Filed under: Wrestling
March 2nd 2013. Chicago, Illinois. Ring of Honor 11th Anniversary.
My usual pre-match warm-up has remained pretty consistent since I began my professional wrestling journey. Loosening up of the hip, knee, elbow and shoulder joints while “shrimping” on my back, throwing up triangle chokes to an invisible adversary. Squats and pushups, knock on wood, touch something blue. This event was no different in terms of my physical preparation, however my mental readiness for this particular match would require some reflection.
The day after my 26th birthday I reminisce to when I was eighteen years old having my first professional wrestling match. My life has been consumed by the pursuit of making a career out of wrestling. All of the matches, aches and pains, working through injuries and the thousands of miles driven to do so. Sleeping in my car, eating peanut butter packs retained from whatever local diner I had recently visited. Wrestling for an opportunity to gain experience and get noticed as opposed to getting paid is just the harsh reality for an Indie wrestler starting from the ground floor. It’s all of these things that make the journey and the struggle worthwhile. How could anything seem worth it or interesting if I had simply had all of the tools to walk right onto the American independent scene and be a top contender. It’s the process that develops and molds a person, wrestling guys who are better than you in front of crowds that have no idea who you are. True improvement only begins after finding comfort in the uncomfortable.
I’ve had a lot of people in my corner since day one and a lot of help though too. My initial trainers, Michelle Starr, Scotty Mac and Aaron idol helped bring forth the fundamentals in my game. Those first few years of wrestling were crucial in making sure I was safe in doing all the right things. Aaron Idol’s ability to break down every little aspect of a match and take the time to constantly work with me, making sure I had the tools to work the appropriate match anywhere on the card regardless of my opponent. He installed a confidence in me that would serve as a catalyst for me to finally crack through my shell in 2009 seeking new frontiers. Davey Richards would help me in breaking out on the American independents by constantly driving and pushing me beyond my threshold of what I perceived possible for myself. I would get my foot in the door at Ring of Honor, a goal I had set for myself since day 1 of the “In-Pain Asylum” wrestling school in Surrey, BC.
And here I am moments away from what is at the time the biggest match of my career. Bigger, more important matches will surely come but for now everything I’ve worked so damn hard for the last seven plus years comes down to this very moment. I am ready. The music hits, my tag team partner Bobby Fish stands next to me. We nod in synchronicity and walk through the curtain. When I walk back through that very curtain I will be carrying one of the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship belts.
I’ve wrestled the Briscoe Brothers numerous times, both in tag matches with several different partners and in singles matches. They are true professionals to say the very least and their talent is unparalleled. For eleven years their names have been synonymous with everything ROH is and stands for. Eight time World Tag Team Champs, Dem Boys. It is a true honor and learning experience every time I step foot in the ring with them and this match was no different. I have to thank Jay and Mark for not only paving the road for guys like me, but making ROH what it is today and helping provide the stage for guys like me to perform on. A true blessing and honor to win the tag titles from them and it is a crowning career moment that I will forever remember and be thankful for.
So for now Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly collectively known as reDRagon are on top of the independent wrestling tag team division. My motto is tried and true, hard work always pays off.
March 22 and 23 I will be returning to Reseda, California for PWG All Star Weekend 9! Should be a tremendous couple of shows and a great weekend. I always love wrestling for Guerrilla as the crowd is always nuclear hot and in to see some crazy wrestling. Everybody there works their ass off and it causes everyone to step up their game and try to steal the show. The cards are absolutely stacked so check it out if you get the chance.
March 30th ROH returns to Ashville, North Carolina for a huge event and of course “Wrestlemania” weekend ROH will be in New York City at the Hammerstein ballroom for Supercard of Honor live on iPPV April 5th. ReDRagon will be putting the titles on the line VS The American Wolves in a rematch that will surely be epic. Finally on April 6th in NYC, ROH will be taping TV at the Grand Ballroom in the Manhattan center. Check these events out if you’re in the area and be sure keep supporting wrestling at all levels and in all areas!
