Presently, the entire world is being affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This impact is not only being felt by the carriers of this virus, and not only the friends and families of those carrying the virus, but just about every industry out there.
Professional wrestling is one of the industries especially affected by the Coronavirus. All of the world's major professional wrestling companies have been forced to change their plans for the present and immediate future, impacting the employment of countless people. The absence of traditional professional wrestling in front of paying audiences also impacts thousands of performers, many of whom with uncertain futures as a result of the cancellation of this year's WrestleCon and other mass gatherings in the coming weeks and months.
To learn more about how the Coronavirus is impacting wrestlers these days, I had the pleasure of interviewing five exciting performers:
- MLW's Gino Medina of The Dynasty
- Bronx Wrestling Federation's Dominick Denaro
- Gabriel Skye
- Create A Pro's CPA
- Create A Pro's Patrick Fitzpatrick
Thanks to MLW's Ikuro Kwon of CONTRA (a.k.a. Tristen Thai) and NWA star Ricky Starks for connecting me to some of the talent featured within this article; the Create A Pro Wrestling Academy was of course founded by WWE Superstar Curt Hawkins and WWE producer Pat Buck. Prepare to be entertained, educated and/or inspired from the responses below.
When the Coronavirus threat has been averted, what are your plans?
Gino Medina: Honestly I’ll just be happy to know that we got through it. I’ll be happy to finally get in the ring again. I haven’t stepped foot in a ring for like 3 weeks now, that’s hasn’t happened since I was 14. My plans is to get back on the grind, I had a lot of big shows coming up so I'm excited to get back on that. I was schedule to wrestled for GCW and had a match up versus Jeff Cobb which I was really excited about it. I also just found out I might be wrestling Jonathan Gresham soon -- he’s definitely someone I’ve had on my wishlist for a while so excited for that to be my first match back. I also miss my MLW family, so I'm planning to be back with them as soon as all this is over.
Dominick Denaro: I recently hit a couple of big milestones in my young career and had a couple of cool debuts lined up, but unfortunately with all thats happened thats going to have to wait. My eye will remain on the prize. I didn’t sacrifice all that I have to let this derail me from achieving my goals.
Gabriel Skye: When this threat has been averted, my plans are to come back from this working even harder than before and to better myself on a daily basis. You’re only as good as your last performance, I’ve gotta keep that momentum going once everything is back to normal again.
CPA: When I inevitably contract Coronavirus from a girl I met on Tinder and then sleep it off for a few days, I will be on a mission to prove my doubters -- a.k.a. me -- wrong and take over the wrestling world and the world in general.
Patrick Fitzpatrick: Get my structure and my activity back. I miss the gym, I miss wrestling, I miss making stuff on-set, I miss going to the movies and I miss my friends. My fiancé is pretty dope, so I’m lucky there.
What has this current pandemic taught you?
Gino Medina: I’ve always been very fascinated about why people act the way they do or do the things they do. All of this has taught me a lot about people. Just seeing them react to all of this and what not it’s very interesting for sure. I guess that would be the big one I’ve learned more about us as a society. I'm also learning how much I really do love wrestling. Not that I didn’t know that already, but it’s truly what I miss the most. Being able to step in there and perform.
Dominick Denaro: The amount of false information spread throughout social media is ridiculous. It's definitely something that should be monitored and taken down. This is also a conspiracy theorist's wet dream...
Gabriel Skye: This current epidemic has taught me to appreciate the things that we’re able to do in our daily lives. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but we’ve taken a lot of things that we have for granted. And now that most of it has been taken away from us, some people don’t know what to do or where to go. Just be in the moment and learn to adapt.
CPA: This epidemic has taught me to enjoy what you have while it's around, 'cause life is a ride and basic luxuries -- like friends and family -- and things you enjoy doing can be compromised at any moment. Also, wash your hands, apparently.
Patrick Fitzpatrick: So much time to reflect, so much time in my head -- and yeah, that’s a yikes. It’s taught me I can be doing more and planning more. Also common sense and decency is not inherent, toilet paper -- how many a***s does one person have, because I just have one? The virus is made up? Price gouging on things people need and/or want?
For the people holed up during this scare, any movie, music or YouTube recommendations?
Gino Medina: I’ve been watching some of those Dark Side Of The Ring specials they been airing. They are very touching, especially the Chris Benoit one. It kinda breaks stuff down and helps you put into perspective all that he was going through. Other than that I’ve been watch a lot of old Disney movies on Disney+ just to stay in good spirits through all this. Also I’ve been binge-watching my favorite show which is That 70’s Show.
Dominick Denaro: I'm actually catching up on some reading. I never finished the Game Of Thrones series. I'm a huge mark fan of the show -- currently 2 books down.
Gabriel Skye: I’m a big fan of horror films, so I’d suggest checking out Ari Aster’s Hereditary if you haven’t seen it already.
CPA: I'm more of a music/podcast than movie guy, and I've been heavy on Lil Peep lately, but my usual recommendations are Frank Turner, AJJ, Vince Russo's podcast and Off The Top Rope podcast, Tom Waits, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, punk rock in general, and watching ECW or any matches I'm in.
Patrick Fitzpatrick: 100% the new Donald Glover album! My buddy Max Caster drops new music every Friday. I was late to the party but I just watched Blackkklansman, that joint was real good and I’m pretty stoked for the return of Ozark. As for YouTube you can look at my fat matches from back in the day that’s always fun, just search ”DJ Phat Pat wrestler.”
What's the best way to support you in the long run?
Gino Medina: I think just checking out my work especially if you’re bored at home through this. This is the time to find your new favorite wrestlers, and I feel like I can be one of those for a lot of people. Watch a match, send it to a friend, so through a time like this watch some Gino matches. Not to sound cocky but I’m very proud of my craft. Watch a match or buy a shirt -- I've got some merch available, so feel free to support that way too.
Dominick Denaro: My PayPal address is DominickDenaro -- I accept money.
Gabriel Skye: The best way to support me, and many others, in the long run is to just continue supporting the pro wrestling scene. Buy some merch, buy an 8" x 10", take a picture with us, or even just show us some support through social media. Some of us may be in a tough spot right now, but we’ll all get through this better than we were before this stuff happened.
CPA: Keep @ing me any time a cute girl pops up on mugshawtys, get your friends to go to shows I'm on 'cause we always need more people watching wrestling, s*** on me when I do something dumb -- no guarantee I'll listen but I appreciate it always -- and never stop screaming.
Patrick Fitzpatrick: I would love a follow on Twitter and on Instagram: @DjPhatPat. That name will eventually change -- yo Darren, you’ll have to update that when I do, cool, cool? [Editor's Note: Darren will try his best.]
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Gino Medina: Kids, wash your hands. Wash yours hands. Wash your hands. Seriously though, that’s super-important right now, so wishing everybody takes the precautions needed at the time. Listen to your parents, I’m sure they’re super-stressed right now, some are out of work. Some are worried who is going to watch their kids since school is close, they’re going through a lot. Also read a book or watch some Gino Medina matches!
Dominick Denaro: Cherish your family and friends. Life sometimes has a way to distancing people. Make the effort to keep those you care about in your life. Tomorrow is something that isn’t promised.
Gabriel Skye: If you have a dream, chase it! Don’t be afraid to try and work harder than those who came before you.
CPA: Life is a ride and you're still my bbygrl.
Patrick Fitzpatrick: Figure out what you like and then figure out how to get paid for it. Also, wash your hands!