“My real pursuit of the sport started the second high school ended, I packed my stuff and moved to Louisville, Kentucky”
You’ve heard the stories of those that have wrestling rings in their backyards because they just couldn’t wait to step inside an actual squared circle. The famous Guerrero family had a pro ring in their backyard, as well as The Hardys in their journey into the sport.
Jami Jameson, a Pittsburgh native that is nearing his ninth year as a professional wrestler, also had a squared circle at his home during his youth. He was so enthralled with the spectacle of the over-the-top world of the grappling arts that his dad found an old wrestling ring on Craig’s List and made the two-hour trip to Cleveland purchase it.
“Thanks to him and my mom, we had the most thrilling, fun, wild, and extreme backyard wrestling parties in high school. I really found myself in those early days with a bunch of my friends,” Jami explained.
But, his high school shenanigans with his pals were only enough until he had the opportunity to actually start his path to being a pro and he wasted no time. Jameson wasn’t looking for anyone that would accept a check and give him the bare minimum lessons to be considered a pro, but rather completely committed to this career choice as a serious professional. Jami moved to Louisville to attend the well-known Ohio Valley Wrestling training academy, a system that previously produced Hall of Fame performers.
Jameson cites his early days at OVW as not only some of the most rewarding aspects of his time in pro wrestling, but also of his entire life.
“I trained for the first month or so with the late great Matt Cappotelli as my lead trainer. Matt was one of a kind and now looking back at it, I know going all the way to Kentucky and meeting Matt was one of the things I needed to do most. The friendship I made with him and growing under his eye for that short period of time was worth ever second of moving to KY,” he explained.
Jameson assumed that his prior background would help him after he stepped into the OVW center, but soon learned that the curriculum would test his dedication to the industry.
“I learned that cardio is a huge thing in the wrestling business and I needed to get on it fast. I was the worst shape in my class. We had to run a mile to start the class, run right back into the facility and continue running around the ring doing until Matt stopped us in front of the ring to do squats, jumping jacks, push-ups, sit ups and planks. After that he had us run the ropes in the ring. I threw up more times than I can remember while doing all of these drills,” Jami recalls.
Under the OVW banner, Jameson had his first match with Eddie Knox, who he considers one of his best friends, in October 2015. Not long after he laced up his boots for his official debut, Jami advanced to Rip Rogers’ class in Louisville before a family matter brought him back to Pittsburgh. True to how serious he was about the industry when he moved hours away to learn the craft, Jami wanted to be as polished as possible when he returned to western Pennsylvania so he put down his hard-earned money for a second time to further his wrestling education at the International Wrestling Cartel’s training school. With IWC as one of the longest-running groups in the area, Jameson considers his time learning there as key to his entire career.
“I chose to join The International Wrestling Cartel’s training class. That’s where I met Chris LeRusso and Andrew Palace, my new trainers. The starting class, I was miles ahead of my classmates due to the period of time I spent at OVW, but everyone held their own and caught up to me in no time. The new IWC class became family to me and we all grew together. Chris LeRusso really pushed us to our limits and taught me so much. I learned so much in that class with his training. I’d put him up there as one of the absolute best trainers in the Pittsburgh area,” Jameson said.
“An absolute powerhouse, when I first met Jami, I was struck by how strong and athletic he was for someone so young. Once I heard he had trained some under Rip Rodgers, I knew he was serious about this business. I feel like Jami isn’t even close to reaching his peek yet. Someone just has to take a chance on him and you have a main event star,” added Chris LeRusso.
Since the time that “The Country Hammer” made his IWC debut in 2017, Jami has worked in a variety of roles within the organization. He’s competed in singles runs as well as tag team tenures during his seven-year stint in the organization. However, the main reason that IWC has been so sentimental to him was that his involvement provided him with a full circle moment.
“The main reason why IWC is so special to me is because I watched IWC since I was 16 in the front row,” he commented.
An agile big man with a persona that can connect with the blue collar audience that often attends independent wrestling cards, Jami used a combination of speed and power in the ring to become one of the most solid in-ring performers around Pittsburgh. As he established himself as a force within the area, he became an in-demand talent throughout the region, adding more organizations to the list of groups where he works as a featured performer.
“Branching out and working other shows helps you learn that not every crowd is going to know who you are. That’s one of the most important things to learn, as well as making new connections in the wrestling world. I’d say learning how to work the crowd has helped me immensely because now I don’t feel too uncomfortable whenever I have to wrestle in front of a new crowd,” he explained.
One such example is 2PW, where the crowd has embraced Jami as a blue collar superhero for them. Just recently, Jami won the 2PW heavyweight championship for a second time, but this wasn’t just an occasion for championship glory, it was also another full circle moment for him. With a jam-packed crowd in attendance Worthington Civic Center, Jami dethroned “Big League” John McChesney, one of the performers that he watched when he sat in the front row when he was just a youngster, to claim the belt.
“I had a great time in the ring with John, dude is a legend. I’ve been watching him since I was 16 and have had the honor to be in the ring with him. He knows this business, he’s a genius when it comes to this. It was a pleasure being in there with him, a true honor. It was one of my best matches,” Jami remarked.
The biggest takeaway from the journey of Jami Jameson might be the ability to dare to dream. From being memorized by The Undertaker in his youth to flying around that Craig’s list ring with his high school friends, Jami set a goal to be a professional wrestling, and not only stood inside an actual wrestling ring as a trained athlete, but also celebrated as a champion.
“We all want to be the top guy. We all want to be the super hero or the super villain on the main stage of them all. So yeah, making it to the main stage, I would say, is the main goal. I pride myself on making friends here and making myself and my friends better. I have seen so many guys that I’ve been in the ring with take some of what I’ve told them and grow because of it. That’s an honor, making the wrestling place a much healthier environment,” Jameson concluded.
For more information about Jami, you can follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jamie.brown.5264
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