For brevity’s sake, I’m going to share my thoughts on Chris Melendez signing with TNA here. It’s easier than to respond to every message directed at me about this subject.
If you don’t know Chris’ story, he lost his leg from a roadside bomb fighting for the US overseas. He always wanted to be a professional wrestler and didn’t let this setback deter him from following his dream. You can read more of his story here.
The goal of any successful wrestler is to create a connection with his or her audience. That connection will motivate the audience to feel a certain way. If you feel strongly enough about the personality, you will buy in (i.e. tickets to the next show to see your most hated wrestler get his butt kicked or you might buy your favorite wrestler’s merchandise). People buy on emotion and justify by logic. This how the wrestling business works and operates. That connection between wrestler and audience is the spark that will light the wrestling business-model fuse, hopefully culminating in an explosion of millions of dollars of revenue. The most successful wrestlers in history have had the strongest connections and also (not by accident mind you), their characters on screen are very close to who they are as people.. A few examples that come to mind are Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena, and Ric Flair.
The point of that preamble is this: with his backstory, his spirit, his will to succeed, and his love for professional wrestling, Chris Melendez has an opportunity connect with the wrestling audience (and beyond) just as much as any of the guys I mentioned above. There is no ceiling for him. There is no shelf life. I want to make that abundantly clear. There is no shelf life for someone who connects with an audience. I’m already invested in his story NOT because he has 1 leg but because of his story of bravery, patriotism, heart, and overcoming of odds. I’m rooting for him to succeed and I’m behind him 100%…..and this is without ever seeing him. THAT’S the foundation of a strong character.
I’m not narcissistic to think I had anything to do with him becoming a wrestler. It sounds like Chris had a vision from day 1 and he followed through. Comparisons will be made naturally and I do think our paths will cross at some point. If I can be of any help to him and share some of my 12 years of in-ring experience, I’d be more than willing to make myself available.
Good luck Chris!!! And thank you for your service.