A professional wrestler’s career is built on boos and cheers from a crowd of all ages. “It’s eating me up that I can’t go out there,” said Criss Austin, an independent wrestler with dreams of World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE and All Elite Wrestling, but first he has to win over the crowds of Cine El Rey in McAllen, TX. “I love being the good guy,” Austin said with a smile. However, his dreams like many are built on travel, training, and trauma, “I cracked my skull and had to get a plastic surgeon to fix me up,” said Austin reflecting on his most serious injuries while competing in a cage match.
Austin has put in three years worth of training and performances and taken lots of bumps and bruises, the biggest being COVID-19, “I’m currently unemployed.”
The road to wrestling glory is expensive, thousands of dollars in travel, ring gear, food and merchandising, the do-it-yourself culture can be a career killer and to keep the money rolling in, the show must go on.
Austin was scheduled to take part in Texas Wrestling League’s 10 man tournament event called “War of Attrition”, the event has since been postponed due to COVID-19’s shelter in place orders, “Our mentality is; we have to come back even stronger, even bigger! We have to put on a big show for all these people because they deserve it” proclaimed TWL’s Chief Executive Officer, Cassie Bleu.
The marquee tournament was also a major event as the winner would be crowned the first Texas Wrestling League Champion, “it’s super huge, it’s bigger than my head” laughed Bleu, while holding the belt near her head. It is a proud moment for the company. The matches are built on blood, sweat, and tears and while the phrase is cliche, it’s completely accurate.
Bleu and Austin are hopeful, as COVID-19 will pass and orders will be lifted, when consumers think “shop local” it will include them and keep their WWE dreams alive.
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