My own personal story within Professional Wrestling. Iv’e been interested in professional wrestling as long as I can remember. In 2012 I finally decided to chase my dream. I live in Knoxville, TN. I found a company that was training wrestlers locally. I was very fortunate to be trained by East Tennessee legend and former WWE/WWF star “The Dirty White Boy” Tony Anthony.
I trained for a full year, 6 months of which I didn’t even touch a ring. We worked out, and ran. We ran a lot, and then we ran some more. Finally after sweating and working out for 6 long months, I got to stand in a professional wrestling ring. Then came the bump. Taking my first bump was an experience. Making yourself fall from a standing position is awkward and unnatural. Even if you have always believed wrestling was real, you never quite grasp the concept of how hard that mat really is. I then trained in the ring for the following 6 months.
I finally made my In-ring debut late 2013 in TXW (Powell,TN). I got to work with the guy I had been training with for over a year, so admittedly our match was a bit rehearsed. My music hit and I walked out with swagger like I owned the damn place. “The Place” was a boys & girls club gymnasium, so not that impressive but for that brief moment I felt like a star. I came out as a heel, almost immediately boos filled the building. I didn’t know what i was doing, but it was working. We got in the ring, the bell rung, and we went to work. Just like in practice. Everything went very smoothly. Smiley (my opponent) went over with a small package victory. We were the curtain jerk so we didn’t want to do anything huge.
After that I continued to work in TXW until late 2014. In late 2014 I had the misfortune of being caught in the crossfire of wrestling politics. TXW ceased to exist. I had only been wrestling for a year and my main connection to wrestling was shut down. I tried to join a few other promotions, unfortunately this business relies a lot on who you know. I am a fairly introverted person, therefore I didn’t have a ton of connections to get me in other promotions. I worked where I could for a few more months. After some run-ins with some less than happy people and being treated like pond scum everywhere I tried to perform, I decided to call it quits on my childhood dream just over a year after I had started.
By the end of 2015 I was dying to perform again. I had still been watching wrestling shows every week and I regularly attended local shows to see and support friends I had made in the business. I asked a friend if he could get me back in on a show and give me a chance to wrestle again. Surprisingly they welcomed me with open arms. I worked a guy who went by Drew Flannigan. It was a squash match. We worked barely 5 mins and the match ended in DQ with him hitting me with a kendo stick.. repeatedly. After that I worked a few more shows. In my first stint, I had always worked heel. Now here I was as a face jobbing to another heel, which was quite a change for me. Eventually it worked itself into a story in which I betrayed a friend who came to help me and turned heel myself. In turning heel, I aligned myself with the very man who I had been fighting, Drew Flannigan. (you can’t beat ’em, join ’em right?). Next Gen Clique was born.
Next Gen Clique was Drew’s idea. I just joined in and ran with it. We started to mesh as a tag team. Drew was only about a year into his career at the time, but he was hungry. He had met someone who owned a promotion in Pittsburgh, PA. I had never wrestled outside about an hour from where I lived, and now I’m going to drive 8 hours to be paid $30 a show? Am I insane? Finally I decided, at the very worst I can say I wrestled in another state in my wrestling career. So we went on an 8 hour road trip to Pittsburgh, PA in January. It was cold, and we didn’t have the money to afford a hotel room. We ended up sleeping in the car at a truck stop in West Virginia for 4 hours (The only sleep we had through the whole trip)
We made it to the mall where the show was held, got a bit to eat and started to meet the other guys on the show. Now back home, I felt like I could wrestle circles around most of the guys I met. I was a little cocky and thought this show would be the same. As I met the guys, I began to realize that I was in over my head.