The not so normal life of a professional wrestler
By Molly Dempsey
|Photos Courtesy of Shane Michael Kidder / www.mdogg20.com
Back in 1999, Backyard Wrestling let a few boys from Brecksville make a movie featuring them at their brightest. You know, jumping into trees, dancing almost naked in a cardboard box named “the party box” with bums, throwing each other on barbed wire, and having three completely straight men go into a tanning booth with each other. The results? The DVD can be found at Best Buy, and has made two amateur wrestlers, professional. M-Dogg 20 and Josh Prohibition would rise from the streets of Cleveland and see the world.
I never really considered professional wrestling a real sport, just like many jocks don’t consider cheerleading a sport. For the most part it looks like a bunch of long haired, single middle aged men on steroids, bouncing each other around while the crowd of mostly toothless individuals with an income under $20,000 scream in over excitement. Little did I know that was all about to change?
I started seeing these ridiculous shirts with a short buff kid on them with the name M-Dogg 20 pasted in red. At first I thought nothing of it, until I saw the short buff kid standing next to the legendary Misfits front man, Danzig with a stern face and a raised first. My curiosity led me to this website, and there he was straddling his friend and colleague Josh Prohibition, in the wrestling ring with the line, “There is nothing wrong with dudes hanging out,” bordering the web page.
M-Dogg 20 started growing an ambition for doing some crazy stunts that led to amateur wrestling when he was 18. Now 6 years later you can find him traveling from city to city in the United States, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, England and leaving in May for Japan for the second time. “Go up to your stock broker or fireman and they haven’t even been out of the country. I’ve been fortunate to see a lot, and it’s priceless. I’d never give it up,” said M-Dogg 20 seeming genuinely grateful for his spontaneous life.
How’d it get that way? M-Dogg 20 started doing gymnastics at the age of 10, with two problems he was confronted with. One, he was a little old to just be in the beginning stages of gymnastics. Two, he had a problem with fear. “Oh ho, gymnastics, that’s gay. I started late anyway and people do think gymnastics is gay for dudes. Then I had my new found mentality,” With M-Dogg 20?s new found mental state, he would turn into one of the world?s greatest acrobatic and flipping masters of wrestling.
With no time to lose, M-Dogg 20 and some local chums made a movie entitled, A Passion for Pain that started pushing his name internationally. The movie was advertised on Howard Stern, and Pay Per View. The movie gave wrestling the fun and goofy look rather then just the fake lame persona. “You can’t be some fat potato couch dude and be a successful wrestler. It does take skill, you have to have excelled at something athletic before,” said M-Dogg 20 as he bit into a mouthful of protein provided by Chipotle.
If you stand in a room with M-Dogg 20 you can literally see the veins in his biceps from yards away. I asked him what his diet was like and he seemed to chuckle to himself. “I used to drink a carton of egg whites a day, and that is partially why wrestling is 24 hours a day. Not once a week or once a month,” and continued to say that he wakes up around 3 p.m. on average.
With a back round in gymnastics, M-Dogg 20 proved that it takes talent and ambition to put on the tight pants and throw people around. M-Dogg’s gymnastics coach was not pleased with the abuse of talent, and neither were his parents after paying for years of gymnastics. Three men that M-Dogg 20 practiced gymnastics with went on to the Olympics. So, what about M-Dogg 20?
One of the biggest names in Cleveland, JT Lightning picked up M-Dogg 20 and Josh Prohibition and began training them. “It was and is my job. Every weekend I’m out there doing it for shock value,” said M-Dogg 20 with a grin knowing that he has a reputation of doing the craziest tricks known in wrestling. One among many reasons why M-Dogg 20 is a respected and successful wrestler is because of the acrobatic moved he performs in the ring that can be viewed on his website at www.mdogg20.com.
Without even being in the WWE, M-Dogg 20 was made into a video game character for the game called, Backyard Wrestling: Don’t try this at home. “All of it never hit me and I never thought it would happen. Anyone can get thrown into a game, but life for me is frozen in time in 1989, if I could be Mario that would be cool,” With his name forever etched into time, what else is there to do?
“Of course I want to be in the WWE. If you want to make a living doing this, you have to be there. Ultimate goal. I do a hundred gay interviews all the time and I’m sure one of the scouts have seen me, but it’s still a goal for me.”
