Every man has a story to tell. We create our own paths, often times with no real understanding of what our journey has in store for us. I am not naïve. I realize that every journey has ups and downs, triumphs and let downs.
It is safe to assume Michael Elgin’s journey to the very top of ROH was anything but easy – injuries, weight issues, overcoming his lack of height – I’m sure he has heard “no” a million times before he heard “yes” once.
Kevin Steen is a self-made independent wrestling star. With over 36 thousand Twitter followers and a ridiculous amount of t-shirts sold every month, there is no doubt that Steen is one of the most loved wrestlers alive today. None of his success has come by accident or by chance – he’s overcome every obstacle in his path.
At 24 years young, Adam Cole is as close to a wrestling prodigy as there is today. He’s climbed the mountain at an unprecedented pace. But, don’t be mistaken – that does not mean the journey was easy. While Cole has been blessed with all the tools that make a wrestling star, I can only assume he has eaten his share of shit -whatever the case, his trail to the top was a bumpy one.
Then there is Tommaso Ciampa – me, the wild card, the Sicilian Psychopath, the bi-polar guy living a double life. In the wrestling world I have earned my spot by being an intense, hard hitting, tough son of a bitch. But in life, I have earned my spot by being a trustworthy, faithful, loving family man…
While I travel around the country every weekend living my dream, every Monday-Thursday I work 40 hours managing a very successful personal training studio, and then I come home to my beautiful fiancé and loyal dog. It may be odd for some people to think of the Sicilian Psychopath chatting nutrition tips with middle-aged women, and then coming home to a family life – but it is my reality. In fact, the weekend of September 20-22 is not only the biggest of my career, but it’s the biggest of my life.
On September 20th I face Adam Cole in the semi finals of the ROH World Title Tournament (with a potential finals match to follow); while on September 22nd I get married to the love of my life.
Hundreds of arguments can be made against me winning the title – I am trying to juggle too much at once, I can’t possibly be 100% focused on wrestling while simultaneously planning a wedding, I am running my body into the ground with such an aggressive schedule – hell, truth be told I have not had a day away from wrestling, work, or travel since returning to the ring full time after my ACL surgery. My wedding day will by my first day off in months.
I tend to believe all of this will help me in the tournament more than hurt me. The ROH World Title is prestigious. It is proof that the man who holds that Title is the best pure wrestler in the world today. The Title carries a sense of responsibility, but it also leads to higher pay-days. It leads to more bookings. And for me, it could potentially mean a better life for my soon to be family. Not only a better life financially, but winning this Title could also allow me to leave my day job – meaning more time to actually see my family. My life will change on September 22nd (when I get married). My life can change on September 20th (if I win the ROH World Title).
I met my fiancé 5 years ago, and since then I’ve balanced three lives (wrestling, work, and family) – and there is no arguing that the last 5 years of my career have been the best. I’ve come too far to burn out. My work ethic is unparalleled and in Philadelphia my journey reaches its peak. I will not fight for the doubters… I will fight for my job, I will fight for my life, I will fight for my family.
If you get a chance, take it.
If it changes your life, let it.
No one ever said it would be easy,
They just promised it would be worth it.
Shoot for the moon, maybe you will land on a star.