Fighting through injuries

Posted: June 19, 2011 in Professional Wrestling

There is an age-old saying in the pro wrestling business that says “everyone goes in hurt”, and the measure of a worker (aka pro wrestler) is whether he competes when he is sick or hurt.

Wrestling legend “Dr. Death” Steve Williams once aptly quoted “hey, this ain’t ballet”, and that said the good doctor was right on the money.  Besides, it was Doc who took over a hundred stitches in his eye from a stray elbow from Brad Armstrong in a match one night, and showed up the next night to wrestle anyway.

Whether the public perceives pro wrestling to be a choreographed exhibition really isn’t the point, because the fact of the matter remains that at the core of it all, what we as professional wrestlers are doing in that ring is a physical altercation.  There IS contact, there is stress, there is wear and tear, and yes, we DO get hurt from time to time.

Such was the case this past Friday night in Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Germany when I faced Italy’s Chris Colen in a match.  Colen trapped me in a very basic hold called the abdominal stretch.  In the process, as he torqued on the pressure and leaned back with the hold, I felt the front deltoid of my captured arm “crunch” and tear.  The muscle was taken to it’s limit and it could take no more, so it gave way.

What did I do – – quit?

Hell, NO!

I crumbled to the mat, took stock of the situation and tried to shield my bad wing the best I could.  At the opportune moment I rallied back and used as much technique as possible to protect my delt from further injury and duress and finished the match.

That, my dear public, is the mark of a true professional.  And I hate to toot my own horn, but “toot, toot!” to quote Arn Anderson of the Four Horsemen.

Now in all seriousness this recent example from my own professional life does stand as a shining example to anyone out there of what is expected of us as professional wrestlers, and of the prerequisites it requires to be able to duly carry the “pro” tag.  Not only did I fight through that injury on the said night, I also fulfilled my consequent booking the next night, regardless of the fact that I was risking further injury to myself.  You could say that because I know my craft, I am able to navigate through certain sticky situations of the like.

This past November 2010 in Tokyo, Japan when I lost the FCF Championship to “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri, I suffered a hard concussion from a sunset flip powerbomb off the ropes late in the match.  The back of my head hammered into the canvas and knocked me loopy, yet I continued the fight to the bitter end, pulling off an incredibly dramatic finish to the match that will long be remembered in the annals of puroresu and SMASH wrestling history.  Regardless of the injury, I fought on.

I have seen so many cases of workers in the pro wrestling industry skip matches due to relationship troubles, the flu, being hurt to some degree yet being able to perform but opting not to, and just plain not wanting to do what is right for the business that they are in.  I personally seriously question whether talents such as those should be allowed to carry a “pro” moniker.  Me personally, I believe many such individuals would be best served to exit stage left.

My own dear Mother suffered a stroke the day after she saw me wrestle live for the first time ever in December 2005.  I was driving in my car to the next show the following day when I got the news of my Mom’s condition.

What did I do?

I went to the show and wrestled a 30-minute match and did my job.

Everyone is tested through the fire and on the bad days.  No one is truly tested when they are at their best.

The mark of a true professional is the ability to shut out everything that is not conductive to you going out there and doing your job.  Easier said than done, but case in point, coming from someone who has walked the walk in addition to talking the talk over the years.

Even if you have to carry that head of yours in a sling, you get your ass to your booking and make it to the ring and earn your stripes for being called a “pro”.

For those who are seething at the bit from reading this, I can offer you one case where I failed to continue.  My left ankle was snapped in two back in August 2003 in a match in Oslo, Norway, and although I valiantly tried to stand and get back in the ring, my legs wouldn’t hold me.  Yes, the professional in me TRIED to stand, even though I knew it was in vain.

That, folks, is dedication and also the proof that is in the proverbial pudding.

  1. Shaka says:

    Well said, as always, ‘Buck. Speedy recovery!

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