Pro wrestler, is that what I am?
By Leigh Barber
For 22 years I’ve been rolling around in my undies, with other men, as a Pro wrestler, actor, stuntman, magician, fake wrestler, sport’s entertainer, what ever you want to call me…. I’ve been active in Professional Wrestling.
In that time I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to train and work with some amazing talent from America, England, New Zealand and Australia. My journey began when I was on tour as a drummer for local punk band called “Fetish” touring with 28 Days and Superheist in 1999, in Melbourne. After the show, one of the band members was watching Monday Night Raw. I gazed at the screen as some bald headed redneck with a goatee, kick his boss in the gut and grab the guy’s head, driving it into his shoulder as he sat on his ass. What the f*&k is this!!!!
Our bass player, yelled out, “what are you watching this fake shit for, my mate’s dad does this shit on the Gold Coast.” “Oh bullshit, you have a mate and who’s dad does this?!?!?” I replied. His mate turned out to to be WCWA Icon, “Cruz” and his Dad is the Legendary “Hawk”. Two weeks later, I went and saw my first World Championship Wrestling Australia show at The Southport Basketball Stadium on the Gold Coast. At the time it was dominated by big huge men, body slamming and punching each other with real punches.
After the show, I meet a few of the “wrestlers” some were bleeding, black eyes and limping. Is this shit real I thought? Before we left, I was introduced to Cruz and Hawk by my mate, being an asshole that he was, he threw me under the bus, telling Hawk that I had what it took to do it. “Is that right, Boy?” Hawk said to me in his loud, grizzly voice. “I don’t know about that but I’d like to give it ago” I replied. “Monday morning 9am, at Ashmore, don’t be late or you’ll regret it.” Hawk snarled as he walked away. Part of me was like, what the f*&k, have I just agreed too… on the other hand, I was excited to give it a try.
Monday morning came, I was 30 minutes early and ready to take a beating or learn the “tricks” ( I hate that word ) in Pro wrestling. After I signed my life away to this man, Hawk introduced me to WCWA training, 2 hours of squats, push ups, sit ups, front bumps, back bumps, rolling, somersaults and running the rope, 11am couldn’t come fast enough.
Sore and beaten, I thanked him for the try out and walked out with my tail between my legs. “Hey, training is on Wednesday night, ok” Hawk yelled “Ok?” I said, with no confidence. “See you then” replied Hawk as he went back to the Sex Shop, he ran full time next door. Pro wrestling and sex toys what a career choice I thought as I limped to my car. The pain, fear and sex shop never stopped me from coming back.
Fast forward to February 2023, not only did I celebrate 22 years as a professional wrestler but I also got to compete at TCW’s Annihilation 10, a company I founded and operated for 7 years until 2018. Professional Wrestling is a weird industry but the the locker room can be family to a bunch of misfits and outcasts, who don’t fit in anywhere else. I am still friends with my first training partners, BJ Blade, Mason Childs, Grave Tavern, Dallas Mead, Obie Cartel and the class of 2001. Sadly, some good men have past and will never be forgotten and I will never forget what those did for me.
As either Jethro, El Maco, LVD or Diablo. So to end, two questions, I get asked all the time. What is wrestling like now compared to wrestling back then….. And how did you last 22 years when more talented wrestlers had shorter wrestling experiences…
Well, tuned in next time to hear my real and honest opinions on those questions and much more.