Sarath Tom's family thinks he's nuts.
The 28-year-old Springfield, Mass., resident -- better known to his fans as “The American Sasuke” Mikaze -- is the Chaotic Wrestling Heavyweight Champion of The World. When you borrow a nickname from one of the top Japanese wrestlers of the 1990s, you've got a lot to live up to, and that includes taking a lot of risks. But last Friday, Tom successfully defended his title against Chase Del Monte in front of a packed crowd of about 150 screaming pro wrestling fans out in Woburn.
“My parents don’t really come to watch me anymore," he said. "Not because they aren’t supportive, but they’re afraid watching me in the ring. I put my heart into every match.” Luckily, he hasn't had any major injuries yet, he said -- "just a few concussions."
Independent wrestling usually conjures up images of fat guys in t-shirts and sweatpants hitting each other over the head with light bulbs in front of a crowd of (male) virgins. But Chaotic Wrestling looks a lot more like WWE Junior: lights, music, and wrestlers who are actually in shape and good at what they do. The names that have passed through Chaotic’s ring include 14-time WWE Champion John Cena, Current WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston, and, the most important promoter in pro wrestling history, Vince McMahon.
"We’re kind of like the Triple-A of wrestling," said promoter and partial owner Jamie Jamitkowski. “If you’re a wrestling fan, we try to provide a little something for everyone.”
And they do. In addition to Mikaze’s title defense, which was by any standard the match of the night, the show featured a super heavyweight fight featuring “Kingpin” Brian Malonas. Chaotic Wrestling is a Malonas family affair, even though his wife, who sells merchandise, isn’t a pro wrestling fan.
“She wanted to come and be supportive, and selling merchandise is a way for her to be supportive without actually watching the show,” he said.
Chaotic Wrestling isn’t all large men colliding in the ring. Nineteen-year-old Mercedes KV looks more like the cute girl you sat behind in English class than a professional wrestler, but her drive to be the best is obvious from the moment you meet her. She said that being an independent female wrestler is "definitely hard. You definitely have to train harder, push harder, and have better matches than the guys.”
For all the wrestlers I spoke with, the ultimate goal is to make it to the WWE -- the major leagues of professional wrestling -- but the importance of what they were doing Friday night in Woburn was not lost on them one bit.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Brian Fury told me before heading out for his match. “I never wanted to be a policeman or a fireman or an astronaut. I always wanted to be a pro wrestler. This is the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I love it.”
Photos of Sarath Tom (top) and Mercedes KV (bottom) by Chaotic Wrestling
By Kenny Soto -- I'm a professional blogger and entertainer. In my spare time, I enjoy Boston sports and exploring all of the adventures that my hometown has to offer. You can connect with me on Twitter @TheRealKennySo.
The author is solely responsible for the content.