A recent episode of “Art of Wrestling” with Colt Cabana features Ring of Honor Wrestler, and the self-proclaimed ”Last Real Man,” Silas Young.
Colt begins the show with the words: “Milk and a Snickers.” Silas quietly responds with, “Not a lot of protein options up here in Canada, apparently.” Colt is immediately taken aback: “Wait—are you a soft-spoken man? What happened?” They laugh, and Silas says, “I probably smoked too much weed earlier on today.” Colt asks if Silas is okay with saying that on the podcast, and after a moment’s deliberation, Silas says he’s okay with it. Colt asks, “In a perfect world, do you want to be the next Rob Van Dam?” Silas says, “I don’t know if I want to be the next Rob Van Dam, but as far as options to heal your body or deal with pain, smoking pot’s a lot better than popping pills.” They discuss the positives when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana—which any and all of my regular readers know I’m 100% in favor of. Colt moves on; they talk about the current tour on which they find themselves. Colt says that he feels as though he knows the “entire trajectory” of Silas Young’s career, and therefore doesn’t know what kind of questions to ask. They talk about the beginning of Silas’s career; Colt says that Silas was a big deal in the Milwaukee area for so long, and only started expanding his working radius within recent years. Silas agrees, and says that the Milwaukee wrestling scene was cut off from the rest of the independents—adding that most Milwaukee wrestlers weren’t interested in “hopping in a car and getting booked somewhere.” Silas says, “When I started out I worked places, and made up tapes to send out, trying to get booked everywhere. And I did—I picked up some bookings. But think one of the things I should have been better at is networking. I feel like I should have been better at networking with people.”
“In 2007,” Silas continues, “I did a little bit of stuff with the WWE. I came down to OVW. I think you were there at the time. I did a little bit of stuff, got offered a developmental deal, was in the process of signing and doing the paper work—and they closed OVW.” Silas says the WWE rescinded his contract, despite his willingness to move to Florida for FCW. He says, “After that it bummed me out, to be quite honest with you. Because—I love wrestling. And it’s what I want to do. And getting into it as a young guy, I thought WWE was the place to go. Like that’s where I want to work, that’s where I want to be. Then the opportunity came up, and it’s like, ‘This is the greatest thing of my life.’ And then it gets yanked away and I was just like—‘Screw It.’” He continues on to explain his mindset at the time: “Like, not ‘Screw It’ enough to stop, but ‘Screw It’ to where I was just doing local stuff. I didn’t want to drive, I didn’t want to travel. And I was probably a little bit of an ‘asshole’ because of it. But after a few years I realized that there’s just so much more to life. You got to keep going on. Like, so what if that didn’t happen? There’s so many other cool experiences, so many other cool opportunities that you can get in wrestling.” Silas says that he met his wife through wrestling, makes his living off of wrestling, and has been blessed with a family—all thanks to professional wrestling.
Outside of wrestling, Silas works as a personal trainer. He says it’s empowering to set his own hours and be his own boss. He’s grateful that he “doesn’t have to get a real job,” and enjoys what he does to help other people. But within wrestling, Silas Young’s career is blasting off to brand new heights. He just toured England for the very first time, and was booked in the annual 16K Gold Tournament for Westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany. Silas speaks about the tournament as it’s still two weeks away from when they’re recording. Colt tells him that this podcast will come out after the tournament airs, and jokes: “How was it? Did you learn a lot of German words?” Silas, understanding the first rule of Improv, plays along: “I learned tons of German words.” Colt asks Silas to talk about his early years in the business; Silas has been wrestling for fourteen years—and two months. He began his career training outside the Green Bay wrestling scene with “Packer Land Pro Wrestling” promoter Chris Bassett. He trained for 6-9 months and was injured after just a handful of matches. While recuperating, he began seeing more of ACW—a rival promotion and school located in Green Bay. He became enamored with the style they were using, and considered it to be lightyears ahead of what Bassett was teaching. When Silas recovered from injury, he moved to Green Bay and began training with ACW.