Well it has certainly been a while since I last updated my blog. For that matter it’s been a substantial amount of time since I’ve done any writing all together. Lack of inspiration, motivation and willingness to put in the time are all contributing factors, perhaps even sheer laziness. My neglect in devoting any time to the written word truly stems from giving in to the resistance of everyday tasks and deeds. These inspire me to put off any sort of creative effort into anything that isn’t work, training, wrestling or Jiu-Jitsu. I have since read a book that has lit a proverbial fire under my ass in terms of recognizing what keeps me from finding a creative output and grinding through to actually create. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield although at times preachy, still helped deliver the message of what it takes to bypass one’s inner struggles at developing creatively. The next book I read will hopefully help me deal with the inner struggles of the “run-on sentence”.
Wrestling as of late has been treating me really well. The last time I wrote about wrestling was during the infamous “Iowa incident” and had left a bitter, self-loathing taste in my mouth. Since July I have been busy however, working for various companies and producing a lot of matches I’m very proud of. Matches with Adam Cole, Davey Richards, BJ Whitmer and Eddie Edwards to name a few I can at least look back with a fond memory (until I critically observe them on tape that is). My most recent endeavor in Ring of Honor has been that of forming a new tag-team with my former rival Bobby Fish. ReDRagon. We began to gel instantly as a unit and I’m finding my personality and character growing and thriving, which it desperately needed. Our debut match was against the American Wolves at Final Battle and although we came up short we showed the World we have what it takes to be amongst the elite in Tag-team wrestling. This Saturday is the ROH 11th Anniversary iPPV in Chicago and we will challenge the Briscoe Brothers for the ROH tag-team titles. Be sure to check out the show either live or on iPPV as it’s sure to be a tremendous event.
Training has been new and fun the last 6 months or so too. Weight lifting has gone from power lifting, to cross fit, back to body building, back to taking a hiatus at a twice per week full body routine. My full time attention as of late has been focusing on Jiu-Jitsu. Back in October I won Gold in the Chicago S-7 no gi 205lbs division. Considering I weighed in at 192lbs I gave those other heavy hoggies a run for their money. I felt motivated after that event and began to finally enjoy and have fun at BJJ class. Previously training in Jiu-Jitsu felt like a grind and a necessity, it took an awakening of finding enjoyment and fun through the sport to make me take it more seriously. I’m certainly glad I did. I’m also once again playing Hockey once a week and training in Rugby once a week with games on the weekend, when I’m not booked that is. Usually I’ll fly home on Sunday and be able to make it to a Sunday game on time. Ironic considering the club’s name is “Sunday Morning Rugby Club” they play the majority of their games on Saturday. Anyways, I’ve discovered a great group of guys amongst the team and their clubhouse headquarters are always a great time full of cheap beer and cheap laughs.
Before finishing I have to give a shout out to King Fale of New Japan Pro-Wrestling who has recently returned to Japan after spending 9 months in St. Louis on his traditional Japanese excursion. He is a native of Tonga and grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. Rewarded a rugby scholarship he went to Japan, played pro-rugby for a few years before joining NJPW and getting fully trained under their dojo system. He is the one that discovered the Sunday Morning club and introduced me to the guys. Having played rugby throughout high school and college I was on board. Anyways a true pleasure having gained Fale as a friend, training partner, colleague and team mate. I highly recommend you follow him on Twitter (@KINGFALE) and mention something about #ALIENS. Thanks man!
Well as sloppy and incoherent as this initial blog may have been at least I finally broke some ground and got off my ass, only to sit down my ass and actually type. Going to make this a regular thing hence forth so stop on by and leave a comment. Hoping to keep up to date with various workouts, submissions I’ve been working on, pro-wrestling dates and matches and meals I’ve concocted and tried. Thanks for your time. K
Workout of the week.
