“There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keep moving, changing…they are fluid. They keep moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are still alive. You must be constantly on your guard against congealing.” – Gail Godwin
As I sit here reflecting on 11 years in professional wrestling, which has been my life since I was 18 years old, I keep asking myself the same questions over and over. What’s the next outlet? What’s the next step in the career of Jay Freddie? What is it that I have to do and what can keep my head on straight versus completely burning out.
For someone who has been competing for this amount of time, it’s tough not to. From my early days in Syracuse, New York with 2CW, to traveling the eastern part of the USA for opportunities with Ring Of Honor back in 2010, 2011, and 2012, to a knee injury that sidelined me for ALL of 2013, to making my comeback and beginning my first journey to Japan in 2015, to the resume of wrestlers I have battled and defeated across the world, I still catch the stigma of underrated everywhere I go. Or the “right place wrong time” thing. I’m still kind of a mystery in the internet wrestling community and I’ve never had an outlet to really tell my story until now.
March 1994 is when I first laid my eyes on professional wrestling. Everybody has the first match story such as Hogan vs. Warrior or Austin vs. Rock. Mines a little different! The first match I ever watches was Men On A Mission in a squash match on WWF Superstars and from watching that, I was hooked. Luckily for me, I had cousins who were late in their teen years had a vast collection of VHS tapes ranging from WWF Coliseum Video, to WCW PPVs, and even older Japanese tapes through some online tape trading. I was fortunate to be exposed to a vast world of wrestling at an early age. On my senior exit interview leaving high school, I told the guidance counselors my ambition was to become a professional wrestling and of course they laughed and said to come back with a more logical answer. But to me, that was it. This was what I was going to do, so they didn’t really have a choice but to accept it.
I wouldn’t be writing this about being a professional wrestler if it wasn’t for the late, great Walter “Killer” Kowalski, believe it or not. December 2006, I began my journey in a freezing warehouse in Syracuse, NY. The school was run by graduates of Killer’s school and endorsed by Walter himself. So the standards that he had set for those graduates running the school was passed down and instilled in us. I trained for a full calendar year before I had my first ever match. Granted, I did break my shoulder and was out for two months, but I would still show up with notebook in hand, taking notes, watching and learning, doing ring crew whenever and wherever I could. From there, I went to being the time keeper, the camera man, and I finally made my debut in April 2008 teaming with Spike Dudley against Jason Axe & Max Bauer. I was finally off and running.
In 2009, I started traveling the New England circuit while still working for 2CW in NY. This was when I really started to work with a lot of new people and different styles. I was doing many of the drives alone, taking whatever money was there, sleeping in my car with a pillow and blanket at a rest stop to save money, but it’s what I wanted. It’s just like being in a band when you’re just starting out. You want to get on every show, big or small, just to get experience and get your name and brand out there. My peers would say I was nuts for driving 5-7 hours for no money to be made, but I didn’t care. I wanted to do it and I was happy. It was also in 2009 when I met Eddie Edwards who would single handedly change my life in wrestling.
I was about 8 months into wrestling and I got put against Eddie in a singles match. This was my first big test and for me being a huge admirer of his work, I was petrified, but I knew at 19, this was a real good shot to make some noise. That night, I was taken to wrestling school 101 and got the snot kicked out of me, but the point was to stay and finish the fight. After the match, Eddie really took me aside and we had a great talk which formed a friendship and bond that exists to this day. He’s taught me so much and it still a guy I can go to for advice anytime..