Make no mistake about it, pro wrestling does have a dark side to it. There are hundreds upon hundreds of stories about the dark and sometimes sinister side as chronicled in my ‘Wrestling with Sin‘ series. This piece is a direct opposite of that. With every bad story I have shared…there are also positive stories. Stories of wrestlers making it above and beyond the ring. Positive stories to inspire. Pro wrestlers aren’t all drug addicts, scam artists and carny sideshows. They all don’t die at an early age, or are broke and need to wrestle till they die. They don’t necessarily have to get into acting like The Rock or Batista. They don’t have to necessarily switch over to MMA like Brock Lesnar or CM Punk. Some of these stories are just about hard work, dreaming big and doing whatever it takes to succeed. We’ve already covered some stories as chronicled in part 1, part 2 , part 3 and part 4 and part 5 With that said, let’s look at some positives…
Rikishi recalled a story where he and his wife just bought a house and during the winter, the heat went out in it. At the time, Rikishi didn’t have much money to repair it. Yokozuna handed Rikishi a blank check and told him fix the heat for you and your family.
While Karl Anderson was training in the New Japan Dojo overseas in Japan, he was broke and hungry. Anderson said that Shinsuke took Anderson out to dinner and did so for the next six months with no questions asked.
An independent promoter remembers putting on a show in a small town in West Virginia that bombed at the gate. Brian Christopher had just left the WWE after a big run as ‘Grand Master Sexay’ and was booked for this show. Despite very few fans in attendance, the promoter said Brian Christopher worked it as if it there were thousands of fans in the stands. After the show, Christopher walked up to the promoter and handed him an envelope with half of the money he was paid (The promoter said it was a few thousand) and said he was sorry that the show tanked and make it up to him another time. The promoter said no other wrestler in all his years working shows has anyone did that for him.
John Silver said that early in his AEW career, Brodie Lee bought him matching ring gear and a ring jacket worth over $1,000. Silver said that Brodie did it to help Silver look more like a star for the fans and TV.
Adam Scherr (Formerly known as Braun Strowman in WWE) donated his entire pay from an independent wrestling event to the United for Waukesha Community Fund. It is a fund that assists families directly impacted by the tragic Christmas parade attack in the community of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Scherr donated his entire 10,000 dollar pay to the charity.
Piper Niven and Jack Jester
Scottish wrestlers Jack Jester and Piper (Doudrop) Niven donated thousands to buy toys and video games for sick children in Glasgow, Scotland. In addition to that, the two wrestlers founded the charity called Wrestle Kind which is to help fight homelessness and assist disadvantaged people in Scotland.
Madusa aka Alundra Blayze in the WWF, recalled a situation where she saw the company not using Luna Vachon and Alundra offered to wrestle Luna and drop her WWF women’s title to Vachon. Vince McMahon nixed the idea, but Alundra went to Luna anyway and told her to pin her in their title match. Luna also said no to the idea wanting to keep things professional, but was truly touched by Alundra’s generosity.
Aside from his career as a pro wrestler, Shannon Moore also works for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, where he helps addicts get clean and sober.
Former WCW and WWE wrestler James Yun owned a party bus business after his wrestling career slowed down. He donated his bus to help transport sick children around and enjoy activities. Yun also reached out to WWE who offered VIP tickets to a show along with a meet and greet to help raise money for the local charity called Paige’s Princess Run who offer small grants to pediatric patients with life-long disabilities.
The Dudley Boyz
Chris Melendez lost his leg on the battlefield in the Iraq War. He was also a lifelong wrestling fan, who dreamed of one day becoming a pro wrestler. The Dudleys offered to train Melendez free of charge and move him down to their school in Florida. They also helped Melendez secure a job with Impact Wrestling, where he had the opportunity to wrestle in his hometown of New York in front of family and friends.
Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez is an ordained priest from Mexico, who for 23 years, moonlighted as a Luchador named ‘Fray Tormenta’ (“Friar Storm”) He wrestled all those years to earn money for the orphanage he founded. His inspirational story was turned into a movie called Nacho Libre starring Jack Black.
When she is not wrestling, Santana Garrett donates much of her time to help raise money for both the Children’s Miracle Network and the March of Dimes. Her younger sister was born prematurely and only weighed 3 pounds at birth.
Chick ‘Cocky’ Knight was a British professional wrestler who was one of the first British wrestlers to be seen on TV in 1938. While he wrestled as a heel, he was known as ‘London’s Loveable Villain’. He once saved the life of a young girl who was drowning in the Thames river and another man who attempted to rescue the girl by jumping off a bridge, gathering the the girl and man and swam them to safety.
Danny Davis was employed by the WWF from 1981 until 1995. In that time, he made a name for himself working the gimmick of a heel referee and then a wrestler managed by Jimmy Hart. While making a great living financially, Davis abruptly quit the company in ’95 to gain custody and raise his son. Davis got a trucker’s license and worked close to home to be there for his son as he grew up.
‘The Rock’ Dwayne Johnson
A Dwayne Johnson super fan from Minnesota was turned down for a date to her high school Senior prom. With nobody asking to go with her, she wrote to the Rock and asked him to be her date. Johnson surprised the young girl by sending a message to her on her school public address system.