...fans of independent American "deathmatch-style" wrestling and/or lowly government agents wisely scanning my online manifestos as part of whatever watchlist monitoring program I'm undoubtedly tied up in (Freedom Isn't Free)... Having resigned from participatory in-ring masochism, I have not felt the need of late to write, film, or otherwise share anything regarding pro wrestling via the myriad avenues of conveyance which had been so firmly established by my henchwoman, Wiggy Wigowski, during the active days of my wrestling career. I said "Goodbye" and stepped away from the life of a pro wrestler, and with that, I decided that the best way for my pride to remain intact would be for my online presence to mirror my in-ring presence; with nothing left to promote, playing "Danny Havoc" on the web--be it through write-ups, tweets, or filmed vignettes--would merely come across as a sad and vain attempt to remain relevant or get attention. For a handful of months, I opted to stay away from wrestling altogether...not attending shows, not going down to the wrestling school, and not even writing anything wrestling-related for my website. I needed a break, completely. But, as wrestlers and fans know all too well, it is a difficult habit to shake entirely. I can't tell you how many people dismissed my 'retirement' from wrestling out-of-hand, rudely scoffing at my proclaimed intentions of 'moving on' with condescendingly self-assured utterances of "nobody really quits" and "you'll be back." While it bothered me how many people--most of whom barely knew me--disregarded the validity of my decision, it bothered me equally that I knew there was some basis behind their statements...it is hard to completely leave an industry that you've dedicated so much of yourself to.
For nearly 13 years, I created and shaped an alter ego whom I inhabited for several weekends out of every month, and sometimes more. "Danny Havoc" was more than a [decidedly silly and unconvincing] fake name I adopted as a nom-de-guerre; he became a sort of secondary identity in his own right...someone I looked at as both a part of my true self and a person all his own. In addition to walking away from a monthly opportunity to see many of my friends, as well as a nice way to make a few bucks doing something I [mostly] enjoyed, I was also faced with the reality that quitting wrestling meant that I was packing up the 'Danny Havoc' character I'd invested so much in and putting him in storage, rarely-if-ever to be revisited. There are a number of reasons that wrestlers renege on their word and return to the ring...most of them center around a hole that can never be filled; a desperate need for validation that can be temporarily assuaged by the adulation of the crowd, but can never truly be fulfilled because it is only a symptom of a deeper psychological issue...an all-consuming emptiness in each of our souls. ...Damn...that got way too real. Oops. Sorry...
But another aspect of wrestling that often draws 'retirees' of the industry back into the ring is to do with what I was speaking of a few moments ago: You spend years of your life conjuring and then inhabiting a character that is often much more appealing to be than your dull, colorless, unsexy self. Most of us in wrestling have been given the advice that "the best characters are exaggerated versions of your true identity." Obviously, that doesn't apply across the board--I don't believe that Ultramantis Black is, in real life, a man-sized insectile shaman, nor do I think that Steve the Teacher is actually molding young minds and shaping the leaders of tomorrow (although I wish he were)--but for many of the more plausible characters represented in the world of independent pro wrestling, that adage holds very true. Most of the characters which are well-portrayed and relatable are so because the people behind the characters have rooted their creations in reality. For the most part, in order that we be believable and offer something to our audience that they can get behind, we base our alter egos on aspects of our real selves which we would like to play up or we wish were more a part of our objective descriptions. This may not apply in exactly the same way to heels as it does to faces...but often, it is still a strong factor in their creations.
In becoming these more interesting/appealing/charismatic versions of our authentic personas, we are allowed to temporarily inhabit a world in which we are seen as we would like to be seen and get to say and do the things we often might not be able to do in our daily lives... whether it be because we don't have the confidence, or because we couldn't get away with it… And that is a very enticing aspect of being a wrestler. In the ring, in a promo backstage, or even when interacting with the fan base…for a brief time on certain weekends, we get to write ourselves as we would like to be in the story of our lives. Then, when the show is over, we have to return to our mundane realities and recede back into the duller versions of ourselves. This is one of the hardest things to give up when it comes time for us to leave the wrestling world, and I think plays a similarly large part in making this such a difficult life to leave.
I was--as I tend often to be--very frank and candid about the possibility that I would get back in the ring at some point. I told anyone who asked that, while I intended for this to be the end of my career for all intents and purposes, I was also aware that it was going to be difficult to walk away from wrestling entirely…that there was a good chance that I would eventually cave, and jump back in the ring for a random one-off match here or there. I am not denying that it is a strong possibility that I will eventually do that, but I do not ever want to be an active wrestler again for any length of time. It has been disastrous for my health, and I have no desire to sully what little "legacy" I have by returning to the ring and embarrassing myself. I know that returning to wrestling is a bad choice for me, and I'm doing everything I can think of to keep it at bay.
To that end, I have decided to take steps to indulge my desire to play the Danny Havoc character without getting back in the ring and risking my health or going back on my word. As of Game Changer Wrestling's most recent event, "Ready To Die," yours truly--everyone's favorite violent and verbose Viking, an all-star of asinine alliterative articulation--has taken on the role of official co-commentator for GCW, alongside my old pal and extremely funny guy, Joe Sposeto (known in a previous life as Leonard F. Chikarason). If you find it necessary to label us, I suppose he would be most aptly described as the "play-by-play" man, which I suppose makes me the "color commentator," but it's nearly 2018 and I think calling people "colored" just perpetuates and reinforces a culture of segregation and oppression that has kept my people (Norwegian-Americans) down for too long. I would prefer that you think of us more in the vein of the Smothers Brothers; I'm Tommy and he's Dicky. There...a nice, timely pop-culture reference that will resonate with modern fans and clarify things nicely.
I must say that I'm quite pleased with my new role as a commentator for Game Changer. It's a fresh and exciting company to be involved with, and any role that I can continue to play with the goal of making the product as fun as possible to watch is very appealing to me. I get to show up every month and make snarky, sarcastic comments as 'Danny Havoc,' thus fulfilling my desire to live through that character I've created...I get to watch some of my best friends (who just so happen to be some of the very best death match wrestlers in the world today, reinventing the style on the cutting edge of innovation) ply their trade and watch firsthand as they perform death-defying stunts that often put my own career highlights to shame...I get to interact with the fans who embraced and supported me during my own active wrestling years...and I get to continue to play a role in a company that I helped to achieve its current status of notoriety, which is something I'm extremely proud of and excited for.
While the management of GCW and I don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on everything, I credit them as having the best vision of what a deathmatch-based company ought to be of any in the States, and an eye for underutilized or underrated talent who have languished elsewhere but become bonafide Stars in GCW due to their innovation, dedication , and toughness. This is a company to keep an eye on, and I'm very pleased that I get to continue to be a part of it. At least until I get too drunk and say something to truly alienate the fanbase forever and they fire me...
-Daniel Tiberius Havoc, New Voice of the New Face of War
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