As I have said many times in many different ways I do love the men and women of the WXW Family. I hate to harp on the fact of my cancer diagnosis but I did notice interesting things during it. One of the things I noticed was that a lot of people who used to talk to me all the time suddenly went quiet. Some of my best friends have faded into the background and become little more than static in the news feeds of my online life. No phone calls, very few IM’s and I started to feel very alone. Now I know I wasn’t alone I had family and found myself some good support groups and even had found myself on prayer lists world wide but a lot of that just wasn’t the same as knowing those I thought knew me best were seeming to just slip away. Even now many of those that have slid away from me have not reestablished contact and its sad. However there was one thing that helped keep me going through all of this….other than my wife and child there was one group that kept coming closer to me and with their words and actions helped me through the tough times that the chemo and surgery put upon me.
It started the first month out from being diagnosed with the cancer, we went to WXW with a sign that said “Not even cancer can keep me away from WXW” and that sign was all that was needed to start a very cool ball rolling. Even with working on blogs with them I was always kind of hesitant to talk to the wrestlers, they seemed nice and talked to their fans and that was cool. But then they saw my sign and they connected me with the blogs. Then we started to connect on facebook as friends and then as friend after friend went silent I had wrestler after wrestler friend me. I had wrestlers IMing me asking how I was, I had wrestlers replying to my status updates saying that older out of shape me was a hero to them! My fight was inspiring the people who have always inspired me to give my all and it touched me in ways many other things couldn’t.
During the Samoan Cup I was brought almost to tears when one of the Wrestlers Mr NYR D Ramos took the time before a match to come over and shake my hand when he saw me in the crowd. After the show that night I congratulated him on his win of the Samoan cup and the Tag Team Belts and he looked at me and told me that those fights were for me. He won those for me and that my fight against cancer was an inspiration to him and many of the other wrestlers. When I left the show that day I was crying because of how much his words meant to me. Here I was inspiring someone who had just gone and wrestled and won 4 matches in one night! If anything this guy inspired me to never give up from what I had just watched in the ring and how he kept going when the cards were stacked against him. I didn’t think things could get much cooler than that and well I was wrong.
Just a few weeks ago at the end of February I was invited to watch a WXW Training session. I know there are many of you out there who are probably thinking this is no big deal. To me however this was an amazing and wonderful thing to get to do. I have been an avid fan of wrestling ever since I was a kid when I watched it maybe once or twice a year when my uncle came to visit. Then as I got older and was able to watch what I wanted and not just what my parents thought was good for me I found myself going back to wrestling and becoming a huge fan. Now to be made welcome by this group of wrestlers, to join them in something that they do as a friend and not an outsider was wonderful. I know that many would see what I did as just sitting around watching grown men wrestle around and work out while talking to two lovely ladies but to me it was so much more.
Yes we spent a lot of the time talking to Lynn and Vale Anoa’i and this was awesome in and of itself. To hear the stories of their family and how they related to the various superstars I have watched on TV through the years was so interesting and cool to me. It was very refreshing and in some ways kind of amazing to hear the stories of these people and know they are normal everyday people just like us and I was getting a glimpse into their life. I feel very blessed that they decided to let me in for this glimpse into their lives.
