Filed under: Wrestling
I sit alone against a locker. The music blazes from my headphones, like a war drum signifying the inevitable approach of battle. My heart racing, sweat beading, I envision what needs to be done. Mental preparation is as equally important as physical and I practice both with high regard. It is March 13th, 2010. I am less than an hour away from my match at EVOLVE 2. I am less than an hour away from proving why I am here…
It’s 6am and I finish tying my laces. The pitter-patter of my soles on the concrete is all I hear as I sprint up a large rain-soaked hill. As soon as I found out that I was signed to fight TJP at the second EVOLVE show I knew I needed speed. TJP is one of the quickest, most accurate strikers in the professional wrestling world. I recalled watching him battle Sawa on the debut show. Youtube also has a plethora of footage for one to study up on his opponents; I have no intention of taking this challenge lightly. I remind myself what it takes as I walk down, only to turn around and sprint back up.
With shedding a few pounds and working on agility drills, I am confident I can hang with him as far as stand up goes. TJ also has a demolishing ground game, with submissions that can be applied suddenly without remorse. I picture him as a snake, ready to strike from any direction. Along with my constantly growing knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the seemingly forgotten art of catch wrestling is being added to my arsenal with a weekly class. Catch wrestling is what today’s professional wrestling evolved from. Shooters and pioneers of the sport were masters in this deadly art, it only seemed fitting that I equipped myself with these tools.
I sit alone against a locker. Remembering what I’ve done over the last 2 months to prepare for this match. The time grows closer and I can picture the result. I picture myself connecting with a head kick and following up with a brainbuster, pinning to the mat, TJ’s unconscious body…
It is January 16th, 2010. Around 8:15 pm. I can hardly believe what just happened. I had competed in the first ever EVOLVE match and gained a hard-fought victory. Not short of getting my ass kicked by Bobby Fish. Bobby is an insane competitor and the fight could easily have gone the other way. To this day I’m not quite sure what gave me the edge, sometimes things happen so fast that the slightest miscalculation can give the other an advantage, no matter how in control one may seem. All I remember is getting buckle bombed to shit, then barely ducking his spinning head kick I was able to nail the winning combination. Once the adrenaline wore off it was obviously apparent it wasn’t a one sided victory. I couldn’t enjoy my food for the better part of four days due to excruciating jaw pain, courtesy Bobby Fish’s brutal forearms to my face. However on the plus I use this victory as a stepping-stone, momentum is on my side. I am confident.
I sit alone against a locker. Enters Tony Kozina, a mentor, a trainer, and a friend. I am brought back to reality and I stand to his welcome preparing to continue warming up, unleashing a fury on the Thai Pads he carries.
“Sit down.” Tony says, seriously. “Okay, we’re going to stick to the game plan, alright. Just like how we train every day, nothing is changing.”
“Yeah man.. What’s up?” I sense his concern.
“TJP is injured, you’re wrestling Hallowicked now”
I take a deep breathe at this unexpected change of events.
“You got this man, stand, let’s keep warming up” Tony is encouraging and his confidence in me doesn’t fray. I know that the way I train, the way I wrestle, I am constantly prepared for any and all challengers.
The first thing I notice about Hallowicked is his size. He’s big, and mean and he looks ready to chew me up and spit me out, although that could just be the pointy teeth on his Lucha mask. I stare at him from across the ring, and I hear the bell. Toe to toe the war rages on. It ends with me standing on top. To his credit, Hallowicked was just as unprepared for me as I was for him. He had another 4-way tag match later in the night and completely tore the house down. He truly is a wicked competitor, pun intended.
As I’m walking to the back I am happy that I accomplished what I needed to do. Becoming 2-0 in EVOLVE has been no easy feat. Neither will be becoming 17-0 but one match at a time. As stoked as I am, I can’t help but feel slightly unsatisfied. I know I have what it takes to be the best, and to get there it has to start by beating the best, TJP. I know I’ll get my shot, I will continue to evolve. I sit alone against a locker.