I’ve been asked many times either in-person or on social media why I love pro wrestling so much for so long. It’s a difficult question to really put into words because there’s so many reasons and ways to answer. I’ll go around the horn here and try to explain my deep passion for pro wrestling but it may float all over the place so throw me a little grace. J
It began in 1990 and I can thank my Aunt Nancy (Dad’s sister) for exposing me to it first. She was and still is a huge wrestling fan and she used to have all the VHS tapes of Wrestlemania, and whatever Coliseum Home Video would release during that time. I was four years old or so and I remember being down in my Mom Mom’s basement putting in these tapes every weekend we’d go there and upon arrival I’d immediately pop in one of these said tapes and immerse myself for hours. It’s no wonder I was a decent toddler! I occupied myself with wrestling. I fell in love with the spectacle, characters, and athleticism.
The first wrestler I really attached myself to was Shawn Michaels, who at the time was in a tag-team with Marty Jannetty called The Rockers, and I was hooked. They were young cats who flew all over the ring, had a ton of energy, and were the first team to utilize double-team moves with synchronization. They were, in my four year old brain, rock stars or cool dudes.
Of course I was also a Hulkamaniac. Who wasn’t? If someone my age watched wrestling as a kid and they tell you they didn’t enjoy Hulk Hogan, they’re liars.
Fast forward a few years as I hit middle school, I became the ‘wrestling kid.’ I loved it, lived it, and studied it. I wore my favorite wrestlers shirts, I’d work on promos at home in front of mirror and I’d never miss Monday Night Raw, Superstars, Shotgun Saturday Night, Livewire, etc. It was the only thing I thoroughly and consistently loved and paid attention to. Sure, I played a ton of baseball and I love the sport to this very day but it’s not my wrestling.
My parents never took a liking to it but never forced it out of me. From time-to-time they’d make comments about it that was unfavorable, but they’d never make attempts to make me ‘grow out of it.’
I’ll say this with confidence: Without pro wrestling I wouldn’t have the personality or the comfort of speaking in front of and with people today. The charisma I apparently have out in public isn’t something I just had. I developed it watching Shawn Michaels promos on repeat amongst other things. I taught myself how to speak into a microphone, how to speak to people, how to perform if need be. I learned how to close off the negativity and the world though the staged universe of pro wrestling. Did I ever have nerves before speaking publicly or when I would speak on live radio? Meh, not really. I have an on/off button. I became a character when I had to be on and when I’m home or with friends the switch is off.
Wrestling is a work. Life is not. However, I enjoy mixing the two so I don’t take life too serious all the time. Sports has become WAY too serious for me. My love for pro sports has diminished greatly. Especially after being inside locker rooms for 12 years. My love and affection for pro wrestling has only grown. Is the product today as good as it was say 10-15-20 years ago? Depends on how you look at it, really. It’s more profitable today. The wrestlers are much better today than back then. It’s all relative and subjective. I just enjoy it.
Tip: Wrestling is cyclical. Historically, wrestling hits ups and downs. Like any company. But one thing is factual. Nobody has done it better than WWE and nobody ever will in my lifetime.
The most important aspect of my love for pro wrestling is that it’s always there. It’s never had a strike, lockout, or walkout. Fifty-two weeks a years I can count on it. It’s never let me down. When I wanted to leave this earth a few years back whilst in a deep depression I had Christ and wrestling. For that I’m eternally grateful for WWE.
I think I’ve told this story once or twice to a couple people. I found Jesus Christ because of Shawn Michaels.
Honest to God (pun intended), if it weren’t for Michaels I’m not sure how or if I would’ve sought after a life in Christ. When Michaels came back to wrestling after a near 5-year retirement from a shattered back in 2002, he was different. He changed. Immense change. Spiritual change. It’s no secret Michaels wasn’t the greatest guy during his first run from 1989-98. Yes, he was the greatest wrestler to ever live but personally and spiritually he was broken. So, in 2000 he found his current wife, Rebecca. She was a Christian and knew Jesus. Michaels, who grew up Catholic, knew OF Jesus. Two completely things.
Long story short, Michaels had pill issues and almost lost everything including his life until one morning he decided to make a change. He yearned for a spiritual and personal rebirth. He needed Christ. His wife needed her husband to find Christ. His two-year old son needed his Dad to find Christ.
When Michaels returned in the summer of 2002 he was openly speaking about Jesus and what He did for his life. He saved him.
I went to a Catholic School from kindergarten until the 5th grade. I had no idea who Christ was. I won’t dive into a religious discussion but I will say religion perverted and destroyed my view of who Jesus Christ really is. Don’t @ me.
Moving forward, it’s 2005 and I’m a senior in High School and I wanted to research as to why my role model and hero made this change and what it meant. Michaels spoke about listening to bands like Third Day and Casting Crowns, Christian rock bands. So, I went to Tower Records (yes, Tower Records) and looked for these records. I found Third Day fairly easily and began to listen.
I was hooked. I still remember the first Christian song I listened to. It was called ‘Tunnel’ off their 2005 record ‘Wherever You Are.’ This Third Day band was pretty cool and little did I know these words were speaking into my heart and soul. I began to feel a shift in my heart. I felt a need to know more. I wanted to find that ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’
I was baptized as an adult in 2016 in front of my wife, family, friends, and church family. It was one of the greatest and most fulfilling days of my life.
Jesus was speaking to me through Shawn Michaels. That may sound stupid to you, but it’s my testimony, not yours 🙂
In 2008, I became saved. I said the sinner’s prayer and made Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of my life. With tears in my eyes as I write this, I can’t thank Shawn Michaels enough for publicly showing his faith and speaking into my heart. He empowered me to take a step in Faith and find out what this relationship with Jesus thing was all about. I thank him every chance I get when we speak.
Faith has changed my life. I’m a broken mess and I wake up every day loved and adored by Jesus. The creator of the Universe knows my name and wants what is best for me. Yes, bad things are going to happen. Very bad things happen. That’s just what sin and human beings have caused. But to know spiritually that a very real God knows me, loves me, and built me in His image gets me through each day.
To rewind, pro wrestling has been in my life since 1990 and helped me develop ME, and most impactful, find Jesus Christ.
To this very day, God is very present in my life as is wrestling. I have a beautiful wife with a baby girl on the way. If you would’ve told me in 2004 that when I’m 31 you’ll be a husband, a father, and saved by Christ I would’ve said ‘okay, I won’t be speaking to this person again.’
But it’s happened.
No matter the situation, disappointments, sorrows, or angst, just know to always love what you love, don’t alter to the customs of this world and what it or they tell you, and most importantly love yourself.
Lastly, Money in the Bank is June 17th ONLY on the WWE Network, which you can get two months free including Money in the Bank if you sign up RIGHT NOW 🙂