Colt asks for more information on Chris Bassett, and Silas is happy to oblige. “He was an old AWA and WWF job guy,” Silas says. “He was capable of teaching you how to do the basics. And by the basics, I mean the BASICS. I mean bumping, locking up, grabbing holds. This guy had no idea how to put stuff together, and no idea how to explain why you’re doing certain stuff.” Colt asks, “How were you that smart to understand something like that?” He adds, “If someone shows me a tape of him on WWF television, I’m like ‘This guy knows—this guy’s the greatest wrestler, right?” Silas rebuts the idea: “Yeah but this guy was a real weirdo. Like—after you’re there for a couple months, you see this guy every week, you see how weird his family is. This guy did a cobra character and kept the cobra mask on a foam head in the living room. And one time, the son—who’s about our age, like twenty at the time—went and took it off the head and put it on. The mom was like, ‘Chuck—you don’t disrespect the cobra mask like that.’ And I was like ‘Wow, you people are bizarre.’” Silas knew he needed to get out as soon as possible. He contacted Mike Mercury from ACW—who he’d met several months earlier—and explained his predicament; he began training with ACW not long after.
Colt asks Silas if he ever made it to WWE TV before his contract was taken away. Silas says he was in a few dark matches, and also appeared on episodes of Sunday Night Heat and ECW on Sci-Fi. Colt asks if they made him “do anything weird,” and he said the worst thing he was asked to do was pose as a fan at ringside. He was in the front row at ECW when Maria Kanellis took a hot dog from him, and used it to distract Big Daddy V. Colt asks how Silas got to where he is now, considering his loss of passion for the business after losing his WWE contract. Silas says he began working with Gabe Sapolsky and started appearing for EVOLVE. He says that—despite the incredible lengthy drives—the decision to start reaching outside his comfort zone was well worth it. He says, “Those were some long brutal drives for horrible paydays, but it’s like—in wrestling you should either do shows because they’re going to advance your career or because you’re going to make a little bit of money off the thing. I felt like [EVOLVE] was getting some good coverage, and I liked the talent that he was using.” Silas Young’s relationship with Gabe Sapolsky soured after Silas opted not to go on a five day tour wherein he’d only make $100. He caught up with his friend Michael Elgin, who was able to make the introduction to Ring of Honor’s head booker Delirious. Silas debuted for Ring of Honor and worked a few shows, but nothing every came of it. A few months later, he was booked to take part in the Top Prospect tournament, and has been part of the promotion ever since.
Silas says that he needed to revitalize his character, especially after his proper Ring of Honor introduction in the Top Prospect tournament. He “decided to become his father.” Silas describes his dad as a “real man’s man” who is a former fire fighter and has—on several occasions—“beaten up some of his older brother’s friends.” He says his dad was a tough disciplinarian: “I think his dad was kind of a hard-ass, so he became a hard-ass. I just think by the time he had six boys—and we were all bad kids for the most part—he was sick of putting up with crap. I know he used to drink when my older brothers were younger, but by the time I came around he had already quit. But he was still a ‘Dry Drunk’—one of those people who’s all mad and pissed off at the world, probably because he isn’t drunk.” Silas says that everyone calls his dad “Big Jim”; Big Jim has slicked back hair and a mustache. Colt asks if Silas ever wanted to have a mustache, and Silas snaps: “Hell no I never wanted to have a mustache!” Silas says he hates looking like his dad because it reminds him that he’s getting old. He says he wishes he could be ten forever, without any cares or responsibilities. Colt brings up reincarnation and says he wants to be reincarnated as a dog. Silas agrees, but with the caveat that he’s places with a good family: “If you go with some horrible family that chains you up to a tree, I don’t know.”
Things begin to come to a close, and Colt asks Silas where he sees the wrestling industry in 2016. Silas says that wrestlers a few years younger than he and Colt—both 35 years old—have a great opportunity to be seen like never before. He says, “The wrestling industry has really changed in the last year. The independent scene; in America you can work for WWE, you can work for TNA, you can work for Ring of Honor, you can work for Lucha Underground. There’s four major companies out there. When we grew up there was WCW and WWF. And after it being just WWE for so long, it’s good to see that there are these other options.” Colt suggests people in Lucha Underground are probably making the same money as wrestlers in ECW and Smokey Mountain, but otherwise agrees with Silas’s assessment of the industry.
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