Can’t believe it’s already been a week since my last blog. It’s frightening how fast time goes by, or what is goes on – I can hardly remember the weekend, let alone the previous five days. I got some more Jiu Jitsu in, I know that. I had a wonderful evening at the Magic Castle with some friends, both old and new. I spent St. Patrick’s Day evening with an old friend and kindred spirit who just returned from a couple of months touring New Zealand. And I tried cracking on with the new project on which I’ve been working for the last three months or so. It’s a pretty daunting undertaking but you either go big or don’t bother. And then yesterday I caught up with my wonderful old friend Adam Pearce, sharing an eclectic conversation at Fatburger with our good friend Dave Marquez, talking about the past ten or fifteen years of our lives. And boy does that make you feel old.
If I’m honest I’ve been feeling old quite a lot here recently – an almost unerring malaise, brought on by a feeling that life has passed me by and I’m on the slippery slope to death’s cold grip. That’s a little dark I know. Nonetheless, sometimes it’s still tough to accept how my career turned out, what I missed out on, and what I might miss out on because of it. But then I think about the good things I did achieve, the people and experiences for which I have to be thankful, and it quiets those voices, at least for that moment.
A couple of weeks ago, John Moxley, he goes by Dean Ambrose now in WWE, sent me a lovely text saying he’d done a move in tribute to me on RAW. He wrote, “let the record show that yours was the original.” It was nice. Made me smile. Even if only for a tiny part of a legacy in the industry. And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the first part of the move was in fact a similar tribute from me to the irrepressible British legend Les Kellet, even though I never had the chance to meet the man. But John I did meet. And was glad I did. And am proud of what he’s achieved now too.
After he was signed, and I hope he won’t mind me telling this story, but after he was signed he texted me to tell me how, many years earlier, he and I had shared a deep conversation in a strip club in Ohio that had profoundly affected his career. Now I couldn’t remember any such conversation off the top of my head, and since I’ve always had a somewhat tongue in cheek reputation as being able to end anyone’s career in the space of a four hour car ride, I was intrigued to hear what I’d said to him. He told me how he was in a really tough place in his life, thinking about quitting wrestling, and after listening to everything I’d gone through to get where I was, he somehow felt inspired and never looked back.
Now I can’t imagine what the fuck I said. But it made me smile. And thinking about that now I do feel a shade of pride too. At the same time, when people have tweeted me about the tribute it does make me feel a little old, a little older than perhaps a man should at thirty-eight. And I feel myself start to head down that same road I mentioned before, bemoaning what I missed out on in my career, thinking why am I not doing that move on the show. It’s like I said in the documentary about the end of my career – “Epiphanies, resolutions, they’re good for about as long as you can remember them.” There are going to be good days and there are going to be bad days. That’s just the reality of it. And I think I’d be disingenuous to say otherwise.
But today I met with two people whose attitudes inspired me to believe that perhaps you actually do have a choice over what sort of day it’s going to be. This morning I drove up 170N to Granada Hills to the gated house of film maker Vince Rocca. About ten years ago he made a feature film for $11,000, got it distributed with Warner Bros and wrote a book chronicling the whole process. It is a fantastic read, detailing every step of the process, and should be on anyone’s must read list if they’re interested in the film making process. I’d do him a disservice if I didn’t mention it’s still available on amazon and kindle here: Rebel Without A Deal. Yet while it went on to gross over a millions dollars, by his own admission, it wasn’t the huge success for which he’d hoped. But as he told me, he’s no less proud of what he achieved, he loves his life and just tries to be a good person and make the world a better place with what he can influence, and when someone asks him how he is, he always answers fantastic, because he truly believes it.
Then this afternoon I went to my friend Andrew’s BBQ in a lovely park here in LA. He grew up in a working class town in Texas, worked in retail management his whole adult life, not really knowing what he would do and feeling pretty down on himself, until one day he just decided he wasn’t going to feel that way any more. He was going to be happy, he was going to be positive. And he picked himself up, came to LA and started working in the film and television industry, starting at the very bottom working his way up until today he has a great job a few rungs up on the production ladder, a beautiful wife, and as he likes to quip, he smells of awesome.
Like Vince, his attitude is inspiring and infectious, and I have begun to think that my legacy, or my obligation perhaps, was perhaps never to just get to WWE and achieve my childhood dream. It was to show that not only when you fail you can get back up and start over, but also that you can do it smelling of awesome, every day feeling fantastic. Now I know how this may all sound and I’m not pretending for one moment that I’m already there. But I can see it. And if you can see it, you can be it. There’s a fucking quote for ya.
Let’s be honest, more people fail than succeed, so that’s perhaps where people need the most inspiration. And perhaps the best legacy I can have is when people ask how I am, to say fantastic – and to believe it. It’s not just Vince and Andrew. It’s not just me. The world is full of inspiring people. Just look around.
In the movie I was half way there – Epiphanies, resolutions, they’re good for about as long as you can remember them – the secret is to remember them every day.
And by the way, the doc’s still available at http://www.nigelwrestling.com/merchandise/ Ha ha I’m gonna plug it every chance I get :))
Speaking of which, here’s a song that I think fits this blog perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvls4oOmk0k
Smile. Let me know your thoughts.