November 16, 2005
Jeff Black: Goderich's hometown heroCareer on line in Loser Leaves Town match
By MARC HULET - Goderich Signal-Star
It might seem like an odd time for Goderich wrester Jeff Black to put his career on the line, but that is exactly what he is doing this weekend.
When Black enters the ring at the MacKay Centre in Goderich (a small, southwestern Ontario town on Lake Huron) on Nov. 20, he will be facing the toughest challenge of his one-year wrestling career. Goderich's favourite grappler will be facing arch nemesis Eddie Osbourne in a Loser Leaves Town match.
Black said the defeated wrestler will basically have to retire from the Professional Wrestling Association (PWA), and never wrestle in Goderich again.
"This is going to be a good match, because of the history between Eddie and myself," explained Black, adding that they really don't like each other. "This is revenge time," Black said. "It's going to be heavy-hitting, and it's not going to be pretty." He said wrestling in Goderich, surround by his vocal fans, will give him an edge.
He also stressed there is nothing fake about this rivalry, or the wrestling. "Wrestling is not fake. It is the most real thing I have ever done in my life," he said. "The only way you can prove it to someone is to have them step in the ring... or some out to the show on Nov. 20."
Black has received numerous injuries while wrestling, including getting "busted open," and breaking three fingers.
"When I'm out there, I hit for real," he said. "The reason we can get body slammed and supplexed and take it is because we've built up a tolerance for it.
Black likened it to a marathon runner, who must train heavily before they can withstand the rigors of a race.
During his first training session to be a wrestler, Black received whiplash and could barely walk for days.
But he got back into that training ring and eventually made his debut on Sept. 11, 2004. Since then, Black has participated in 25 wrestling matches.
"For someone in their first year of wrestling, that is pretty amazing," Black said. "For me to get that much (exposure) is very lucky and I am grateful for all the support I've had getting booked on shows."
Black said there are not a lot of wrestling opportunities in Ontario, which is the most challenging part of his sport.
His wrestling goal is to build up an excellent reputation in Ontario, among the fans and his peers.
"Respect is a big thing in wrestling," he said.
Black has set his goals even higher than Ontario though.
"The ultimate goal is getting that contract with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), but you can't kid yourself," he said. "That's Graceland."
He grew up watching the WWF -- now the WWE -- and can remember the exact moment he realized wrestling was something he was meant to do.
"It was the first match I watched in the mid-'80s. The Hart Foundation versus the British Bulldogs, when the Hart Foundation won the (tag team) title," he said. "I don't know why it stuck with me."
Black said he needs to train more and get into better shape if he hopes to take that next step and become a household name like Bret "The Hitman" Hart or Davey Boy Smith.
"You have to have a look to get anywhere in wrestling," he said.
Wrestling is not all fun and games and realizing dreams. Black balances his busy wrestling schedule on weekends with a full-time job during the week. And sometimes it can get to him.
"You have to sacrifice your weekends, when your friends are going out and you have to wrestle in some small town in front of 20 people," he said. "I have a family in Goderich that, when I'm driving down the 401 by myself, I miss a lot.
"But once (wrestling) gets into your blood, you can't get it out."
Coming home to wrestle also helps buoy Black's spirits.
"There are no other fans like the fans in Goderich. They have a passion for it and it's very much appreciated," he said. "I've been to shows with 300 people and you basically have to slap them across the face to get a reaction. Goderich is a different story. Those kids are rabid.
"I love wrestling in Goderich -- nothing can compare to it. It's the greatest feeling in the world."
The Professional Wrestling Association (PWA) show at the MacKay Centre, starts at 1:30 p.m. Here are the rest of the matches:
Black said anyone who misses this show will be disappointed.
"This show is going to be the best show we've ever had," he said. "We're learning every time out and, for our survival, we have to give the best show we can and top ourselves each time to make sure the fans are not disappointed."
Note: Portions of this story originally appeared in the Goderich Signal-Star on Wednesday, November 9, 2005.