Latino culture and professional wrestling. The association begins with Lucha Libre (Mexico), the late Eddie Guerrero, a continuation of the legacy in WWE with Rey Mysterio.
And there are many that want to continue the tradition either with a minor or major promotion in the pro wrestling industry It all starts in the gym, like the aspiring pro fighter, and a training ground is instrumental
One look at 24-year old Jose Tossas Jr. and he envisions being that big time superstar. But the breaks and getting that opportunity to be a part of that big show are not easy.
He is a Latino, and resides in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. And that dedication means a three day weekly commute to Staten Island. A train, boarding a Ferry, and a half hour bus ride.
Before arriving at Fun Station USA, a recreational facility off Victory Boulevard, the aspiring star known as “Mike Harvey” sits on the steps during rush hour and contemplates his next move.
“Like to work up the crowd,” he says. “Make them feel involved. I’m here to entertain them.”
And that is the role of a pro wrestler. Either good or bad guy, they are there to entertain. They are there to get the crowd involved. Does not matter if there are 150 fans in attendance, or 70,000 or more that will attend WWE WrestleMania in early April, the job of the pro wrestler is to work up that crowd.
And in a few weeks, March 6th, at Saint Finbar’s Catholic Church, a parish on Bath Avenue in Brooklyn, the man known as “Mike Harvey” will don the tights and boots again as one of the highlights of a Warriors Of Wrestling show.
That night, an upcoming and active independent promotion will showcase their talent. They train with Harvey, at Fun Station under the tutelage of former pro wrestler Joey Bellini.
“Felt here, got my opportunity finally,” Tossas said. “ I felt like my back was up against the wall. Got a platform and showcase what I can do.”
Other opportunities did not come, Tossas, was frustrated. Commuting to training facilities that were closer to home, including Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, were not cost effective and the attention was not coming.
But the opportunities are better. After doing research about Bellini and his training school, two years later, the hard work and dedication is getting some attention.
“He works hard and one of the guys that others are looking up to,” said Bellini about his student during a training session Thursday evening.
That comment and similar to the boxing trainer is good to hear.
So after the commute, and saying hello again to students, it;s now time to work again in the ring, it was time for “Mike Harvey” to get busy. He stretched, did the drills, and worked on his finishing move known as the “Spirit Kick.”
“It’s the finisher,: he said. “Kick to the face…. A flying kick to the face spirit kick I fly at you.”
He did that a few times in the ring and almost had it to perfection. After all, a pro wrestler as the entertainer, like every pro athlete, looks for perfection.
It’s a craft and talent. Not many can move around and take a bump, Some of those bumps are real and if not done right can cause injuries.
Yes, this may be scripted come show time. But take away a myth that pro wrestling is a complete joke. Pro wrestlers are athletes and take away those accounts that a lot of this is not real.
Injuries do occur and so do mishaps. Every move, as the late Eddie Guerrero had, were not perfect. Every quick move in the ring from Rey Mysterio and the others, seen on television nine hours a week, have to go to perfection.
More importantly, the training for WOW talent, they take it seriously. Harvey, and his 5/11- 195 pound frame was speaking out of character. He is a good guy and goes with the flow.
“I’m more of the safer worker,” he says. Harvey. will always have a respect for talent that he watched over the years that got him the motivation to make this sacrifice.
“ No offense to anybody,” he says. “Those men paved the way. They did a lot for us. It’s more of a safer worker than anything. If you want to bleed. cut yourself, that’s up to you.”
Yes, bleeding can happen. That’s real. Once it was part of the script and it was always blood, or a capsule. But mistakes do occur and unexpectedly. A doctor in attendance at shows will have to mend the wounds.
Back to Jose Tossas Jr. He reflects again and still has energy after a three hour session of training. He takes a seat by a ring that is sectioned off in the facility that also includes training for baseball and soccer.
The energy is doing the routine and trip back to Brooklyn. Neither snow, rain, sleet, or cold will keep him away. Next Tuesday, back at it again. before that show in early March.
“I feel we don’t get the recognition we deserve,” he says about his Puerto Rican heritage and struggles to be on that level as a future and exciting pro wrestling star. “At times we go the extra miles.”
And there is that advice to youngsters that want this opportunity.
“Difficult industry to break in.” he says. “By the time I’m 35, if there is no contract, I will call it from there. I won’t be satisfied, but I can say I lived my dream as a professional wrestler.”
For now. The wrestler known as “Mike Harvey” is living his dream as the real Jose Tossas Jr.
Contact Warriors Of Wrestling: WarriorsofWrestling.com
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