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The biggest thing I picked up from wrestling is never stop learning, every time that I went to the ring I wanted to be better than I was the time before and I took that with me to the ring into my promos, to my [backstage], to my character, to everything to the day that I retired. I think that you apply those things in life, life in general, not to mention now moving into acting, doing the broadcasting stuff. Get better every time, learn something every time and I think that that’s important. Never think that you’re too good to learn something, those are the things that I always try to learn. So I’m always wanting to surround myself and work with people that are better than me so I can get better, that’s the way I look at it.
The funny thing is that with wrestling and being in the WWE, in a sense we’ve – I’ve said it before, a few people have said it, it’s like entertainment boot camp. You get a little bit of everything, you’re playing a character. I played the character of Christian for almost 20 years, it just seemed like a natural progression and another fun challenge, something that I can strive to get better at and when I retired, Adam was on a show called “Haven” on Syfy. He’d been on it for about five seasons, (by) the fourth season in he was pretty much a regular character on the show, the producers happened to read his book, he talked a lot about me in his book and they asked him about me, what I was doing and he said that I was not wrestling at the time, they just said to him, “Hey, we wrote this character. We think he’d be great to do it. What do you think?”. He’s like, “Yeah. I’m sure he would love to.”
This is the area where when I was a kid I used to come not only for wrestling shows but for hockey games. There used to be a parking lot across the street where all the wrestlers & hockey players when they’re playing games and they’d walk across the street. They had to come across the street, there was no underground parking in those days so they would come through and there used to be big glass doors here. I would always have my autograph pad with me & a camera, I would stand there and got to high five the wrestlers, got to meet my favourite hockey players, got some hockey jerseys signed, stuff like that. I always made sure I got here super early, tried to get a glimpse or try to talk to one of my favourites and let them know that I thought they were awesome. That was kind of what I did here.
I used to get autographs not only from wrestlers but from hockey players, they always seemed to have time for the fans which was great. The odd time you’d get somebody that was in a hurry or whatever that is what it is, but for the most part, I got a lot of autographs, got to shake a lot of hands which was cool. I’ll never forget that I went to an auto show once, Mr. Perfect was doing an autograph signing at my gym in my little town of Orangeville, Angelo Mosca who is a CFL legend and professional wrestler, Angelo “King Kong” Mosca worked out there and I used to pick his brain all the time, tell him I wanted to be a wrestler and all these sorts of things. He told me at one point that he – that when Mr. Perfect moved to New York for the first time he let him live with him. He was friends with his father.
Here we are, standing in front of the old Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton Street, just across the street I’m going to show you where I bought my first ticket to a WWE wrestling show, my first live wrestling show as a kid. So let’s go!
This is the spot where I bought my first ticket to a wrestling show and you might be saying to yourself there no box office, there’s no ticket windows for good reason. I purchased my first wrestling ticket from a scalper right here in this very spot. I’d come up with this scheme: A friend of mine had gotten WWE tickets for this show from his parents for his birthday. I had been saving my allowance money, I told my parents that he had an extra ticket for the show and I told his parents that my parents said it was all right if I used my allowance money, came down here with them and bought a ticket from a scalper. It somehow worked out.
When I was a kid growing up in Canada they used to do the days in school where you had to do a write-up of what you wanted to be, some people picked a doctor or a teacher or a veterinarian or a fireman, whatever it was, and I went up to the teacher one day and said, “I’m a little confused because I haven’t decided what I’m going to be yet. It’s either going to be a pro wrestler or a pro hockey player. I haven’t decided.” They’re like “okay”, like it was that easy you can just decide to be one or the other. But even from a young age, I always wanted to be a professional athlete and compete in some capacity. I just loved it.
I grew up playing hockey, I played right up to junior and I was a goalie. I was infatuated with goalie equipment and Grant Fuhr was my favourite player. I had D&R pads just like him except we had Flyers’ colours in the town that I grew up in so it was orange, white and black instead of orange, white and blue for his Oilers’ colours. Of course I wanted to go as far as I could in hockey, but at a certain point you realize that you might be good but it’s a different level of good or great or amazing to move on to top levels of junior, then continue on to get drafted into the pros and unfortunately realized my hockey dreams weren’t going to come true so I had to make my wrestling dreams a reality.
Wow. I don’t miss doing that at all, but least not (during) the dead of winter. This is the second floor, this is where we would come to train. This obviously is a new door, this used to be an old, beat up wood door and this was kind of the entrance way. I’m going to sneak in here and see what we got.
There’s a wall there now so there’s no gym here obviously in what is now an office building. We used to come in, walk down the hallway, the gym was down there and this was the second floor. You can see some of the original brick here and it’s bringing back a lot of memories, good memories.
When we walked through the doors here, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I haven’t been in this building in 20 years, but we came around the corner, walked through the door and the stairwell is in the same condition that we had left it in 20 years ago. All my dreams for wrestling, getting on the road to becoming what I wanted to be (which was to be a professional wrestler that travelled the world) all started here and walking up these stairs. So I’m going to do it one more time for old times sake.
This is the first of nine short videos of the feature I shot for VIKTRE. I take you around Toronto discussing everything from where I trained to where I witnessed my first live WWE event and the influences I had along the way. Look for a new video each week!
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