I have always been drawn back to the professional wrestling business. I would still wrestle periodically. Close friends would ask for favors. I would participate in events for charity. Sometimes I would wrestle just to see if I still could. I found that I still could……. sometimes. I have since found my way to enjoy the professional wrestling business and still stay healthy, have a family, and make money at the same time. I now am the guy that puts on shows. I am the guy that teaches the new wrestlers what not to do. I am the guy making contact with the superstars on television, the legends in the business, the real pros. I call the shots. I now create the events and shows that children watch. I now create the fascination in others. Why am I in the “rasslin’ business”? I am in the business because I love it. And it loves me.
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