October 20, 1979, I had my first pro match in Bryan Texas against Satanas #2.
I was 20 years old.
I’ve been a wrestling fan since age 4. Born in El Paso, we moved to Houston when I was 9.
In El Paso, Dory and Terry Funk were very early in their career and I got to see them and other colorful larger than life characters on TV every Saturday afternoon.
We moved to Houston and I was introduced to a whole new wrestling program. Houston Wrestling was hosted by promoter Paul Boesch. That was 1969 and I didn’t know at the time that Paul had recently taken over for Morris Siegel who passed away in 1967.
Johnny Valentine, Wahoo McDaniel, Gary Hart, The Spoiler, Fritz Von Erich, Jose Lothario, The Great Malenko, Toru Tanaka, Pepper Gomez, Grizzly Smith, Nick Kozak and so many more made an impression on me. The cream of the crop in the world of professional wrestling came through Houston.
The matches were on Friday nights opposed to Monday nights in El Paso. Tickets were reasonable at $5 so my mom took Bruce and me to the Sam Houston Coliseum every week. We got to see the action first from the GA seats and eventually we wound up at ringside, up close and personal.
I was told by everyone I was “too small” to be a wrestler. I refused to listen.
I set goals. I didn’t stop until I accomplished what I set out to do. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I wasn’t expecting easy.
At age 12 I took pictures for wrestling magazines and they got published! I’d see other credits sometimes of people like Eddie Gilbert, Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette. They were looking for a way in too I later learned.
The wrestling business was a closed shop back then and you had to know somebody who knew somebody you could talk to who could get you in touch with somebody who may or may not relate to the wrestling business.
It wasn’t easy to get a foot in the door. Especially tough if you were a “small guy.”
But I envisioned being in the ring. I had NOTHING else in my life. Wrestling was it. I watched Wahoo and Johnny Valentine beat the hell out of each other week after week. The welts, bruises and black eyes were real. The blood was real. No matter how it flowed, the blood was real…
Did I know it was a work back then? I’d figured it out by the time I was 10 but there were still matches and wrestlers who stepped in the ring that made me and thousands of fans each week believe there was more to this than choreographed flips and stunts.
There had to be something more complex to this crazy business and I wasn’t going to stop until I got in.
One way or another…
I worked my way into being Paul Boesch’s assistant director for the Channel 39 TV show sitting with Paul ringside every Friday night, giving cues, sweeping out the ring and doing whatever needed to be done.
The summer I got my drivers license I started working in Paul’s office at 1919 Caroline. When I graduated high school, I began working there full time.
I worked in the office, sat ringside with Paul every Friday and eventually had the opportunity to get in the ring.
While all this is going on, I’m going to the gym working out with Maniac Mark Lewin. The synergy at work during this time was a pretty cool vibe.
I knew what I wanted to do and kept the focus. I had dreams and aspirations. I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park… I wanted to RUN in the park.
So I did what I had to do, and October 20, 1979 I had my first pro match. Bruce walked with me to the ring. I was a white meat babyface. Raw, nervous, green as hell and not sure of anything except this:
I had a goal. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but this. I prepared for nothing but this… This was all I had. It defined me.
I’ve made quite a few mistakes along the way. I’ve been up and I’ve been down. That’s called life. 40 years of storms and upsets that would take a while to cover but there’s really no need because we must move forward.
I’ve learned from my mistakes and I learn something new everyday about what I can do better.
Over 50 years of watching and being a part of the wrestling business has been a pretty cool trip. I now can pass along the knowledge and advice I received through the years to aspiring wrestlers. That is probably the best part about winding down this dream I had.
Seeing the enthusiasm, determination and passion in young men and women who want to live the same dream I did and being able to teach and steer them in the right direction has been very gratifying in the last 10-month existence of the Jacobs-Prichard Wrestling Academy.
Glenn and I want successful students. We know what it’s like to get in the ring for the first time, hear the crowd, feel the nerves and have an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
40 years ago I was given a chance and I never looked back.
If you’re looking for a chance to get in a ring and learn the art of professional wrestling check out our website jpwrestlingacademy.com or go to our FB page Jacobs-Prichard Wrestling Academy.
Will you try, give it your best shot, or Do Whatever it Takes?