Monday night post kickboxing workout, explosive legs and shoulders. It’s basically the same sort of format with supersets. This workout is designed for maximizing your shoulder’s push potential and adding an explosive leg dynamic.
Warm up: 5 minute round jump rope. A few failed attempts at criss-crossing your arms is acceptable.
1. Snatches. 65 lb kettle bell for 6 reps each arm for the initial set. For the next 4 sets barbell snatches at 135lbs. 3-4 reps each set. Squat wide with overhand grip and explode throwing the weight over your head and catching it with arms strait up.
Superset 1. Squat to high jump. 6 reps for the initial set at a moderate height. Next 4 sets alternate between 3 reps maximum high jump and 6-8 reps of squat jumps for distance down a large open space.
Now, complete superset 5 times at minimal rest before moving to next exercise.
2. Hanging cleans. 135 lb barbell for the initial set at 5 reps. Next 4 sets increase weight to allow you to do no more than 3 full out reps. In my case it was no more than 5lbs per side. Hanging at your waist, with overhand grip thrust hips forward catching weight in clean position, explosively press the weight overhead.
Superset 2. Machine upright rows. 15 reps at decent weight, I don’t understand those damn machine settings.
Superset 2b. Jumping lunges. 10 reps. Final set blast out 20 or more.
Complete superset 5 times yadda yadda.
3. Shoulder shrugs. Heavy dumbells or load up one of those shrug levers with plates. 12-15 reps all sets.
Superset 3. Swiss ball hamstring curls. Lying on your back with swiss ball under heels and ass in air. Pull the ball in as you explode onto your shoulders from the mat. 15 reps each set.
Superset total is 5.
Finish off on the bosu ball alternate lateral jumps while passing a medicine ball for 3 sets of 10.
Stretch out and the next day, which for me is today, shoulders and legs are destroyed, 3 classes of MMA tonight were rough to get through, but that’s how it goes.
It is now 2 days since this workout, traps and quads are still a wreck.
Okay this meal is a sautéed BBQ salmon filet (6-8 oz.) with roasted garlic and red onions. Served with a salad of 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1 cup of cut steamed green beans and low fat mozzarella cheese. 55 grams of protein with 16 carbs and 7 grams of fibre.
I guess I should reflect on this past weekend with it being such an important one for me professionally. Wrestlemania weekend in Atlanta, GA, Ring of Honor held two of their biggest events on iPPV with “ROH takes center stage.” Adam Cole and I wrestled Jay and Mark Briscoe on night one in an awesome encounter which saw the Briscoes finish off Cole with the Doomsday device. Night 2 (or day 2 I should say) would pit Adam and I against Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli in another top notch performance, however I would fall victim to Claudio’s pop up European/a double boot to the face. Adam and I are really proud of the fact that we could both stand ourselves up in honor after each bout and walk ourselves to the back despite the loss.
On Sunday Tony and I got an early start to our 10 hour drive back to St. Louis. Tony always has these adventurous routes that he likes to take, so we ventured through the scenic highway through Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. “See a little piece of Heaven you might not get to see otherwise” Tony matter-of-factly puts it. That’s also his excuse when he gets lost, so take it as it is.
I was extremely glad we took this route because we stopped in Memphis, TN at the Lorraine Motel. The motel is the famous site of where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. It has since been turned into a civil rights museum. Very surreal to be at a site of such an American historical significance. It being the day before the anniversary also added to the moment. We then ventured to Sun Studios of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash fame. Only to be completed by Tony taking a wrong turn on a 1 way street, and he couldn’t give a sweet Christ who he offended. “Well I’ll be damned.”
This weekend is another pack one which starts on Friday as I wrestle Davey Vega at the St. Louis Anarchy show. Saturday I’ll fly to Philly for WXW’s United States tour for the highly anticipated re-re-match of Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole vs Zack Sabre Jr. and Marty Scrull. We tore it up in England and Germany, so we’re stoked to bring it to the US. Later that night I’ll compete in CZW’s Best of the Best tournament and my opening round contest will be myself vs Johnny Gargano AND Adam Cole in a 3 way dance. Versus Adam Cole you say? Interesting to see how this will play out.
