Friday, January 18, 2013

How Should Pro Wrestlers Measure Success?

Recently at a Rockstar Pro Wrestling show, in the midst of my current feud with Jake Omen, I cut a semi-shoot promo wherein I explain that the reason Jake turned his back on me is because I finally found contentment in my life. Although everything I said in the promo was 100% honesty on my part, the circumstances of the promo were the only things that weren't completely sincere. I felt like what I said needed to be said.

To anyone who wasn't there, I explained that the year 2012 was the best year of my life for three reasons. 1) I met and married a beautiful woman. 2) I reestablished my relationship with God. And 3) I had found contentment in the world of professional wrestling. The first two are self-explanatory, but I think the third needs some elaboration. You see, I've always been the type of person to expect more of myself, and despite my best efforts, even after nine years in the wrestling business, I'm still a relative nobody. I've sent countless promo packages to places like WWE, TNA, ROH, DG-USA, New Japan, etc. I've sent emails, text messages, Facebook messages, and every conceivable form of communication I could to anyone that may have been able to put in a good word for me somewhere. Most of those messages go unanswered. I even paid for a couple tryouts with TNA, as I've previously documented.

I eventually became the type of person who was very bitter about the wrestling business. I would always say things like "Why is this guy making money? I'm better than him." Or "Why is the WWE giving this guy a tryout? They must not have gotten my package." I would constantly criticize others because I was bitter that I wasn't getting what I thought I was owed. When I first started wrestling I felt like I had it made simply because of my size, and I thought that in less than a couple years, all the big companies were going to be knocking down my door to get to me. Obviously, that didn't happen, and I started to sour on the business.

The last wrestling article that I wrote was entitled "This is Why I Hate Independent Wrestling." Some people took that title literally, and I received some backlash for it, although I'm pretty sure that those people didn't bother to read the actual article. I'm not nearly as down on the wrestling business as the title of that article makes me out to be, although I was in the past. I, like a lot of wrestlers, listen to Colt Cabana's "The Art of Wrestling" podcast, and on an episode recently he interviewed Pat Buck. Pat raised the question "Does the fact that I never received a WWE contract mean that I'm a failure in the business?" That got me to thinking. Pat and I were sort of in the same boat. Granted, he's done a lot more in the business and has earned the amount of respect he has received, but I knew exactly what he meant. Am I a failure in the wrestling business because I've never received any national attention, unless you count 2007 when I was #492 in the PWI Top 500 (seriously, how could the WWE look past #492)?

But I really did ask myself that question. Then I started to think about all the good things that the wrestling business gave me. At one point in 2007 I was 100 lbs. heavier than I am right now, and it was professional wrestling that motivated me to shed the weight. It's because of professional wrestling that I've met people like Ed Gonzales, Heather Owens, Jake Omen, Tony X, Donny Redd, T-Money, Dustin Lillard, and many more who have become not just wrestling acquaintances, but have become some of my best friends over the years, Ed Gonzales and Jake Omen were two of the groomsmen at my wedding. Pro wrestling was the reason my wife and I even met in the first place, as we were introduced by our mutual friend Brad, better known to local wrestling fans as manager extraordinaire Hooks.

When I got to thinking about it, what did I have to be bitter about? The fact that WWE didn't want me? That I'm not known by internet smart marks? Because my wrestling career didn't turn out the way I pictured it when I was first starting out? In the grand scheme of things, none of those things matter. I'm 27 years old, and I've been in the wrestling business for almost 9 years at this point. By no means am I done wrestling, and I'm also not saying that I'm going to stop trying to make it big some day. I still feel like I have a few good years left in the tank, and I intend to put them to good use.

Things haven't worked out the way I planned them, but things in life rarely go according to plan. While there's definitely still aspects of the wrestling business that I hate, I still get to go out to the ring and do the thing I love more than anything else in the world. When I look back on my career, I realize that I've been blessed enough to get into the ring with men that I used to watch on television as a child, some of the best wrestlers in the world today, and men that are going to be future stars. I'm blessed that I knew guys like Sami Callihan and Jon Moxley (Dean Ambrose) before they made their names in the business. I'm blessed that I've been able to put on great matches with guys like Abyss, Shane Helms, Al Snow, Shark Boy, etc. When I first started in wrestling I never thought that I would get the chance to put on a 5-star match with Tatanka, who was my favorite wrestler in the world as a kid. I got to watch Cincinnati wrestling from the locker room back when "Cincinnati wrestling" meant something. I would watch every match that Nigel McGuinness, B.J. Whitmer, Matt Stryker, Cody Hawk, and Chad Allegra (Karl Anderson) had when I would be on shows with them. I'm not trying to drop names, I'm just trying to explain that I've been very blessed to rub elbows with some of the best wrestlers in the world. When I look back on my career, I may not have gotten a WWE contract, and I may never get one, but I would still say that I've managed to have a successful career.