First off, I wanna say thank you all for reading the first part of this series and giving such positive responses. It means a lot. I am planning on doing this series weekly, unless people want more, in which I will try and get more out in a week as I can.
But in any case, here is Part 2 of The Secret Life of a Pro-Wrestler.
Part 2: Hitting the Mats
Whenever I travel I kinda get a case of restless leg syndrome, I don't know why. I'm guessing it's because I am sitting in a car for so long and I'm getting bored.
I try to sleep unless I'm driving, but it never seems to work it seems. Having ADHD has it's advantages and disadvantages, I guess.
Aaron and I were headed to Atlanta. One thing to know about heading from Birmingham, Ala., to Atlanta is this...it seems like a straight shot, but it's not. I mean yeah, it's about a two- to three-hour drive, depending on traffic, but not if Aaron is driving.
One thing to know about Aaron, he is a man of many talents, but one of them isn't singing. He's like one of those guys or gals on American Idol in the beginning who think they're awesome, but really aren't. And hate when people expose them as just that.
So while I never bring up the fact that he isn't good, I do have to take headphones with me and listen to music on my iPod on high volume while Aaron sings along with the radio. Then you add in the traffic being awful once arriving to Georgia, and it was a miserable car trip.
I brought him along because he is an Indy wrestler, and has trained in Alabama. But the issue was that he wasn't trained by the best place, like I will be. So there is a chance he could be coming with me to Atlanta.
My girlfriend Lindsey stayed at home as she had school to go to. So it was just Aaron and I.
The school we were headed to was NWAW Pro-Wrestling.
It's considered one of the top schools in America today, and it's close to home. Can't beat that.
I wanted to go here, but Aaron and I both knew that we needed to check this place out first before arriving.
As we finally arrived in Atlanta, with it now being 10 a.m., I was ready to find this place. Atlanta's traffic is awful by the way, for those who come by here. We managed to get through some of the Atlanta traffic that was weirdly bad at this time of day. And the GPS said that we were just about eight miles away.
Finally I see a sign out of no where, saying NWAW Pro-Wrestling, and we pulled in.
When we arrived, I have to say, I saw a lot of great stuff just on the outside of the area. I can't really express the happiness I had when I went up the building. It was like I could see myself wrestling.
It's like when you have a dream for so long, and you can taste it coming to pass, and your entire body is just in knots because of both the nerves and excitement at the same time.
Aaron leaned over to me in the car and said, "the future is now, man". It was pretty cool to hear those words, I have to say. And he didn't sing them, so, that was even better.
In any case, we got out of the car and went toward the door. As I leaned in to grab the handle a man walked out cursing. I have to say, this wasn't a wonderful sign to me.
I mean, let me ask, would you be encouraged when you saw that? I think the overwhelming majority shouting out their answer would give a big no.
As I walked in with Aaron just behind, I saw about three rings to the right side of me. I saw a gym down across the room to the left and a counter where I'm guessing things are sold.
There were a few guys and gals in the ring doing some things. There didn't seem to be a trainer in there, but young men and women just wrestling around and seemingly just trying to get moves down.
I saw a guy with black hair, who looked to be in pretty good shape who was doing dropkicks on guys in the ring to better improve the move. His dropkick looked as good, if not better than Hardcore Holly's. I mean, it was scary good.
He seemed to catch Aaron and I out of the corner of his eye and told the guys in the ring that he would be back in a minute.
He jumped out of the ring and came to talk to us. He yelled over from where he was at and asked, "Are you guys looking for Neil?"
I told him that we weren't looking for anyone. We were just here to look around and possibly consider attending the school. He told us that his name was John Jackson.
Aaron mentioned how that seemed to be a nice kind of name, then asked was it his wrestling name or real one? Jackson looked over to Aaron and said, it was real.
He was asked his name when he arrived here and people thought the same thing, that it was just the name he wanted to go by in wrestling. But it was his name given at birth.
But Jackson quickly changed the subject and said that Neil Holloway was the name of the man who ran the school, the head trainer if you will.
If we had any questions, he would be the guy to ask, but he also mentioned that since he had been going to the school for a while, over two years, that he could be of some help as well if it was anything just about the school or something.
He told us that the school had been around for over 20 years and had a nice crop of talent come through it. It is also a school/promotion. Holloway likes to run shows here every Saturday Night to get his guys and girls some match experience in front of big crowds.
And he runs it just like any other promotion. There are Tag Titles, a Women's champion, and a World Champion.
Jackson said he has held the tag titles three times and the World Title once. The current World Champion here was probably going to leave soon, and Jackson could be the guy that Neil wants the current guy to drop it to.
But, he said that the promotion has been good for many of the people there. A lot of Indy promoters seem to come out on occasion and scout talent to bring in. And he told me that TNA and WWE has sent scouts down here a lot more in the past five years.
He said the last scout he saw here from either TNA or WWE was a month ago. But they come in every few months. Many times, they send a younger guy in so that he can just film the guys and then send it back to them.
