My first assignment at the start of freshman year was to cover a presentation in some old man’s house on 49th and Walnut streets about race relations in America.
Riding the subway that far was terrifying, but I felt like a real reporter. I had my pen and notebook and student ID because I was legit.
Then I found out the piece would only run on the website, and I was furious that my effort wasn’t good enough for the newspaper.
A couple years later, an article I wrote ended up going viral and changing my life.
My naiveté should have wavered during my time at Temple, but if it had, you wouldn’t be reading this pro wrestling column right now.
It took three years to convince an editor that the never-ending saga of the squared circle would interest readers.
Finally, Patricia Madej gave me the chance to write about my favorite hobby last summer. With Philly’s history as a wrasslin’ hotbed and my insatiable yearning to meet these larger-than-life characters, the supply of stories never ran out. Pat granted me carte blanche every week to produce pieces that engaged the wrestling community. I’m eternally grateful for her trust in me and hope that we can work together again someday.
Plus, she’s definitely converted to the WWE Universe, so mission accomplished.
I also believe our Editor-in-Chief Joey Cranney being a diehard fan helped this column gain approval. Even though he thinks X-Pac means more to sports entertainment than Lex Luger, Arn Anderson or Raven, I’ve appreciated his support and sent him a fruit basket with my résumé inside just in case Jeff Jarrett skips over my Global Force Wrestling application.
My goal with “Cheesesteaks and Chairshots” was to shed a different light on pro wrestling, maybe break down the “men in tights fake fighting” stigma through anecdotes about the artistry and magic of the business.
I doubt the stigma will ever fade, but it’s been wonderful connecting with fans all over the world, sharing treasured memories about a hair vs. hair match between Chavo Classic and Roddy Piper or venting over Triple H or debating which pay-per-view matches belong in Philly’s “Top 10” list.
I’ve received a few emails from readers looking to break into the business. While I can suggest no better advice than to bombard J.R.’s Twitter, I believe in passing on what I’ve learned over the past four years at Temple.
In order to succeed in any career, you have to work hard, sacrifice personal time and most importantly, stray from the pack. People notice difference. Whether you’re the only desk assistant wearing a bowtie or the only WWE Superstar pumping your index fingers, do whatever you can to stand out.
College is where you learn who you are and grow to accept yourself. Despite incessant ball-busting from co-workers and ex-girlfriends, I’ve embraced my love of suplexes and steel-cage matches.
Fellow journalism students may snicker when I tell them about my wrasslin’ column, but their eyes would bulge if they saw how many hits “Cheesesteaks and Chairshots” gets.
Find your niche and believe in yourself.
That’s what Miz did.
That’s right, I just surrendered all credibility by referencing Miz as a role model.
It’s my last article – I ain’t scared.
Being a wrestling fan has opened several doors and spawned many relationships. The Daily News hired me as a paid intern simply because I started my cover letter with “As a lifelong wrestling fan…”
Certainly not conventional, but neither was Diamond Dallas Page creating a yoga empire.
I have forged friendships with so many influences like Bill Apter, Andrew Goldstein, Vaughn Johnson and Spike Eskin.
Ring of Honor, Extreme Rising, Masked Republic, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and even World Wrestling Entertainment have all saved me a seat to report on their events.
Sure, it’s a perk of being in the media, but it also shows how companies throughout the wrestling landscape acknowledge and respect the impact of a college newspaper.
I want to thank Wrestling Observer, Pro Wrestling Torch, ProWrestling.net, Wrestling Inc., Wrestleview, Scott’s Blog of Doom and 1Wrestling for promoting my column throughout the industry.
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing childhood heroes and current inspirations. From listening to Paul London ramble about gluten-free cheesesteaks for more than 90 minutes to touring Apter’s Alley, this column has provided new treasured memories and somehow intensified my fandom.
My only regret is that former “Total Divas” story producer Michael Wehr suffered professionally for discussing what his job entailed. I’m still proud of that story, but the aftermath taught me how powerful journalism can truly be.
During my tenure with The Temple News, I’ve drawn more heat than John Cena at One Night Stand II. But fellow staffers like Jenelle Janci offered encouragement when even some family members had turned their back on me.
I wasn’t able to visit the newsroom often, but I always felt welcome and part of the team.
Writing for this publication has been the greatest experience of my life.
When I finally force myself to edit the “2010-present” on my résumé, it will be the hardest thing I’ve ever typed.
As Gorilla Monsoon would say, it’s “highly unlikely” I’ll have this type of platform again.
But in a year where the Streak ended, we’re reminded that anything can happen in pro wrestling.
That’s why I’ll always love it.
John Corrigan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.