Just a few months ago, I was content with my role as a passive wrestling fan. I watched WWE programming once in a while with lukewarm interest, mostly to see how a few of my friends were doing and what storylines they were involved with.
An old friend said I was getting bitter towards the wrestling business. He couldn’t have been more wrong. I love wrestling, always have and always will, but I had already struck out with WWE as a writer didn’t see any future for myself in the business. I thought it would be best for me and for my family if I just stayed away from wrestling.
And I tried. I pushed wrestling to the back of my mind did what I could to leave it there. My wrestling DVD library started to collect dust. And as I finished the first draft of my latest book, The Somebody Obsession: A Nobody’s Desperate Journey to Stardom, I wrote about my relationship with wrestling as if (and believing) I’d found closure.
My passion for wrestling never died and I could still feel it inside, but I dismissed it as indigestion and moved on with my life.
It had been more than a year since I’d done an interview when some old friends invited me to appear as the guest on their Squared Circle Round Table wrestling talk show on JCTV in Jefferson City. I wasn’t nervous or excited when the interview started, but I surprisingly had a blast talking wrestling with them. We filmed a pair of one-hour episodes and I felt like could have sat there and talked wrestling all night.
At Christmastime, I was adding items to my Amazon wish list to make my wife’s gift-buying as painless as possible. I thought it might be fun to kick my son’s butt at some WWE Smackdown vs. Raw on the Xbox 360, so I added that game to the list. On Christmas Eve, we let Hunter open one present. In turn, he insisted that I open one as well and he picked out the wrestling game to be that early gift. Minutes into my first match against Hunter, I could see that he was going to get hooked on wrestling.
During the next month, I watched and worried as Hunter’s obsession with wrestling grew. He staged matches with his rapidly growing collection of action figures, wrestled with his giant stuffed Batman on the dining-room floor, watched my Wrestlemania anthology and other wrestling DVDs (ever seen a five-year-old choose to watch a Verne Gagne vs. Baron Von Raschke match?), and played that wrestling video game so much that I had to buy a kitchen timer to make sure he still made time for other activities.
I had always said I would support my son’s interests to the best of my ability, no matter what those interests were, and he was putting that promise to the test.
Wrestling was a big part of my past that I expected to stay in the past, but he pulled me back in. And despite my uncertainty as I felt it happening, deep down I was glad.
I started looking for ways to contribute to the business again.
I’ve been called both a hack and a genius when it comes to the wrestling business. While the truth probably lies somewhere in between, I’ve always felt like I had something special to offer.
Many people who leave the business miss the camaraderie among the boys most of all. I miss it, of course, but more than anything I miss the thrill of feeling my creative wheels constantly turning, of scribbling down ideas for gimmicks and storylines and match finishes as fast as I could before they were lost forever, and that sense of accomplishment when I watched one of my ideas played out in front of a live crowd. Those are feelings I’ve never experienced in a “real” job and I miss them.
While browsing Facebook, I came up with an idea to create a networking site similar to Facebook but exclusively for those working in the business. Instead of piling that idea on the growing heap of ideas I’ve had in the last couple years that never made it a step further, I created the site that night. After one week, Kayfabe Connect has almost 80 members. I hope to see that number grow to 250 members in the next three months.
I didn’t watch Raw on Monday night but I heard about the Rock’s return soon afterwards. I found it on YouTube and watched in awe, forgetting about all my successes and failures in the business, and got completely engrossed in the segment once again as a fan. For the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, I can’t wait until next Monday night.
A few nights ago, I went into the Harley Race Wrestling Academy for the first time in more than a year. I spoke briefly with Harley, who I’d only seen once during that time, and stood beside my old friend Trevor Murdock as we watched our sons, who are two months apart in age and are best friends, wrestle around. Since then, Hunter can’t stop begging me to take him back there. It seems that wrestling is in his blood, just as it’s in mine. Maybe this is just a phase and he’ll lose interest, and it’s okay with me if that happens, but for now I’m having fun watching him get wrapped up in wrestling the same way I did when I was a kid.
I don’t know what the future holds for me in wrestling. I know only two things: 1.) I want to work in the business in some capacity again, and 2.) I don’t expect to make profit in wrestling, but I owe it to my family to make sure I don’t take a loss, either.
No matter what happens between me and the wrestling business in the future, it feels pretty damned good right now to feel that fire rekindled.