On Sunday in New Jersey it’s another afternoon show with CZW versus Sami Callihan who is a tremendous fighter. And that night WXW to face Marty Scrull in an anticipated singles match.
Should be a wicked weekend of wrestling fun. I’ll have earned my cheat meal come Sunday night. I’ll post it if there’s some mad destruction, don’t judge me! Also, a massage will be in need come Monday, 5-7 matches in 3 days!
Filed under: Wrestling
All the breath is extracted from my lungs as I land directly on my head. I struggle to catch my breath and the lactic acid makes my legs feel like they weigh a thousand pounds. A sudden contemplation comes on like a sting in the back of my neck. I shun the desire to quit out of my head before it even has the chance to mature into an actual thought. I’ve never quit anything before in my life. “Get up, get up!” I tell myself, there isn’t much time. I can see Ricochet climbing the turnbuckle, fight or flight. I rush only to be met with another kick to the head and I tumble once again, in the match and in the EVOLVE rankings.
The following is 100% true. I remember first meeting Bobby Fish at the Harley Race/Pro-Wrestling NOAH camp in Eldon, Missouri in September 2008. He was the American representative for NOAH. I remember during a striking/”heat” drill I timed myself to slide into the ring as he did so that I could prove to the Japanese guys that I belonged amongst them. They were the reason I saved up that summer to make the camp, they were the reason I became a wrestler. I immediately blasted Fish with a stiff forearm to the neck. A thunderous crack echoed to the silence and awkwardness that swept over the other campers. Bobby retaliated and would proceed to kick my ass for the remainder of the drill. Elbows to my jaw and kicks to my chest would drop me to my knees and my ego to its very foundation. I learned a valuable lesson that day. It was time to re-build.
It was now January 2010. The rumbling of an anxious crowd’s energy transcends to behind the curtain. It is the first show of a brand new revolutionary wrestling company. It’s time for the first match in EVOLVE history and I walk to the ring accompanied by butterflies and Tony Kozina. I know I’m ready and I stand across the ring from a fighter who has one goal in mind: To knock me out. I battle with Bobby Fish and am declared the victor. To this day I still consider this the most important match thus far in my career. I remember being interviewed after the match by Lenny Leonard, which would later be cut from the DVD release. “Bobby Fish is an amazing competitor and anytime he wants a rematch, I’m down.”
Since EVOLVE 5 I’ve taken necessary precautions to avoid another loss in an EVOLVE ring. Another win can set me back on track towards supremacy in this company, a loss will leave my EVOLVE future in question. 6 am HIIT cardio sessions, 12 pm kickboxing class and sparring, 6 pm weight lifting and stretching, 7:30 pm Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu class. It is no secret that I am more prepared for this match than any other EVOLVE match I’ve had the honour of competing in.
It is now November 2010. EVOLVE 6 is a mere days away and Bobby Fish will get his rematch with Kyle O’Reilly. Despite having show stealing matches, Fish has found himself with a losing record of 0-4. He is hungry and in desperate need of a win. Desperate times call for desperate measures, this makes Bobby Fish is an extremely dangerous man. He has a family that he needs to feed and I am potentially the man that stands in his way. His back is up against the wall and like a rabid dog he will be forced to bite. However, There is no open space behind my back. After a successful start in EVOLVE I have lost my last few fights pitting me in a losing streak of my own. We both stand, backs against the wall, facing each other in a narrow corridor. Nose to nose, eye to eye, fist to jaw, foot to chest, elbow to neck, back to mat, 1 to 3.
Bobby, if you’re reading this… I hope you feel a mutual respect for me and for the sport that we both have an undying passion and love for. I hope you have been training hard for this match and you make sure to get a good rest on Friday night. I want the absolute best of Bobby Fish because I know this will be nothing short of an epic contest to determine who EVOLVE’s best fighter is. I use that term with confidence because I know as well as you that is exactly what we will both bring to the table come Saturday night. The fight. I will give you the fight of my life and I have no regret to inform you that it will end with my hand being raised. Kyle O’Reilly 3-2.
