Friday, October 30, 2015

Profiling the end & aftermath...

The Final Few Months

As it stands, it's been nearly 4 months since my very last match inside a pro wrestling ring. In these 4 months since leaving wrestling I've had neck surgery, consumed more chocolate chip cookies than I once thought possible, busted buttons off my jeans, got lazy, became motivated, lost all the weight I gained and more, and brought myself to a very happy place. It seemslike a lot right? But all that matters is where I've ended up. Which like I already said is to a "happy place". 

Since posting my blog detailing my injuries and why I'd need to retire I feel like I didn't share much about those final shows and just how much they meant to me. So now that life has calmed a bit, I'm going to make an attempt. 

AAW was my first stop on the road to retirement (I still hate that word). On the Friday evening at the awesome Bourbon Street venue Ethan Page and I stepped into the ring as a tag team one final time in the place that was the catalyst for much of our success. To be honest and I'm just going off memory. I didn't think it was a very good representation of our prior tag matches. Things just didn't click and I was just happy to get it over with. Nothing against my opponents; the match just left me disappointed. Post-match, Page spinning Dwayne'd me to set up for my final AAW match the next night in my personal favouritevenue: The Berwyn Eagles club. 

That night Ethan Page and myself stepped into the ring to face off for the first and last time in Chicago. It was a smaller crowd (being a Vangaurd show) but it didn't matter to me. This was my favourite venue, a place where in a very short time I made so many fond memories. This night was much of the same. We had what I think was our best single’s match against one another. The fact that there wasn't a bigger crowd to witness it doesn't matter; I busted my ass injury or not to make sure I went out on a high note. I wrestled my best friend and went out looking up at the lights as Page became new AAW champion. 

After the match I picked up the microphone to thank all the fans that came to see my last match for AAW. I never thought about what I'd say. I really don't remember what I said. But I'm sure I missed a few things. Thank you to the fans of AAW for accepting not just me, but Monster Mafia from the moment we arrived. All of our tag success can be attributed to the opportunities we got from management there, as well as the buzz created by the fans. Thanks to Danny Daniels for believing enough in me to give me a run with the AAW title (although short lived). A couple kids from Canada driving 9 hours one way isn't as cheap versus the travel for some of the local guys. I've always appreciated AAW taking the chance to give us a platform and in return I feel like I always delivered (or busted my ass trying). AAW is something special; it's been around a long time,and has a legacy that will carry on in Chicago for years to come. I was fortunate to be a part of it while I was. 

Next stop was the mecca known as PWG. I loved the match, andit was everything PWG always is. Just a fucking blast. Not much else I can say. I felt lucky every time I got to wrestle there. Candice & Joey are two of the most awesome people in all of wrestling, and to be honest Candice is one of the best in wrestling male or female. After the match, I was genuinely surprised at the reaction I received from the fans. So many people at PWG all the way on the other side of the continent knew my story. I felt like they knew the sacrifices I made, and rather than judge me for walking away, they wanted to give me a hero’s goodbye. It was honestly touching coming from a crowd that hadn't had much time to get to know me. It's just another reason why The PWG crowd is as admired as the promotion itself. Special thanks to the Young Bucks. I would have never got my opportunity there if it wasn't for them. 

The night after PWG, Page and myself flew back in time to wrestle at Toronto's own Superkickd promotion. I love SuperkickdI think the guys that run it are innovative and driven. They have something special and I'd bet it will grow immensely in the near future. But I shit the bed at this one. Sorry to the fans. Being hurt and tired may have caught up with me. Just a stage 5 stinker. Oh well. 

The next and final day of the weekend was Destiny Pro Wrestling also in Toronto. These shows are awesome. The promoter is a badass, no bullshit dude. My kind of guy. They put on a great unique product with new out of province faces, big names and high production values. They spare no expense to immerse the paying customer in the best experience possible. It was an easy day for me as I got to step into a ring with Tyson Dux one final time. Something I was happy I'd get to do before I hung up the boots. I think I mentioned how run down I was and we did our best to put on a match that would be different than most on the card. As always it was a pleasure stepping into a ring with Tyson. In my career I never wavered in my respect for that man; he's tougher and more stubborn than me. Wrestling him was a painful reminder that some people with an injury like mine wouldn't walk away. They wouldn't allow it to even be a possibility. Tyson is one of those guys and I mean that with the best of intentions. He loves wrestling more than anything. 