Not only did they allow me this personal glimpse but a professional one as well as they let me see their training. I watched closely as they worked on their throws and holds as many would in a dojo for judo or something else. Perfecting their art of combat that in many ways is more skilled than any other. You see there are those out there who would say Wrestling is fake simply because some things in it are scripted. In my opinion though wrestling is one of the most talented fighting sports out there. Not only do they have to put their bodies on the line for us they have to do it often. So while they must attack and defend just as in other martial sports they have the added clause to do no lasting harm to their opponents. Look at the MMA where it is common for people to get concussions or broken limbs, it’s not all that uncommon for an MMA’er to have only 2 or maybe 3 battles a year if they are winners, if they are losing and break something then it can be even less than that. Wrestlers however have to keep their coworkers safe at the same time as they beat the snot out of them. Wrestlers don’t have weeks and months to prepare for a battle they wrestle every day sometimes and as such they need to keep themselves and the ones they work with safe while at the same time smacking them around and slamming them to the ground and such. In many ways this is why they impress me so much and I can’t see why I am becoming such an inspiration to them….I just popped some pills that ran my body through the wringer to stop something from killing me…I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter….these guys get body slammed in the ring for a living…they choose to do it for us. This is where we normally hear the people say “yeah but it’s fake” to which I say go say that to a wrestler because I want to see them body slam you and show you how fake it is. One of the things I got to see when I was there was them taking apart the ring and let me tell you this thing’s a beast! the blue cover on it is as thick as a t-shirt perhaps and covers the real padding. Padding hah that’s a good one…this mat is about an inch thick…I got to touch it it’s about an inch to an inch and a half thick and it is a hard mat…think thick yoga matting. Under this very unforgiving mat is a bunch of thick wooden planks that stretch across the ring. Those wooden planks are atop unforgiving steel beams. This isn’t just something you can be slammed on and easily walk away from…if you get tossed down on this from 5+feet in the air it’s going to hurt.
So as I was saying here you have a very unforgiving ring and you have some moves that can be VERY devastating if not done right. A lot of what the wrestlers do is train so that they don’t injure or kill their fellow wrestler. If you powerbomb someone wrong you can break their neck, back, ribs you name it. These guys are supposed to be fighting several times a week between live events, tv tapings and the like when they get up to the pros so as I said while you want to punish your foe in the ring you don’t want to injure him/her in a way that lasts. As a wrestler you are going to get slammed, hit, kicked, jumped on etc. You are going to hurt at the end of the day and by the end of the week you will most likely feel like death warmed over. Imagine going through all of that though with someone who doesn’t know how to do a move right or just doesn’t care enough to get it right.
Another cool thing we got to see is how the wrestlers get ready for and do their promo’s. It was fun seeing them psych themselves up to talk about the upcoming trip to Orlando (which will be covered in the next blog). Some of the wrestlers get tongue tied on the mic when they are being taped…just like I probably would too if I had to say more than a few lines I was making up on the spot. Speaking of which my wife and I were asked to help with one of their new promo’s so you may just see us in a WXW Ad on youtube saying “I Am WXW” in the near future. For me even that little bit was tough to do because I am a very shy person with major stage fright. This psychology is something that’s real big in this business and it’s cool that they have people like Afa and Lynn and Vale who have either been in wrestling or around it all their life to be able to teach them the ins and outs of how to do this right. It’s pretty awesome to watch someone like Afa take a young man under his wing and see this professional tell them how to say something in just that certain way to help the get over better with the crowd, or how to really set the crowd off to hate them.
I also think one of the coolest things to happen that night was to see how much these guys will appreciate and help their loyal fans like me. You see considering the whole Cancer thing I went through I have decided to say Fuck Cancer in any way possible and one of the ways for me to strike back is by raising money for the American Cancer Society. The ACS through events like the Relay for Life helps fund cancer research and special helping programs for cancer patients among other things. This is a strike against cancer I can do and so on April 22 I will be getting on a track and walking in support of others like me that are being attacked by cancer, in memory of those that lost the battle to cancer and to hopefully raise awareness about this horrible disease. So it was a great surprise and honor to me that the WXW took this time to not only give me a glimpse into their life but to also extend themselves into my life and help with my fight by donating $100 to my Relay for Life team. Due to this I have added an advertisement on this website for them and I have also asked them to let their wrestlers know that if any of them wish to come up and walk on our team we would love to have them. I want to help them as much as they have helped me if I can. Because as I said in the promo they shot and as their new hashtag says #IAmWXW and with how awesome these guys are I always will be. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to get to do something like this again and if so I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it went and hopefully get some pictures. I also hope to start interviewing some of the wrestlers soon so keep you eyes open for that.
Until next time why don’t you guys go and check out the WXW Network….just go to watch.wxwwrestling.com and check it out. It’s only 4.99 a month and has a ton of great matches and they add more of them each week! I know I’m about to go and check out some of Marc Mandrakes old things on there! So until next time #IAmWXW and you can be too!