Post by Asriel Buzzard on Jul 31, 2020 3:11:10 GMT -6
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”
Well, we have to start somewhere. What better place than at the beginning?
I let the dirt fall through my fingers, back to the earth below me. It has been a long time since I was here, I thought. I gazed blankly down at the bone-dry soil that remained on my hands.
Blood and soil, they often said. I didn’t see what the big deal was then and I certainly don’t now.
I wiped the remainder of the dirt on my jeans and walked a few feet forward, looking around this place that I used to call home. There was nothing here now, of course. Just some rusted lawn furniture in front of the shell of a building. No evidence of the literal blood, sweat and tears that I shed here for - and with - the men who I called brothers. Years of my life wasted here.
This was a bad place. Inhabited then by bad people and now by painful memories. I’ll return here again, I’m sure. But for now, let’s focus on how I got here.
My parents weren’t much to speak of. My father worked in auto-repair and my mother was a homemaker. They were unremarkable people living in an unremarkable town. In fact, their devoted faith in God was just another thing that made them unremarkable in a town of under 2,000 people that has as many different churches as my hometown. Maybe they would have stood out more if they had followed a different faith or none at all.
But they did not.
Every Sunday, I was dressed in my smartest button-down shirt and pants, my hair brushed and all three of us would walk the three or four blocks to the church which they had chosen to attend. Like any child, I was less interested in the words that the Pastor was sharing with us than the other characters who made up this particular scene.
Despite our smart dressing, the Church which we attended was not as formal as all that. I guess the traditions of my parents were inherited from their parents and so on. They wear comfortable dressing like this, I think they thought it showed a deference to God or something. However, there were many others who did not. In fact, it was some of them who always most intrigued me and most roused judgement in my mother.
Among the shirt and dresses, the smart casual and the Sunday best, there were always a handful of worshippers who stood out. Clad in leather and denim vests, beards flowing down from their faces and boots pounding on the Church floor as they arrived, my eyes were always drawn to them as a child. I would always crane my neck to stare at them, drawing the ire of my mother.
At the time, they were mysterious strangers to me and, truth be told, I don’t remember all that much more of them nowadays.
Except the noise.
We would always be there before them and leave after them so I would be guaranteed to hear it every week. The roar of the engines of their bikes as they arrived at the church or left. That noise made an impression on me as even in my father’s auto-repair workshop, I had never heard anything so powerful. So different.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”
The church welcomed these “motorcycle enthusiasts” – which I realise now was just a euphemism for biker – with love and let them pray with us to the disdain of my traditional parents who, quietly and from a safe distance, judged them. They told me that these men did not respect God, that they were not moral and I should always stay away from them. Were they truly outlaws or dangerous? I have no idea. However, I was warned every time that I saw them, every time that I heard them and every time that my parents noticed the glint in my eye that related to them.
So desperate were they to dissuade me from idolising these men, they actively pushed me into other avenues. Sports, friendships with other purportedly moral children, youth groups… In fact, it was at their insistence that I was introduced to those who would change my path so dramatically. None of us knew it at the time but this was the start of a significant new beginning and false dawn in my life. I was rushed to one of the “youth leaders” as I watched three Harley Davidsons set off down the street.
“Hi, this is Asriel.”
My mother blurted out the words then scurried off to speak to the Pastor while I looked at the “leader” across from me. Wearing a brown shirt and tan pants, he could not have been further from the men who I idolised and had just watched depart down the street. This wasn’t what I wanted; I wanted to be different, I wanted adventure. I didn’t want some half-baked Church approved youth club. Still, I had better play along.
New beginnings start from small things. In that case, I trace it back to that very day and when I said that one word. I’ve had so many new beginnings since that day in 1995 that it is difficult to chart a course of where each has taken me.
After years with them, I left Kansas. I had to get away, had to challenge what I had been told. I left with no prospects, no schooling to speak of, and no support. I had burnt so many of my bridges that I had no-one to turn to. Petty crime – and not so petty crime – had been my only real means of supporting myself and I needed to learn very, very quickly how to unlearn what I knew and learn how to survive in the world.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
It is important not to live in the past, it is important to focus on the present and the future. Particularly in an industry where you literally and figuratively have to watch your back. However, it does appear that the combination of the twists and turns, the steps and missteps, the mistakes and redemptions, the new beginnings have brought me to here and now.
Truthfully, Robi, my fascination with motorcycles and those who ride them has never completely gone away. Every time that I hear that noise, I am transported back to that Church, to that time. In many ways, it is one of the few triggers that can take me back to that happier time, before the change.
I gaze across at the building as they come into my head again. I look at my hands again, most of the dirt gone but some remained under my nails. Some memories, like dirt under nails, are almost impossible to remove even if a well-timed motorcycle engine can skip over them for a while.
So, what luck that my professional wrestling career brings me to an Extreme Wrestling Corporation where my first opponent is not just a “motorcycle enthusiast” but the President of her own club!
Back in rural Kansas, when I saw bikers, they were nothing like you. The leathers and the bikes seemed to be reserved for large, hairy, tattooed men and the women who rode with them did just that. They rode WITH them, they didn’t ride.
So, I must applaud the steps to gender equality that the world of motorcycle enthusiasts and outlaws has taken. I say that without conceit or jest, why shouldn’t a woman be just as immoral and dangerous as a man? I’ve known plenty who are.
Your life sounds exciting, friend. A college graduate, an outlaw, a business owner, a mother... Shieldmaidens, Venom, Wolves, Valkyrie… even the names sound exciting. I couldn’t pretend for a moment that my life has been as successful as yours. You appear to have a very single-minded determination that has helped you achieve so much.
My life, on the other hand, has been one long search for belonging and meaning. It has lurched from boredom to disaster and back.
In fact, there is only really one area in which I have managed to find success.
And it’s in that area that we meet, Robi. Professional wrestling was the first paid job where I was doing both something that I was good at and something that I enjoyed. Those years of training in self-defence and various combat disciplines gave me many of the fundamentals. Those fundamentals made me a prospect that a training school took a chance on.
I left that training school an accomplished wrestler but not much more of a well-adjusted man. A taste of success made me bold and stupid, I continued to make mistakes and I would bounce around from place to place, company to company for a long time.
But then I started to become more focused, I started to think about finding the right path. With the help of others, I started to stumble towards some form of redemption and towards finding the meaning that I have been lacking all this time.
As I’ve said, friend, that path has led me here to EWC Friday Night Rampage. I’ve stumbled and fallen along the way but I’ve kept getting up. It may have taken me longer to get here than you, I may be older than you when I've reached this level but I’m here now and I’m ready to forget the past and focus on my future.
I rolled up the sleeve of my shirt and pulled my sunglasses down from the top of my head. I would return here again, I was sure, but it was a long ride to Monterrey from Kansas and I couldn’t risk showing up late.
Despite everything that has come before and all that weighs upon me, this is my newest new beginning after all.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
For eternal glory.
See you in the ring, Robi.
See you in the ring, Robi.