My next show was my second to last. Absolute Intense Wrestling's biggest show and my final Absolute title defenceagainst Ricky Shane Page. Everyone knows I wouldn't have had the name I built, or my headgear without AIW. I've said it enough times. Going into this defence after announcing my impending retirement, I knowingly pissed off and disappointed a lot of people. initially showed up with the idea to swerve everyone. I mean, I was still competing at a high level, and my thought that the AIW fans would legitimately question whether this retirement was all an elaborate work to swerve everyone at Absolution wasn't out of the question. AIW is known for being a little whacky at times. So my idea was to base the match around selling a "legit" neck injury long enough to make it awkward all the while sneaking a pin when Ricky let his guard down. I couldn’t be happier to say it worked. Yes, I felt bad that with all who supported me in attendance, I may have worried them that they witnessed a legitimate injury. But that's the point of wrestling. After the pin I looked around and saw super fan Pat Luceys jaw dropped, no doubt thinking it was a work all along. As history goes, the match soon restarted and I lost in the end to my own spinning tombstone; something that could have rendered me paralyzed had Ricky not taken care of me. Something I trusted him to do. Ricky's the best and I'm glad after a decade he's finally getting his opportunity to show the world. AIW was my American home, I'm going to come back to check out a show soon. I mean Terry Fucking Funk! They're ridiculous!

The day following AIW I came back to Canada with my buddy Eddie Kingston. Iced that man at paintball, did a wrestling seminar and watched the Equalizer. It was a good day. 

Then it was time for my very last professional wrestling match. From the beginning when I found out this was possible I told Ethan Page that the only match that would make sense was us versus the Gymrats at Alpha-1. This show was business as usual because honestly the fact that it was the last time I'd ever step in a ring never sunk in. In many ways, the fact that I'm now retired still hasn't sunk in. I haven't let myself emotionally deal with the loss. That's why I never gave anyone tears, that's why I never became upset or nervous in any way. It's unbelievable to me that it happened and is now in the past. But I have a great deal of trouble admitting that I'm done, that this part of my life, and doing the only thing I've ever been naturally good at is over. 

Back to the match. I was busy selling a SHITLOAD of t-shirts (special thanks to Senor Bogart for the charitable donation of his time to my cause haha). I sold so many t-shirts at all these showsthat I never even kept one for myself. I had to turn people away (a foreign feeling for me but I imagine it's a typical Sunday in the world of the Young Bucks or Colt Cabana). When we went through the match I wanted it to be the best match of my life. I wanted to leave everything in the ring. I wanted to do what I think I always tried to; give the fans all I had. The Gymratsmusic was playing to go out and we still hadn't fully got the match together for some reason. My nerves were fine, all 4 of us could go out and call a match on the fly that would rival any match on any card. We know each other so well. The match went off without a hitch. The crowd welcomed me with such love that I still get goosebumps now just writing about it. To me this was my crowd. They watched me grow from Jay Fenix all the way to the Walking Weapon. I was a guy they'd put their money on to give them what they wanted to see. So I wanted to show them how grateful I was for the support by leaving everything in the ring. It was an electric atmosphere I don't think anyone will rival in Ontario this year. It was one hell of a match to go out on and I'm so thankful Alpha-1 did it for me. 

But now here I sit. I've had my surgery. I've started rebuilding myself physically and I suppose this is my way to start rebuilding emotionally. A large part of my life was lost in an instant of that 1-2-3 on July 12 2015. To be honest, in the months following I've had a tough time. Almost all of my friends are in the wrestling business and being on the road hustling every weekend leaves little time for the retired guy on a couch somewhere. I miss the road.  I miss a whole weekend in a car talking shit, listening to podcasts, bonding over the near-death sleep driving incidents and so on. It seems as if I have hadto talk myself out of coming back on a daily basis. Just looking out and seeing all my former coworkers excelling and doing things I always dreamed of but never was able to reach itches at me. As happy as I may be for all of them, I can't help but wonder what life may have been like for me had I never landed on my head. Why me? 

