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 part 4 part 5 and part 6 With that said, let’s look at some positives…
In October of 2021, a fan reached out to Rhodes about losing his brother. Cody was so touched by the fan’s story, he offered him tickets to an upcoming AEW show in Philadelphia. Fast forward to April 2022 and Cody was no longer with AEW. Despite his leaving the company and now working for WWE, Rhodes was a man of his word and sent the fan and his nephew the AEW tickets he promised months earlier. Cody said this, “People come and go and wrestle and change and stars are all around and I’m currently fully on board and committed and all in with WWE as happy as I have ever been, but that does not discount what I helped create. It doesn’t discount my friends that remain there [in AEW] or anything of that nature or fans of that product. I’m not intending on invalidating their experience and I don’t think anyone of this generation is really looking to do that. I think it is important to not get into the weeds, and find the positives, find the people who enjoy what you’re doing and are supporting and following.”
Matt Cardona and Brian Myers
Matt Cardona and Brian Myers teamed up with both AEW and Impact to set up meet and greets with fans willing to donate new, in the package, wrestling figures for Toys For Tots. The Toys for Tots program helps children and families that are in need during the holiday season.
In 2015, former WWE star AJ Lee launched a clothing line called “AJ’s Animal Avengers.” Proceeds from the clothing collection go out to PAWS in Chicago. PAWS helps save the lives of homeless pets.
Great O Khan
New Japan’s Tomoyuki Oka aka Great-O-Khan rescued a teenage girl from being kidnapped by an inebriated man at a rest stop in Japan. After saving the girl, he offered to buy her and her mother breakfast. Oka received a letter of appreciation for his heroic act and said this…“I wouldn’t be a person who would normally give my name, and I wouldn’t receive it, but I thought that if I received it, I would spread the awareness of crime prevention, so I decided to ask for it. It would be more valuable than a championship belt.”
Hulk Hogan has been involved with several charities over his career including making over 200 appearances for Make A Wish and donating time and money to other charitable organizations like the American Diabetes Association. Hogan has recently been heavily involved in the charity called 50 Legs. The charitable organizations helps provide prosthetic legs for those who desperately need them. The Hulkster donates a portion of his earnings from his business Hogan’s Beach Shop to the charity.
A charitable wrestling promotion called Northeast Wrestling run by promoter Michael Lombardi is based in New York and was founded in 1996. Northeast Wrestling has run shows for people battling cancer to local sports teams that couldn’t afford uniforms or equipment. They also have donated money to organizations like The Boys and Girls Club. Wrestlers that have appeared for their charitable shows include, Kevin Owens, Booker T, Jerry Lawler, The Young Bucks and the Hardy Boyz.
Jacques Rougeau partnered with the Montreal charity called CARE to be the official spokesperson for a campaign called Wrestling Against Homelessness Together. Rougeau held seminars and raised over $500,000 to help the homeless find housing and get them back on their feet.
Booker T and Sharmell
Booker T and his wife Sharmell founded the The Booker T Fights For Kids Foundation. The charity provides financial assistance to inner city schools. A portion of all proceeds from his Reality of Wrestling televised events and cross-promotional campaigns with local businesses go to the charity.
New Japan Pro Wrestling President Takami Ohbari helped save the life of a young child who accidentally fell off a train platform and on to the tracks down below. Ohbari said this…
“I just returned (to Japan) and I’m on my way home by train. A few minutes ago, a girl who could barely stand fell between the train and the platform. She was lying on the platform, and with the help of her mother, we managed to pull her up. Her little face could barely fit through the gap.
Since I retired from volleyball, my height has never been so useful. My heart is still racing.”
Tiger Jeet Singh and Tiger Ali Singh
Tiger Jeet and his son Tiger Ali Singh donated over $16,000 to help in the relief efforts of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that transpired in Japan in 2011. Tiger Jeet Singh made a career for himself wrestling in Japan in the 1970’s and 80’s. Tiger Jeet said that he has many friends in Japan who are like his own family and that news of the disaster shocked him so much that he decided he had to do something.