by Dan Moore
February 3rd 2018
8:00am – I’m waking up thinking about the day ahead. It’s EPW’s Hot Summers Night, the start of Perth wrestling for 2018 and the start of my 11th year of wrestling. After Re-Awakening, I’ve set myself the same goals for 2018 that I set for 2017 – Win EPW Most Improved Wrestler, Win EPW’s Match of the year, and win the EPW Tag Team Titles with Jarred Slate for the second time. I can’t figure out why we didn’t get it right in 2017 but I’m determined to make sure that we nail it this year. This year has to be different.
I’ve always felt like I had time on my side. Plenty of time to get my wrestling right. Plenty of time to get my body right.
I felt like I had time on my side in 2009 when Chase Griffin and I couldn’t overcome Shane Haste and Alex Kingston in our tag team series. I felt like I had time on my side in 2010 when I came back from training in the United States and failed to make an impact as a singles wrestler. I felt like I had time on my side in 2013 when I won the EPW Most Improved award and the EPW Invitational tournament. I felt like I had time on my side when I dislocated my shoulder at the tail end of 2014, the week before my first and only EPW Championship title match. Adam Banks wrestled in my place that night and by the time I was back in the ring, my championship opportunity has passed. I felt exactly like this in 2016 when I started the year by getting a severe concussion in a TLC match at Great Aussie Bash and missed the next half of the year.
Two years later, it’s 2018 and I’ve just turned 34. It’s painfully clear that time is no longer on my side. I can see it in the mirror every day. My hair is greyer than it used to be. I can see my hairline creep further and further back from the big scar on forehead, a souvenir from a Hardcore Street fight in October 2015 against Gen Zero.
I’m feeling an intense pressure to make sure 2018 is a good year. A great year. I can’t wrestle forever, no one can. And after 11 years of wrestling opponents bigger and stronger than me, I really can’t do this forever. For the first time ever, I’ve stopped thinking that I have time on my side, I’m thinking “this might be my last year”. It’s inevitable, right? At some point, every sportsman gets too old to keep up with the new kids. Despite my pathetic ability to grow facial hair, I’m actually the third oldest person in the EPW locker room behind Tyler Jacobs and Davis Storm. Worded another way, I’ve been wrestling since Taylor King was 11.
The biggest pressure I’m feeling this morning though is from outside wrestling. I’ve prioritised wrestling over my family, my relationships, my career and any other interests I’ve ever had since I started training with EPW in 2005. I’ve made less money than I could have, I’ve quit jobs to go overseas, I’ve missed important family moments, I’ve missed close friends’ weddings, I’ve lost girlfriends who weren’t happy to be number 2 in my life. I don’t consider any of these sacrifices. Because wrestling was more important than all of those things.
I can’t afford not to get 2018 right. I don’t have time on my side anymore, it’s running out. Quickly.
If I’m going to keep committing my time and energy to wrestling, I have to be winning. I have to be successful. There is no more time. No more false starts. I’ve decided all this before I’ve even gotten out of bed at 8:30am.
4:00pm – I reach out to great my tag partner Jarred Slate and start strategizing for our match tonight… And then all my plans for 2018 evaporate. Slate lashes out and I’m not even fighting back, I’m clutching my shoulder. I don’t even have time to wonder why that just happened. I instantly recognise the feeling in my shoulder. It’s just dislocated for the third time. I try but my arm won’t go back in. The top of my arm is now sitting where my armpit should be. The pain is intense.
Jarrad Slate and our tag team is the last thing on my mind at this moment even though I can see him walking away like nothing just happened. I’m thinking about how 2018 is over already. I know I’ll probably need surgery. I’m wondering if I’ll ever wrestle again.