But like I said I'm in a happy place. Life outside of wrestling has never been better. Likely because I've slowed down to appreciate it as well as the people in it. I'm working towards new goals, trying to make myself a better stronger person than I was the day before. Being a good father, being a role model for my son is what's most important to me now. So from now on I have to come to terms that I'm retired. But the sacrifices I made and the hardship I endured for my ten years in wrestling weren't for nothing. I will always be a professional wrestler. 

I think I've earned that title. 

Thanks you Alpha-1, AIW, AAW, PWG, Ethan Page, GymRats, Eddie Kingston, Young Bucks, Michael Elgin and most importantly the fans. You made it something unforgettable. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015-2016 NBA Over/Unders

So I've been out of wrestling for about 4 months. I've found that keeping myself busy is the best thing to curb my appetite to get in a ring and in front of a crowd. That being said my passion for wrestling is only matched by my passion for basketball. More specifically NBA basketball. So today, the day the season tips off I've decided to make my predictions on the over/under's. Anyone who's a fan of basketball and wants to comment/talk shop/debate with me about this is more than welcome.

Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks - 49.5

This ones coming in well under their total wins for last year. They lost Carroll who was the lunch pin to their defence last year especially after they lost Sefolosha. Now they hope Bazemore can help fill the void and take the task of guarding the NBA's most talented position. I'm going to take the slight under on this one, probably 48-49 wins. Korver is 34? Coming off an injury that put him out in the playoffs. Expect a monster year from Horford in a contract year.


Boston Celtics - 42.5

This ones simple and easy for me. Over. They have more depth at every position than any team in the league, too much in the front court. David Lee will look to re-establish himself as a top option on offence. Underrated Amir Johnson comes in to lock down the defence. The Celtics will only get better.


Brooklyn Nets - 28.5

This one could have been 22 and I'd still pick the under. If you took both Lopez twins and combined them you'd have a superstar. Unfortunately Brook can't do what his brother can and that leaves a huge void down low on D. Johnson is getting old and Jarrett Jack shouldn't start at the NBAs deepest position on any team!  Best part, they have no draft picks... Doomed.


Charlotte Hornets - 32.5

People seem high on Charlotte after a successful pre season, taking more 3's than ever before. Lin is a more traditional point guard than Kemba and I think they'll be a great backcourt combo. Batum comes in just in time to pick up the slack for injured MKG. All the while Al Jefferson is in a contract year and will show up looking to get paid. Over for me, slight as it may be. Not hard for a middle of the pack team to get 35 wins in the east.


Chicago Bulls - 49.5

I'm going to take the over. I believe Hoiberg will let the offence loose, and pray Rose stays healthy. They're going to have to make some moves in the front court. Bobby Portis will command minutes. Predicting Noah is on the move for draft picks and an expiring by February.


Cleveland Cavaliers - 56.5

Don't hate me Cleveland. You're still going to the finals. But I'm taking the under. I think the cavs will coast and try to avoid the games that take a physical toll in the regular season. All about staying healthy till spring.


Detroit Pistons - 33.5

Detroit is still one of those middle of the pack in need of identity teams. I see SVG trying to create the same magic he did in Orlando with Dwight. Drummond has the skill set and will get MAX money in the off season. If they stay healthy I'll take the slight over. Prediction: Stanley Johnson makes a run at ROTY.


Indiana Pacers - 42.5

This is a weird team. The past few years I thought Indiana (if healthy) were a championship team. Paul George is one of the top 10 players in basketball. That can usually get you 42 wins with a decent supporting cast in the east. I'll take the over.


Miami Heat - 45.5

This team is stacked. Check that starting 5! Not so much Wade for me. But Bosh and Goran together will be magic. Whiteside was a gem for them also looking to be paid this offseason. Winslow was a great pick up and Gerald Green is my pick for 6th Man.


Milwaukee Bucks - 43.5

I like the way they played Chicago in the playoffs last year. Antatukumpo(sp? Can you blame me?) is a superstar. They're going to give teams hell on defence and Monroe will have a bigger impact than people seem to think.


