|Courtesy: Sam Hamblin|
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
When I got involved in independent wrestling in 2011, one of the first people I met was Mike Masters. He had been wrestling for years at the time and literally that first meeting was on TV as I was interviewing Chris Hagstrom, the new executive producer for All American Pro Wrestling's new show Collison. That meeting ended with me whacking Mike across the back with a metal folding chair. Take a look below...
I didn't know it at the time but the seeds were being planted for me to have a match against Masters at AAPW's Main Event show (which was recorded and distributed on DVD). Masters was a true pro to work with the entire time. I honestly didn't want to get into the ring and wrestle when the idea was first proposed because I HATED the Michael Cole-Jerry Lawler feud. I just didn't think announcers belonged in the ring.
However, I was convinced and loved every minute of our match, except for the ending. An errant chair shot resulted in Mike requiring six staples to close the wound. However, Masters was a true pro through it all and never once pointed the finger of blame at anyone involved. His willingness to 'put-over' a middle-aged news anchor and commentator still means the world to me more than eight years later. He never complained or scoffed at the idea and took great care of me during the course of the match. I believe the success of this encounter is what enabled me to go on and have a handful of other matches. So if you hate my work in the ring, blame Mike. :)
|Masters & his son|
Courtesy: Jamie Myers
I'm writing this post today though because Mike Masters has retired from the ring. Last year, he returned to the ring for one last run with Stride Pro Wrestling. Along the way, he re-established himself as one of the greatest bad guys on the local indy scene. There's just something about Mike that gets fans to boo him.
After it was announced that Saturday's show would be Mike's last, the fans stopped booing and started cheering. That's the true sign of a professional. No matter how much you hate a character in the ring when you realize he or she is a real person, you can't help but respect them. Wrestlers make many sacrifices, not just with their bodies but with spending time with family and friends and all for little or no money.
|Courtesy: Jamie Myers|
So again, I thank Mike Masters for our time together in AAPW as well as his many years of wrestling and entertaining fans here in southern Illinois. Any young wrestlers or anyone wanting to break into the business, I recommend following Mike's example. He's a true pro in every sense of the word.