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Holding Out For A Hero



[h1]Holding Out For A Hero[/h1]
- Billy Buckley

When the terrorist attacks of September 11th rocked our nation, citizens of the United States were left in a state of sorrow, confusion and helplessness. We wondered how this could happen to our country and we looked for heroes. We found them in the firefighters and law enforcement officers of New York City and Washington, D.C. It was a reminder to me that our heroes come from all walks of life and are represented in all professions. The wrestling community is no exception, both in and out of the ring. Hornet has always been a model of work ethic in the ring. With that same work ethic and some business savvy he was able to establish a charity fund for families who lost loved ones in the attacks. Eli Flair, maybe the wrestler most willing to shed blood was also among the first to donate plasma at a local Red Cross following the attacks. The devout Deacon shared his faith in the ring and offered solace to victims of the tragedy by touring shelters offering his words and his ears. These are the right kind of heroes.

The first time I interviewed Evan Aho, I believed that he was that type of hero. Here was a clean-cut kid who had worked his way up through the bush leagues to compete on the biggest stage in our sport, Anniversary 2000. He had integrity in and out of the ring. Rather than boasting of his titles and near-spotless record he wanted to talk about his next match. He never once belittled his opponent, Cardigo Mysterian at the time. On the contrary, he remarked how tough Cardigo was and what a difficult task he was up against. At the same time, he displayed a quiet confidence as though there was no way he could be "out-wrestled". I was inclined to believe him.

In the fifteen months that Aho has wrestled in CSWA even more noble qualities have become apparent. Most recently his gutsy performance at Elvis Lives displayed his tenacity and refusal to surrender. Aho wrestled three grueling matches, the last two with severely cracked ribs. From one of the trainers at that event I heard a quote that summed up Evan's brand of desire. After the attending physician told him he could not wrestle that night Aho responded with, "I can breathe, can't I?" Nothing short of heroic.

But while he experiences enormous success in the ring, Aho grows more elusive and distant outside of the squared-circle. His unexplained teaming with Jimmy Valentine and the New Suicide Squad at Primetime in Tacoma was the last thing anyone expected of him upon his return to television. Though he appears to have become quickly disenchanted with the group, it's still an indication that Aho has built up his personal walls even thicker than before. For the past three months no one in the media has heard a word from him. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing...and Aho has been doing a whole lot of nothing. A hero?

I was lucky enough to call Evan the day he started answering his phone again. Just over a year from our first interview I met up with Evan Aho again to talk about...well whatever I could get him to talk about. One week after Primetime, I met Evan just down the street from his hometown of Seattle at The Ram in Tacoma, Washington.


BUCKLEY - To tell you the truth Evan I'm pretty stunned that you actually showed up. You've been out of contact for quite sometime.

AHO - There hasn't been a lot of wrestling going on, Billy. I didn't feel compelled to be visible.

BUCKLEY - At any rate I'm glad you could make it today. What have you been up to for the past three months?

AHO - I've been pretty bored actually. The attacks last month put everything in limbo for a while, including my pending matches. There's only so much sparring I can do without actual matches before I get impatient and have to figure out other ways to keep busy.

BUCKLEY - That brings us to the New Suicide Squad. Evan seeing you take off that black mask to stand side-by-side with Tsunami, Johnny Lang and Jimmy Valentine was one of the most backwards moments in wrestling I have seen in a long time. Why have you decided to forego the solo act?

AHO - Boredom...curiosity...I don't know. Jimmy Valentine got a hold of me at a time when I needed something to keep me occupied. He wanted to talk wrestling, I bit. Tsunami and Johnny Lang are both accomplished wrestlers that use that puroresu-influenced style that I enjoy watching so much. Kind of the same reason Michael Jordan decides to own a basketball team, he needed to have the association with the sport. I needed that and Valentine was more than willing to provide it.

BUCKLEY - But now that you're back to a regular schedule you're not returning his calls?

AHO - I don't return your calls either.

BUCKLEY - Yes, but this is your manager.

AHO - He wants to discuss match strategy as if there's been some kind of change in my strategy since I joined up with his group. It has always been and always will be the same for me...out-prepare, out-react, out-wrestle.

BUCKLEY - So are you still with the Squad?

AHO - (shrugs) I'm back doing what I love. The New Suicide Squad was my only outlet to wrestling for a while, now it's not.

BUCKLEY - It sounds like the New Suicide Squad isn't high on your list of priorities.

AHO - I'm doing my best to focus on the guy in the mask.

BUCKLEY - Would you say you're at a disadvantage not knowing your opponent for New Orleans?

AHO - You can look at it like that, but in the end it won't make any difference. I don't have a clue how he wrestles. That means I can't scout his moves or I can't see his weaknesses...until he steps in the ring. From that moment on, he's exposed and I will take any mistake he makes and turn it into his undoing. What I throw at him he's seen and scouted. But will he be fast enough to counter? Will he have an answer to every hold or throw in my repetoire? Will he be able to stand up after I drop him with a simple, but flawlessly executed, piledriver? No, on three accounts. I will tell him what I tell each and every opponent, this is what I'm going to do and there's no way you can stop me from doing it.

BUCKLEY - Do you have any guess on who it might be?

AHO - Not a one, it really doesn't matter.

BUCKLEY - How can you say that? This could turn out to be one of the biggest match of your career.

AHO - It is the biggest match of my career.

BUCKLEY - But it doesn't matter who you're wrestling?

AHO - Billy, I've tried to explain this a hundred times, but I'm going to do it again for your sake. It doesn't matter who is across the ring from me, only that they are...the biggest match is always the next one. Every night I lace up my boots I want to test myself. How good can I be? Whether it's against Joe Job or the CSWA Heavyweight Champion I'm going to give the same kind of effort...all that I've got. You're only as good as your last match, so I'll go out there time and again knowing that if I'm completely dominant in the ring tonight, then I'm going to be that unstoppable up until the next match. It's the shred of ring psychology I use Billy. I don't play mind games. But when an opponent steps into the ring and locks eyes with me, that's enough. He knows he's got his work cut out for him.


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