Saturday, September 13, 2014

Interview with Chris Michaels

G: What league are you with?

C: I am in independent contractor, I wrestle for many promoters.

G: How old are you?

C: 41

G: Are you a face or a heel in your matches?

C: I usually play the heel, but sometimes a babyface.

G: How long have you been wrestling?

C: Since I was 16.

G: How long have you been interested in wrestling?

C: I always loved wrestling. I remember watching it on TV when I was 3 or 4 and really loved it.

G: How did you get into the business?

C: I grew up in Tennessee, and I was dating a girl, whose father opened a wrestling school there. I began to go there, and then started there at his wrestling school.  My mom used to own the Owensboro Sports Area, and I would see Tojo Yamamoto and Lynn Roxey wrestle. I wrested with Tracy Smothers and the Wide Eyed Southern Boys. I have been on WWE TV. I wrestle in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. I have wrestled with R & R Express, Ronnie Travis, Sheldon Benjamin, and the Young Rockers.

G: What about injuries?

C: Over the years, I have had 14 concussions and post-concussion syndrome in 2003. In 1989, I had two surgeries in seven days; I had a broken right wrist and left elbow, ankle problems, two fractured kneecaps, and some problems with bone spurs and nerves in my hand. In 2009, I had a lat dorsi tear from pile drivers, T-1, T-6 back problems, compressed nerves in my back, and a doc recommended vertebra fusion. I have not done that yet. Anybody thinks wrestling is fake is crazy.

G: Do you have any groupies?

C: Everyone thinks groupies are for, you know. Maybe this was true in the early days. They (people) do not realize that they give us rides to shows, a place to stay, or meals. This has all changed now and groupies are pretty much phased out.

G: How is your wrestling schedule now?

C: I have had no work in two to three months. These young guys are wrestling for free or working for chump change now, so I have had no work. I still workout, especially to maintain my cardio.


Sam Ford said...

Thanks for posting this, Gary. I have known Chris for a decade now. His passion for performing in front of an audience speaks to wrestling's draw on a local level--not just for the audience but for the performers as well. We know that Chris hasn't gone through all that he's gone through for the massive payday. There's obviously something that he enjoys about it past monetary reward. On the other hand, this interview points out the desire to receive some sort of value and compensation for his work--that Chris isn't only going to wrestle if he can get a check with many, many zeroes after it--but that he also doesn't want to be wrestling without any proper valuation of the work he's done and what he's sacrificed for his body to be able to perform for--and entertain--an audience.

Gary said...

I agree with you, and this is what surprised me during the interview. I see it not only as a valuation for his work, but also a validation. He has been wrestling for a long time, and wrestled some pretty heavy hitters over the years.

His body has definitely paid the price, and so have many others in the wrestling field. He is a sweet guy who has a passion for wrestling, and he is also very family minded as he was busy with his young children during my several calls. His daughter wanted his attention during our final chat.

Also, we get an insight on how the wrestling industry has changed on his local/regional level, based on his remarks.

Timothy S. Rich said...

I find it fascinating listening to those who never did break it big, but had a long respectable career n the business, as these are the vast majority of wrestlers.

Sam Ford said...

And, of course, those are people who you know are motivated by a certain drive to be in the industry, since it's not a hefty income driving them in. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but there's a great study of an indie wrestling league as workplace culture and looking at the motivations for involvement and relationships among the wrestlers on the indie circuit: Fighting for Recognition--