New York Knicks - 31.5

Not a chance. I think Anthony will be in a new uniform by the deadline. It looks like a bag of mixed parts to me with no identity and from what I saw a terrible coach.


Orlando Magic - 32.5

Why is this one so low? They're starting line up is young, skilled and full of potential. They got one of the best defensive coaches in the league and have depth where it matters. Things are looking up for the magic.


Philadelphia 76ers - 21.5

This ones about right. They're a patient team. Waiting on a superstar acquisition. Okafor will likely be ROTY. Noel will look like a star in the making this year. But theirs no depth.


Toronto Raptors - 45.5

I don't see us doing worse than last year. JV got paid but will take a step forward. Derozan wants max money next year so he'll bust his ass. Carroll, Joseph and Lowry will do all the right things. Call me a FAM (fat ass mark) but I'm optimistic.


Washington Wizards - 45.5

John Wall is a beast. Beal looks like he's coming into his own. The loss of pierce hurts. But Walls ready to be a leader.


Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks - 38.5

This team always seems to surprise me. I think it looks like a disaster in the west this year. I love Matthews but that max contract looks like a bad decision. I don't see them staying healthy enough to be competitive. Oh and Zaza Pachulia is your starting centre!? Haha


Denver Nuggets - 26.5

They have some interesting role players that are being asked to do too much. They're on the way up but I don't see them winning more than 25 games.


Golden State Warriors - 60.5

They were extremely healthy last year. They're still the team to beat, last year wasn't a fluke. But I'm taking the slight under here. Just makes sense to me.


Houston Rockets - 54.5

I see this team exceeding all expectations. Harden is my backcourt MVP. They're deep, and Lawson will take some of the pressure off Harden handling the ball.


LA Clippers - 56.5

I think Stephenson will be a disaster. Otherwise this team is set up to make a run. I think Blake Griffin is the most underrated player in basketball. If they win 60 plus look for him or CP3 for MVP.


LA Lakers - 29.5

I see Russell struggling for a bit. Especially with Kobe hogging the ball. Randle will get some good minutes and show flashes of being a franchise player. They'll struggle to get to 30 wins in the packed Western Conference.


Memphis Grizzlies - 50.5

They play smash mouth in your face traditional basketball. Conley is one of the best PGs in the game. If they could get Charles Barkley out of retirement they'd sign him. Team attitude. PS. Trade VC to the raps for a 2nd rounder.


Minnesota Timberwolves - 25.5

I see great things for the wolves. Greater things than projected. I think Lavine, Wiggins, Rubio, Towns and Garnett can scrap for more than 26 wins.


New Orleans Pelicans - 47.5

Everyone's high on this team. I get it. Anthony Davis is a once in a lifetime player. He's poised to be MVP this year. But Gordon, Asik and Holiday are all disasters for them. If they win 48 it will be because Davis plays 48minutes per game.


Oklahoma City Thunder - 57.5

I'd say they'll coast and not care about the regular season... But Westbrook is on this team. That man never takes a night off. Durant wants to remind everyone he's the best player in basketball and they're as deep as deep gets. They'll challenge Houston for most regular season wins.


Phoenix Suns - 36.5

I think this team has more potential to become a disaster than surprise. Breaking up the Morris twins was a terrible idea. Signing a mid 30's center to a long term lucrative contract was also a bad play. I just can't get behind this one.


Portland Trailblazers - 26.5

This is a completely new team than we saw last year. Lillard will put this team on his back for at least 27 wins.


Sacramento Kings - 30.5

I know all the bad stuff you can say about Cousins, Rondo and coach Karl. But with Cousins on your team demanding doubles and surrounding him with 3point threats I think this team can win more than 31.


San Antonio Spurs - 58.5

I don't think they care about the regular season. They're a dynasty. They look stacked. (This is the team id like to see win it all)


Utah Jazz - 40.5

Exam is hurt?.. Gobert will be DOPY. Hayward is a beast. I think Trey Burke will finally realize his potential and Rodney Hood will take a big step forward. Don't sleep on Derek Favors either! Great young team.


That's it. I'm likely wrong on a lot. But whatever. If I had to bet right now, I'd say Cavs/Thunder finals. With the Thunder finally taking it home.