Alright wrestling fans, this is your boy Anthony Cox, featured columnist here at Kayfabe Kickout. Instead of a column, I have a special treat for everyone. I will actually be doing a Kayfabe Kickout Interview. In the World of professional wrestling, you hear of all sorts of inspirational stories. Well this story is the story of a young man who learned to overcome his cerebral palsy in order to make his mark in professional wrestling.
I have with me Pete Sanctions who is a bit of a jack of all trades in the wrestling independent scene out in the Midwest where he wrestles, referees, and even does ring announcing. When I heard his story, I know that he would be an excellent interview. And he truly didn’t disappoint.
Anthony: How did you get started in the world of professional wrestling?
Pete Sanctions: In 2000 I had made a few visits to the training school of the Omaha Wrestling Association, a promotion that started in the Omaha,NE area around that time. This was particularly exciting for me always having been a fan, and I was ecstatic about some local wrestling finally returning to the area after a long dry spell. Other than the WWF once a year and a few spot shows, wrestling in the Omaha Metro area was scarce compared to the 1970's. My sister knew one of the wrestlers by the name of Austin Storm, who invited me up to the school to tryout as a ring announcer. I wiped my feet, got in that old OWA ring and read some intros in front of OWA owner Morey Swanger and a few of the boys, and received a round of applause from everybody there. I was too focused on my format sheet, but my Dad was there and told me they all nodded in approval as I belted out the introductions. I've been involved with wrestling around the Midwest off and on ever since.
Anthony: Who was your favorite wrestler growing up?
Pete Sanctions: Too many to name. Honestly, I was never a Hulkamaniac, I never watched the old NWA or AWA, but I was addicted to the WWF . From a performance aspect always enjoyed watching guys like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. As the Attitude Era and Monday Night War took shape I became captivated by stables like The Brood, The Ministry of Darkness and always tuned in to see what "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was going to do next.
Anthony: I understand that you were born with cerebral palsy, but still have the desire to contribute to wrestling. What motivated you to overcome your disability?
Pete Sanctions: There have been times in my life where I've been told "This is too important, difficult or hazardous so I'll do it for you" or flat out "I don't think you can do this". Ever since the OWA came around and I expressed my desire to become a wrestler, my parents insisted that my body chemistry was not built for it, the probability of injury or death was high and that I should focus on other aspirations. I've been mesmerized and consumed by the professional wrestling business ever since I saw the words "All American Wrestling" flash across a TV screen in my grandmother’s living room in Brooklyn, NY in June 1993. No matter what role I perform in want to show people that anything is possible and you can achieve your dreams no matter what your disability or limitations are.
Anthony: What companies do you do your ring announcing and officiating for?
Pete Sanctions: I am the official ring announcer for MAGNUM Pro out of Council Bluffs, IA with offices in Southern California. I'm also a referee for Adrenaline Pro Wrestling based in Milo, IA . I also perform for Central Empire Wrestling based in Oskaloosa, IA and 3XWrestling out of the Des Moines area on occasion.
Anthony: What do you feel are the most important aspects of being a good ring announcer?
Pete Sanctions: Presentation: You have to look the part; you can't just buy some Dollar General dress clothes and call it good. A nice outfit all around helps you look professional and helps the shows presentation as well. I started ring announcing in the promotion's t-shirt and jeans before I came to my senses and bought a suit nearly 5 years later, a wise investment for any announcer in any business really. Projection: Whether it's for a bar of 15,a high school gym of fifty or an Armory of 500,you need to ensure they can hear you from the front row all the way back to the concession stand. Especially, if the entrance music plays over your ring introductions, put a little bass in your voice. Have fun! If the crowd notices your into it and happy to be there, they'll pick up on it and enjoy the action even more. In his WWE Hall Of Fame Induction Speech, Howard Finkel emphasized that no matter if the match was preliminary or the main event, he always announced like it was the most important match in the world.
Anthony: What are you long term goals in the world of pro wrestling?
Pete Sanctions: To one day perform in some capacity for the WWE. That's where 95% of guys in the business want to go to live their dream and become a success, and I'd love to be part of that at some point. Although the possibilities are slim for someone in my position, I would also love to perform internationally (Europe specifically). I've always wanted to travel and see other parts of the world, so I figure what better way to do that while doing something I love?
Anthony: You strive to have fun in wrestling regardless of how you are contributing to the show, what makes the wrestling business fun for you?
Pete Sanctions: Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be going around to all these different towns with the most accepting, fun-loving, like minded individuals putting on a good show for the fans and having fun doing so. The ability to go out there and see the crowd go wild for the action, to see their range of emotions and to make sure everyone has a good time; that’s what does it for me. I love to contribute to that release, that suspension of disbelief, and to help someone live vicariously through these larger-than-life personalities. If I can make kids (especially those with disabilities) say to themselves "You know, I had a great time tonight wanna come back next time and someday I want to be as good a person as him", my job is done.
Anthony: What's been your favorite moment being involved in professional wrestling?
Pete Sanctions: I can't pick just one, I have so many. Most recently, all the stuff I'm doing with MAGNUM Pro has been exciting times for me. The company's been doing GREAT this year, we're packing the Eagles Club in Iowa every month, making all kinds of noise in the SoCal scene, and putting on solid shows that are turning heads all over the place. Personally, the last MAGNUM Pro show on 6/29 in which I made my MAGNUM In-Ring debut was unbelievably wonderful for me. The place was Standing Room Only, my parents were there (and they don't usually come to shows), and they were pulling for me the entire match When the ref counted 3 after the Acid Drop on Joey Anderson, the place EXPLODED and it was truly a special night for me.
Anthony: On July 27th, you compete for Magnum Pro Wrestling at their "Red, White, and Bruised" Event against Shawn Nautilus where you career will be on the line against his hair. How big of a moment is this for you with all of the doubters out there who said you couldn't compete in the ring due to your cerebral palsy?
Peter Sanctions: This is huge. Everything is on the line for me. Last month was a tag team batch had backup in the form of my friend and trainer. This month I'm left to my own devices, and I'm gonna prove that I can hang with one of the biggest guys in the area. After the 27th, his name will be Shawn Baldilus!
Anthony: If you win this match, will you take the same route as indie wrestling star Gregory Iron who is also has Cerebral Palsy and wrestle on a consistent basis or would you say that this is more of a one off thing?
Pete Sanctions: I have the utmost respect for Greg and hope to meet him some day, but time will tell for me. Because of the CP, the action takes more of a toll on my body than most people. I spent a year and half training at the MAGNUM Pro Dojo but had to withdraw after the 1st Semester due to injury (learn to bump right, kids!), so if my body permits me to do so I might make a go of it. It's an aspect of the business I've always wanted to take part in, but I need to look out for my health in the long term, and if nothing else want to be remembered for giving my all to professional wrestling, whatever way I can!
Alright wrestling fans there you have it! Be sure to support Sanctions in his match on July 27th against Shawn Nautilus! Taking place at the Eagles Club in Council Bluffs, Iowa! For ticket information, it’s as easy as going to their website www.magnumwrestling.com, you can also follow them on Twitter @MAGNUMWRESTLING, and you can check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/magnumwrestling!
You can also follow Adrenaline Pro Wrestling @APWRUSH! I hope you enjoyed the interview, and please be sure to share this interview with others!
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @whosantcox, and I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next time, wrestling fans!
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