I grew up on a farm about 60 miles west of Chicago, in Hampshire, Illinois. I grew up milking cows. I was just a farm boy. I rode in a lot of rodeos from the time I was about 15 until I was about 18. I was very active in high school sports. I played football, I played basketball, I ran track. I used to lift at Gold's Gym in Schaumburg [Illinois]. That place is closed now, and I lift at Gold's in Elgin [Illinois]. Some of the guys [from Windy City Wrestling] came–Frank "the Tank" [Melson], I've known him since high school, he came to the gym one day. He told me what he was doing and asked me if I'd like to give it a try. I came out and tried and, viola, here I am. Frank "the Tank," at that time, was Heavyweight Champion of Windy City Wrestling. He started out at the bottom like most of the guys here did. We just work our way to the top. That's how I got into it. It really wasn't all a very big secret story or anything. I just came into it. He saw me in the gym and said, "Give it a try."
Everything I've done is here. I'm strictly Windy City. People have asked me to come and work other places and do other things for the other promotions. I'm very happy here. I like it here. I like the guys, I like the atmosphere. We're doing very well.
I started working construction after the farm.
I was a union carpenter for six years. I didn't like that because of the
weather. I was outside all the time. I started going to school. I went
to emergency medical technician school. I got laid off from my job, and
I went to paramedic school. Now I'm a certified paramedic and work for
the city. I'm very happy with that. I don't do it because it's a job. I
do it because I enjoy it so much. Plus, I'm 24 on and 48 off, so I can
get around for whatever I need to do. The guys are good about covering
for me if I have a match on that day or something.
When I graduated from high school, I was 5' 9", 148 pounds. I didn't start lifting weights until I was 21, and now I'm 6', 220 pounds, 226 actually. I lift in the gym. I eat a lot. They always thought I was too small. They still picture me in their mind as that little guy who came out, and they're not used to me being the size that I am. I'd like to be bigger, but I think I'm competitive with the people here. I try to rely more on my moves and my speed than I do on my size.
[My Middleweight Championship] didn't come easy. That's a lot of hard work, and it takes a long time. I was very fortunate. I've only been wrestling for a year. I attribute that to a lot of time in the gym, and a lot of time in this school, training. If I'm not here, I'm in my gym at home, and if I'm not in the gym at home, then I'm out running or doing something. You've got to live, eat, and sleep it. Otherwise, you're gonna just be one of the guys who goes out and puts on a show, and you're never gonna amount to anything.
I really would have no problem being here at all, if it wasn't for "Iron" Mike Sampson now. Him and I go back and forth a lot. He's my main competition. Anyone other than that, I'm really not too threatened by. He's a real thorn in my side right now. We've really been at it. He's been wrestling about the same amount of time, from what I understand. He's very good, too. I don't want to take nothing from him, but, you know, he's a jerk [laughs]. We weigh exactly the same, but he's only 5' 9". So he's pretty stout. He's a big boy. He lifts daily, I'm sure he does. He has to. Other than him, I'm really not too threatened. I do OK.
I enjoy being the Middleweight Champ. I don't intend on giving that up so easy. I would like to move up to the Heavyweight Division, but that's 250 and up, and I'm not gonna get to 250. I don't want that to sound like I'm happy with what I have and I'm not gonna try to achieve more, but I just try to encourage people to get to where they want to be.
Everyone has this big fallacy in their minds about professional wrestlers: the big guy with a fat stomach who drinks beer and smokes a cigar, who says a lot of bad things to a lot of people, and doesn't care who he offends. That's just the way we are, stupid and big. I'm very much against that. I went through school. I was never a good student, but I am a good paramedic. I try to influence [kids] to stay away from drugs. I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I don't smoke. I've never done any of them. I wasn't the nerd that didn't get along with anybody, either. I get along with everybody. I just try to get that image of professional wrestling away. And there's a lot of good guys here, not just me. I mean, that's how we try to operate. We try to tell people to do the right thing, and stay away from a lot of things, and get rid of that image of the big fat guy smoking the cigar, because that's not really what it's all about at all.