Pro Wrestling Changed My Life
This pro wrestling changing my life topic came to me when I was interviewed a while back and I was asked what the best thing about being around [the wrestling business] for so long is. My answer was half-truth / half attempt at comedy. I’ve thought about it since then and my answer is rather long winded. If you love pro wrestling, I think you’ll understand. If you’re involved in pro wrestling, I know you’ll understand.
I found pro wrestling in 1987. I was sitting with my father while he flipped the channels and happened to catch a guy flying off the ropes and crashing in to his opponent. I was hooked. In 1997 or so, I found local independent wrestling. Pro Wrestling eXpress and Steel City Wrestling were the two main companies in Pittsburgh at that time. I fell in love immediately. I went with friends but they didn’t have the same passion for it that I did. By 1999, I was going to shows by myself (or sometimes with Steel City Wrestling promoter Norm Connors) until late 2000 when I met my best friend: Bobby Williams, also known as Potter. I’d gotten to know a lot of the local indy wrestling people and even though I was a shy kid, I’d muster up the courage to ask a question or 10. Quite frankly I was a pain in the ass. The point is, I loved wrestling. Potter had that same love that I did.
For the last 15 years, I’ve been involved in professional wrestling. I’d been setting up rings since 1998 but in late 2000 / early 2001, Potter started training at a school owned by a guy that we set up rings for. I was lucky enough to train there as well. I started off with goals to be a pro wrestler. That didn’t pan out. Through a series of events, on July 28 2001 I ended up as a referee after other established referees were unavailable. Since then I’ve also wrestled, been the DJ, sold merchandise, done commentary, ring announced, promoted, booked, and what I currently do: manage. I’ve done that since 2003. I’m also lucky enough to have friends that help me out with having a podcast as well. For years, Potter and I would travel in my car (normally with a random third and/or fourth person) anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours away trying to get work, meet people, and just have fun. We were able to work with people who we’d seen on TV. We even met people who now are (or were) big stars. When I started managing, I would still referee or ring announce on occasion as well.
The greatest part of being in wrestling when I started was the relationships I was making. Be it friends or acquaintances, I was meeting people and not terrified of it. I would get more comfortable meeting a stranger, making small talk, and cracking jokes. In high school, I was a nerd. To some people, I was the quiet kid. To others, I was “the kid who likes wrestling”. To others, I was the kid who was never there. I had some friends and one who I’d have called a best friend but during my high school years, I dealt with illness, deaths of people close to me, and depression. Add this to all the other issues teenagers go through, things were sometimes bleak. I credit my family (especially my mother), my few friends, and pro wrestling for getting me through those years. Where wrestling helped me get through the tough times during my high school years, wrestling would then start helping me develop a personality.
I’d always watched wrestling tapes. Potter and I would have tape night where we’d get a bunch of random wrestling tapes and just watch. When I started managing, I started studying more than ever before. I got all the tapes I could on Jim Cornette, Bobby Heenan, Paul Heyman, and other managers. I’d watch my favorite interviewees: Roddy Piper, Arn Anderson, Mick Foley, Scott Hall, Jake Roberts, etc. I wanted to take different aspects from these interviews and personalities and make it my own wrestling persona. I started mimicking what I’d seen and started incorporating these in to my actual personality. I guess I absorbed it.
Professional wrestling has changed my life more than I could ever explain. When I started in the wrestling business, I was an 18 y/o kid with very little self-worth. Self-esteem and confidence were at zero. I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I was a nice kid with a pleasant personality but I didn’t wow anyone. You’d forget me a short time after meeting me. I couldn’t talk to a girl for 5 minutes without looking like an idiot. Job interviews were a flop. You get the idea. Now I’m confident in my abilities. I know my strengths and weaknesses. Through being in front of a crowd, I learned how to speak, show personality, and seem comfortable even I was nervous. I soaked up advice and criticism like a sponge. More importantly, I have self-confidence both in wrestling and out of it. I’ve said before that pro wrestling has introduced me to some of the best and worst people I’ve ever met. That’s true. However, the good pro wrestling has given me far outweighs the bad. I’ve gotten to see a lot of cool places and meet a lot of cool people. Some of those people were my heroes growing up. I can trace my social circle, relationships past/present both personal and professional, hobbies, my career (indy wrestling doesn’t pay the bills.. who knew?), and almost everything good in my life to my involvement in professional wrestling. I sometimes get annoyed by it. I sometimes think I could book things better. I sometimes even say I hate it. No matter what, pro wrestling has always, is always, and will always be there for me. It’s a part of me and I love it. I am a way better person now than I was 15 years ago. I owe that to my involvement in professional wrestling. I can’t imagine my life without it.
- BC Steele