That got me hyped up a bit. By the time he was finishing up about the scouts, a man walked down the steps from across the room. Jackson said that man is Neil Holloway, considered one of the best trainers in the world today.
He wasn't overly in shape, just looked like you would think a trainer would look. He was not a small man, but not huge. He wasn't old, but wasn't young. But he was about 6 foot tall and looked to be close to 200-pound Caucasian man.
He was simply an interesting looking guy. He came up and introduced himself, and shook both Aaron and my hand.
He asked what we were here for. We told him what we told Jackson, just to simply look around. We thought about attending and we knew coming by first would be good.
Ever taken a bump in the middle of a ring? How did it feel to you?
He said that was a brilliant idea, and he asked if we wanted to hop in the ring for a free session with the guys in there now.
School wasn't going to start until later, but he felt the guys there now would be good to work with for us, considering all have been there at least a year. We told him we had plenty of time to kill, so why not? He told us to come on in.
Immediately when I stepped in the ring for the first time, it just felt right. Aaron got into the ring next to me and was working with a guy named Frank.
I got to work with Jackson. Neil was on the outside of the ring and told us there is one thing every first timer had to do their first day here, and that was take 10 bumps.
Wrestling term- BUMP- when a wrestler hits the mat or ground in some form or fashion.
Holloway told us that the best way to take a first bump was to be body slammed. So, he asked Frank and Jackson to do the first one for us. Aaron and I agreed to let them do it, and so they did.
Now, when you're up in the air being held upside down for a brief second, it's not really a fun experience. You start doubting why your here, in this position and you immediately regret everything you did to get here.
Can Joe and Aaron hack it in wrestling training?
Your life flashes before your eyes, and you ask for a pen or pencil to write a will out. But before being handed anything, I hit the mat.
I have to say, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but to be honest, it hurt.
Neil said, "Nine more to go, fellas!"
At this point, you want to prove your manhood. Even if you never came back, at least you want to prove you could take a simple 10 bumps.
Now I don't know what was going through Aaron's mind, but in mine, I was just trying to take these bumps and then move on.
As I am thinking about my manhood, I hit the mat a second time. Okay, now that one hurt a little bit. It seemed Jackson had this idea in mind that he wanted to, I don't know, break me in if you will. Get me used to what was coming.
He picks me up for No. 3, and boom, another crash to the mat. That, I think, broke something. It seemed the more times I hit, the harder Jackson was throwing me down.
Number four was upcoming, and I cringed for the crash. I hit and winced in pain, Jackson asked me if I wanted to stop, I said no, keep going.
And he did, as he crashed me down for another one. Then he picked me up fast for three more times.
Did Joe show guts or stupidity by taking another bump
Then the ninth time came about and he picked me up, at this point I am in pretty serious pain. My back is on fire. But, I'm almost done. He does it again. And he tells me to pick myself up for the next.
He asked me if I've had enough yet, I told him, and in probably the coolest way I've ever said anything, "no thank you sir, may I have another."
My interpretation on a classic phrase. Of course, I could be dreaming this. I was kind of out of it at this point.
I got myself up and he grabbed me and threw me down harder than the last nine. And I just lay there.
Neil said to Aaron and I, right now, the average match for you both will consist of at least 10 bumps. And the better you get, the more bumps you'll take. What a reward, eh? That's why he makes first-timers take 10 bumps.
He said if we are willing to get continue, then, let him know. He started to walk away and asked the guys to join him.
But you know, I wanted to prove a point that I was serious. I told Neil to get Jackson back in the ring and to give me another slam.
Jackson laughed and said, you have guts. But he won't do it, he said I could barely hold myself up. Aaron was still on the mat himself, so, we both were hurting. But I didn't care.
But I yelled at him "no, do it now!" He looked back and I could see him mouth the words, "Is this guy serious?" to Neil. Holloway said, "he asked for it, just go do it."
So, Jackson walked back to the ring and grabbed me with force and slammed me for the now, 11th time. And he did so with some power. I felt something pop even.
He bent over as I lied on the mat and said, "welcome, I'm gonna like you."
Jackson left the ring and Neil looked over from the other side of the room and winked at me and said he'd see me later on.
Aaron finally walked over to the ring I was in and helped me up. He asked me, "you sure you wanna do this?"
I told him, "more than anything." He looked at me and said, "let's do it." We were coming back next week, making the move from Alabama to Atlanta. Would this be a good move for us? Not too sure, but it would be interesting to say the least.
For those graphic design artists out there, I need pics made for the series. One's with the words, "Secret Life of a Pro-Wrestler," and others.
If you can make some and send them to me, make sure they are ".jpg" if at all possible. And you'll receive credit on the articles as my thanks to you. Thanks in advance!
All characters. school, and story of The Secret Life of a Pro-Wrestler are fiction, and simply that. Any copying of the story or likeness is prohibited, copyright me, myself, and b/r. 2010