I've been thinking frequently about my Christmas holiday memories over my life. From the time I was in high school until now (for the most part) it has involved something to do with wrestling. Whether it was a Christmas tournament in high school or some pro action or just having holiday fun with friends.
Some of my favorite memories are from England, where I would spend time wrestling and enjoying the country. England feels right at Christmas time. I've been able to experience the holiday markets in London, which was incredible. Something about England at Christmas time makes it feel like a Disney movie.
My favorite wrestling memories in England featured the boys at Spotland. They were always a fun time and super-friendly. After our matches, we'd go out to dinner or shopping at Primark. But the best time or most memorable was when I met up with them at the facility in an old mill looking place outside of Manchester. They had some fun stuff planned that evening.
The matches were some of the most fun I'd ever had in a wrestling setting. We played around playing pop the balloon with body slam challenges where we slammed old Santa Claus. Clever game and you wouldn't believe how difficult it was to pop a balloon with another man's body.
That same day (at least in my recollection) we did a custard match. WTF is custard? Some type of pudding it seems, but it was slimy, gooey and fun to roll around in. I don't know if it was the silliness of the substance or the fact that the Spotland boys always made wrestling fun. Talented wrestlers and hilarious personalities.
There were more matches including an oil match and a tag match, which were joyous as well.
The post-match meal was yummy and a delight. We had a nice little holiday party with the team. It was more than just fun wrestling, it was camaraderie like almost nowhere else I've experienced. We definitely felt like friends.
I remember they even came to watch me wrestle at a live pro event in England as a team. I miss those guys!
Some good times were had at ol' Thunders when my buddy Big Sexy & I dressed up as Santa and an overworked Elf. We wore full body costumes that hid our faces, but we loved playing and being characters. Big Sexy and I are real-life pals and have similar personalities (or used to), so it was a fun time during my first year(s) in Florida during the holidays.
Last year, I was at an AirBNB in Clearwater and spent 2 days decorating it for the Wrestler4Hire X-mas Specials. I always think of them last minute - it's just how my mind works. I find joy and excitement in decorating for a video. I think that's why I'm focusing more on Superhero themed stuff lately. I spend days adjusting sets (and hopefully one day I'll get good at it). I got to wrap presents and put little surprises in each for the wrestlers to use...and I didn't tell them what was inside, which made it more fun to see their faces when they opened up the gifts and, ultimately, used them on each other.
I remember one year, I had Blake Starr & Ricky Vegas come over my apartment and we tore my spare bedroom apart to make room for a holiday wrestling video. Something about doing what you love with Christmas music in the background. It's definitely my favorite time of year. Although, summer is quickly heading towards first place.
Looks like this year will be a quiet one, so maybe I'll hit up some buddies to see if during the holiday lull (between Christmas and New Years Eve) they wanna meet up for some good ol' fashioned wrestling. Maybe we'll film next year's BIG wrestling match.
The last Christmas time memory I'd like to share is from High School. Cutting weight for wrestling season during the holidays is something I got used to. That would mean light on Thanksgiving and nothing crazy on Christmas eve or day. No big deal.
It made it all even more worthwhile when I won my only GOLD MEDAL in wrestling. I'd received my share of silver medals and a few bronze, but 2003 is when I won my first (and only) gold medal. In fact, my whole team did pretty well. I'd love to share the picture of us as it just popped up on Facebook memories, but I'll keep their identities secret.
I think as a team we placed 4th (which was great for us considering on size and previous years placing). I'm not gonna pat myself on the back as the tournament wasn't super prestigious.
It was our 2nd year attending this tournament after pleading with our coach the prior season to get us more tournament action. Our first year attending, I think I placed 2nd to the dude's older brother that I had beat the year I won.
I pinned my first opponent in like 40 seconds, the next dude was more tough but I think I won on decision or late pin (but that could be false info - but I definitely won) then in the Championship Finals I tech falled the guy (if memory serves me right). Meaning I won by 15 or more points and they stopped the match. My buddy and fellow team captain had actually started wrestling his Championship Round match on the mats next to me and the 2 points I recalled giving up were because I was too focused on his match.
It was fun to see all those medals around a bunch of hooligans from my school...and having the team actually get a (little) trophy for our group success. I hope it still sits in the trophy case at the high school. I'll have to check next time I go back.
I don't know if this blog posts is easily read, but I do know I've enjoyed reminiscing on years-gone-by. I honestly hope you found some joy and maybe a little spirit of the season whether it was reading this or remembering something special from your life or sharing the holiday with those you care about.
Life has been wild and seemingly stressful all over - I hope these next few weeks are peaceful and filled with laughter and smiles.