December 19, 2006
It is often said that in the wrestling business you have lots of acquaintances but very few friends. While this may be true to a certain extent I donít think it paints an entirely accurate picture of our industry or the people in it. The reason I bring this up is, I got an email asking me whether this was true or not. Itís hard to judge mood in an email but I got the impression the person thought this implied a real negative nature about the business that I donít think is fair.
I think like with many things when you fairly compare the wrestling industry to the rest of the world we donít necessarily come out looking all that much worse. I had a ton of people I considered friends when I was on the road and we certainly spent a lot of time together over our years together. Now that Iíve been off the road for over 2 years that circle of friends, or acquaintances if you like, has certainly diminished. Does this mean we are fair weather friends or not true friends at all? I donít think so.
I think this is likely the case with most people in life. Friends you meet through work or because of work tend to be friends of circumstance, and at times the job is the only thing you have in common. If you take people in any walk of life and look at who their friends are at work and then have them leave that job it would be interesting to see how many of them remain close friends and keep in touch. People are creatures of habit and, I would imagine, when you take the habit that keeps you in contact out of the equation only a select few special friends will remain. This would be even more the case if you left the job because you were moving away. In Wrestling most of your friends come together at work but more often than not live in different Cities, States, and even Countries. You would have to be amazingly good friends to stay close to co-workers after leaving you job and moving to a different Country.
Val Venis and I would be a good illustration of this. I would certainly consider Val a friend. We hung out on the road somewhat, always talked and joked a round with each other at work, but we havenít stayed in touch since I left WWE. This is all for the most part due to the creatures of habit problem I talked about earlier. Val and I saw each other 3 or 4 times a week when we were on the road, but never actually exchanged phone numbers or traveled together. He lives on Phoenix and I live in Calgary so we never did anything together during time off either. Once I left the road there was no real pattern or habit of friendship to fall back on. We never called each other and chatted on the phone before and living so far apart itís pretty hard to hook up to do anything now.
I donít think this should speak badly of our industry or the level of our friendship I think that is just a sad but realistic part of life.
That being said, there are a handful of guys who I have kept in touch with and doing so over such long distances and prolonged absence, I think, speaks volumes for our friendship and shows that you can make true long-term friends in the wrestling business. Chris Jericho and I have kept in touch regularly over the last 16 years, despite only working in the same company together for less than half of that and I imagine we will do so for many years to come. We practically never see each other anymore and live thousands of miles apart but remain friends. Iíve also kept in touch with Christian, Edge, Hurricane (yes, I still call him Hurricane!), and Joey Style. Thanks to email I also stay in touch with Chris Benoit (weíve actually gotten to know each other more since I left the road), Tommy Dreamer, Dawn Marie, Stevie Richards, and Nova (Simon Dean), among others. While even some of these friendships may drift away over time there are at least 4 or 5 names that I mentioned above that I expect to stay close with for the rest of my life.
So while the statement, ďIn wrestling you have a lot of acquaintances but very few friendsĒ maybe be true, those ďvery few friendsĒ are some truly special people, and Iím not sure any other industry fosters friendships that would last over that kind of time and distance.
Till next week,