Filed under: Wrestling
It’s been four long months since I last stepped into an EVOLVE ring. I stepped in knowing I was in for the fight of my life. I stepped in without the accompaniment of my mentor and my trainer. However, as I stepped in with confidence, resilience and the desire to compete only to step out in bitter defeat. TJP took me to the limit, as I did to him, only for myself to tap out. There shouldn’t be any shame in tapping out due to pain, “live to fight another day, avoid permanent damage.” Familiar phrases commentators and fighters alike often quote. I can’t help but feel a sense of shame and disappointment. I was supposed to rise, not too fall, follow a path of undefeated supremacy amongst EVOLVE’s elite. I remember driving home from Rahway, looking into a blackened eye in the rear view mirror. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise I thought. Put my ego in check and bring me back to the foundation level of improvement and learning. I’ve studied the footage, trained harder and mentally prepared to continue in my personal quest of evolution.
They say the process of evolution began in the Ocean. Picture the wrestling business in general as the Ocean and the EVOLVE locker room as dry land. The Ocean is teeming with life and dry land is relatively uninhabited. Eventually a creature from the sea would venture onto dry land, the conditions are harsh, volatile and met with an enormous gravitational pull. After crawling a few inches onto land, the creature would return to the Ocean where it could live in ease amongst its peers. Eventually the creature would return continuously, developing lungs and feet, adapting to the extreme foreign environment. It’s odd and unlikely that a being would venture into such alien conditions unless compelled to do so by a situation of crises. A body of water receding over time may have forced animals to evolve, such as wrestling continues to grow stagnant and factory over time. It is now a time for the evolutionary process to be sped up at an incredible rate never before witnessed. The evolution of a sport, a style and an art. I can see and feel myself evolving, refusing to wait in the Ocean and drown amongst the breaking waves. I refuse to sink, I choose to swim. Not only will I venture onto land, develop and grow, I will climb the highest mountain that the earth has created. A challenging feat to say the very least, but the passion and desire is undying, willing me towards the base of a steady incline. No team of Sherpa’s or oxygen will be needed, I am alone now.
Which brings me to EVOLVE V. Or 5. Roman numerals make everything more epic, like the Rocky films. But yeah, EVOLVE 5, September 11th, Rahway, NJ. Ricochet. An unlikely pairing and a clash of styles. Ricochet is the ultimate testament to evolution in the world of pro-wrestling. He moves with precision and can fly through the air like a bird of prey. I recall my jaw dropping as I witnessed his performance against Johnny Gargano, it was as if the law of physics was non-existent causing Sir Isaac Newton to piss in disbelief. How does one keep a man like Ricochet grounded? To prevent his offensive attack I must counter his inane ability to take to the air. I’ll have to find a way to keep my head up, keeping my eyes above the ring’s equator yet keep my chin tucked in to avoid the knockout from his unexpected kicks. I envision myself separating Ricochet’s head from his shoulders with a lariat only to reunite said shoulders to the mat for a satisfying 3 seconds. I visualize Ricochet’s kick rattled ankle and knee grinding and crunching within my arms as I squeeze and twist his joint until the sound of tapping is heard over a horrified crowd. Visualization is key in the success of any sport, I mull over the outcome in my mind. It could end a number of ways, yet the same name will be announced as the victor. Kyle O’Reilly. 3-1.
For more theories of evolution and overcoming the egoic mind, please read “A new Earth” by Eckhart Tolle.
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.
Filed under: Wrestling
Hey this is the match I drove 16 hours for… Personally I’m not a fan of it, but everybody is their own worst critic I guess. Lots of nitpicking nonetheless and there is always an area to improve on… anyways take a gander! Don’t let me lariat you in the face is good advice. K