Local Fighters Turn Life-Long Aspirations into Reality

Spotlights paint the ring, bringing color to rivalries ignited by narratives of vengeance, resurgence and the desire to win. But after the finishing blow and with cheers fading, the combatants step back into another life of comrades fighting the same battle.

“Every wrestler is a brother or sister,” said cruiserweight Aston Jacobs. “One wrong move — they’re gone. We put a lot of trust into each other that we’re gonna beat the crap out of each other and then we’re gonna go hug and drink beers later.”

The Sanger native said wrestling is his escape. To get into the business, one needs to be a little abnormal.

“It’s kind of something (where) I feel like I belong,” he said. “I’d hate to say most people that want to be wrestlers are not normal people. We just keep falling and falling, and we keep wanting to do it — so it’s kind of a weird pain and love with it.”

Referee Said Abumusa is set on becoming a wrestler. He said getting into the industry was, and still is, a long road.

“I never was an athlete,” he said. “That’s kind of how I got put in this ref position. My philosophy on life is, whatever job you give me, I’m gonna do the best at it. You want me to shovel shit? I’m gonna be the best shit-shoveler you’ve ever seen.”

The New Orleans native isn’t disappointed to be a ref. By learning all aspects of the industry, he said he understands the art of wrestling.

“It’s a show, to an extent, but you don’t know how much of an extent it is ‘til you actually are behind the scenes,” he said. “Yeah, there’s a physical aspect of it, that was hard enough, but it was really the mental aspect that I was struggling with. The storytelling, making everything make sense, entertaining the people.”

Jacobs has had his fair share of injuries. He can barely turn his head to the left and has contorted his spine from the vibrations of falling down in the ring. He said wrestling is more than oily guys in tights moving around.

“A lot of people just don’t understand what the pain and the art we have, through telling a story,” he said. “You should look at it as an art form, it’s like violence with ballet. It’s an art form. You’re watching these guys be incredible athletes, but showing you a story you can immerse yourself through.”

Jacobs, who’s fulfilling a childhood dream, encourages everyone to do the same.

“It’s not even wrestling,” he said. “I just want people to be successful everywhere they go. Everything is going to be hard in life. There’s gonna be stuff that’s gonna just come at you like a brick wall, and you don’t know what to do. But the best thing to do is, just keep going.”

Abumusa got the opportunity to wrestle when somebody didn’t show up, and he just so happened to have a pair of tights.

“My whole gimmick was, I went out there as the ref, and since the guy’s partner never came out, I ripped my ref shirt off and I had the tights on, and the fans went nuts,” he said. “At the time, I had been doing this for four years. I never stepped into a ring in front of a crowd before — and I did it.”

Jacobs said the sound of the crowd at the end of a match makes the pain and sweat  worthwhile.

“When you hear that — you could be tired, and you go out there — it feels like a breath of fresh air just hits you,” he said. “There’s no more pain, just that moment. You don’t feel anything, you just feel like everything is just gone.”

He smiled.

“I’ll be doing this until I’m dead in the ground.”

 

Trevier Gonzalez

UP multimedia editor

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