The name M-Dogg 20 has been published world wide in every wrestling magazine imaginable. “It is really cool to see an entire article about yourself that you can’t even read because its in a different language,” said M-Dogg 20 describing his reaction to an article about him in Gong Magazine, a Japanese publication.
As successful as M-Dogg 20 is he still makes a ton of time for his fans. “I do have fans, and rather than thinking they are mostly girls most of them are homosexual dude,” On his international travels he find fame, “When you’re about to go out and wrestle and you hear 600 people yelling “M-Dogg” in funny little accents, it’s awesome to me. It was all so surreal. My neighbors don’t even know my name but these people do.” At M-Dogg 20’s website you can see some of the art that his fans young and old have created for him. An appreciated M-Dogg 20 takes all the time to reply to each and every e-mail.
At that point in M-Dogg 20’s life he became his own boss and determined his own fate in the wonderful world of wrestling. Everyday M-Dogg 20 waked up late, (only wakes up early if he has an international flight to catch) eats his protein packed diet, wrestles if he has an even schedule, and if not he hangs out with his girlfriend or “dudes”. Everything seems out of the ordinary when it comes to M-Dogg 20’s life. M-Dogg 20 has never filled out a job application, or filed for taxes. Instead he makes t-shirts to sell at shows or to mock his friend, and hangs out with celebrities when out of o town.
Everyone forgets that wrestling is all real. M-Dogg 20 has had three concussions and is still wrestling despite doctor’s advice. “When I went to the doctor that knew me from seeing me on T.V. I had a cut finger and it was completely unrelated to wrestling just doing something else dumb, he advised me to stop wrestling. Of course, I didn’t even think about listening,” said M-Dogg 20. There are dangers of wrestling just like any other athletic event that people forget about. “You are not 100% in control of your boy when you’re wrestling. Every time I get in the ring, I know it could be my last,” said M-Dogg 20 realizing the dangers of wrestling.
It’s no lie; people go crazy for professional wrestlers. How many people do you know are adored by the guys of Jackass such as Chris Pontius because of their crazy lifestyle? A lot of professional wrestlers actually get invited to some of the premier events in Hollywood. Again on M-Dogg 20’s website you get to see him with Anna Nicole Smith at a release part. Even the guys of Against Me! And other punk bands love M-Dogg 20 and friends for their outrageous stunts. “I think that there are a lot of parallels between punk rock and wrestling. A lot of us wrestlers would be doing something with punk rock if we couldn’t wrestle. If not we just like sharing experiences,” said M-Dogg 20 with a serious tone in his voice because of his true love for punk rock.
I’m sure that you have personally walked by a professional wrestler and you never realized it, but if you did know you would have made a disgusted face because wrestling is lame right? Wrong. The huge kid that threw you out of the punk show you saw last week for underage drinking was a professional wrestler named Raymond Rowe. That really tall kid that you always see bike riding around down town Cleveland was a professional wrestler named Josh Prohibition. The short buff kid that you saw at The Exchange holding the CD that you wanted was a professional wrestler named M-Dogg 20 and you probably have something in common with each and every one of them.
Not too many people can see a parallel between professional wrestling and Disneyland, but somehow, Billy Hopeless the front man of the punk band, The Black Halos put it all into perspective, “Wrestling is fun, and I still enjoy going to matches all the time. It’s like Disneyland, and everyone who says Disneyland isn’t fun is a liar,” replied Hopeless as I sat next to him on the stage of Peabodies Down under a few weeks ago. Believe it or not, even your favorite band member is probably professional wrestlers like Hopeless or is a big fan of one.
To this day M-Dogg 20 still gets excited for wrestling events and still gets a trill from flying in airplanes to wrestle in another country. His parents share the same feeling, “I hear my Mom, she brags on the phone that she doesn’t even know where kids are in the world, but they are getting paid to do something,” said M-Dogg 20 definitely making his Mom proud.
What can we expect form M-Dogg 20 next? “Lots of ridiculous crap and not making any sense,” said M-Dogg 20 with a solemn face looking about to bust out laughing. So, the next time you have some free time on your hands on a weekend night go support your local wrestler. Make sure to make a funny accent when you chant M-Dogg 20.